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November 2011

The STA Fall Windup and Annual General Meeting is approaching quickly. It’s at the Royal Regina Golf Club in Regina, December 6th, 2011. The seminar portion will feature two of our own. Chris Marchiori, assistant superintendent at The Wascana will talk to us about maintenance practices at The Wascana. Mike Bullard will present his experiences at the last two United States Open golf tournaments. Mike is an assistant at Riverside here in Saskatoon. The cost to STA members will be $50 which covers the seminar, continental breakfast and banquet.

Almost all the golf courses in the province have completed all their fall work. Greens are covered with tarps and a lot are topped with flax straw. Fungicide of course has been applied. All in all it’s been a perfect fall for golf course superintendents to complete fall work.

Now is the time of the year to review your equipment inventory list and, more importantly, to update it. It is essential that all serial numbers are recorded, as well as the year and cost of acquisition. Consider also estimating the replacement cost and a record of all repairs made to each piece of equipment. Keep these records away from your shop in a safe place. You never know when fire or vandals will strike. Also these records will help your insurance company.

As has been the case for the last few years, Saskatchewan Golf has a real problem attracting golfers to participate in Saskatchewan competitions. I’ve always said competitions improve golf courses and with improved golf courses we would have better golfers. Saskatchewan Golf will keep plugging away and chances are things will turn around in the near future. Various clubs in the province have to step up to the plate by encouraging their good players to participate in these events. The more people you have participating, the better the competition.

There is one that is sometimes forgotten – a good Greens Chairman represents the golf course superintendent and the golf course requirements to the membership, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. The Chairman carries feedback to the golf course superintendent and the maintenance team. The Greens Chairman’s role is a delicate balance between representing the members and representing the needs of the course superintendent.

Before I forget, now is the time to check the coolant strength in all radiators.
Also, grease all grease zerks to purge any moisture away from any bearing surface.

Another fall tip is to carefully examine your pumping equipment. Pumps are much easier to repair during the winter than it is in the spring when water on the course is needed. The electric motor should be inspected by a qualified electrician before closing it down. Failure to do any of the above could lead to all kinds of problems in the spring.

After the Fall Windup and AGM, I’m off to North Carolina to celebrate Christmas
and my birthday with our daughter. Near the end of December we will go to Florida to enjoy some sunshine and relax.

Came across this one recently – It takes 3000 cows to supply the National Football League with enough leather for a years supply of footballs. I think I’m missing something here because I always though they called the football the “pigskin”.

My neighbor learned a valuable lesson by not following this simple rule:
Always install a new spark plug in a mower by hand. It’s a good idea to make sure the threads are smoothly engaging. My neighbor tried to install a new plug with a tool and he cross-threaded the hole. He tried to buy a new head for his mower to no avail – he bought a new mower.

Did you know that 43% of adults in Canada suffer adverse health effects because of stress.
There are about 9 ways to manage stress which will appear elsewhere in this newsletter. My doctor told me that stress is a major cause of heart attacks.

This is a note to all Managers and Board members of golf clubs –
Remember Green Superintendents are well trained individuals who continually upgrade their turfgrass education through seminars and provincial education programs. We, as an association, help Superintendents with many timely tips through our newsletter. These people are the number one asset at every golf club. Managers, Directors, and Superintendents should work together to attain a common goal, which is “The best possible conditions within the parameters of the Golf Club’s financial plan”.

Good Superintendents will tell you successful working relationships between yourself and Board members, Managers, and golfers are the result of quality communications and hard work. Remember, identifying, cultivating and expanding communication opportunities will result in good relationships. For the best results, superior communication should be a vital daily objective for the golf course superintendent and his staff.

Most people are only interested in the distance aspect of hitting a golf ball particularly off the tee. They pay little attention to their short game. When they miss a bunker shot, the sand is inconsistent, the fairways are too long or too short. A missed putt is usually blamed on grain or green speed. However, have they ever thought that their golf balls are unevenly weighted. This is the case more often than not. There is a good chance a few unbalanced golf balls will show up in every batch you buy.

How important are sharp blades on a rotary mower?
Sharp blades reduce the load on mowing equipment. The engine doesn't have to work as hard, and the bearings and belts don’t have to transfer as much power. The result is a longer lived machine that needs less frequent crisis repair. A mower with sharp blades can also maintain a higher ground speed while producing a high-quality mowed surface, which means less time spent mowing.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s a car or truck with 100,000 miles was considered junk.
Now cars or trucks with 150,000 miles seem barely broken-in – they run strong and burn no oil. Much of this durability and longevity can be traced to advanced chemistry for lubricating oil and fuels. Unleaded gas leaves fewer deposits inside engines and superior air-filtration has virtually eliminated the problem of dust in engines. The same with grass cutting mowers. Engines that had to be worked on after one summer now last four to five times longer, especially after being well maintained.

Just as I was writing the above, I had a call from my wife telling me our car wouldn't start. Not a click, a sniff, nothing. After she had it towed to our service centre, the called and said the starter was kerplunk. A new starter. She broke it, and the same old story – I had to pay - $450 worth.

I use this one all the time – There is no scientific evidence that golfers face any chronic health risks from pesticides used to maintain courses. Once a liquid product is applied and the turfgrass is dry or the product has been watered in, there is very little chance of exposure to golfers or others who enter the area. It is worth noting that a small percentage of people may be allergic to a particular product just as some of us are allergic to perfumes, soaps, etc. Golfers with possible chemical allergies are encouraged to contact superintendents when they will spray so they can stay away. Signs telling players what products are in use and the ingredients should be in place at the 1st tee also.

Graham Cooke is not only one of Canada’s top amateur golfers, but a top-notch Golf Course Architect as well. He explains, as a designer, he has the initial task of creating a golf course that has playability. This goes for renovations within a Master Plan as well. The course that challenges but allows players of varied skills to compete and to derive satisfaction and enjoyment is the goal. To achieve this end, the designer must plan a course with a great deal of flexibility. Too many courses are found to fit a limited number of players.

I read the following article recently in the USGA Green Section Record, Nov/Dec 1997, titled information overload dealing specifically about yardage markers. Traditionally the game of golf should test the nerves and skill and judgement of a player in executing a proper golf shot. Part of this skill is judging distance. The article also mentions that yardage markers may improve safety so that golfers don’t hit into the group ahead of them. They still talk about getting rid of yardage markers today.

Golf courses are tremendous economic assets, as well as vital greenspaces for communities. They employ hundreds of thousands of people, enhance local economies through tax revenues and tourism, and provide many ecological benefits. For example, golf courses help filter air pollutants and create fresh oxygen; they are excellent groundwater recharge sites; and most important, they are critical wildlife sanctuaries in urban and suburban areas. This came from the GCSAA Resource Centre.

The 17th Annual Golf Course Property Managers Conference will be held November 27, 28, 29 at the Capril Centre in Red Deer AB. This is sponsored by the Alberta Golf Superintendents Association. Enquiries as to registration, accommodation, etc can be made by calling 1-403-912-0130. Along with an assorted array of top-notch speakers, there will be four different seminars to choose from.

My wife and I spent a very enjoyable evening with Sid Puddicombe and his wife recently. Sid was a long-time greens superintendent in Edmonton and Saskatoon and then went into the Golf Course Construction business. He was just inducted into the Alberta Golf Hall of Fame.

When I was a superintendent I loved late October. The season was virtually over and I was finally able to sit back and relax and look back at all the good things that happened during the past season. About 3 weeks later I would sit down and write up areas where I could improve things and figure out how to incorporate changes into the upcoming financial budget. I urge everyone to keep in mind the STA Fall Windup on December 6th at the Royal Regina Golf Club. Try your best to be there.

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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.