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September 2011

The weather was perfect for our annual Research Tournament in Swift Current August 22nd. There was a good turnout and some good golf. The Skins game at Doug Leavin’s Chinook Golf Course was well attended on a golf course that was in beautiful condition. We thank Chinook for their kind hospitality in accommodating us.

The Research Tournament at Elmwood Golf and Country Club was enjoyable for everyone. We thank staff and members of Elmwood for all their help during the day. Richard Berg had his golf course in excellent shape. Members told me it is always in that condition. We thank the members for giving up their golf course for the best part of the day. The banquet food was excellent with many wonderful comments.

I’m part of the committee preparing for the annual Saskatchewan Golf Hall of Fame. This will be held at The Wascana in Regina on October 1st. We have selected the inductees and are making final preparations for the event.

Also at this time my old Club in Saskatoon is getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday. I was there for almost half of that time. Again I’m honoured to be part of the committee. The research into the history of the Club is fascinating. Like all Golf Clubs, there are ups and downs but members always come through to make things better. Every golf club should keep a year by year history of their Club. You’ll find as I have it’s a very interesting project.

Very recently I had my spruce trees sprayed again for aphids among other insects. The person who did the spraying had his Pesticide applicators license and really dressed the part for the job. This protective equipment from head to toe was the best you can buy. He asked me to call my neighbors to tell them to close their windows, turn off their air conditioners and to stay in the house for at least a ½ hour. I also had to tell them to spray their vegetable garden with water as soon as the ½ hour was up. Who was the first out of the house? My neighbour with numerous allergies who had to see what was going on. It figures.

Speaking of Pesticides, I recently read a recent study that indicated just about 100 percent of GCSAA member courses had at least one licensed applicator on staff (despite the fact that it isn’t required in all states). This confirms a high concern about safe and proper use of chemical tools by golf course superintendents.

Golfers in the USA complain the most about sand in bunkers.
The best possible sand is like Goldilock’s favourite porridge: not too smooth or rugged, not too big or small, not too round or angular. This is what James Snow said as national director of the USGA Greens Section. If sand grains are in a medium range of size, shape and texture, the overall surface benefits. Rounded, smooth sands can be too saft and unstable and will produce “fried egg” lies; grains with many sharp edges and irregular shpaes can pack too tightly and produce something closer to concrete.

The Annual Greenkeeper Open will be held in Regina at the Tor Hill Golf Club. The date is October 6th. Your host will be Gord Moore. As soon as I get more details from Gord, I will post it on our web site.

STA Research Tournament Winners:

  • 2011 Long Drive #4 – Jason Thorhaug
  • Closest to the Pin #2 – Dan Funk
  • Closest to the Pin #8 – Dennis Tebay
  • Closest to the Pinn #11 – Devin Gehl
  • Flight Winners 1st flight – Mark Mohart, Barry Cox, Jason Regehr, Marion Mohart
  • 2nd flight – Kevin Bloski, Richard Berg, Ron Dagert, Chris Corey
  • 3rd flight – Kirt Blatz, Trevor Cox, Jerry Hildebrandt, Tanner Lange
  • 4th flight – Mike Wirz, Brandon McCormack, Bob Harjassy, Devin Gehl
  • Participation Trophy – Chinook Golf Course – Doug Leavins

The STA Board of Directors will meet in Saskatoon on September 13th at the Riverside Country Club. After the meeting and lunch the Directors will play golf. Doug Campbell has Riverside in excellent condition and the Board will be in for a real treat.

White bunker sand continues to be blasted all over the United States. Some courses, particularly in California, require their staff to wear sun glasses when raking traps after a mishap. An innocent bunker raker in California had to be treated for snow-blindness. It’s usually caused when your eyes are exposed to the suns ultraviolet light reflecting off snow or ice and in this case, white bunker sand – Snow blindness is a temporary or partial loss of sight. This is dangerous and must be treated right away.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Mike Kupchanko from the Wascana and Grant Sawchyn from North Battleford for supporting our Turfgrass Research Tournament. They couldn’t send a team but they mailed the entry fee for teams. Thanks guys – we really appreciate your support.

I feel sorry for the folds at the Royal Regina Golf Club and especially Bruce Klaasen, their very capable superintendent. The Golf Club suffered severe flooding this spring and didn’t recover. They are playing 18 holes but 3 are make-shift Par 3’s. Consequently, rounds are down with less players and revenue in the Clubhouse is also down. Really the only good thing that has happened at the Club is Assistant Superintendent Angela Lamarche giving birth recently to a baby girl. We at the STA congratulate Angie and her husband for their beautiful addition to their family.

Golfers today are fortunate to enjoy the game in an era when turf conditions have never been better. Excellent playing conditions do not happen by accident. Chris Hartwiger says if equipment is not in place to carry ou the tasks, the golf course will under-perform. A good mechanic is of tremendous value to any golf course, but ultimately the regular replacement of equipment will allow the mechanics’ talents to be seen on the golf course.

Earlier I mentioned the problems at the Royal Regina Golf Club.
Bob Curries’s Estevan Woodlawn Golf Club hasn’t opened it’s doors this season. Extensive flood damage resulted in rebuilding and reseeding some parts of the golf course. It should be open next spring. Meanwhile the Woodlawn members are playing at Mainprize.

The start of the past season didn’t look that promising for some golf courses in our province.
Superintendents had to cope with water problems and with winter injury in some cases. As spring became summer, most golf courses throughout the province returned to top notch condition. This is a credit to Green Superintendents and their staff for their hard work and dedication.

Late last February I was measured up for a brace on my left knee.
At the same time we started some strength exercises and the results from the brace and exercise are fantastic. I’m again walking pain-free and this winter while away I’m going to try golfing again. One thing for sure is I won’t be any worse than I was before I hurt my legs. Time will tell.

Slow play is a chronic problem in golf, and it is one ara in which professionals are not necessarily better than the amateurs who so dearly want to imitate them. In fact, you could argue that on the PGA Tour, the situation is worse. Really a threesome of pro golfers, shooting 70 should not take longer than a foursome of weekend hackers shooting 100 or worse, but it happens, not occasionally, but all the time.

A big thank you to our Commercial Friends who not only contributed by entering teams, but also supplying prizes for participants. These are in no special order:

  • Clarks Supply and Service – Kirt Blatz, Trevor Cox
  • Consolidated Turf – Gene Sears, Jaret Bender
  • Guertin’s Equipment – Brad Konesci
  • Oakcreek (West) – Greg Buchanan
  • Early’s Farm and Garden – Kevin Bloski, Ron Dagert
  • Brett Young – Dean Kachur

Thank you for contributing to the success of our Annual Research Tournament

This one came from the Learning Network. The best way to enhance a career is by participating in a professional or trade association. This is according to 63% of executives who participated in a recent employment survey. The good superintendents will echo these sentiments.

Received a letter from Patricia Shaver, the Manager of Program Development at the University of Guelph reminding us of the Turf Managers Short Course. The four-week course provides face-to-face instruction on all aspects of turf management. The course is offered from January 30 to February 24. An extended program description is available on the website (tmsc.open.uoguelph.ca) or you can contact Patricia Shaver at  Pshaver@open.uoguelph.ca

Bob Braeme, USGA Greens Section wrote many years ago that we should all take pride in our jobs as greens superintendents and what is accomplished day to day. However, recognizing that some golfers can be obsessed and even emotional about course conditions it is easy for the superintendent to be backed into a corner. Do your very best in maintaining your course and go home. It’s those nurtured relationships with family, friends and golfers that endure and make a long-term difference, not golf course conditioning.

In preparing this newsletter I read that golf is a game board. The game was formed around three points – the strategic, heroic, and penal aspects. Trouble is over 90% of golfers don’t know they exist.

This summer I had the privelege of visiting numerous provincial parks in our Province.
All are top notch facilities and well cared for. They had numerous campers and many activities which everyone enjoyed.

Next to growing grass, communication is probably the most important skill greens superintendents need to master. You can start by contributing to your Club’s newsletter or if your Club hasn’t one, suggest to your directors to start one.

The STA does award Bursaries to help with education costs. The criteria is as follows:

  • 2nd year in a qualified turf college
  • A resident of Saskatchewan
  • His/Her grade point average
  • An asset would be any turf related experience
  • The STA receive recommendations from his/her employer
  • All applicants are subject to the Saskatchewan Turfgrass Association Board of Directors approval
  • The amount of each Bursary is $500.00

In closing, I quote from Architect John Lafoy, former President of th American Society of Golf Course Architects. He said “I’ve seen more golf courses improved by hurricanes than by Greens Committees.”

By the way, our next event will be our Fall Windup near the end of November. We will have interesting seminars plus, of course, our Annual Meeting. In th meantime check our Website for “Greenkeeper Opens” in our Province.

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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.