OGSA ONCourse August 2019

Page 1

August 2019

Hosting the CP Women’s Open ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Winter Injury, How to Minimize Damage St. George’s Bunker Project The Rebuild, Green #17 at Rosedale Golf Club CANADA POST PUBLICATIONS MAIL PUBLICATIONS AGREEMENT No. 40027105 Postmaster: Please return undeliverable copies to The OGSA, 328 Victoria Rd. S., Guelph, ON N1L 0H2

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very single year I naively look forward to September and I get excited; the days get shorter and cooler, and we also have less staff to manage. Then the realization sets in that having reduced staff numbers while attempting to complete fall maintenance practices in addition to meeting our daily golf course expectations equals stress, less time for ourselves, and the weather is never as cool as I think it is going to be. There is still a lot of season left, and it is important to make sure you are ready for it! I still work too many hours, however By Jason Boyce as promised, I think I have made some changes to put myself OGSA President in a better position to get through the rest of the season, and hopefully feel better at the end of it. I don’t get up at 4:15am everyday! I try to sleep in a couple of times during the week, which could mean waking up at 5:30am or 6:00 am, and that extra 45 minutes or more makes a difference. All of us put in more than enough hours, so don’t feel bad about not being on the course first thing every morning. At this time of year, you should trust your staff enough to read the job board and get started on their morning jobs. When possible, I work a short day on Friday and come into work on Sunday afternoon. Sunday afternoon is a quiet time of day, and I get four to five hours of office work with no interruptions, no phone calls or staff to deal with, which equals great value for your time. I get my week prepared and I am able to tie up some loose ends that I was not able to get completed during the past week. I’ve also embraced technology, but it can challenge your work/life priorities. The downside is that you may feel like you never really leave work at work, but at the same time it gives you the opportunity to go away for the weekend (or a week) with friends and/or family and still have access to your facility during busy times. You may be able to setup your job board, run your irrigation system, check on your weather station and your greens’ soil moisture using your moisture sensors, TDR or POGO. I have set up all of my files online using Dropbox. We have also moved to a cloud-based point of sale system in our clubhouse. If my staff needs me, they always know that they can call or text. All of these small changes have given me the opportunity to be mobile and remain connected to my property. As I write this, I am enjoying a one week holiday, in August, while Smuggler’s Glen is on a three weeks run with no rain. I take 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes later in the day to take care of emails, set my irrigation and job boards, and have a quick chat with my key staff. The rest of the day I spend riding roller coasters and creating memories with my family at Six Flags Darien Lake. Not all of the things I mentioned above may work for you but be creative. There are only a few weeks left until our staff numbers are reduced, so take a little time for yourself before the final year end push. It has been a long and challenging year for many of you, and you deserve it. ■


Editor Courtney White members@ogsa.ca Publisher Terry Davey terry@blenheim.ca Advertising & Administrative Manager Diane Davey diane@blenheim.ca Tel: 289-337-4305 Production & Design Patrick Kilborn patrick@blenheim.ca

ONCourse is published four times a year (November / March / June / August) by Blenheim INK for:

Ontario Golf Superintendents’ Association Sally Ross, Executive Manager Guelph Turfgrass Institute 328 Victoria Road South Guelph, ON N1L 0H2 Tel: 519-767-3341 Toll Free: 877-824-6472 Fax: 519-766-1704 Email: manager@ogsa.ca www.ogsa.ca

Published by Blenheim INK Administration Office: 503-5340 Lakeshore Road Burlington, ON L7L 7A8 www.blenheim.ca AUGUST 2019 | ONCourse 3

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14 Features



9 Assistant's Tournament 10 GC Highlight & Member Profile Jonathan Smith, Golf Course and Property Manager, Mississaugua Golf and Country Club 14 CP Women's Open Before the First Ball Drops 18 Winter Injury How to Minimize the Damage 20 The Rebuild Green #17 at Rosedale Golf Club 22 St. George’s Bunker Project Regular Contributors 26 Looking Back 28 Off the Fairway 30 Turf or Consequences Departments


3 7 8 29

President’s Message Editorial Message What's New Member Moments RiverBend Super Aims for Grand Slam



Magna Golf Club turf and maintenance crew and volunteers with CP Women’s Open champion, Jin Young Ko. Photographer, Bernard Brault courtesy of Golf Canada.

Chris Lecour, Steven Rabski, Andrew Hardy, Kendra Kiss, Ryan Marangoni, Sally Ross, Ryan L. Scott, Courtney White.

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ONCOURSE 2019 Although every effort is made to check material for publication, the association is not responsible for material published on behalf of its contributors. All rights are reserved by the publisher and any reproduction in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Although some trade names may be mentioned in articles contained in this publication, no endorsement is intended or implied by the Ontario Golf Superintendents’ Association. OGSA is committed to serving its members, advancing their profession, and enriching the quality of golf and its environment.

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enos… I don’t know about you but tackling a renovation project is a huge cause of anxiety for me. I often stall during the planning process crippled by By Courtney White, indecision. What’s OGSA. the budget? How long will it take? What products are the best quality, and did I choose the right contractors? Will there be delays; how will that impact my life? And the biggest concern of all: will I be happy with the end result? Getting it right the first time is critical because the budget is always limited, and there is a good chance that the project is a one-time only opportunity. All this self-inflicted stress and I’m responsible for refacing 1500 square feet of space, that mother nature typically ignores, and my only client with an opinion is 13! As with any project, we heavily rely

on our professional network to help us navigate through our questions and concerns so that we can confidently move our projects forward, knowing that our time and money is well spent and most importantly that our members, board of directors, or the public at large will be happy with the result. This issue of ONCourse is heavy on the renovations with a few tips about ways to minimize winter injury thrown in for good measure. If you’re thinking about an overhaul or just a few changes to the course, this is an excellent issue to dig into. Marco China outlines the bunkers renovation at St. Georges G&CC, and Andrew Krek writes about the rebuild on green 17 at Rosedale GC. And if you’re considering refreshing your gardens, Chris Cummings discusses the benefits of planting a fragrant garden. If renovations aren’t in your near future, Kendra Kiss recaps the CP Women’s Open held at Magna GC, Matt Eastman shares some insight into the life and times of Jonathan Smith from Mississaugua

G&CC and we’ve included a great member moment article featuring Kevin Collier from Riverbend GC. On behalf of the committee and the volunteer writers who helped create this issue – we hope you enjoy! ■

MARK YOUR CALENDARS UPCOMING OGSA EVENTS Pro / Super Challenge Summit GC September 16, 2019

GLAGS/McClumpha Year End Event Sunningdale G & CC September 30, 2019

Ontario Golf Course Management Conference Niagara Falls January 14-16, 2020

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AUGUST 2019 | ONCourse 7

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WHAT’S NEW By Sally Ross, OGSA Executive Director.

WELCOME to Our New Members

Ian Robertson Class C Lambton Golf & Country Club Marcus Elvin Class C Heron Point Golf Links Brian Lewicki Class B Bunker Hill Golf Club Alexander Corken Class C Donalda Club Daniel Thompson Class C Muskoka Bay Club Mono Hills 13th Annual Senior's Golf Tournament.

Superintendent Recognition

(L-R) Greg Fach, Superintendent, Black Bear Ridge GC with his recognition award for hosting the Ontario Women's Amateur & Mid-Amateur, presented by the past executive director (retired) of Golf Ontario, Dave Mills.

(L-R) Roy Duarte, superintendent Mark Piccolo, and Duncan McIlhone accept the recognition award for hosting the Ontario Junior Girls' (U19) Championship.

(L-R) Bill McAllister, Superintendent, RattleSnake Point GC accepts his recognition award for hosting the U.S. Open Sectional Qualifier, presented by OGSA VP, Tim Muys.

(L-R) Ryan Kerr, Superintendent, Taboo Muskoka accepts his recognition award for hosting the Ontario Senior Men's Championship, presented by OGSA past president, Thom Charters.


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Assistant's Tournament August 21, 2019, King’s Forest Golf Club

Second place team, Joel Johnston, James Raynor, Greg Brown, Tyler Szela.

Greg Brown presents the Paul Brown Memorial Trophy to the winners.

Host assistant, Kim McCarthy and host superintendent Chris Anker.

By Sally Ross, OGSA Executive Director.

the trophy, now named as a memorial of his father, the late Paul Brown. Second place, only by retrogression, also with a score of -13 went to the team of Greg Brown, (Essex G & CC) Joel Johnston, (Riverbend GC) Tyler Szela, (St. Thomas G & CC) and James Raynor, (GC Duke Equip.) Third place went to Marco China and Isaac Ford (St. George’s G & CC) and Brian Gigun and Nick Berdusco (The Thornhill Club) with a score of -12. And in fourth place at -11 was Kyle Sbrocchi, Tim Lea and Steve Fierheller (The Toronto GC) with Jason D’Andrea (GC Duke Equipment). There were some big winners of the day; All on course prizes were $250.00 visa gift cards provided by Allturf, VandenBussche, Nutrite and OSC. Closest to the Pin on #7 was Chris Schuurmans (Victoria Park GC) Closest to the Pin on #14 was Joel Johnston, (Riverbend GC), Closest to the Pin on #17 was Brandon Allan (Devil’s Pulpit) and Longest Drive on #18, was won by Tyler Szela, who also won “Closest to the Case” on #2, courtesy of Brettyoung. The OGSA would like to thank our Platinum Sponsor; Target Specialty

Products, and Gold Sponsors; Turf Care Products, and BrettYoung, Silver Sponsors; Belchim Crop Protection Canada, Douglas Wood, G.C. Duke Equipment Ltd., Greenhorizons Sod Farms, Plant Products and Syngenta. This support provided all attendees with a great prize from the prize table. Additional prizes donated for the draw came from Hutcheson Sand, Plant Products and R. J. Burnside. Without the support and generosity of these companies, we couldn’t host such a successful event and we sincerely thank all of them. Master of Ceremonies was once again Jeremy Krueger from Westmount G & CC, who again acknowledged that the sponsors of the event truly recognized that our assistants are the future of the industry. OGSA thanks Jeremy along with Marco China for their hard work helping with the tournament. I (Sally Ross) also gave attendees a reminder about upcoming scholarship deadlines, and some teasers with regard to our speaker program for the upcoming conference in January 2020. A great time was had by all! ■


his past August 21st, 82 golfers participated in the OGSA’s 17th Annual Assistants Tournament at King’s Forest Golf Club in Hamilton, Ontario. The weather was exceptional, predicted thunderstorms did not come to fruition, but the heat and humidity did make for an exceptionally quick round of just over 4 hours! Great support from our sponsors and the excellent course conditions, attributable to Golf Course Superintendent Chris Anker and Assistant Superintendent Kim McCarthy contributed to the great success of the event. The OGSA would also like to thank Past President (2013) Rob Gatto, who was instrumental in providing the venue and he enjoyed somewhat of a reunion with many of his association friends and braved the heat to play with the group from King’s Forest. The first-place team with a score of -13 was Rob Lewis and Chris Kruczek (Deer Creek GC), Ben Collins (Glen Cedars GC) and Tyler Ruest (Plant Products). As has become tradition, Greg Brown presented

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Mississaugua Golf and Country Club 1725 Mississauga Road Mississauga, Ontario L4H 2K5 905.278.4857 x 272 mississauguagolf.com

About the Course Architect: George Cumming / Percy Barret (original); Donald Ross and Stanley Thompson (modifications); Carrick Design (current) Type of Club: Private country club Number of holes: 20 Holes Number rounds annually: 27,000 Practice Facility: putting green, chipping green, full driving range

Major Challenges Unpredictable Mother Nature; over 11 holes are in a flood plain and you never know what will happen during the wintertime. The golf course has had severe flood damage in three of the last 10 years including the most recent two.

13th Hole Member since 2003

Jonathan Smith Golf Course and Property Manager, Mississaugua Golf and Country Club By Matthew Eastman, Senior Assistant Superintendent, Mississaugua Golf and Country Club. Photos courtesy of the OGSA and Mississauga Golf and Country Club..


ind. Respectful. Friend. Family man. Encouraging. Leader. These are just some of the words that come to mind when asked to describe Jon ( Jonathan) Smith. He may have the most popular name in the world, but behind the scenes Jon likes to keep a low profile. Currently the Golf Course and Property Manager at Mississaugua Golf and Country Club (MGCC), Jon’s career and love for the outdoors started as an elementary student picking asparagus in his hometown of London, Ontario but his transition into the golf industry began at Grey Silo Golf Club. Jon was fortunate to work as a labourer during the grow in of the golf course while studying biology at Wilfred Laurier University. It was during this time that his true passion was realized. He became heavily invested in learning about the operation and how to manage/grow in turfgrass. Being exposed to all aspects of the operation and spending time as the spray technician,

Jonathan Smith, Golf Course and Property Manager, Mississaugua Golf and Country Club.

irrigation foreman, and second assistant allowed him to develop and fully grasp the true nature of managing a golf course. Jon was a member of the first graduating class of the Turfgrass Management Diploma program at the University of Guelph. It was after graduating that he became the assistant superintendent at Grey Silo and eventually moved on to Lookout Point Country Club as the assistant superintendent. Jon would complete three years at Lookout before


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In the Hot Seat Q: Favourite Tournament?

A: The Open Championship Q: Favourite piece of equipment? A: Cup cutter

Q: Favourite Golf Course?

A: St. Andrew’s Old Course eyeing up an opportunity at MGCC. Jon mentions how fortunate he was to have great mentors during the first chapter of his career, explaining that it was fundamental to learn from some of the industry’s best to help further and develop himself. In 2011, Jon sought out the second assistant vacancy at MGCC and without hesitation accepted the position. He describes this decision as “the one that shaped my career”. Jon quickly made a name for himself by having an immediate impact on the operation as a whole. He credits the fact that he had the pleasure of working with and being supported by so many great people. He learned how to approach the business from many different angles and how to be a true leader. With Adam Zubek at the helm at the time, Jon swiftly moved up to become an assistant superintendent. Upon Zubek’s departure in the summer of 2016, he would finish most of the summer as the interim golf course and property manager until he was officially deemed the golf course and property manager by the end of August. Jon is the definition of a critical and deep thinker. He welcomes all ideas from his supporting cast at MGCC. “Mississaugua is fortunate to have a young, passionate, and hardworking leadership team”, says Smith.

What You Need to Know Predominant grass type: Bentgrass, bluegrass Types of greens: A1/A4 bentgrass with USGA profile Course length: 7,100yds Size of greens: 3.2acres Size of tees: 2.5 acres

Q: Ultimate Foursome? A: Moe Norman, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino Q: Favourite Movie? A: The Big Lebowski, Field of Dreams Q: Lowest Round and where? A: 81, Riverbend

Q: Favourite architect?

A: So many great ones; gotta love what Coore and Crenshaw are doing.

Q: Favourite Band?

A: Dave Matthews Band (group), Neil Young (solo artist)

Mississaugua G&CC team photo.

He wouldn’t be able to fulfill his duties without the support of his leadership team and this is what makes Jon so special. Those six words at the start of this superintendent profile ring especially true when it comes to Jon as a manager. His kind and friendly demeanour, in addition to the relationships he has fostered with everyone, provide his team with the ability to meet and exceed the membership's expectations daily. His greatest strength is his ability to lead. He leads by example every step of the way and always has time to chat. He makes a point to build and maintain relationships with the entire team. He enjoys it. “You are either interested or you aren’t. You can’t fake it. People want to know

that you care and will go the extra mile if you are in their corner”. It is no surprise that he takes pride in keeping in close touch with many people he has worked with over the years and is proud to have met so many great people in the business. When he isn’t focusing on the golf course, Jon is either at the gym, playing platform tennis or watching baseball. He has been a member of a platform tennis club in Etobicoke for years where he enjoys the novelty of socializing and competing. If there is one thing you didn’t know about Jon, it’s his elite skill in fantasy baseball. He grew up playing and loving the game and enjoys the stats behind it all. I can attest to these skills as

“Anyone who has had the good fortune to work with Jon, knows how dedicated, professional and compassionate he is as a leader. Jon’s work ethic and kindness have had a positive impact on so many and I consider myself fortunate to be one of these individuals.” – Adam Zubek, former Superintendent, Mississaugua Golf & Country Club, General Manager, Pointe Grey Golf & Country Club, Vancouver, BC.

Size of fairways: 25 acres AUGUST 2019 | ONCourse 11

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Jon inspecting a newly constructed bunker with the project foreman.

I have fallen victim many times over the years. Lastly, we can’t forget one of the words first mentioned – family. A true family man, Jon spends most of his spare time with his family. He has been married to his wife Sandy for over ten years and they have two amazing children. Hannah is their eldest and she is entering grade three and Graeme is their youngest and is entering grade one. He loves watching them grow and enjoys watching them start to play a variety of sports. He credits his wife for being his main support system and without her he says that “none of this would be possible”. Finally, he praises his parents

Jon leading the morning meeting as an assistant super.

(who still reside in London) for who he is today. They continue to provide him with tremendous love and support. Jon has been at MGCC now for seven years and has certainly built a great career and reputation for himself. If there’s one thing Jon is especially good at, it is communication and that can be argued as the number one skill to have. Not just in work, but in life. He is almost always communicating with someone every minute of the day. He has a great relationship with the University of Guelph and continually gives back to the turfgrass program by guest speaking when called upon or hosting

turfgrass field trips at the golf course. Having worked with so many great people and learning from incredible mentors, he advises new, blossoming stars to “… not worry about titles or status. Concentrate on finding a role working under the right people who are willing to provide mentorship. Be patient and wait for the right opportunities, which will come along.” Jon is an exceptional leader and one we can all take a page from. His career is only going to continue to flourish. And just remember, the next time you sign up for your fantasy baseball league, you just never know who you might be up against. ■

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CP Women's Open BEFORE THE FIRST BALL DROPS 18th Green, Magna Golf Club.

Written by and photos courtesy of, Kendra Kiss, Spray Technician & Administrative Assistant, Magna Golf Club


any superintendents dream of hosting a Professional Golf Tournament, but few actually get the chance to. On July 2018 the dream became a reality for superintendent Wayne Rath, and his team when Magna Golf Club was selected to host the 2019 CP Canadian Women’s Open. The inception of the Women’s Open began in 1973 at Montreal Municipal Golf Club where Canadian Jocelyne Bourassa claimed victory. For the next six years it continued to play in a 54 hole format, changing to a four round 72 hole tournament in 1979. In 2001, it was replaced in the LPGA’s roster of major tournaments by the Women’s British Open. However, with a $2.25 million (US) purse it remains among the highest on the LPGA tour. Which means, it’s a bit of a big deal. The turf crew was very receptive and enthusiastic about the idea of hosting an event that would be televised worldwide, and there was a tremendous amount of excitement in the clubhouse during the press conference.

From that moment on, preparations for the event began. For superintendent Rath and his team, the preparations for this huge event began in the fall of 2018. An aggressive snow mould program and dormant fertilizer applications to the rough were put into place. Equipment that is normally stored in the yard during the season was given a new home in our newly constructed shipping containers and hoop house located at the back of the property which provided shelter for our tractors and made room for Golf Canada and their shipping containers come tournament time. As the spring of 2019 arrived, many of courses across Ontario, including Magna GC, struggled with all the rain that mother nature could dish out. It was definitely a slow start to the season and the rough had a tough time waking up. Thanks to weather conditions, we couldn’t finish aerating and putting down the dormant application of fertilizer as scheduled. However, once conditions allowed, we were on the course aggressively spraying 46-0-0/Kelp/black iron and spreading slow release granular. The effort paid off because the rough made

a dominant recovery and was as thick as ever. The maintenance staff at Magna Golf Club consists of 43 seasonal staff and eight full time staff. The 4 acres of green surface are SR1119/Providence blend bentgrass. There are 32 acres of fairways, five acres of tees and 28,000 sq. meters of bunkers. Next to the weather, one of our biggest challenges was getting all 96 of our 20+ year old bunkers in tournament conditions. The old sand and aging drainage have impacted about 15% of our bunkers during the past year. We assembled a strong crew to remove contaminated sand, replace and insure proper uniform depth throughout each bunker. This was a monumental task given the vast size of our bunkers. The crew worked tirelessly even with the threat that mother nature could erase hours of work in 20 minutes with one good downpour. Throughout the season, we cut the rough at 2 ¾” and then two weeks before the tournament the LPGA asked us to raise the cutting height to 3”. Needless to say, one of the biggest defenses the course had during the tournament was the rough. The set-up of viewing structures began in the last week of July. It was something


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The turf crew was very receptive and enthusiastic about the idea of hosting an event that would be televised worldwide, and there was a tremendous amount of excitement. to adjust to as the course is normally quiet with fewer than 60 rounds played most days. Slowly the tents began to take the form of grandstands and the 18th hole started to resemble a coliseum – which was something to witness. As the beginning of the tournament drew closer, the catering and concessions arrived, Golf Channel started to set up the camera towers and all the hole signs were put in place to add a final personal touch. Each hole was named after a famous racehorse paying homage to the club’s founder, Frank Stronach, a tool and die

The Magna Team relaxing after the morning shift. AUGUST 2019 | ONCourse 15

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Cutting the putting green in the wee hours.

Rachel DeRuyte, volunteer from The National rolling the 18th Green on tournament Sunday.

Brooke Henderson tees it up on the 5th Hole on Saturday.

maker who grew up in Austria, immigrated to Canada in 1956, started his business called Multimatic Investments which eventually became Magna International. Stronach’s widely known love for horses inspired the Magna logo and now, the names of the 18 holes at the 2019 CP Women’s Open tournament. The biggest adjustment for the maintenance staff came when the ropes went up. The golf course took on what I can only describe as a new persona. All of the roofs had to come off of the golf carts so they could maneuver beneath the ropes and gates were created so the staff could access the mowing areas. Navigating around the course became more complex due to the increased traffic and of course, spectators. On Tuesday, the week prior to the event, we did a mock morning run. The crew was split into front 9 and back 9 and each crew had two greens mowers, two tee mowers, two fairway mowers, a clean-up mower, 6-7 bodies in the bunkers, one roller and several other people to do detail work. The staff knocked the practice run out of the park. As well as having the usual 52 person crew, we reached out for the aid of a few volunteers. One special volunteer came all the way from Germany where he is the superintendent at Winston Golf Club. Erwan Le Cocq grew up in France where he was able to study turf at the tender age of 13. “Turf was in my heart. It was always something I knew I wanted to do” As tournament week approached, the staff began to buzz as they were handed their limited edition shirts/hat and the excitement grew as many ladies came out to practice.


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Twins Michaela and Alyssa fine tune the course Saturday afternoon.

Final group on Sunday, 18th Green.

With the prep-work done, it was time for the staff to embrace and take serious ownership of the tasks they were assigned for the week. Even at 5a.m. roll call, every eye was wide open awaiting direction. “We have such an amazing group of people this season,” says Rath as he praises the efforts of the turf crew. “All of the comments from the players have been nothing but positive! They are blown away by the conditioning of the course!” Throughout the week, Rath continued to congratulate the staff on their efforts and remains the team's biggest cheerleader. When asked what the most important thing to him during the tournament is, his response was enthusiastically, “I want the staff and volunteers to have an incredible experience.” And, the vibe around the shop was a feeling of being a part of something bigger than maintaining and repairing the course. We knew we were contributing to the history of a significant tournament for Canadian golf,

Magna team member Nicole Connery is all smiles while cutting the 15th Green.

Badge signed by Brooke Henderson, Brittany Henderson and Michelle Liu.

Magna Team waiting for photo with winner Jin Young Ko Sunday.

and for women who play on the LPGA tour. The golf course came alive at the start of the week with practice rounds and ProAms on Monday and Wednesday. The tournament energy levels soared when hometown girl Brooke Henderson stepped on the property. After becoming the second Canadian to win the tournament last year in Wascana, Saskatchewan, she had a very large following of fans and supporters throughout her week at the course. Her round on Saturday was absolutely astounding which set up the Sunday pairing and what would be become an exciting finish to the tournament, even though fan-favorite Henderson could not secure the win that afternoon. The honor went to Jin Young Ko of Korea, currently ranked as the number one player in the world and who played the last 106 holes without a single bogey. She more than deserves the win and the title. One of the many amazing things about the tournament is the number of women

involved both on stage and behind the scenes. The Magna Golf Club maintenance team employs an average of 14-17 women throughout the peak season. Magna also has an associate golf professional who just came shy of qualifying to play in the tournament and the club’s controller, clubhouse manager and HR staff are all strong women who work behind the scenes to make sure the heart of the club does not miss a beat. Hosting a high profile tournament has been nothing short of magical and feels like a once in a lifetime experience. The outpouring of support from industry suppliers, fellow superintendents, LPGA players and even spectators has been amazing. Often the efforts made by our profession can fall by the wayside during big events such as this, but as the Magna Golf Club turf crew assembled on the 18 green to await a picture with the winner, we were humbled to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. ■ AUGUST 2019 | ONCourse 17

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Winter Injury

How to Minimize the Damage

Courtesy of Bill Green, Cutten Fields.

By Chris Lecour, Technical Sales Representative, Georgian Bay, Target Specialty Products.


t has been apparent for a few years now that extreme winter warm and cold snaps, freezing rain and pounding snowstorms are becoming more common in our region. Winter weather events are now routinely referred to “one to remember”.Turf managers are forced to prepare for, and in some unfortunate instances recover from, winterkill damage that has become more normal in recent years. The winter of 2018-19 was another one to remember. Andrew Nieder and Jason Edwards, superintendents at Deerhurst Resort and Marlwood Golf Club respectively, experienced similar weather conditions that led to winter injury. Both clubs saw early November snowfalls and experienced similar melting events in early 2019. Unfortunately, this snow melt was followed by rainfall and an intense cold snap that was likely the key event that led to significant turf decline in early spring. Nieder saw ice accumulation of up to 6” on some of his playing surfaces and while the ice may not have reached that depth at Marlwood, both knew they had ice injury on their hands as the snow and ice began to recede. Edwards credits the health of his turf heading into the fall for the relatively light injury sustained at the club this spring. The damage could have been much worse but by Edwards’ estimate the greens were healthy going into the winter and in the best fall condition he’s seen them since he arrived at the club in 2015. Cutten Fields' superintendent Bill Green was monitoring a ½” layer of ice on his greens by late January. Several thawing events in February compounded by more snow and colder temperatures only added to that ice layer. By the end of February, a fresh set of plugs brought

into the office gave Green cause for concern. Steps were taken to remove snow and melt the ice with black sand and leaf compost but the damage was unavoidable. Green believes the freeze/thaw events were the root cause of injury. Perhaps nowhere were snow and ice cover duration more extreme than for Choya Fraser at Midland GC. The grounds were saturated heading into an early November snowfall. Rain events in December and January added to an already solid ice layer that had formed early in

While it’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate the risk of winterkill on golf courses in northern climates, there are steps turf managers can take to minimize the potential of winter damage. the season and grew to four inches. The smell of anoxia was apparent in late February in a few areas, but it wasn’t until the second week of March when snow and ice removal become feasible. Once the snow and ice gave way to turf, the playing surfaces initially looked healthy but quickly declined within a day or two. Surprisingly it was high spots on greens that saw the greatest amount of damage, leading Fraser to believe it was desiccation or crown hydration from moving water during thawing/ freezing events that was the source of the injury. Had Fraser not taken steps to remove the deep

snow cover from greens and melt the ice on the greens using black sand, the damage would surely have been much worse. If you’ve struggled with winter injury in the past you are likely very familiar with the research and contributions of Kevin Frank. Dr. Frank, Professor & Extension Turf Specialist at Michigan State University has been researching winter injury and providing prevention and recovery advice to area superintendents for several years. Frank says that in Michigan this year some courses experienced ice cover starting in mid-December, with 30+ days of cover, the norm in some areas. Some courses experienced melting and refreezing events, but it seems a lot of the damage can be attributed to desiccation or low temperature kill. In cases where emerging turf initially appeared healthy but then sharply declined, Dr. Frank attributes this type of injury to crown death, where the leaves appear to be healthy and have good colour, but once the plant starts to break dormancy the effect of the damaged crowns leads to total plant collapse and death. Paul Koch is also no stranger to the ravages of winter on turf. Dr. Koch, an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, is well known to many golf course superintendents in Ontario for his research on pesticides and snow mold diseases (tdl. wisc.edu). An ice storm that occurred just after Christmas in Wisconsin began a long duration of ice cover on turf that caused a significant number of issues. However, most of the damage appeared to be related to water flow, whether it was collar dams or snow and ice that prevented water from leaving playing surfaces, or simply poorly draining soils. And just as in Michigan, Ontario and Quebec, Wisconsin experienced a cool, wet spring that was anything but favourable for speedy turf recovery.


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April 23, 2019, Midland G&CC, 11th green, courtesy of Choya Fraser.

While it’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate the risk of winterkill on golf courses in northern climates, there are steps turf managers can take to minimize the potential of winter damage. Both Frank and Koch believe the most important factor in minimizing this potential is ensuring that turf goes into the winter as healthy as possible. Promoting a healthy plant heading into the winter is a year round process and includes the following: • Sunlight exposure is important year round, but the issue becomes critical in late summer and fall. Greens that see full sun in June and July may experience drastically limited sunlight exposure in September and October due to the lower angle of the sun. Turf that is starved of sunlight can run out of stored carbohydrates in the fall, leading to certain decline or death over the winter. • Dr. Koch suggests taking pictures of damaged areas in the spring. Memories are short and when planning drainage channels the following fall, those pictures will come in handy. • Encourage positive water flow on greens

It is impossible to but there are steps can implement to enters the winter as

control the weather every turf manager ensure their turf healthy and strong

by removing collar dams and improving surface and subsurface drainage.

Taking a core sample from an ice covered green, courtesy of Bill Green, Cutten Fields.

Seeding is Believing

• Adequate levels of fertilizer are key for plants to produce carbohydrates essential for winter survival. Avoid large doses of nitrogen and potassium in the fall and instead focus on 0.1 to 0.2 lbs. of N/1000 per week up to early to mid-October. • Increase mowing heights on putting greens in the fall to encourage maximum photosynthetic capacity of the plant for carbohydrate production and storage over winter. • Manage traffic and potential wear areas on sensitive turf to ensure a healthy playing surface in the fall. as possible. Thanks to Dr.’s Frank and Koch and each Superintendent for their contributions to this article. ■

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The Rebuild Green #17 at Rosedale Golf Club By Andrew Krek, Assistant Superintendent at Rosedale Golf Club. Photos courtesy of Rosedale Golf Club.


he Rosedale Golf Club was formed in 1893 and moved to its current location on Mount Pleasant Road in 1909. The original design was completed by Tom Bendelow and in 1919, Donald Ross was hired to complete an overhaul of the course design. As with many clubs, changes are planned and carried out over time and in the fall of 2018 the Rosedale Golf Club took on the completion of multiple capital course improvement projects including the installation of new forward tee decks and adjustments to green surrounds, but nothing was bigger than the rebuild of green #17. Rebuilding green #17 had been discussed by the club for 15 years. The project was a part of the master plan in 2007/2008 but deferred to a later date. The 17th green contained slopes greater than 4.5% with a general back to front slope making it difficult to place hole locations when green speeds were increased. It was approximately 4100 square feet in size, surrounds were sharp with little room for recovery, and its elevated above the fairway requiring the golfer to blindly hit up about 25 yards. Many players who found themselves above the hole, would putt off the front of the green due to the severe back to front slope on a green with less than 2% reasonable pinnable area. In 2018, following Architect John Fought’s recommendation, the club decided it was time to address the playability of this green by adjusting the grades to accommodate hole locations with higher green speeds.

The plan was to remove the sod, grade the soil to address the slopes and re-install the sod. However, it was determined with testing by Brookside Labs under the guidance of Dave Smith of DCS & Associates, that the soil once disturbed and graded would not support healthy turf and therefore, this course of action was not recommended. The project then became a rebuild and the new plan was to install new soil so the green could flourish and reuse the existing sod. Fought created the schematic design, plan and bid documents for the work to be done and made multiple site visits during the construction phases to ensure the project was executed as designed: playable, enjoyable and consistent with a Donald Ross’ original design. Prior to breaking ground, one of the largest decisions we had to make was choosing which growth medium to install for the root-zone. Rosedale has two different greens profiles across its 19 greens; 15 native push-up greens and four modified USGA specification greens. Because the 17th green was a native push-up, the decision was made to recreate the root-zone to be comparable to the “other” push-up greens on the golf course. To do this DCS & Associates was tasked with creating a new material that would behave similarly to the other push-up greens. Following three blends and their testing of moisture retention and drainage characteristics, a blend was identified along with the depth to allow for maximum performance Now that the design and root-zone specifications were approved it was finally time to break ground. On October 1st, 2018 ground was broken – 13 years after the initial

design was first conceived! Before bulldozing began, the green sod surface was stripped for reuse. This was not due to cost, but because the plant was already accustomed to the specific growing environment and it was predominately bentgrass. The project was going to take about six weeks so the plant was protected from disease prior to stripping and then laid out on plastic in a fashion that would minimize growth, encourage drainage and most importantly allow for retreatment to protect the plant if it was necessary. The next step was to bring in TDI Construction and the heavy machinery and start bulldozing and creating the grades for the new green. The scope of the design was not just about adjusting the grade of the putting surface it also included softening the slope up and into the green, softening the rough surrounds of the green and introducing a roll-off from the green which is a classic Donald Ross feature. The earthwork was pushed to grades and Fought visited the site to make minor adjustments to ensure this build fit-in and complimented the rest of the course. Once the architect approved the site grades the green’s cavity was hollowed out for the new growth medium. Internal drainage was installed in the cavity base prior to backfilling and the final surface grades were in line with the grades of the cavity. Re-sodding the greens surface was a slow and detailed task. The green was designed to be slightly larger in size so it was necessary to utilize our nursery to finish the surface. The roll-off was sodded using the turfgrass from an adjacent site that was also under construction


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Green internal drainage.

One ton heavy roll.

Sodding green surface.

and then the rough sod was put in place to complete the sodding of all the surfaces. The cultural and agronomic practices that followed were crucial to the success and establishment of the site. Once the site was fully sodded, a 1-ton vibratory roller was used on top of plywood in two directions to smooth the surface. This was completed three times during the first week after the sod was installed. After each rolling event the green was heavily topdressed by hand (more and more sand!) and manually dragged in using a steel mat. Fertilizer and protectants were applied to encourage establishment and to ensure the plant would not succumb to any pathogen in late October or early November. Two weeks after the sod was laid, the green received its first cut and was cut three more times prior to receiving the snow mould application and being tarped for the winter, first with a perforated cover and then a solid cover. In late March 2019, the solid cover was removed. The perforated cover was left on to protect the green from uncertain spring conditions and to facilitate a more conducive growing environment for healing of the sod seams so that the green could be put back into play as quickly as possible. The decision was made not to “baby” the green, but rather

push it to success while keeping a close eye on its needs and how it responded to our practices. In early April the green received a single drill and fill similar to our other greens and then vertidrained during the latter part of the month penetrating the root-zone eight to nine inches. The height of cut was always in-line with the other greens on the course and on April 17th, 2019, the green was ready for play on opening day! Based on how the grass responded to game play and the compacted nature of a newly built green (which is typical) the decision was made to continue vertidraining on a bi-weekly basis as well as to pull cores, seed and topdress at the end of May and then again in June. The project to rebuild the green 17 went very smoothly. Having a committed and focused team including architect, builder, agronomist and our internal RGC Turf Care Team members, the project is considered a success. With the proper planning and execution of all the moving parts, the members had their new green back in play within six months, many of which were spent beneath snow! The membership’s feedback has been positive and the new look of the 17th green fits right in with the rest of the course. If you didn’t know it was rebuilt, you would think it had been that way for the past 100 years. ■

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St. George’s

Bunker Project Third green complex bunkers ready for gravel.

By Marco China, Assistant Superintendent, St. George’s Golf and Country Club. Photos courtesy of St. George’s Golf & Country Club.

the bunker. A two-inch layer of gravel is used to cover the entire base of the bunker, and the Better Billy Bunker polymer coating is sprayed on the surface. The coating is then given the opportunity stablished in 1929, St. George’s Golf and Country Club is a to cure and set, creating a solid yet porous surface that water can world-class golf course located in Toronto, Ontario. The course drain through freely. The sand is then placed on top at a depth of six boasts a historic Stanley Thompson design, and is consistently inches through the base of the bunker and four inches on the face of ranked as a top course in Canada. The club is currently in the final the bunker. Sod is then laid over the edge to create a bull nose effect stages of completing an extensive bunker reconstruction project. on the bunker in which no soil is exposed to the bunker, leading In addition to the bunker project, the club to less contamination and a fluid look from has undertaken a reconstruction of the 3rd turf to bunker. and 18th greens, a re-grassing of all greens Course Essentials The bunker and green complex surrounds on the property, and an irrigation reconstruction started in October of 2018, 104 bunkers upgrade around 10 of the 18 greens with with work on the 3rd and 18th greens the rest set to be completed at a later date. commencing first. The greens sod was 10,700 square metres of This project aims to address the key factors stripped and re-laid; sod from the club’s bunker space of providing consistent world-class playing newly constructed nursery was used to 3,800 tons of sand conditions for St. George’s Golf and replace the sod on the 3rd green. The Country Club members and their guests. 1,200 tons of gravel pinnable area of the greens was increased to The bunkers were renovated previously offer a greater variety of pin positions and 60,000 square metres of in 2001; however, since that time, some of to address issues of surface drainage. Once bluegrass sod the bunkers began to show their age due to the greens had been reconstructed, sod was several different factors, including multiple laid back on the surface and tarped for the different bunker liners, contaminated sand, and an inconsistency winter in order to enhance rooting in the spring. in the types of sand used. With age came increased hours of work Work on the bunkers was to commence following the greens from the Greens Department crew: tasks included adjusting bunker reconstructions; however, weather proved to be a major obstacle for depths, replacing old torn liners, and fixing washed out edges the project. Because of an early freeze and long winter, the start date after significant rain events. With this knowledge in mind, the to this work was pushed back to mid-April. Work on the bunkers membership voted in September 2018 to proceed with the project. began and was limited to three holes at one time; however, because The Better Billy Bunker method was selected for its proven ability of weather conditions and playing schedules, work was spread out to provide consistent playing conditions as well as reducing bunker to accommodate members and their guests and create as little maintenance and sand contamination. disruption as possible. The construction process for the Better Billy Bunker method Throughout the project, there were many challenges that the requires old material to be removed down to the natural soil team faced. We knew that weather was going to be the biggest subgrade, soil-filled burlap bags are placed on the perimeter of the challenge, and the winter and spring of 2018-2019 proved to be just bunker to create the edge. Drainage is then dug into the base of that. With the ground frozen until mid-April and 19 days of rainfall



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Better Billy Bunker polymer coating being applied to bunker on 16th green.

Sand being added to bunkers after coating was applied.

in May, work on the project began later than anticipated and at a slower pace. With each rainfall, the project would be delayed until the ground was dry enough for work to continue. Thankfully, the site consists of well-aggregated soils that drain rapidly, and once the weather began to cooperate in June, the project was off to the races with work progressing at a steady pace. The project ran like a well-oiled machine with multiple crews: the first crew stripped and removed old material, the second worked on drainage, the third worked on bagging edges of bunkers, the fourth applied the Better Billy Bunker coating, and the final crew graded and filled the bunkers with sand. Finally, bluegrass sod was laid around the bunkers and the green surrounds. With the bunkers being such an integral part of this historic Stanley Thompson designed golf course, maintaining the design character and feel of the bunkers was paramount. Golf course architect Ian Andrew oversaw the design of the bunkers and made sure they stayed true to the original design. Andrew took the project as an opportunity to restore select holes to their true original design using recently found historical photos, bringing back pieces of history to the club for its members to enjoy. With all of its many challenges, the project has had many more

successes. The project could not have been accomplished without the tireless efforts of the Greens Department crew. The entire crew participated in all aspects of the project: watering sod, levelling

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Topsoil added to all areas and final grades set before sodding.

The finished product.

and tamping bunkers, sanding seams in the sod, brushing sand, topdressing, replacing and fixing irrigation, and the list goes on. The high standards and efforts set by the construction crew ensured that the project was completed in an efficient and precise manner. The goal was, and continues to be, to provide the members with consistent world-class playing conditions. The completion of the

bunker project, newly constructed greens, bluegrass surrounds, and new irrigation upgrade have all led to the success of this project. As we wrap up the 2019 season, we look forward to the excitement of watching the best players in the world compete in 2020 at the RBC Canadian Open on these newly reconstructed surfaces of St. George’s Golf and Country Club. â–

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“We are all in this together”

2020 ONTARIO GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE Sheraton on the Falls Niagara Falls, Ontario | January 14-16, 2020 KEYNOTE SPEAKER: TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2020

Jack Armstrong Best known as the colorful and entertaining voice of the of the 2019 NBA Championship winning Toronto Raptors, Jack Armstrong has spent more than two decades covering the NBA and College basketball for TSN and NBA TV. Before becoming a broadcaster, Jack spent ten years as the head basketball coach at Niagara University where he was named Division I New York State and MAAC Coach of the year for the 1992/93 season. Jack served four years as an assistant coach at his Alma Mater, Fordham University (Bronx, NY) where he also earned his BA in History and an MA in Public Communications. An avid marathon runner, Jack believes that anything is possible and brings his energy, coaching philosophy and kind heart to everything he does.

Sponsorships are still available! Thank you to those who’ve already committed their support!

SPEAKER LINEUP Ben McGraw Ph.D. - Associate Professor of Turfgrass Science Pennsylvania State University Dan Dinelli - Superintendent North Shore Country Club, Glenview, Illinois Steve Ami - Kelly Ami Drainage Brian Mavis - Mavis Consulting Consulting Agronomist Christine Fraser - Golf Course Architect Assistants’ Symposium

Registration Now Open! “We Grow Golf” www.ogsa.ca

OGSA Members, Full Conference Packages $569 - Super Early Bird rates available from Sept 1- Sept 30, 2019. $629 - Early Bird rates available from Oct 1- Nov 30, 2019. Non-member rates are also available. Full conference rates will apply after Dec 1, 2019.

Go to www.ogsa.ca for more details. OGSA_ONCourse_August-2019-REVISED.indd 25

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Fifteen Years Ago Today THE 2004 OGSA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Back Row (L-R) Doug Breen, Golf North; Jeff Stauffer, Credit Valley G & CC.; Randy Booker, Dundas G. C.; Jeff Alexander, Parry Sound G. C. Front Row (L-R) Sean DeSilva, Taboo G. C.; Paul Scenna (vice pres.), Donalda Club; Rob Ackermann (pres.), Weston G & CC.; Mark Piccolo (past pres.), Galt C. C.; Bob Burrows (treas.), Rosedale G. C. Not available for photo: Rob Gatto, King Forest G. C.; Chris Andrejicka, Essex G. C.; Jarrod Barakett, Deer Ridge G. C.



The Board of Directors in 2004 were: Rob Ackermann (pres.), Weston G & CC., Mark Piccolo (past pres.), Galt C. C., Paul Scenna (vice pres.), Donalda Club, Bob Burrows (treas.), Rosedale G. C., Sean DeSilva, Taboo G. C., Jeff Alexander, Parry Sound G. C., Chris Andrejicka, Essex G. C., Jarrod Barakett, Deer Ridge G. C., Randy Booker, Dundas G. C., Doug Breen, Golf North, Rob Gatto, King Forest G. C., Jeff Stauffer, Credit Valley G & CC., John Bladon, Nu Gro Corp, (Editor of Green Is Beautiful.)

Jim Sara, TDI International and former superintendent, passed away June 23rd. Dr. Houston B. Couch passed away on September 24th. Dr. Couch finished his career as Professor of Plant Pathology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia. Edward Rybski (Class AA retired member) passed away on November 1st.

ON THE MOVE James White went from King’s Bay Golf Club to Carruther’s Creek Golf Club and Tim Colin moved from Carruther’s Creek Golf Club to Multitines. Mark Schneider left Owen Sound G & CC and moved to Saugeen Golf Club.

EVENTS The Guelph Turfgrass Research Foundation Field Day was held on August 17th and Dr. Eric Lyons was introduced as the new research scientist at the University of Guelph. The Ontario Turfgrass Research Foundation Tournament was held on August 23rd at the Burlington G & CC hosted by Pelino Scenna. In recognition of the low gross and low net, silver plates were renamed after OTRF founders Paul Dermott and Alan Beeney.

The IPM Accreditation program was well on its way to becoming a reality under the direction of OGSA director Jeff Stauffer.

On July15th, golf courses in Peterborough were damaged from seven inches of rain in an 8-hour period. Jennifer Pendrith, superintendent at Kawartha G & CC, had the course open in a couple of days with the help of 60 volunteers. In response to Walkerton, where seven people died from drinking contaminated drinking water, the National Golf Course Owners Association recommended that all water containers be removed from golf courses. TOURNAMENTS The Pro/Super Challenge was held at Glenway G & CC hosted by Peter Dickey. Low team was Frank Marando and Chris Nelson from Markland Wood GC. Low Superintendent was Thom Charters, Bayview G & CC.


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(L-R) Rob Larocque (Golf Pro), Jeff Alexander (Parry Sound G.C.) and Peter Dickey (Host Superintendent) during the Pro/Super Challenge held at Glenway G&CC.

(L-R) Past President, Marc Piccolo presents Dr. Clayton Switzer with William Sansom Distinguished Service Award.

Barry Endicott Retired Golf Course Superintendent Brampton, Ontario Tel: 905-846-1440 barry.endicott@gmail.com

Scott Ford enthusiastically accepts the CAN/AM Challenge trophy.

The 59th Annual Alex McClumpha Tournament was held at Muskoka Lakes G & CC on October 5th, hosted by Jim Flett. Low gross for superintendents and assistants were Bill Gilkes 73, Neil Tandan 76 and Tom Brain, 78. Low gross for associates and guests were Kevin Holmes 74, Jason D’Andrea 79 and Gary Tate 80. Ray Richards of Mad River GC won the George Darou Trophy, presented by Ron Craig of Turf Care.

ACHIEVEMENTS Gordon Witteveen was selected as the recipient of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America's (GCSAA) Distinguished Service Award. He was acknowledged at the opening session of GCSAA's 75th International Golf Course Conference and Show, Feb. 12, 2004, in San Diego. ■

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Planting for Scent


garden can be a delight for all of the senses, but quite often when we build a garden on the golf course, we focus on the aesthetic value, how it looks. However, there is another sense that we should take into consideration when choosing plant material, and that is scent. Why plant for fragrance? Our sense of smell is very powerful and can trigger memories and feelings like nothing else. Floral scent can elevate the experience of traveling through your property and can make it very memorable. Most plants when in flower have some sort of scent but there are also plants that have foliage with strong smells to them. A plant’s scent may be mild, potent, fragrant or unpleasant, and some plants can be smelled from many feet away. If your garden location is within a few feet of a high traffic area, spend the time to research plants with a nice fragrance that will grow in the area and be noticed by passersby. As with any garden design, flowering times have to be kept in mind in order to layer scents throughout the season. There are annuals that can be incorporated into garden beds or used in planters to provide strong fragrance like, Petunia, Heliotrope, Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia), Lantana, Sweet Peas, Mandavilla and Sweet William. Some plants are more fragrant in the evenings than they are through the day; Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana) is an example and is also an annual in Ontario. And of course, there are

always herbs. If there is a desire to have an herb garden, try to place it near an area where the smells can be enjoyed. Along a walkway or around a patio or in pots on a patio. Herbs like Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Mint and Basil all provide a nice fragrance that can be smelled from a distance. My personal favourite perennial is an Oriental Lily called ‘Stargazer’. All of the varieties of oriental lilies have a very strong fragrance and provide scent in the middle of July-beginning of August; they are definitely a great choice and people will stop in their tracks to see where that smell is coming from. For early spring fragrance use bulbs like Hyacinth and Muscari. The Butterfly Bush has to be one of the best choices for long blooming late summer fragrance: Pink Delight, Miss Ruby and White Profusion are my three favourite varieties, and the largest flowering. They begin to bloom in August and continue through September. And if you want fragrance from September into October, you can’t beat Cimicifuga (Black Snake Root) placed in a shady spot near a patio. While we’re talking about shady locations, any of the Astilbe x Younique varieties, when planted in mass, provide an amazing fragrance. These are all early summer bloomers, end of June into beginning of July. Another must have perennial for late spring fragrance is the Peony. Of course, we can’t forget about Roses, there are far

too many named varieties for me to go into detail about but using roses for scent around high traffic areas is always a winner. English Roses being the most fragrant and Floribundas are a close second. If you’re looking for late spring blooming shrubs, I think the most obvious and well known one in Ontario is the Lilac. There are quite a few new varieties out now providing a wider range of colours and strengths of scent. Mock Orange (Philadelphus) is lesser known or used shrub; it’s not exactly an amazing shrub outside of its bloom period, which is why it doesn’t get used much. However, while it’s in bloom the fragrance is quite potent, and the shrub is covered in white blooms. There aren’t many shrubs that have a great fragrance that bloom later than spring, but the Summer Sweet (Clethra) is a great option for a late summer bloom. Planting for scent might give people a wonderful experience but they have the adverse effect on animals; they also aid in animal grazing resistance. In Muskoka where I do all of my gardening, deer are hands down the biggest pest challenge and as it turns out, more often than not the plants they don’t destroy have foliage with a very strong scent. For those of you who struggle with deer grazing, my go-to plants are as follows (and I will start with the plants whose foliage has a distinct and strong smell): Russian Sage, perennial Salvia’s, Catmint, Artemisia (Silver Mound), Yarrow, Lavender, Big Leaf Geranium, and Anise Hyssop. They also stay away from: Foxglove, Peony, Monkshood, Astilbe, Butterfly Bush, Gooseneck Loosestrife, Cimicifuga, and pretty much any ornamental grass. If anyone has any pest resistant plants that they could add to this list, please let me know. With the list of plant material mentioned above and a little homework I would say you would be able to put together a not only aesthetically beautiful garden but a fragrant one from spring to fall. Happy gardening! ■ Chris Cumming CLP, Horticulturist Email: chriscumming@live.ca Cell: 705-644-3994


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RiverBend Super Aims for Grand Slam By Jeffrey Reed, Editor, LondonOntarioGolf.com Photo courtesy of Kevin Collier.


iverBend Golf Community’s head golf superintendent Kevin Collier will never slip on the green jacket at the Masters Tournament. But the 38-year-old turf management pro from Ajax, Ontario is only one major away from completing his own Grand Slam.. Collier, who has worked at RiverBend since 2010 and has held his current title since 2012, has volunteered with the grounds crews at the 2006 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and most recently at this year’s U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Now, he’s networking to complete his personal Grand Slam and volunteer at the 150th Open Championship at the Old Course, St. Andrews in 2021. It may be a long shot, but Collier chases his dreams as methodically as he stimps the bentgrass greens at RiverBend, and with just as much preparation and determination. After all, we’re talking about a golfer who had the courage to ask if he could loop twice around Augusta’s hallowed grounds in one day, and was granted his wish. “The British Open is on my radar,” said Collier, taking a quick time out from his busy schedule at RiverBend. “I’ve talked with a lot of people from Europe about the challenges

of working it, because they like to do things their own way and with their own people. So it won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible. “I’m hoping that with my connections, I’ll have a chance to do the Grand Slam,” he said. Collier has worked in the golf industry since age 13, falling in love with the game during a nine-year stay at the 9-hole Riverside Golf Club in Ajax before eventually moving to Glencairn Golf Club in Milton, and then King Valley Golf Club in King City, Ontario. He studied Accounting at Hamilton’s McMaster University, but halfway through his degree – which he finished – he decided to chase his golf dreams while studying in the Golf Course Turfgrass Management program at Pennsylvania State University. “It was the time of my life at Penn State,” Collier said. “I was all in. When crazy opportunities present themselves in life, you have to jump on them. So, when I spotted a job posting for an internship at August National, I applied – and I got it.” For six months, Collier fine-tuned his craft at Bobby Jones’s sacred ground and mowed the same greens where Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods created some of golf ’s greatest moments. He worked the 70th Masters Tournament in 2006, and saw Phil Mickelson win his second green jacket with a score of 7-under 281, three strokes better than Woods, Fred Couples and José

María Olazábal. His biggest golf memory at Augusta National wasn’t witnessed by a world-wide television audience, but rather only by the azaleas and flowering peach trees. “My dad, Bill, and I looped it once. We had the one day to play. If it rained, you lost your chance. We played 18, and were sitting on the lawn having lunch under an oak tree. We were told the first tee was dead. So I asked if we could loop again, and they said, ‘Absolutely. Have at it.’ So we played 36 that day. Unforgettable,” Collier said. At the 2010 PGA Championship, Collier was responsible for stimping the 12th and 13th greens. It was at Whistling Straits where he saw Dustin Johnson ground his club in a bunker, which cost him the championship. And at Pebble this year, Collier was an assistant to a groundscrew member rolling greens. Collier called Pebble “heaven on earth.” Collier entered the turf management industry as a star, as a finalist for the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association Future Superintendent of the Year award in 2007, and in 2009 winning the Ontario Golf Superintendents’ Association Hugh Kirkpatrick Bursary which recognized his leadership skills, commitment to his craft and accomplishments. Despite his global golf ambitions, Collier said the grass is greener at his home club, which he called a “special place. To think that the Sifton family envisioned such a pristine piece of property is amazing. I’m fortunate enough to be able to golf with the men on Wednesdays, and to get to know the community members when they are out walking their dogs. And it’s exciting to see RiverBend come close to the end of its development, and be fully operational.” If Collier does end up working at St. Andrews in 2021, he will have lived a longtime dream. He said he would be more than thrilled to complete his Grand Slam at any other Open Championship venue. But you have to think that for the former accounting student, just getting up each day and looking out onto the tee blocks, fairways and greens of RiverBend Golf Club is a dream come true. ■ Jeffrey Reed has been covering the Canadian golf scene since 1980. His third book, The Canadian Seniors’ Golf Association, Celebrating 100 Years of Seniors Golf 1918-2018, was published in 2018. He’s currently writing a biography of Sandy Somerville. Reach him at jeff@londonontariogolf.com. AUGUST 2019 | ONCourse 29

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Empty Nester By Doug Breen, Superintendent, Golf North Properties.


rista and I are officially empty nesters. Both kids have moved out… and it's fantastic! Many people (not my Dad) told us how sad it would be when they left for good; but instead, we have more money, more room on the couch, and I can watch whatever I want on TV. There’s a very good chance that I’ll never wear pants in my house again. Many other people have warned us that eventually they might bounce back home again, but now that I've turned their rooms into offices and/or filled them with guitars, I’ve managed to make the place fairly unattractive. Friends suggested that we ought to buy a bigger house after the kids were born, but a small house with one bathroom made it just uncomfortable enough to get them to leave. And they can choose between the couch and the love seat, should they decide to stay overnight in the future. Being reduced to couch surfing at your parents’ place, makes getting on with your life seem like a pretty good idea. For Krista and me - it's like having the freedom of being 25 again, only with more annual income. Honestly, I don't know why people don't write songs about how awesome it is when your kids move out sort of like "Cat's in the Cradle", but the opposite:

When you comin’ home kid, I don't care when. But I'll be golfing then, son. You know that I'll be golfing then.

There are a few reasons why we find their egress so satisfying (none of which were planned, by the way - so I take zero credit). First, because we live in Guelph, we're centrally located to pretty much every postsecondary school in Ontario. As a result, we can see both of them pretty easily and regularly. Walker ended up going to the University of Guelph, so I used to swing by and watch his football practices on my way home from work or go out for dinner with him and his friends. Now that his football career has come to an end (3 head coaches in 4 seasons - yikes), we've been playing a lot of golf together – and still going out to dinner. He’s been on his own for four years now, and he’s never once asked me for money. On the other hand, Aniela did one semester at Guelph, and I apparently paid for everything. Actually – I’m suspicious that I may have paid for someone else’s kid too. It was still better than having her living with us though! She hated the program she

was in (which I knew that she would, but nobody listens to me), so she’s transferring to a program at the Lakeshore Campus. That location is perfect - still convenient for visiting, but far enough away that she’ll find out that the Laundry Fairy isn’t a real thing. It’s also close enough that she can scurry home on weekends and tend to the equine herd that she and Krista have accumulated and help to run the riding school. Then she can sleep in the barn. Second, both of them seem like they might actually be successful in life. They both have jobs. They don’t find school overly difficult or stressful. They both have reasonably good time management skills – far better than I did at their age (not a particularly high bar, mind you). A lifetime of overscheduled sports, activities and jobs, have prepared them very well for the challenges of real life. I’ll take some credit for constantly yelling at them too. Third, they have an excellent support system of friends and extended family. They’ve surrounded themselves with great people, who will run amok from time to time, but when push comes to shove, are people you want on your team. It’s a good balance of character and shenanigans. I remember my Dad telling me in my 20’s that his greatest fear was that my brothers and I would “grow up to be useless”. It was our Mother’s responsibility to worry about our self-esteem and psyches and such – but he just didn’t want us to be a drain on society. I think the reason that we’re so happy with our empty nest status, is that both of them are doing quite well. Like The Who said, “The Kids Are Alright”. ■


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