October 2014

  • October 7, 2014
  • Written by Don Campbell

Fall is here, which means the end of the season is near.  Work at this time of year is very important.  Your fungicide program is in full gear. The irrigation blowout is an important task.  These two projects are important for an easy start up in the spring.

If you have experienced any problems with your irrigation pump or motor, do the work this fall.  It’s best to have them removed, and the work done by professionals.  Whatever you do, don’t wait until spring.  The same holds true for sprinkler heads.  After removing them, make sure the openings leading to the waterlines are capped until the heads are reinstalled.

It is also very important to thoroughly water trees in the fall.  Pay particular attention to the evergreens and cedars to prevent dessication.  If there are some unwanted or diseased trees on your property, late fall is the time to take them down.  If people complain that their favorite tree is gone you can tell them “windy” got it.  If you must take them in the spring or summer you can tell them “lightning” did it—a good name for your chain saw.

Some clubs could be planning to make some minor improvements this fall.  Again, I say take your time and do the job properly.  If possible you should really call on someone that has renovation experience.  I say this because most of you will be short staffed.  If you call on a professional it will in the long run be cheaper also.

A tip on spraying fungicide on greens, collars and tees.Make sure you have a clean sprayer and carefully check to make sure you have the correct nozzle size.  A nozzle that emits a coarse spray is not effective for a fungicide.  It is important you have a fine spray that will cling to the leaf.

I forgot to add this when I wrote about your trees.  In the next couple of weeks it would be a good time to walk your golf course to inspect all trees.  You may find some with broken branches that could fall in the spring and seriously injure some players.

Its frost delay season.This is among the most contentious issues a green superintendent will encounter during the season.  Communication is the key, along with educating the golfers on the dangers of damaging turf.  You can do this by making yourself available for any questions golfers may have.  Remember golfers are, among other things, an impatient lot.  Also remind them the practice green and driving range are part of the golf course.

Did you know peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite?  So if you eat a lot of peanuts and smoke you are in deep trouble.  Rick Smith of Sask Landing told me this.  He smokes and eats a lot of peanuts—watch out.

Some of our members attended the CGSA Fall Field Day at Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club at Port Carling Ontario.  Despite two days of heavy rain and a power outage that lasted about 30 hours, the superintendents made the most of it and I think most had an enjoyable time.

Recently I read a very interesting article called “The State of Fear” written by author Michael Crichton.  He wrote that arguably the greatest tragedy of the 20th Century was the removal of DDT for the control of mosquitoes.  DDT was the best insecticide on the market.  Despite reviews to the contrary, no other products were as efficient, or as safe.  Since the removal of DDT, it has been estimated that 40 to 50 million people have died unnecessarily from the effects of malaria.  Before DDT’s removal, malaria had become almost a minor illness.  And what about bed bugs?  They were almost extinct before DDT was removed.

The oldest and most widely used chemical found in lawn care today is 2-4-D.  The toxicology database contains more than 4,000 peer reviewed, published studies of this compound alone.  One study done by the US Food and Drug Administration fed massive amounts of 2-4-D to dogs for two years.  None of the animals developed cancer or any other diseases.

Leadership, like that of a good club manager, is the art of influencing and directing people in such a way as to obtain their commitment, confidence, respect, and loyal cooperation to accomplish the clubs mission.  That is: good course conditions within the parameters of the clubs course maintenance financial plan.

Tools for maintaining putting greens have improved over the past decade and turf managers have gained the upper hand in the daily battles against fungal pathogens, unwanted weeds and nuisance pests.  While victory is always cause for celebration, the war against bumpy putting conditions has yet to be declared over.  Repairing ball marks remains a problem because some players consider this simple repair chore below them.

Between 1983 and 2006, the USGA Green Section has spent more than 21 million dollars towards turfgrass research.  A large percentage of those funds have been appropriated towards answering questions concerning pesticides and their impact on the surrounding environment.

At this time of year or perhaps a little later, superintendents will want to clean their equipment before storing it for the winter.  I say be careful.  Never spray water on a hot engine.  Spray from the sky, not the ground.  Use a biodegradable solvent to break down oil, grease, grit.  Spray this on the machine—it doesn’t take much.  By doing this you’ll get a cleaner machine, use less water and take less chance of causing damage with the water.  It would be good idea to run the machine for a few minutes before storing it.

I’ve heard very little about inconsistent bunkers this season—until about a week ago when I had lunch at a golf club in Saskatoon.  Three golfers were really complaining about the courses bunkers.  Whoever said bunkers are supposed to be consistent?  I always thought golf is a game of inconsistencies—bunkers are hazards, so maybe players should become better course managers and avoid them.

At one time, Graham Cooke was one of Canada’s top amateur golfers and still is a top notch Golf Course Architect.  As a designer, he once explained 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.

I have a number of evergreens in my yard and have never seen them drop so many needles.  I know that evergreens will drop their older needles.  They are certainly getting enough moisture.  The experts tell me this is a normal occurrence and don`t be alarmed.  Some say we notice more because of high winds.

The City of Regina is currently spraying to prevent Dutch Elm disease.  This is an annual program starting the last week in September and ending mid-October if the weather cooperates.  Last year some resident complained about the use of Dursban, saying the insecticide is not safe to be used near their homes.  However the City is using the same product as last year to control elm bark beetles—2 trees fell to Dutch Elm Disease last year.  74 Elm trees have been lost to Dutch Elm disease in Regina in the last 32 years.

I`m now old enough to know that in the early days of golf, caddies were club carriers and coaches. They were the forerunners of the modern pro.  A professional meant a professional caddy and the rules permitted only the caddy to give advice to the side he was caddying for, about what clubs to use and shots to play.  I'll bet my uncle Jake didn't know that.

Bob Brame, USGA Greens Section writes there are 51 references containing the word "grass" in the bible.  These references cite conditions that range from flourishing to withering.  When studied more closely, the biblical references to grass underscore something we all know, but don`t like to think about.  Like grass our days are numbered.  In 1 Pete 1:24, we find these words "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like flowers of the field, the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the work of the Lord stands forever.  Truly life is a precious gift."

I don’t hear too much anymore about golfers wanting lily white sand in their bunkers.  Probably the excess cost of the stuff scared people away.  I remember reading about a golf course in Southern California that required it’s staff to wear sunglasses when raking traps.  This happened because an innocent trap raker in California had to be treated for snow blindness or partial loss of sight caused when the eyes were directly exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet light reflected off the bunker sand.

To date I have 2 nominations for the Dr. Drew Smith Member of the Year Award.  If any of you have someone in mind, email me with his or her name.  The member of the year will be picked November 1st, 2014.  Speaking of the member of the year, we have found the plaque that tells us each recipient since 1983.

I read somewhere there is no room in a golfers vocabulary for the word brown.  Turf must be green even if it means over-watering and plugged lies on poa annua fairways.  Is there anything wrong with a little tinge of brown?  It is a good sign the course is not over-watered.

Before you store your equipment for the winter it’s a good idea to change the oil in all the engines to prevent engine bearings from getting pitted from the acid present in the dirty oil.  Run the engine after the oil change to allow clean oil to reach bearing surfaces.  Most mechanics will tell you the above procedure is a must.

This is important news.  The STA has changed the format for the Fall Wind-Up in an effort to make it easier for members to attend.  The first day will be November 12th with registration at 2:30 pm.  This will be followed by the seminars that will go to around 6:00 pm.  The social will be held this night with finger food and toonie beer.  On November 13th we’ll start the seminars at 9:00 am, followed by the banquet at 12:00 noon.  The AGM will start at 1:15 and members should be on their way home by 2:30 pm.

You’ll receive more information about the Fall Wind Up in the November newsletter.  It is important that members attend this event.  The cost of the Fall Wind Up includes food, a portion of the beer and room rental will be $75.  Everything including the social will be at the Saskatoon Golf and Country Club here in Saskatoon.  You can register early by emailing me at soupyd@sasktel.net or by phone at 306-343-8142.  Please let me know because I must give the Golf Club a number for the food preparation purposes.  I’ve told the Club we’ll guarantee 50 for the event.

Remember everything in this two-day event will be at the Saskatoon Golf & Country Club.  This includes the Social Wednesday night.  Included with this newsletter is a registration form.  Please take time to preregister by either faxing me 306-244-0513 or emailing me at soupyd@sasktel.net.

If you are paying with your credit card, it is important to give me the official name on the card as well as the correct billing address, security code is also a must.  It isn’t a good idea to send credit card information via email.

That’s it for this month guys.  I’ll have more information in the November newsletter re the Fall Wind Up.  Please consider attending this event.  We need your support.

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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.