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September 2013

The 2013 Research Tournament held at Deer Park Golf Course in Yorkton was successful despite the disappointing entry. The Deer Park Golf Course staff treated us very well and deserve a huge thank you for their kindness. Leo Skaluba looked after all our needs and contributed to the event. Everyone who attended commented on not only the fine facility, but the fine condition of the golf course. All had a good time and lots of fun.

The next event for STA members will be the Fall Windup and Annual General Meeting in early November. The Board of Directors will meet in late September to decide the exact date and location. We need your presence and participation at this event.

It was good to observe superintendents discussing their summer problems at the Research Tournament Banquet. Some had staff problems, other trouble with old and outdated turf equipment. An exchange of ideas came forward as superintendents came together to help each other. Another discussion centered around golfer interference or most likely board interference and how each coped with the problem. The idea of the Research Tournament is to raise money for Turf Research, but just as important is the exchange of ideas and each helping one another with their problem solving.

Golfers and superintendents rarely agree on what rough should be like. Rough is never static because it changes with seasons, it changes over the years with natural growth encroaching and it always changes as a result of our interference with nature. Whatever form or shape rough takes, it usually provides character and contrast on a golf course. If rough provides challenges as well, then most players will be happy.

Fall is here and now is the time to check the coolant strength in all radiators. Also, continue to grease all zerks to purge any moisture away from any bearing surfaces.

Another tip is to carefully examine your pumping station equipment. Pumps are much easier to repair during the winter than it is in the spring when water on the course is needed. The electric motor should be inspected by a qualified electrician before closing it down for the winter. Failure to do any of the above could lead to all kinds of problems in the spring.

Not many golf courses, especially in the smaller centres, own their own sprayer and rely on hiring a spraying contractor to apply their pesticides. One important role of the green superintendent is to make sure the sprayer is clean and not contaminated by other chemical residue such as Round Up. Be on your toes gang.

Recently I visited a golf course in Saskatoon that has taken on extensive renovations. One thing that caught my eye was how everything fit the existing landscape. Greens were seeded, but the rest was sodded with top quality sod. When sand is added to the bunkers, you won’t be able to tell work has been done. The architect and the builder teamed up to do a tremendous job.

It distresses me greatly that Clubs will not send their superintendents to our Association seminars. Every year we see the same 30 to 40 people attending, and guess what, these people have the best conditioned golf courses. Clubs have a responsibility to their members to educate their superintendents and assistant. The expense is nothing compared to the eventual results.

I got this from long-time member Jim Cote: he remembers this from a seminar he attended in July 1895 on how to have good grass on putting greens. Putting greens should be relaid with plenty of sifted road grit and old soot, well mixed. Soot will be found superior to manure, for the soot produces a rich green grass. By the way, Jim is feeling pretty good despite having some serious health issues looked after.

From time-to-time, golf courses will be visited by a salesman who claims to have a wonder product that he claims will render all other well-researched products useless. These people were around in the 1950`s and are still around today. All I can say is beware—if the product isn`t well researched by a respected company, stay away from it.

Ever have a tournament and they want a circle on the green around the pin? Try cornstarch. It is very cheap and washes off overnight with the irrigation system. Use a rope tied to the flag stick, a funnel with a 1/2 inch hole and a metal rod to tap the side of the funnel to get the cornstarch to fall out. It works well, is highly visible and a player can putt through it without disruption to ball roll.

The following were winners at the 2013 Research Tournament in Yorkton:

  • 1st Place—Dean Kachur, Lance Holowaty, Dave Keeting and Joe Charterand
  • 2nd Place—Ken Poure, Mike Klyne, Gord Moore
  • 3rd Place—Dean Hildebrandt, Lane Hildebrandt, Tommy John, Melvin Parenteau
  • 4th Place—Richard Berg, Ric Smith, Chris Corey, Ron Dagert
  • Long Drive—Brian Andreychuck – Deer Park Golf Club
  • Closest to Pin #8—Garth Beetstra—York Lake Golf & Country Club
  • Closest to Pin #14—Blair de Montard—Jackfish Lake Golf Club
  • Closest to Pin #16—Matt Porcyshen—York Lake Golf & Country Club

What is thatch? I heard this question asked by a young greens superintendent at the Research Tournament. The answer he got was this, but not in the same words by three experienced superintendents. The growth of turf adds to the production of a layer of organic matter on the surface. This is called thatch, an accumulation of dead stems, leaves and roots. A little organic matter makes for a resilient green, but too much thatch invites diseases and insects. Topdressing with sand can prevent thatch build up, but aerification is one of the best ways to reduce an existing layer and prevent an excess of thatch from becoming established. This explanation was given to me by James Snow, national director of the USGA’s Green Section.

What do you call people who fear the number 13—”Triskaidekaphobics”. Some people say 13 became a bad omen because there were 13 diners at the Last Supper. How do I know this? My Uncle Jake told me and he should know because he served the wine at the event.

Before winter sets in it would be a good idea to maintain an inventory of all your equipment and machinery. It is important you record the make, model, and above all the serial numbers. Also try and record the year it was purchased, whether new or used, and the cost. You should also keep a record of repair costs and an estimated replacement cost. If you do this chore this season, it will get easier each year.

What do the Rules of Golf say about yardage markers? Objects that have been placed on the course or marked to indicate yardage are permissible. If these objects are man-made or they interfere with the lie of a players ball or his stance or area of intended swing, the player is entitled to relief without penalty under obstruction rule 6-24—But if the interfering object is natural such as a shrub or tree, relief without penalty is not available. Rule 14-3 strictly prohibits the use of electronic distance-measuring devices. This is from Pat Gross, an agronomist with the USGA Greens Section. He also says he can judge distances just fine, but his ball won’t follow instructions.

Just recently read this one. With 4-stroke engines, you should check the oil every time fuel is added. Equipment owners who have the lowest repair cost per hour of equipment operation often report that they purchase the highest quality engine oil available. They contend that the few cents per quart difference in cost between premium and cheap oil simply helps ensure more trouble-free operating hours.

Paul Harvey, the famed radio broadcaster, reported that Howard Peiper author of “Natural Solutions for Sexual Enhancement” was warning male golfers not to tee it up early in the morning for the sake of their sex lives. Late at night “Chemical Pesticides applied to golf courses in the early morning can affect human physiology and may cause men to lose interest in sex.” This could be the reason my Uncle Jake never married. One superintendent said this has taken him and his spouse to another level in their sex life. His golf game went to hell. Another was so concerned about this scientific data he urged all fellow superintendents to tank mix the recommended rate of Viagra with their next pesticide application.

Some Golf Clubs Superintendents could not make it to our Research Tournament for various reasons, and donated the equivalent of a player or team. Their commitment towards Turf Research is much appreciated.

  • The Wascana—Mike Kupchanko—$400
  • Riverside Country Club—Doug Campbell—$400
  • The Willows—Wayne Sundstrom—$400
  • Dakota Dunes—Marc Roberts—$400
  • Evergreen Golf Club—Ken Lintott—$100

The Participation Trophy at this years Research Tournament went to Chinook Golf Club—Doug Leavins. In Swift Current Doug brought 2 teams to the event. That’s about a six hour drive, and a strong effort from Mr. Leavins. Also, Richard Berg– Elmwood Golf Club in Swift Current made the trip also. Chris Mokelki from Eastend made the trek also. All these people and their Clubs have a strong commitment to the success of the STA.

Here is a breakdown of events for the CGSA Fall Field Day:

Saturday September 21st, starting at 7:00 pm—The STA Reception.

On Sunday September 22nd:

- CGSA Seminar 9 am to 12

- Saskatchewan Roughrider Game 1 pm bus departure from Hotel

- CGSA/Toro Reception—Wascana Country Club 6:30 pm to 8 pm (dress is business casual)

On Monday September 23rd:

- Breakfast Buffet—Wascana Country Club 8 am to 9:30 am—sponsored by Bayer

- Shotgun start—10 am

- Awards dinner—Wascana Country Club 6 pm—jacket and tie preferred

So sorry to hear about the passing of Dr. Jack Eggens, professor Emeritus, Department of Horticulture, Guelph Turfgrass Institute. I attended many of Dr. Eggens seminars when I was an active superintendent and I don’t believe there was ever one that wasn’t informative and enjoyable. He was a real likeable guy. Our sympathy goes to his wife Pat and their family.

While we are on the subject of Field Days, and Research Tournament, the STA is looking for a host to have the 2014 event. It is the North’s turn so think about it and if you are interested or want more details give me a call.

I like this one—If the bunkers at your golf course frustrate the daylights out of you, take a lesson from a golf professional. Become a better course manager and avoid them. Above all else, do not allow the condition of a hazard to take the fun out of the game.

Back to the Greenkeeper Classic at the Streambank Golf Club in Eastend, October 1, 2013. Clarks Supply and Service has informed me they will sponsor a Hole-in-One worth $10,000 at the event. I can just see Richard Berg getting the prize. He would jump all the way to Saskatoon. Someone however is going to get one for the big prize. This is a fine gesture by the guys from Clark’s Supply and Service—KirtBlatz, Larry Harley and Fred Graver.

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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.