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November 2010

The end of the season and time to sit back and reflect on a challenging year for golf courses and parks. It is also time to prepare for our Fall Wind-Up and Annual General Meeting, November 23rd at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club. An agenda of the events for the day will appear with this newsletter. Your attendance at this event will benefit your golf club and you could do well to bring your Manager or Greens Chairman or President along.

The Seminar will be presented by Bruce Williams and the topic will be “Looking Into The Crystal Ball – Golf In The Future”. A lot has happened in the last 2 or 3 years regarding the economy and its effect on the business of golf. In our province, the weather has had a huge impact. This said, challenges will be numerous, particularly in the next year. This workshop is a must for those that want to stay current with the trends in 2011 and beyond.

I've received some calls, particularly this past month about what clubs should be paying their superintendents or, as one said, turf manager. In reviewing the calls, all were from 9 hole public golf courses. I told them an experienced superintendent should be paid between 4,000 and 5,000 per month and the tenure should be not less than eight months. One said they were in the range, pay-wise, but were short a couple of months in tenure. The rest said they couldn't afford that and didn't seem interested in making it happen for better renumeration for a person charged with looking at their number 1 asset. Somehow I feel I have to help superintendents get better salaries.

When golfers see the outstanding playing quality of a main tournament on television, they wonder why their golf course doesn't play like that on a daily basis. Your golf course can only sustain television tournament-like conditions during special occasions. Tournament golf-playing conditions are for exceptional circumstances only and should not occur more than once a year. Putting your golf course into severe tournament stress makes it much more susceptible to turf death from any additional stresses that the turfgrass would otherwise easily tolerate. Golf course members who expect tournament-like conditions year-round are dooming their golf courses to massive and repeated turf death.

Prior to the Fall Wind-Up or, specifically, the evening of November 22nd, we are planning a social get-together at Sports On Tap here in Saskatoon. This is the same pub where Oakcreek and us said goodbye to Laurie Unruh September 23rd, 2010. Buy your own drinks, the S.T.A. will buy the finger food. This is a good chance to review your year with friends and colleagues. I hope we get a big turn out. More fun that way.

The morning after the Fall Wind-Up, Mrs Campbell and I will be leaving for North Carolina to visit our daughter. While there, I'll take in a couple of NHL hockey games, 2 college basketball games and visit a few golf courses. I always like to visit my daughter's golf courses and those at Pinehurst, which is an hour away. I know I will enjoy our trip, particularly visiting with our daughter. We'll be home prior to Christmas.

Bruce Williams, a member of the C.G.S.A. has worked in the golf industry for over 40 years. His seminars are sought after on a number of topics all over North America. He remains very active in the golf industry, has served on a number of boards and committees as well as being C.G.S.A. President in 1996. Currently, he operates a successful consulting practice - “Bruce Williams Golf Consulting”. Prior to his consulting company, he was the Director of Golf Courses and Grounds at the Los Angeles Country Club.

The cost of the seminar and A.G.M. for S.G.A. members is $50. This includes the seminar, food, coffee breaks, etcetera. Our association is subsidizing the cost of the seminar. If an S.G.A. member wants to bring a non-member, don't pay the $310; get him to join the S.G.A. ($80) and then he pays the $50. That is a very good deal for your golf club. You don't have to send the registration form to Mississauga, I will send everything to the C.G.S.A. after the event (from North Carolina).

Just received a letter from the Lloydminster Golf and Country Club,
advising me that they have wound up their operations as of October 31st, 2010. The City of Lloydminster is assuming all suppliers' accounts after October 31st and will be operating the Lloydminster Golf Course through the Lloydminster Facilities Corp.

Your S.G.A. Board of Directors met November 2nd, 2010 at the Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon. President Doug Leavins was pleased with the excellent attendance and the contribution each member made at the meeting. A synopsis of the meeting is as follows.

  1. Membership numbers for the year are down but, in spite of this, the financial picture remains strong.
  2. The 2010 Research Tournament and Skins Game was reviewed and a special thank you was extended to Kachur's Country Club and the Cooke Municipal Golf Club for their excellent hospitality. President Doug Leavins will explore the possibility of having the 2011 Research Tournament and Skins in Swift Current.
  3. An agenda for the Fall Wind-Up and A.G.M. was presented and approved by the Directors. This will appear in this newsletter.
  4.  As most know, Laurie Unruh was presented with Dr. Drew Smith's “Member of the Year” Award. Also, Laurie was presented with an Honorary Life Membership in the S.G.A. for his contribution while an S.G.A. Member.
  5. Don Campbell will represent the S.G.A. in Toronto January 5th, 6th and 7th in 2011 at a strategic planning meeting for the Canadian Turfgrass Research Foundation (C.T.R.F.). The foundation is now under the umbrella of the C.G.S.A.
  6. Kyle Kellgren suggested Saskatchewan host the C.G.S.A. Fall Field Day in 2012 at Elk Ridge and Waskesieu. Blaine Fagnou has been asked to attend a meeting November 22nd, 2010 at our social evening at Sports On Tap.
  7. The Saskatchewan Golf Hall of Fame held its inaugural induction ceremony September 8th at the Willows Golf Club here in Saskatoon. The event went well with 19 inductions this year. In future years, only six will be inducted. The S.G.A. was a big contributor at this first event. The S.G.A. and Early's Farm and Garden were $1000 sponsors. The Wascana Royal Regina, Wakaw Lake, Lobstick Golf, Riverside Country Club, Nipawin Evergreen and Saskatoon Golf and Country Club were all $300 contributors. Yours truly was a member of the steering committee and on the selection committee.

Will-fit hydraulic filters can damage your mid-sized mower and will not provide the performance intended by the manufacturer. The purpose of a hydraulic filter is is to modify the mower's fluid. The two contributors that destroy hydraulic fluids are heat and contamination. The filter must also be able to withstand a given pressure. Filters may have the same outside dimensions but be totally different on the inside.

Fire ants are not a problem in Saskatchewan, but in the south-eastern United States or in California,
they are a real concern. A Florida golfer dies as a result of massive fire ant stings and a bedridden elderly lady was bitten more than 600 times in a Texas nursing home. In Texas alone, 48 million dollars are spent annually on insecticide treatments.

When I was a younger green superintendent, there was only one aerator available. The name was the West Point Aerator, a real pig of a machine. Recently, I was browsing through a Maintenance magazine and I counted over 25 different machines that do a much better job of aerating fairways, greens, tees and sports fields. There is also one helluva difference between my first car (a Ford Model A) to my new Toyota Venza. Big difference in price as well.

The agenda for the Fall Wind-Up and A.G.M. is as follows:

  • November 22nd
    7:00pm: Social – Sports On Tap 
  • November 23rd
    8:00am: Registration, Continental Breakfast—Saskatoon Golf & Country Club
    8:30am: Seminar – Bruce Williams
    10:15am: Coffee Break
    10:30am: Seminar Resumes
    12:30pm: Hot Lunch
    1:30pm: A.G.M. Begins
    2:45pm A.G.M. Adjournment – Bar Opens

The cost of the seminar for S.G.A. members is $50, which includes the seminar, food and room rental.
Visiting at a golf course in Saskatoon recently I noticed some soil sample bags in the superintendent's office. All were neatly marked and ready to go to the lab to be analyzed. When the results are returned, the superintendent will be able to accurately budget for his 2011 fertilizer needs. Also, at the same golf course, I reviewed their annual course maintenance manual. This was prepared in the off season and followed each year, especially when training staff in the spring. Every golf course, either 9 or 18 holes, should have a manual.

Just read an article that says most equipment manufacturers recommend
that you not store equipment for extended periods with gasoline in the fuel tank and that you empty the tank and run the engine until the fuel line and carburetor are empty. I suppose this prevents fuel system parts from gum deposits. I also hear some people prefer to use a fuel stabilizer instead of draining the fuel tanks and lines completely which, I think, is near impossible. Not many people do this, however.

Once again, make every effort to attend our Fall Wind-Up seminar and Annual General Meeting
. And again, I urge you to bring your club manager or president/greens chairman to the meeting. Get him to join the S.G.A. so he can take advantage of the subsidized fee.

The even numbered zones are up for re-election plus a one-year term to take retired Laurie Unruh's place on the board. Past President Kevin Bloski is our nominating chairman.

I will try to find someone to produce the December 2011 newsletter as I will be away. I have a couple of people in mind because they owe me. One way or another, we will try to bring you S.G.A news. See you November 22nd and 23rd.

Just off the wire – The Fall Wind-Up and A.G.M. hotel is the Four Points by Sheraton, a new hotel in the Stonebridge area of Saskatoon. Our group rate is $129.99 and the group rate code: STK 22A. The phone number is 306-933-9889, or online www.fourpoints.com/Saskatoon Make your reservations now.

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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.