May 2009

  • May 2, 2009
  • Written by Don Campbell

Spring is here once again and it’s time for all Turf managers to get at their property and get ready with clean-ups, etc. Most of the golf course people I’ve talked to in the last few days are happy with the way their course wintered.

After the STA Conference I went again to North Carolina to help my daughter and her husband celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. While there we took a side trip to the Atlantic Beaches. Golf courses in North Carolina are in reasonable condition despite the lack of play. This is also a result of the economy going in the tank. Equipment dealers are really feeling the pinch as sales are outnumbered by repossessions.

At my daughter’s golf course,
which is public, the owner was telling me his play is really up this spring. He attributes this to what he calls a cheap green fee ($19 per round and $25 per round if you take a cart). He has 11 people working on the course, down from 15 in previous years. Wages are around $3.50 per hour. You must remember that North Carolina doesn’t have a minimum wage and unions aren’t allowed in the state. The golf course isn’t in the best of conditions.

I’ve had 2 calls or inquiries this spring on reshaping greens. They have crept in on you over the years and you may want to get them back to the original configuration. I talked about this in the March newsletter and apparently it got some interest. Prior to cutting into the apron it would be wise to mark the new outline with a paint gun. Cutting into the apron should only be done in the spring because the grass plant will have the inner drive to regenerate and is able to recover from severe scalping. Any other time of the summer and this will result in instant death of the grass plant.

Water use in Las Vegas –
A researcher at the American Society of Agronomy meetings in Houston Texas pointed out that 60% of all water used in Las Vegas was for residential use and 70% of that water was used for irrigation of residential landscapes. I received this from Jim Ross.

Quintozene is a fungicide that is currently registered for the control of Brown Patch, Pink Snow Mold and Grey Snow Mold. It is being re-evaluated and the following is proposed: “Phasing out all turf uses, including residential, commercial, turf farms and golf courses”. The phase out is proposed because the risk associated with the uses exceeds current health and environmental standards.

This one is from Dr. Kevin Frank who told us that tee areas are an opportunity for a golf course to make 18 first impressions. With a little time, effort and a minimal amount of money, green superintendents can make these initial impressions a round full of good ones. Signs that aren’t straight, grass around trees and sign posts, dirty tee towels and smelly ball washers all lead to a bad taste in golfer’s minds and consequently, the whole golf course is in bad shape.

A couple of attractive signs I saw
at a well maintained golf course in North Carolina described how to fill divot holes and repair ball marks. They were illustrated and also included the following text:

  • DO – Fill divot holes with the material provided by the maintenance staff.
    DON’T – Overfill the hole which results in a sand mound that man dull or damage the mowing units.
  • DO – In regards to ball marks, restore surface smoothness by gently pushing from the sides and in some case, gently lifting the compressed area.
    DON’T – Aggressively twist (as is so often done by pros on national television) which does more harm than good.


Paul Voykin, from Saskatoon, and a fixture at the Briarwood Country Club in Chicago for 471/2 years, has recently retired. He tells us he was born in a sod house near Saskatoon. Having known the Voykin family all my life I don’t really know about that one. I also question the farming background. One thing is certain … he certainly loved the Briarwood Country Club and they in turn loved Paul. I wish him a great retirement and when he comes to Saskatoon, which he does often, I’m going to ask him to take me to that sod house.

Ran across an article this winter talking about how green superintendents could set an example for others by walking nine holes with key members of your board. Let them see golf as it was meant to be, relaxed and unhurried. Let conversation play a larger role; avoid the Hoganesque wall of silence and concentration. Favor match play to keep weaker players interested in the game and lessen the importance of the pencil and scorecard. It also might be a good idea to walk nine holes with the golf pro on a regular basis. Just walk … don’t take your clubs.

Interesting tidbit –
exercise programs fail because they are discontinued and not because they are ineffective. Golf, as a recreational sport, has a high rate of compliance, appeals to all ages and appeals to both sexes. Under your doctor’s guidance, walking the golf course can even become a valuable part of an exercise recovery for cardiac patients.

Hitting the ball into the cup is the purpose of the game of golf. It may take Laurie Unruh 120 strokes and Tiger Woods 67, but in the end they both need the ball to go into the cup. Cutting a hole for a cup has changed very little in the past 175 years. However, the equipment to do the job is a lot better.

In late May the STA Board will meet
and among items to be discussed will be our Research Tournament. This event is held in early August so please keep this in mind. Your attendance in the tourney is important so we can fulfill our commitment to Turfgrass Research.

“Treat collars like greens for the best performance”
is an article I recently read by Matt Nelson. To as great an extent as possible, maintain the collars with the same program you use on putting greens. When the greens are aerated, also aerate the collars. Do the same with topdressing, verticutting, wetting agents and fertilization. Many golf courses combine tee, collar and approach mowing into one task that can be performed by one machine … usually a triplex greens mower. Watch, however, that turf ring doesn’t develop from travelling the same path continually.

When soil becomes compacted it must be aerated by a hateful machine, universally despised by golfers around the world. There are no shortcuts or painless remedies. There is a price for postponing the inevitable. It may be summer stress or winter injury. Greens, tees and fairways must be aerated on a regular basis according to a well thought-out program. Healthy turf is the result of hard work based on a plan, and that plan always includes aeration.

More in this category: « April 2009 June 2009 »

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.

    Read more...