May 2011

  • May 2, 2011
  • Written by Don Campbell

A lot of golf courses in our province are having water problems. While some are completely closed, others are only playing nine holes. Courses in Saskatoon opened on Good Friday and from what I’ve seen, are in excellent shape. Greens, tees, and fairways at my old club are awesome.

In the next two weeks I’m having a 65 foot spruce removed from my yard. We have to remove it to get at another further back that is not in very good shape. It’s equally as tall. These two trees have the same cooling effect on our house as 12 to 15 medium size air conditioners. They also cut the energy costs by about 30%. It will cost about $2,500 to have them removed, which includes getting rid of the stumps and clean-up.

Very few people worry about health threats pased by insects. That’s because pest populations are held in check by pest management programs, which includes responsible use of specialty pesticides. A pest-free living environment protects the food supply. Without pest control, rodents and insects would dine on food meant for human consumption.

Reading an article about Golf Club Managers this past winter was extremely interesting. It ended with this paragraph: “A good, modern manager is something of an empire builder. He or she knows how to share the club’s resources, whether in the form of praise, respect, budget allocations, or salary. Not that successful club operation is simply a bottom-line enterprise. But without solid business practise and a sound captain at the helm, a club is a free-floating ship of fools.”

More about my tree removal. The company that gave me a pricce, evaluated the whole area, looking especially to see if there were any branches that ould pull the tree to one side or if the branches would get entangled in my neighbors linden tree. He looked to see if the tree was leaning in a certain direction—it was. He looked at the health of the tree—was there any decay. It was decided he would limb the tree to at least 45 feet and with the aid of ropes to help it fall in the desired location. These people, to me anyway, seemed to be experienced and professional in every way.

Just got an e-mail from a lady in Vancouver on how to make mosquitos disappear. She said her method will work on decks, back yard parties, barbecues, wiener roasts etc. What you do is buy a large bottle of Listerine and fill a 4 oz spray bottle. Spray around your chair, spray around a food table, deck floor, and back lawn, around doors going into the house. She says it is guaranteed to make the little buggers disappear. I’m going to try this method this summer. If it works, it will be a lot cheaper than bug spray.

Many greens on golf courses in our province will look like a battlefield this summer because a simple golfer chore is ignored in repairing ball marks. Proper etiquette demands that each golfer repair his/her ball mark before walking off the green. Why do so many choose to ignore the damage caused by their own hands? These blemishes literally constitute the number one problem facing many superintendents during the peak of the season when they have 200 rounds per day.

Many golfers do not understand how important aerification is to producing healthy turf.
Aerification achieves three important objectives. It relieves soil compaction, it provides a method to improve the soil mixture around the highest part of a green’s root and it reduces or prevents the accumulation of excess thatch. However, most golfers view aerification as an inconvenient exercise that takes the greens out of play many days before healing.

Did you know the reel-type mower was invented in 1832? At first it was used to trim carpets in woolen mills in Britain. The mower was quickly adapted to cut grass on the estates of the wealthy and on golf courses where the wealthy played. Shortly after this small mower was modified into a larger unit that was horse drawn and used to clip fairways. It’s been said that this is how Jim Cote started in the golf business.

The late Gord Whitteveen pointed this one out. Perhaps the greatest advances in the golf business were in greenkeeper mobility. At first it was common for a greenkeeper to push a wheelbarrow loaded with tools and topsoil over the golf course. When the crew increased in size, supervision became paramount and it was not uncommon for the greenkeeper to ride a horse across the links. Next came bicycles on flat courses and motorcycles on hilly terrain. After the 2nd World War jeeps were used, followed quickly by utility vehicles and golf cars.

Just got a flier in the mail promoting a lawn weed killer called Fiesta. It is a selective broadleaf weed killer for use on turf. It hasn’t an unpleasant odour, and made with iron. People, kids, cats and dogs can enter the area when the spray dries. It’s approved for use in Ontario. As with all turf care sprays, study the label instructions. Besides broadleaf weeds it controls algae and moss in turf.

Golfers today are fortunate to enjoy the game in an era when turf conditions have never been better. Excellent playing conditions do not happen by accident. All the components can be in place for success, but if the equipment is not in place to carry out the tasks, the course will under-perform. A good mechanic is of tremendous value to any park or golf course, but ultimately the regular replacement of equipment will allow your mechanics’ talents to be seen on the golf course or park.

Today I talked to some commercial people about conditions on golf courses in the province. They say snow mould, especially on fairways, is of epidemic proportions across a lot of the province. There is a lot of water and going to be more when the snow finally melts in the east and north of Saskatoon. Some say that people won’t be playing golf until mid May or later. This will again affect the bottom line at daily fee clubs.

Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache the day after? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache-free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache.

Today’s leaner burning, two-cycle engines are designed and built for dramatcially lower emission levels and are not as forgiving as older units. Using the correct oil not only extends engine life, it will also benefit the environment. Always use the recommended spark plug with the correct heat range for a particular unit. Refer to the operator’s manual to verify the correct plug. Spark plugs considerd hotter “may take a unit past it’s heat limits and cause major engine damage”.

Had an e-mail from my son-in-law in North Carolina asking me if I’ver ever heard of “push and pull the fairways”. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard this expression. It is a term referring to a mowing procedure. Pushing the fairways is mowing the turf from tee to green and pulling is mowing from green to tee. Another way to look at it is the lighter appearance is pushed (mowed) away from the players eye while the darker appearance is pulled toward the tee. Fairways are often pushed and pulled for special events at a golf club.

I recently read an interesting article on employees wearing hard hats on the golf course written by Alan Achatz for Club Management Magazine. He believes that hard hats convey a false sense of security. Not for the employee, but the golfer. An employee wearing a hard hat looks protected to every golfer. If the employee is not wearing a hard hat, the golfer is more than likely to err on the side of safety and not hit it when he/she thinks the employee is unaware of their presence. Yelling “fore” may not be enough to alert the employee to the rapidly approaching projectible because of equipment noise or hearing protection.

Some golf course architects are still trying to persuade the golf industry
that it needs smaller venues to promote the game of golf. They reason, short courses will attract a lot of bad golfers who like the game—but don’t want to be brought to their knees by a 6000 or 7000 yard 18 hole course. Smaller courses mean cheaper green fees and less time on the course. These two reasons are why people don’t play golf—they are king-sized

The Saskatchewan Pesticide Investigator is visiting the golf courses in our Province.
If he hasn’t visited you, it will be in the near future. He’ll probably want to know what product you are using—he’ll want to ssee and examine your Chemical Shed—he’ll want to see your Pesticide Applicators license. If you can’t produce a license in particular, he’s going to be unhappy, not with you but your Club on how they are doing business. This is serious guys and we must pay attention to this issue.

In this month’s newsletter you’ll find an insert from Parkland College in Yorkton, who are currently developing two Turf Grass short courses. Please take a few minutes and call them on what you think of this idea. The person you can contact is Darrel Landels at 306-786-2761. He is really a personable person and easy to talk to.

Kevin Bloski is busy making plans for the S.T.A’s Summer Field Day to be held at the Willows Golf and Country Club on Tuesday June 21, 2011. The program will run in the morning followed by lunch and golf starting at 1:30 pm. A registration form is included in this Newsletter. You can e-mail me your registration as we would like the Willows to know how many they will have for lunch and how many will be golfing. The Willows is a busy golf course, so pre-registration is important.

Just talked to Doug Campbell, Superintendent at the Riverside Country Club here in Saskatoon. He’s more than happy with how his fairways came through the winter snow mould free after a fall application of “Instrata”. In cold climates with a short golf season, it is imperative that a golf course has good playing condiitons as early as possible in the spring. Instrata will help you to achieve the total snow-mould control you need so that the course opens in good condition. For the best results follow the label guidelines. For further information you can call or e-mail me.

This is from Matt Nelson, Greg Brothers. He tells me one of the main advantages of properly chelated foliar fertilizers is their efficacy and safety across a wild range of soil temperatures. Typically, one can expect good results at soil temperatures as low as 7 to 8 degrees Celsius and also good, safe results at soil temperatures as high as 30 degrees. That’s why they work well in the early part of the year when soil temps are too cool for good results from granualar fertilizers and also during mid-summer stress when soluable formulations or synthetic chelates run the risk of burning or stimulating improper growth.

Don’t forget to submit your S.T.A. cheque for your 2011 membership fees.
We need you and thank you for your past support. For those that have sent their fees to me, I thank you and hope you and your Club have a very successful year. I hope to see a large number of you at our June 21st Summer Field Day.

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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.