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October 2009

Fall is here and for most superintendents, it’s a very important time of the year. Most have a shortage of labour as they prepare their courses for the winter. It hasn’t been the greatest of summers due to cool days and nights that have brought down the rounds played. The excellent September weather wasn’t enough to bring the play back to normal.

Most golf courses that I’ve talked to say their courses were in fine playing condition despite some revenue reverses. One thing that has jumped out at me is golf is sure affordable in our province.

I’ve also found that many of the green superintendents are underpaid. This leads to them leaving for better jobs and, more importantly, leaves the golf course unable to find an adequate replacement. There are at least half a dozen golf courses that I know of that haven’t a greens superintendent.

I continue to read about the advantage of fall fertilizing on greens and tees which, in our province, would mean in early October. This would enable you to direct amounts of food reserves to the root systems. This will result in better winter survival and early spring green up. The product I would use is high in potassium with little or no nitrogen – 1 pound of K per thousand feet.

This summer I’ve noticed large Shellview Sod Farms deliveries to various areas of the province, especially around Saskatoon. I’m told they produce quality product that sells for a good price. I know they can handle all your needs so the next time you are in the market, give these good people at Shellview a call. They are all STA members and are active in our association. Their phone number is 747-3935. Chances are good that Janis Davis will take your call and answer all your questions pertaining to their product and shipping.

One of the big problems facing superintendents this winter will be the budget process for 2010 season, the most influential part being the decreased revenue in 2009. To be sure, cost of maintenance will go up … how much, I haven’t a clue. To top it off, golf courses will want to hold the line on green fees, cart rentals, etc. Some advice, however, when presenting your budget is to treat it as a business plan. Put a stated objective in the forward of your budget. Type it neatly and if possible, include visuals such as charts, graphs and pictures. The more professional the presentation, the more likely it will be taken seriously and passed as required.

The 41st offering of the Turf Manager’s Short Course continues its tradition of providing academic and industry expertise to turf professionals. This highly valued four-week certificate program is held at The Guelph Turfgrass Institute, University of Guelph from February 1 to February 26, 2010. Explore issues facing today’s professional turf managers including turf identification and management, soils, management of insects and diseases, irrigation techniques, construction and drainage. Turf managers and staff will gain expertise and competencies in practical and applied turf management.

The career success realized by graduates of the Turf Managers Short Course over the past forty years has made it one of the most recognized turf management courses both within Canada and Internationally. Students receive the most current scientific research and practical and applied turf management practices and techniques. Email me for more information at  soupyd@sasktel.net.

The Canadian Golf Superintendents Association is presenting a New Canadian Webinar Series. Visit their website for a full listing of future webinars that may interest you. A sneak peek of October includes Winterkill preparation and prevention by Dr. Kevin Frank, October 15th, and Ten Practical Tips for Communication with Key Management at Your Golf Course by James Beebe, October 28th. Visit www.golfsupers.com for more details.

Graham Cooke recently won the Canadian Seniors in Victoria.
He is one of Canada’s top amateur golfers and also a topnotch golf course architect. He explains, as a designer he has the initial task of creating a golf course that has playability. The course that challenges but allows for 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.

More information from “Golfdom” … Far and away, checking the weather was the main reason superintendents use the internet while at work. Behind this, superintendents go online to look for a new job at another golf course.

I wonder how the fairly new product Talpirid Mole Bait is working. A couple of years ago they said this stuff was so effective that moles would soon be a thing of the past. Mole hills on a golf course or a park are certainly a pain in the butt, but this worm mimicking bait could make mole hills history. I always thought moles consumed roots, grains, or vegetable matter but apparently that’s not the case. 90% of their diet consists of earthworms.

Our 2009 Fall Wind-up and Annual General Meeting
is scheduled for November 24th, 2009 in Moose Jaw at the Lynbrook Golf Club. Our seminar, featuring Joel Simmons, will start shortly after 8:00am, followed by a banquet. After the banquet we’ll have our AGM and everyone should be on their way home shortly after 3:00pm.

As most people will probably want to come in on Monday
November 23rd for the Wind-up and AGM, we are working a Wind-up hotel close to Lynbrook. A social evening is also being planned which would be similar to the evening at Joe Dogs, the event our commercial friends sponsored at our March conference. This will be discussed at our October 24th Board of Directors Meeting. Any new information will be posted on our website immediately after the board meeting.

Joel Simmons, our Fall Wind-up speaker,
has been working in the turf business for over 25 years. A graduate of Penn State University, Joel has been a Penn State County Extension Agent, the soils instructor at Rutgers University from 1996-2006 and has published numerous articles on turf and soil management. Joel is extremely active on many fronts. Since 1998, he has been the owner of Earth Works Natural Organic Products and since 1992, Soil First Consulting. Joel is currently teaching the Soil First Academics across North America. Brett Young (Dean Kachur, Tim Dyck) are sponsoring Joel Simmons’ role at the Fall Wind-up.

An old member at the golf course I worked at
reminded me of this little tidbit. One of our waiters in the clubhouse lounge was carrying a tray full of drinks and tripped, sending glasses, ice, and of course, booze in all directions. I raced over to help the embarrassed waiter to his feet, telling him to be more careful or the people in the bar will think he’s a member too. I don’t recall all the details but the old member from the course swears it’s true and tells the story whenever my name comes up.

Here is one for the people at Shellview Sod Farms in Shellbrooke. Primo MAXX may help extend pallet sod quality by reducing heat buildup due to slowed turf growth. Research in the late 90’s and early 2000’s at the University of Nebraska found that a Primo application about 10 days prior to harvest of Kentucky Blue Grass reduced heat temperature in the centre of the pallet by 18 degrees Fahrenheit. The research is ongoing to this date.

Make plans to attend the Fall Wind-up and AGM at the Lynbrook Golf Club in Moose Jaw on November 24th. Visit our website October 17, 2009 for further exciting details.

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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.