May 2007

  • May 5, 2007
  • Written by Don Campbell

Most of the courses in our province are in excellent condition, having come through the winter with very little injury. Some courses, however, have an abundance of water which is being pumped off the property. Hopefully everyone will have a good season with lots of activity.

Ken Lintott, Zone 6 Director of the S.T.A., invites you and your representative from your Club or Park to join us for the S.T.A.’s new education program. Our aim is to bring education seminars closer to our members and anyone interested in turfgrass maintenance and research. The first seminar will deal with winter decline of turfgrass.

Just recently you received a letter inviting you to join the Saskatchewan Turfgrass Association and an invite to attend our June 6th seminar. The most important document in the letter is an invoice for 2007 membership dues. Please act promptly and submit your dues payment to us.

I for one didn’t enjoy watching the Masters this year. With less than ideal weather conditions and as difficult a course set-up as it was, in my opinion it played too tough for the world’s best players. I would rather watch birdies instead of bogeys any day. There isn’t too much excitement in bogeys and made for some boring television viewing.

The first 18-hole golf course in the USA was in Chicago in 1892. The first in Canada, which was a surprise to me, was in Victoria B.C., established in 1892 also. Steel shafts were sanctioned by the Royal and Ancient in 1929. Prior to that, shafts were made from hickory sticks. These frustrated golfers for at least 2 centuries, Jim Cote included.

64% of superintendents asked say that computerized irrigation is the most important piece of technology for their golf course.

Surging gas prices are sucking up greenbacks from many a course maintenance budget. This is a real concern. The big question is where we cut costs to offset increased fuel prices. I suppose you could cut fertilizer costs by 10% or perhaps shave some overtime labour costs. Whatever you do, it will be difficult as costs in all areas of turf maintenance are on the up swing. If the weather cooperates we will hopefully have more participation, thus offsetting these rising costs.

Some of you may remember Bud Johns who was long time superintendent in our province. Bud was at North Battleford, Estevan, Wascana in Regina and at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club. A few years ago Bud lost his legs to diabetes. He still plays golf pretty well, probably playing 60-70 rounds a year. Does he have courage? You bet, but more than anything he loves the game!

Why should you join the Saskatchewan Turfgrass Association? The mere sharing of knowledge at meetings, seminars and conferences are probably the most important reasons. Also important is the friendship that binds everyone together. This all takes participation and will in the end make you a better turf manager.

The number one complaint about bunkers is that “bunkers aren’t consistent”. Since when does a hazard have to be consistent with another? Number two is “these bunkers are just not fair”. When in a bunker, most players find them too much of a penalty. Do they have to be fair? Fair for whom… a high handicapper or scratch golfer? This came from James Beard, an agronomist.

Recently I came across an article saying “Hooters” has signed golfer John Daly to an endorsement contract. The restaurant chain believes it has found an athletic spokesman who can credibly claim that he really does go to Hooters for the wings and beer.

A little more about the USA’s oldest golf course, the Chicago Golf Club… the clubhouse Manager is a lady by the name of Dorothy Darrow who has been there for 48 years. That’s a long haul for an employee at the same place. The Club should be congratulated for being a good place to work. She too must be a special type of person.

With the onset of spring and the anticipation of the coming summer, it may be a good idea to go over some fundamentals to get back on track. Number one is to stay focused, plan and prioritize. There is never a time when you should stop learning about your craft – so read, study, ask questions and talk to your peers. Your industry contacts will be your most valuable asset. This is why you should make it a priority to attend the S.T.A. seminar in Nipawin on June 6th, 2007.

I have trouble with these… Greens Superintendent, Turf Manager is better, but GreenKeeper is the best. The Turf Center, Barn or Turfgrass Facility in my mind isn’t the “shop”. Walk-behind mowers… does any one know somebody that would walk in front? I like “walkers” the best.

Barry Carpenter was preaching on the evils of drinking to Laurie Unruh. He first said he would like to gather up all the wine and dump it in the river, same said about beer and all other forms of alcohol. Laurie seemed to agree with his boss, even turning instantly religious by breaking out in song: “Shall we gather at the river.”

A correction – Textron Inc. has announced that the Jacobson business unit has sold its commercial ground care product lines to Commercial Grounds Care Inc., an affiliate of Schiller-Pfeiffer Inc. located in Pennsylvania. The sale includes a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, a leased service parts facility in Ohio and products branded Bobcat, Bunton, Ryan, Steiner and Brouwer.

The sale of commercial grounds care product lines allows Jacobson to heighten focus on its golf and professional turf related markets with equipment manufactured on North Carolina and England.

Here’s a tip of you have a slug problem, especially in irrigation control boxes. I’ve been told beer is the answer. Take a small dish and lid and cut a hole in the lid the size of a loonie. Pour enough beer in the dish to fill about ¼ of the way. The slugs smell the hops, ooze up to the top of the dish, fall in and die drunk and happy. My wife says this is the best solution. She prefers Labatt Blue. I prefer commercial slug bait.

Do you have a member who complains about everything? Whiners, I used to call them. I had great success with this comeback: “How would you like to see this resolved?” or after listening to them until they were talked out: “What would you do?” Most of the time this nailed them good by putting them in a position of responsibility for solving their problem. This kind of shut them up for a month or two. Whatever you do, don’t smack them. You’ll be in great trouble.

Long hours for Turf Managers are here as most of you will be at work before most people crawl out of bed. Everyone wants you to rise and shine. To do this is to get a good nights sleep. That isn’t easy because we usually have a coffee or beer prior to bedtime. There is a whole list of things you shouldn’t do but I’m not going to get into it… the wife won’t like it.

Hopefully I’ll see a large number of you in Nipawin on June 6th. This seminar is important for you. Bring some of your members or executives with you to hear one of the leading experts on snow mold prevention in North America. And with that, I’m gone guys!

More in this category: « April 2007 June 2007 »

About Don Campbell

Don CampbellG. N. Don Campbell,
1933 –2016

S.T.A. Executive Director, 'Turf Tips' writer and editor of our 'TURFTALK' newsletter, Don Campbell has been an asset to our industry for decades!
A member in the turfgrass community for more than 57 years, Don started his career at Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon as a caddy, eventually becoming the course Superintendent. He finished his career as the General Manager at the very same course.

In 2004, Don was awarded the CGSA John B. Steel Distinguished Service Award, recognizing his lifetime commitment to turf care.
Don is survived by his wife Marie have three children: Sherril, Glen and Doug. 

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.