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September 2012

The 2012 Research Tournament is now in the books, and we can say it was successful in terms of entries, weather, and excellent course condition. The Valley Park Golf course treated us great. Food and service was excellent. All in all, everyone had a good time.

Kent Plumer and his crew did a remarkable job with the golf course, the RV park, and the picnic area. This was all done with a crew of nine so a lot of planning and organization goes into the maintenance program. One thing I really liked was a sodding job just finished before we got there. The Pro-Manager was right in there getting his hands dirty laying sod.

The “skins” game Sunday evening, handled by Kent Plumer and Pro-Manager Ryan Aebig,
went smoothly and the 28 people participating had a great time. The weather Sunday evening cooperated as well, and the after-golf food and beer was much appreciated.

As you know, we were concerned about the lack of entries one week prior to the event.
Ron Dagert from Early’s and Brad Konesci of Guertin Equipment helped to get entries. We ended up with 26 teams with people coming from Swift Current (2 teams), Weyburn, Meadow Lake, and Elk Ridge. A big thank you to Ron and Brad for their efforts in helping make this tournament enjoyable and above all, successful.

The Saskatchewan Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon, September 15th. The STA has two tables available and if any member is interested in attending and wants to bring their wife for Saturday shopping in Saskatoon and a nice supper in the evening, call or e-mail me to let me know. Dress for the men is jacket and tie and women always look nice when taken out for supper. A highlight for the evening will be my induction into the Hall of Fame in the builder category.

I ran across this in a note book my mother kept. I’ll change it a little by saying if you can read this newsletter and particularly “Turf Tips” you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Golf is enjoyed by one in five 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 reason this newsletter is a little late
is because I’m suffering from a good case of “gout” in my right hand which I couldn’t use for six days. While laid up, I tried to find material for “Turf Tips”. One article caught my eye which 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; a restful place; a comfortable environment. There are a lot of good golf courses in our province that fit that description.

Plan to attend the Saskatchewan Turfgrass Association Annual Meeting,
November 6th, 2012. The meeting will be held in Saskatoon, probably at The Willows Golf Club. The cost as usual is minimal when you consider the Seminar and Banquet which precedes the Annual General Meeting. While I’m at it, if any of you are interested in serving on the Board for a two-year term, let me know. We need your input.

Many years ago, a tournament Director with the Royal Canadian Golf Association, now Golf Canada, told me when responding to those that say your greens are too hard and they won’t hold a shot, remind them that the green is not supposed to hold the shot, the shot is supposed to hold the green. I still like that.

I overheard this one having lunch at a golf course in Saskatoon. Why are full length golf courses 18 holes, and not twenty, twelve or fifteen? The answer to that, which I didn’t tell them, is during a discussion among the clubs’ membership board at St. Andrew’s in 1858, a member pointed out that it takes exactly 18 shots to polish off a fifth of scotch. By limiting himself to only one shot of scotch per hole, the Scot figured a round of golf was finished when the scotch ran out—now you know.

I continue to hear a lot of negative articles about the impact of golf courses on the environment. Granted most of this comes from the USA or Eastern Canada by environmentalists. If they would only look at the active role superintendents play in conserving water through very efficient irrigation systems, recycling green waste and grass clippings, and increasing course areas devoted to native vegetation and wildlife habitat. The use of pesticides are applied by licensed professionals who must upgrade their licenses every five years or sooner.

Each year people throughout the United States plant millions of trees through the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees for America program. These new trees provide vital benefits to the environment. Fresh clean air to breathe.Life giving oxygen.Pure water in our rivers and streams.Protection from soil erosion. Shade in the summer and windblocks in the winter. A home for song birds. Most golf courses I know have a tree program that provides all of the above.

The damage caused by unrepaired ball marks is no small matter. These blemishes literally constitute the number one problem facing many superintendents who, during the peak of the golfing season, see 200 or more rounds played each day. The answer to this problem lies at the feet of the golfers. This is because ball marks must be repaired almost immediately in order for them to heal properly. When left unattended, the injured turf is subject to desiccation under the strong summer rays of the sun, and death of some grass can be expected within hours. Golfers must be constantly reminded to always perform this simple chore. A little effort on their part can make a big difference. The US Green Section says ball marks come in all different shapes and sizes. The end result is still the same—they need to be repaired in a timely manner to minimize long term damage to the putting surface.

The aerifier was invented by two brothers, Tom and Tony Mascaro in 1945 (patented in 1946). The unit was called the “West Point” and was a pig of a thing to operate. It did the trick however, and was an immediate success. Each golf course that had one would hire one giant of a man to operate it. A Leo Skaluba type guy.


We are rapidly approaching Frost Delay season.
This is among the most contentious issue a greens superintendent will encounter during the summer. Communication is the key, along with educating the golfers on the dangers of damaging turf by playing on frost-covered turf. You can do this by making yourself available for any questions golfers may have. Always remember golfers are an impatient lot.

Gord Moore is putting on a STA Golf Day, Thursday September 20th
with tee times starting at 11:00 am. It will be at the Murray Golf Course in Regina. $30 per person gets a power cart, a burger, and also includes the green fee. This is going to be a real fun event, so plan on attending. Please register in advance so Gord can block tee times, have the proper stock in the concession cart, and have the proper number of carts. You can call Gord at 777-7957 to book.

I don’t know who said this, but appeared on my e-mail titled “On the Fringe”.
It says no matter who you talk to, superintendents around the world have the same comments. “No matter how nice the greens are, they are never fast enough”. I hear this in Saskatoon, in Rosthern, and at Waskesiu. When is it going to stop? Lighting quick greens haven’t helped to lower scores or improved golfers ability to line up a putt to go six feet past the hole.

Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer. I’ve got a whole bunch of these which I’ll share with you.

My neighbor asked me what is a legal hole location. He was a little aggravated because his ball rolled off the putting surface. The rules of golf say that there are several factors to consider when determining a hole location, but if it is cut on the putting surface, it is legal. He didn’t like that answer.

The Greenkeeper Open will be at Lach Reeve’s Golf Course in Weyburn,
Tuesday October 2nd. For more information you can call Lach at 306-861-3954 or 306-842-5881. This is another fun event. Larry Palmer will probably be there for added laughs.

Guys, I’m out of here.
Remember to attend our Annual Meeting here in Saskatoon November 6th.

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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.