September 2014

  • September 10, 2014
  • Written by Don Campbell

The 2014 STA Research Tournament is now history.  The turnout was a disappointment, but everyone who made the effort to attend had fun.  All players were in awe over the condition of Ken Lintott’s golf course.  It was in excellent condition from tee through the green.  I heard many good comments about the quality of all aspects of the course.  The STA thanks Evergreen Golf Course and Ken Lintott for the hospitality.  It was a great day!

The Skins game the day prior to the Research Event was held at Larry Arnst’s Rolling Pines Golf Club.  This 9 hole track is real challenging and a fun course to play.  It’s imperative you keep the ball on the fairway or you could get lost in the forest.  The rolling hills dictate the use of a cart.  Again we were treated royally by hosts Larry and Deb Arnst.  Superintendent Kurtis Shemrock had the course in real good shape.

We appreciate the effort people made to get to Nipawin—Doug Leavins and his team from Swift Current—Chris Corey from Swift Current; Rick Smith, Sask Landing; Daryl Wood from Meadow Lake; A team from Royal Regina; and Deer Park in Yorkton.  This was a long drive and proves the STA has some loyal members who support us in all events.

Just recently I talked to a young fellow just starting out in the business and participated in both events in Nipawin.  He is also a graduate of Olds College.  He had loads of questions, but more importantly he mentioned how much he learned from both courses’ maintenance.  It didn’t hurt that he played with some experienced superintendents who shared their knowledge.  He got a lot more out of the 2 days than the $100 entry fee.  Credit also goes to his golf club for sending him.

It was interesting to see a number of Club Managers attending.  I’m sure all these people are very competent who work together with the greens superintendent, the golf professional to attain a common goal:  “The best possible condition within the parameters of the club’s financial plan”.

Being a green superintendent isn’t an easy task.  The expectation of the players especially at a private club increase every day.  They expect perfect conditions every day, no matter what Mother Nature throws at them.  One of the factors that drive superintendents out of the industry is constant moaning they hear from a small percentage of golfers.  This is why it is important to get away for a day or two, like having a couple of days of fun at a Research Tournament.  Managers could help with this by strongly suggesting a turf manager or the club professional take time off.

The Riverside Country Club here in Saskatoon has had 4 green superintendents since the late 1920’s.  That may not be a record but is close.  I was one, Doug Campbell is there at present; Syd Puddicombe and Tom Rooke were the other two.  This says a lot about Riverside and in particular it’s membership.  It’s a great place to work.  Prior to the late 20’s the Club Professional acted as the superintendent, secretary and manager.  Riverside is over 100 years old.

As golfers demand perfect conditions, the cost of developing golf has increased, it’s affordability has decreased and golf courses are losing players.  Some people say the way to correct this is to make golf courses simpler to play.  There is no doubt the game of golf is in a funk.

At our Research Tournament at Evergreen in Nipawin, I saw several first-rate signs that bug spray kills grass and urged golfers to use spray on paths.  What did I see five feet from the first tee?  Dead grass surrounding huge shoes, at least size 12.

Both foot paths and cart paths need to be maintained on a regular basis.  Asphalt needs to be patched before potholes develop.  Cracks need to be sealed to prolong the life of the paths.  Paths need to be swept and the edges need to be trimmed on a regular basis.  Poorly maintained paths are a blemish on the face of a golf course and inevitably lead to untidiness elsewhere.

Had a recent call from a superintendent asking if I knew where he could get used parts for some of his turf equipment.I know of a company in Calgary that salvages turf equipment and can supply parts at a reasonable cost.  The company is T.E.R.F. Co. Ltd.  RR#6, Calgary AB  T2M 4L5.  The phone number is 1-888-383-3132.

On the way home I visited a golf course west of Saskatoon.  The nine hole layout was in great shape like our Research Tourney golf Courses are.  What caught my eye was the $16 green fee.  This golf course gets at least 25,000 rounds per year.  A golf course in this condition is worth at least $20 per round.  The person I talked to guessed at rounds played.  What caught my attention was the Club was afraid the superintendent was going to leave.  My answer is to raise the green fee to $20 give the superintendent $1 of each green fee to increase his salary where it should be and I bet he will stay.

Owen Morhart from the Lynbrook Golf Club in Moose Jaw was the big winner at Nipawin.  Other members of his team included Terry Johnson, Dustin Usher, and Jeff Park.  No body was close to them.

The 48th Annual CGSA Fall Field Day will be held September 23rd, 2014 at Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Carling Ontario.  The entry fee is $195, which includes more than just a chance to play a fantastic golf course.

- 18 holes of golf at Muskoka Lakes
- Golf Cart for the Tournament
- Breakfast and Dinner the day of the Tourney
- CGSA/Toro Reception Monday evening
- The Turf Academy Seminar
- Opportunity to network with Superintendents, Assistants, and others from across the country

Elk Ridge’s team of Jeff Wasylyk, John Gray, Liam Martin, who played in the CGSA Fall Field Day in Regina last year are headed to Muskoka Lakes to play in the 2014 event.  Currently it’s rumour.  A bigger rumour is Arnie Peterson going along as non-playing captain.  Good luck guys, have fun.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2014
$35 per player includes golf cart and meal
Call Pro Shop to enter


Fall is here guys.  It’s time to review your fungicide program.  Check your sprayer so you don’t have any breakdowns and above all, have a plan in place.  It’s also time to think about your irrigation system shut down.  Be prepared.  Remember most of you will be short man power.

Just read where Canadian beekeepers are suing the makers of popular crop pesticides for more than $400 million in damages.  They say that their use is causing the deaths of bee colonies.  The statement of claim alleges that Bayer Crop Science and Syngenta Canada and their parent companies were negligent in the design, manufacture, sale and distribution of neonicotinoid pesticides.  The lawsuit was filed in the Ontario Superior Court.

Remember this particularly for next summer.  Treat collars like greens.  Maintain with the same program you use on putting greens.  When the greens are aerated, aerate on collars too.  Do the same with topdressing, verti-cutting, pest control, wetting agents and fertilization.  Adopting this philosophy will usually thwart many turf problems common to collars, including the development of puffy turf, disease activity, reduced density and otherwise poor playing conditions.  I've been asked why this is important two times this summer.

I got this one from Frank Rossi.  A Golf Digest survey asked core and avid golfers to rate the importance of various factors on how they contribute to their enjoyment of a course.  Topping the list were good greens and well maintained bunkers, tees and fairways.  Since the results have been revealed, the chief executive officer of the GCSAA has been trumpeting them every chance he gets.  What he`s doing is elevating the status of golf course superintendents.  The profession is now recognized as a critical ingredient in growing the game within most eighteen hole golf courses.  Unfortunately this isn't true among most 9 hole facilities.  At a number of these layouts the greenkeeper is perceived as overall-clad, boot wearing gopher chasers.

At our annual meeting in November, the STA will announce it`s Drew Smith member of the year award.  To qualify for this award the Nominee must be:

  1. A qualified member of the STA in good standing
  2. Dedicated to the Turfgrass industry in Saskatchewan
  3. Must play an active role in our industry and association
  4. Willing to help fellow superintendents
  5. Show the utmost in professionalism.

Forward your nomination ballot to Don Campbell by fax 306-244-0513 or email  I’ve already had one nomination.  Nominations will be reviewed by 2 STA board members.

Getting back to the Research Tournament I would like to thank our Commercial friends for trying to get participants for the event.  They really went out of their way to get players.

How Do You Measure Up?  To see how your employees view your management abilities, take this self audit.  If you answer yes to a lot of the questions you need help.  I recently witnessed some of the below at a well known restaurant. 

            Do you yell or reprimand your employees?

            Do you feel things will fall apart in your absence?

            Do you fail to provide important information to your employees?

            Do you give more negative than positive feedback?

            Is your day spent fighting workplace fires?


Don’t forget the CGSA Fall Field Day at Muskoka Lakes.  You’ll have a great time.  Another event is the Greenkeeper Open—Deer Valley Golf Club.  The “Kooter Cup” will be at Waskesiusome time in September.  Dates etc. will be on our website.

More in this category: « August 2014 October 2014 »

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.