November 2014

  • November 3, 2014
  • Written by Don Campbell

The 2014 Fall Wind Up and AGM is fast approaching.  Everything, including the Wednesday night social, will be at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club.  Dates are November 12th and 13th.  To date, I’ve received 20 registrations.  These are from the southeast and southwest areas of our province.  Oddly, I haven’t received any from Saskatoon or Regina.

I have guaranteed the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club we’ll have 50 in attendance, primarily for the food services numbers.  Late in the year they don’t like to have inventory left over.  Please make every effort to attend this years’ Wind Up.  It’s a different format with five different speakers over the two days.  The easiest way to register is to call me at 306-343-8142 or email me at

Katie Dodson is a Research Scientist—Turfgrass at Olds College Centre of Innovation, Olds, Alberta.  She’ll speak to us both days.  Her father is the Superintendent at Silver Springs Golf Club in Calgary.  Some of you may know him—Paul Dodson.

Another speaker is Allan Bakke—Pesticide Investigator for the Government of Saskatchewan.  He will talk to us about some of the issues in our industry and proper storage facilities.  We’ve had Mr. Bakke talk to us before and we found him to be an interesting and informative speaker.  He’ll be better this time—more experience.

Par Aide has introduced a 15” putting cup to go along with the 8” model.  This is a great way to attract beginner and junior play.  You can use it for special events or in conjunction with a regulation cup so an experienced golfer can play with someone new to the game.  There are numerous products that go with this putting cup.

Just recently I received a $1,500 cheque from Golf Saskatchewan.  This is a donation to the STA for turfgrass research.  This is on behalf of the Golf Saskatchewan Board of Directors and their members.  They ask us to find new and innovative ways to keep turf conditions in top shape in Saskatchewan.  The letter is from Brian Lee, Executive Director of Golf Saskatchewan.

Reid Solodan, the Superintendent at the Canmore Golf and Curling Club had the adventure of a lifetime, spending 3 months in China to help set up a maintenance department.  He tells his story in the July/August Greenmaster.  Another interesting article in the same Greenmaster is preparing your golf course for a major tournament.  It is written by Wade Peckham, the very good superintendent at the Royal Mayfair Golf Club in Edmonton.

Did you know that golfers who try to make everything perfect before taking the shot rarely make a perfect shot and a “gimme” can best be defined as an agreement between two golfers—neither of whom can putt very well.

This article caught my eye.  It said a good golf course is very much like an oasis or a retreat—a place to refresh the body and the spirit, a place to escape the pressures of day-to-day living.  There are a lot of good golf courses in our province that fit that description.  This should be posted in the Clubhouse and ProShop for golfers to read.

Golf is enjoyed by one in seven people in Canada, yet there are those who suggest golf courses are not “essential” and thus the use of pesticides is merely cosmetic.  This overlooks the tremendous benefit golf courses provide to our quality of life and the overall environment.  It is well documented by turfgrass educators that “grass and other plants help to modify air pollution, absorb particulate matter and carbon dioxide, and prevent soil erosion.  They also help supply oxygen while filtering ground water.”

The Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon is committed to maintaining a harassment and violence-free environment, where all members, guests, employees and contractors are treated with respect, dignity and in a fair manner.  Harassment and violence is offensive and denies individuals their dignity and respect.  It is unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated.  Showing mutual respect and consideration is a fundamental expectation at Riverside.  The above was taken from the 2013 Employees Handbook.  It should be posted in the Clubhouse and Pro Shop at every golf club.

For those people wanting to lower their cholesterol, try having a bowl of oatmeal to start your day.  Oatmeal is a rich source of soluble fibre, which is also found in apples, pears, prunes and barley.  Soluble fibre inhibits the body’s absorption of low density liporotein, or LDL which is known as “bad” cholesterol.  One and a half cups of oatmeal contains more than five grams of fibre which is enough to reduce your cholesterol level.

Tim Moraghan has an interesting article on green speed.  Think twice about having lightning fast greens.  Here is something you’ve probably noticed about golfers—they think they’re much better than they really are.  That self-delusion leads to an interesting fallacy about greens—that a fast green is more challenging—”balls” it is.

Occupational Health & Safety is providing a speaker at the Fall Wind Up.  The speaker will talk to us about the importance of Health and Safety in today’s workplace.  Also, the presenter will review all aspects pertaining to employee safety on the golf course.  Also, reviewed will be the employee’s responsibility to report all health and safety concerns to their Superintendent.

A three year old boy was examining his testicles while taking a bath.  “Mom?” he asked, “are these my brains?”  This startled his mom, but being a quick thinker, she replied “not yet son, not yet”.

Whatever became of some of the most successful men in 1923?  They all died, insane, penniless or committed suicide.  In the same year, 1923, the PGA champion and winner of the US Open was Gene Sarazen.  He played golf well into his 90’s and was financially secure at the time of his death in 1999 at the age of 95.  The moral of all this is To Hell with Work—Play Golf.

Here are some tips on winter preparation for your golf course equipment. 

1. Grease all grease zerks to purge any moisture away from any bearing surfaces.

2. Change oil in all engines to prevent engine bearings from getting pitted from the acid that is in the dirty oil.  Run engine after oil change to allow clean oil to reach bearing surfaces.

3. Top up all fuel tanks to prevent condensation from accumulating in the tank.  A good idea is to add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel.  Small engine fuel tanks should be emptied and flush any debris (grass, dirt, etc).  Empty carburetors to prevent gumming.

4. Top up all batteries, charge them, then clean any dirt on the surface of the battery to prevent discharging.

5. Check and replace any cracked or worn hydraulic hoses.

6. Check coolant strength in all radiators.

This is from STA member and Riverside Equipment Technician Dennis Jeanneau.

My parents taught me to always respect my elders but at my age it is hard as hell to find one.

Did you know that a turfgrass plant is 80 to 85 percent water by weight? Did you know water is continuously being lost through it’s leaves and absorbed by it’s root system?  Keeping water at the proper balance within the plant is one of the core functions of a golf course superintendent, who relies on an irrigation system and rainfall to meet the water requirements of turf.  Making the decision about where, when, and how much water to apply embodies both the art and science of turfgrass management.  This was written by Chris Hartwiger  who serves as the USGA’s Green Section Director of the Course Consulting Service.

A number of golf courses will be planting trees this fall.  If you are doing it by hand, the planting hole should be 2 to 3 times bigger than the root ball.  Also, and most important, is to make sure the top roots are just covered.  Planting the tree too deep is the number one killer of transplanting trees.

Some studies pertaining to golf are a little on the silly side.  One of the most useless found that the average golfer walks about 900 miles a year.  It doesn’t say whether that’s for 9 rounds or 100 rounds.  Another study found golfers drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year.  All this means is that golfers who walk get about 41 miles to the gallon of beer.

I’m sure all Green Superintendents welcome this time of year.  It’s time to unwind, get used to regular day time hours, and review the summer maintenance program.  It’s also wish season.  “I hope my golf course raises green fees by one dollar so they can give me a big raise in pay”.

The 20th Annual Golf Course Property Managers Conference will be held November 30th to December 2nd, 2014.  It’s at the Coast Hotel and Conference Centre in Canmore, AB.  It’s sponsored by “Syngenta” and the Alberta Golf Superintendents Association.

Another speaker on our Fall Wind Up is Dave Moroz from Olds College.  The title of his presentation will be Turfgrass Education, Industry, Membership, and the Sustainability of the Profession.  Mr. Moroz received his undergraduate degree (Horticulture) in 1991.  He mentored under Dr. Drew Smith and received his MSc (Turfgrass Agronomy) in 1998.  Since then he has worked in Research, Municipal Grounds Management Golf Course Management.  For the last 15 years he is a faculty member at Olds College.  Currently he is the Coordinator of Turfgrass Management Programming at Olds College.

I hope our new Fall Wind Up works well and to everyone’s satisfaction.  More than anything I hope we attract more members to the event.  75 members would be ideal.  I know the speakers would very much endorse this number.  As said earlier, I’ve guaranteed the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club we’ll have 50 people there.

With this newsletter you’ll have the opportunity to read an article written by Josh Seibel, STA member and superintendent at Mainprize Golf Course in Midale.  Josh is a graduate of Olds College and had his early training under Kelvin Van Winkoop at Golf Kenosee.  Josh is a very good golf course superintendent.

Now is the time to walk your golf course and among other things, inspect your trees, especially the very mature trees.  Look for disease, broken or weak limbs.  If you find any, get rid of them so next summer they won’t fall and injure a worker or a golfer.  Also remember now is the time you can legally prune your elm trees.

The above is a good reason to keep your superintendent working after the golf season is over.  Trees and equipment maintenance are just 2 reasons golf club officials should consider keeping the superintendent longer than the 6 month period.  This is a good time also to remember adding one dollar to the green fees.  Superintendent money I call it.

In a future Newsletter I’ll have an article on how to install a French Drain.  The French Drain is a time-honoured system for eliminating excess water from low points and other areas prone to saturated soil.  French Drains are quite simple as they are trenches filled with gravel with sand on top of that.  We at Riverside sometimes added a 4” drainage pipe at the bottom of the trench.  These are very easy to install at a low cost—another fall job to keep the superintendent busy.

Advances in science and technology, as well as legislative changes, means that greenskeepers must constantly update their education.  They do this by attending seminars, study on line, travel to conferences and network among colleagues just like other professionals do.  This is why our upcoming Fall Wind Up seminars are so important to you.

After the Fall Wind Up and Annual General Meeting, the end of the year will be here and we’ll settle in for a long and hopefully mild winter.  Because of health reasons I am not able to travel anymore, so I’ll have to keep busy trying to put Newsletters together, find a Research Tournament host; work on the Summer Field Day and set up some Board Meetings.

That’s it guys—it sure would be nice to see all of you at the Fall Wind Up.  I know that is wishful thinking so I’ll hope for 75.

More in this category: « October 2014 December 2014 »

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.