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March 2013

By the time you receive this Newsletter, the end of this snowy winter will be in sight. There is certainly a lot of snow and if we get a quick melt we are almost guaranteed to have some flooding. To be prepared I would have some pumps on hand to remove excess water.

Did you know trees sweat to help cool themselves in the same way us humans do? When a tree is killed, lets say by a mountain pine beetle, the tree of course will stop sweating. This means solar radiation that was previously spent evaporating water from these trees is now going into heating the surface. When the mountain pine beetle kills 60% of a forest like it did in British Columbia the surface gets heated which leads or helps global warming.

More information—there are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball—and the term birdie comes from an American named Ab Smith. While playing in 1899 he played what he described as a “bird of a shot” which became “birdie” over time—and in March 1961 Lou Kretlow got the longest hole-in-one at the 427 yard 16th hole at Lake Hefner golf course in Oklahoma City , USA.

This from Brad Konesci: to meet Final Tier emissions regulations in small horsepower equipment,
John Deere will use a combination of advanced engine technologies to reduce nitrous oxide and add our proven exhaust filter to control particulate matter emissions. This approach is a proven hit among many owners of large horsepower equipment as they prefer its simplicity without any compromise of power, performance, or efficiency. You’ll start up the engine and go, just like you do today.

Fast greens mean slower rounds and a snail’s pace of play, particularly at daily-fee and resort courses. Even private clubs will notice slower rounds on busy days. On fast greens, you hardly need to tap the ball to get it moving, so you’re usually putting defensively. The writer goes on to say low-handicap golfers think they’re much better than they really are.

Spring is still a couple of months away but when it arrives is the time ticks show their heads. A school nurse has a way to remove them from humans and dogs. Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and swab it for a few seconds (15-20); the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. The nurse says this technique has worked every time she has used it (frequently she says). You can do this yourselves if need be.

If you have forward tees on your golf course for high-handicap players or women, play will increase 15 to 35 percent. This allows these players to play comfortably and, more importantly, have fun. Having fun above all is the name of the game and people having fun will play more often.

If I would have known about the benefits of Oatmeal, I would have started having it 70 years ago. It lowers cholesterol, reduces high blood pressure; prevents the arteries from hardening. It also prevents the development of diabetes and can prevent weight gain probably because it is rich in fibre. If I would have had oatmeal every day for the last 70 years, I wouldn’t have heart disease, diabetes and hemorrhoids.

Last year I had a real infestation of chickweed in my lawn. This year I’m going to tackle it with “Fiesta” lawn weed killer. It’s active ingredient is Iron (present as Fe HEDTA). This product is approved for use in Ontario. I’ll let everyone know how this worked next August.

I’ve read a truckload of material regarding the facts about Golf Course Pesticides and this is always comes to the forefront—It is very important to note that pesticides and fertilizers are not used primarily for aesthetic reasons. First and foremost, they are tools that help ensure a healthy playing surface for the game. Furthermore, they help protect a valuable and ecologically important piece of land.

This is another recent read. Not being able to keep your mouth shut is nothing but a bad habit. Not only do you say things you shouldn’t, you also (1) wreck your reputation, (2) are labelled as untrustworthy, and (3) hurt others badly in the process.

Dale Carnegie asks if anyone has ever seen an unhappy horse or have you seen a bird that has the blues? One reason why horses and birds are not unhappy is because they don’t try and impress other birds or horses. We, as people, could emulate this and we’d all be better off.

Most golfers envy the golf course superintendents’ job—fresh air, free golf, winters off, etc.—
a lot of these people would like to work on a golf course. They don’t know what effect the superintendents’ profession has on their lives and their families. Most golfers have no clue what life in the golf industry is really like.

It’s said that cranberry juice is good for your heart, urinary tract, sex life and you name it. Growing these berries to reach the max means they are fertilized and sprayed to get rid of aquatic weeds not to mention the excessive water they need. People say they should go organic and then the cost of this precious juice will go up to $58 per gallon.

Bunkers on a golf course should be maintained in a manner that minimizes the potential for a ball to completely bury in the sand. The pace of play can’t help but slow when balls disappear into the face of a hazard. You will find that the Rules of Golf are fair, but not overly sympathetic to a golfer’s misfortune when there are errant shots into a bunker.

Cats may kill up to 3.7 billion birds and 20.7 million mammals in the United States alone each year,
a new study has found. There are about 60 million feral cats in the United States. The journal Nature Communications reports that cats kill more birds and mammals than habitat destruction, collisions with structures such as buildings and pesticide poisoning.

And this one is from the late Dave Desmond, Eljay Irrigation.
How many know what Distribution Uniformity (DU) is? It’s a measurement of the uniformity of irrigation water application. This value should be near or exceed 80%, but many systems are well below the 80% value, leading to wet and dry areas that are difficult to manage.

Morning sunlight is better for turf than midday or afternoon sunlight. The general consensus is that morning sunlight is no better than the light at other times of the day in terms of light quality. The morning however is an optimal time for photosynthesis—where plants produce their own food by converting energy from sunlight into usable forms. Also, turf grass requires at least eight hours of sunlight per day to sustain growth and recuperate from moderate wear.

The CGSA 2013 Fall Field Day will be held at The Wascana Country Club, Monday September 23, 2013. Wascana Superintendent Mike Kupchanko will host the event. Be sure to watch for more details about this exciting event. Mark your calendars now and plan to attend.

Had a recent e-mail from Jerry Rousseau, Executive Director of the Western Canada Turfgrass Association. They want our attendance at their 50th Annual Conference and Trade Show, March 3, 4, 5, 2013. It will be in Penticton, British Columbia. For more information visit www.wcta-online.com

In an earlier newsletter I wrote about North American bats being killed by white-nose syndrome. This is a fungal infection that spreads very quickly through colonies of bats. They figure it’s killed between 6 and 7 million bats already. The fungus disrupts the bats internal clocks, forcing them from their hibernation state early, resulting in bats freezing, depleting their energy reserves and starving them to death.

The article goes on to say bats provide a great service to us by going after agricultural pests.
One bat can eat hundreds of mosquitos in a single night. A healthy bat can live up to 35 years, have one offspring a year. The fungal disease is catastrophic because of the level of mortality associated with the infection.

This is interesting: 6 in 10 kids who are introduced to golf in a structured junior golf program become long-term adult golfers. It was also found that only 1 in 10 become long-term adults golfers when not exposed to the game of golf as kids.

Hitting the ball into the cup is the purpose of the game of golf. It may take one player 120 strokes or a mere 68 for another, but in the end they both need the ball to go into the cup. Cutting a hole for a cup has changed little in the past 175 years.

Fusarium Patch is the name used when the disease occurs without snow cover and Pink snow mould is the name when the disease occurs under snow cover - both are troublesome, but good control can be realized with a good fall and spring fungicide program.

What’s the most important tool a superintendent can have in his shop? The answer, according to an online survey by Golfdom is a competent mechanic by 76% of the respondents. This was followed by 11% of the people who said earplugs to block out member complaints.

If it sucks air and burns fuel, it’s an engine. If it needs a power cord for power, it’s a motor. I’m sure everyone is happy that is clarified.

I continue to read a lot of negative articles about the impact of golf courses and maintained parks have on the environment. If these writers would look at the active role superintendents play in conserving water through very efficient irrigation systems, recycling green waste and grass clippings and increasing course areas devoted to native vegetation and wildlife habitat. The use of pesticides are applied by licensed professionals who must upgrade their licenses every five years or sooner in some areas.

Each year people throughout the United States plant millions of trees
through the National Arbor Day Foundation Trees for America program. These new trees provide vital benefits to the environment. Fresh clean air to breathe life giving oxygen. Pure water in our rivers and streams. Protection from soil erosion. Shade in the summer and windbreaks in the winter and a home for song birds. Every golf course I know has a tree program that provides for the above.

Genesis Golf tells us in the “off season” carts should be fully charged, disconnected from the charger and stored in an unheated covered area. Check the batteries during the “off season” at thirty day intervals, recharge and disconnect charger after charging. It is important not to leave the charger connected to the vehicle especially during the winter months. Golf cart batteries love our cold winters while in storage.

It would be a good idea to replace hydraulic hoses on high-use turf equipment such as Triplex greens mowers
every two years. All hoses should be inspected each time the reels are set. Look for nicks, cuts or bulges. Also look at metal tubing for wear caused by vibration. I always thought cleaning operations lead to deterioration quicker.

Scott Nesbitt, a free-lance writer living in Atlanta Georgia, tells us the reason why electric motors are so reliable and have longevity is because they have only one moving part. However, there is a complicated system that feeds power to the motor’s internal wiring and this system is “commutator” and “brushes” which almost certainly are the cause of problems you may have with the motor.

Golf Course architect Jeff Mingay writes that overly manicured bunkers actually defeat
their own purpose and make the game of golf less interesting. Making a successful carry over a fearsome, strategically placed bunker on a bold line to the green is thrilling; extracting a ball from a difficult predicament is sand is equally exciting. Most golfers lose sight of the fact that bunkers are actually hazards, not perfectly manicured easy to play pockets of sand.

Eddie Konrad, a retired golf course technician,
opened a seminar in Halifax by asking the question “What is maintenance?” Collectively, the group defined maintenance as fixing any sort of mechanical hydraulic or electronic device should it break or otherwise become out of order; performing routine actions that keep the device in working order, and taking preventative action so problems don’t occur in the first place.

In this newsletter, you’ll see an article “Keeping with the Times” written by fellow STA member, Josh Seibel, Golf Course Superintendent at Mainprize Golf Course in Midale. His interesting view is a good read and I thank him for sharing his thoughts with us. I continue to encourage all Superintendents to contribute to the newsletter. Your fellow superintendents like hearing views from their peers.

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About the STA

  • Saskatchewan's Turfgrass Association, founded in 1979, is a non-profit organization. The S.T.A. was organized by a group of Turfgrass Professionals which has grown to include people from Parks, Golf Courses, Sod Growers, Cities and Commercial Companies.