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May/JUNE 2013

official publication of cgsa

◗ l e a d e r s h i p ◗ a d v o c a c y ◗ e d u c at i o n

Game for Growth CGSA President John Mills takes charge, aims to strengthen association

plus ◗ Branching Out: Getting the best out of your course’s trees ◗ Welcoming the World: How the course staff at Glen Abbey are preparing for the Canadian Open ◗ Legal Tips: Navigating contract negotiations


The new Jacobsen LF510™ fairway mower offers affordability from the start, simplified maintenance and a reliable Kubota diesel Tier 4 final engine – making it easy to afford, use and maintain through its entire life. The LF510’s clean and consistent quality-of-cut is provided by the new TrueSet™ cutting units with Classic XP™ reels that boast an industry-leading 425-lbs. of holding power. Mow your fairways without scalping your budget with the new Jacobsen LF510. See your local Jacobsen dealer for more information.

1.888.922.TURF | ©2013 Jacobsen, A Textron Company/Textron Innovations Inc. All rights reserved.

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The following companies generously support the canadian golf superintendents association through partnerships on specific events/programs: CITCTS 2013 Basf Bayer Environmental Science Civitas John Deere Golf Rain Bird International Syngenta Crop Protection Canada Inc. additional events Bayer Environmental Science – Fall Field Day John Deere Golf – Fall Field Day, Equipment Technician Award Club Car – Environmental Award The Toro Company – Future Superintendent Award, Classic Reception/Fall Field Day, Gordon Witteveen Award

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Canadian Golf Superintendents Association Board of Directors 2013 – 2014 JOHN MILLS



President Superintendent Northumberland Links Golf Club PO Box 2, Pugwash, Nova Scotia B0K 1L0 T: 902-243-2119 F: 902-243-3213

Alberta Director Superintendent Priddis Greens Golf & CC 1 Priddis Greens Drive Priddis, AB T0L 1W0 T: 403-931-3391 F: 403-931-3219

British Columbia Director Superintendent Revelstoke Golf Club PO Box 9153 RP03 Revelstoke, BC V0E 3K0 T: 250-837-5000 F: 250-837-6123

CHRISTIAN PILON, MS Vice President Master Superintendent Mount Bruno Country Club 665 Chemin des Vingts, QC J3V 4P6 T: 450-653-1265 F: 450-653-8393 KYLE KELLGREN Secretary Treasurer/Saskatchewan Director Superintendent Jackfish Lodge Golf & Conference Centre PO Box 10, Cochin, SK S0M 0L0 T: 306-386-2150 F: 306-386-2840

TIM KUBASH, MS, AGS Past President Master Superintendent Salmon Arm Golf Clujb PO Box 1525, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4P6 T: 250-832-8834 F: 250-832-6311



Manitoba Director Superintendent St. Boniface Golf & Country Club 100 Youville Street Winnipeg, MN R2H 2S1 T: 204-233-2497 F: 204-237-9794

Atlantic Director Golf Operations Manager Westfield Golf & Country Club 8 Golf Club Road Grand Bay-Westfield, NB E5K 3C8 T: 506-757-2907

JAMES FLETT, AGS Ontario Director Superintendent Muskoka Lakes Golf & Country Club PO Box 280, 1330 Ferndale Road Port Carling, ON P0B 1J0 T: 705-765-3165 F: 705-765-6990

Quebec Director Superintendent Summerlea Golf and Country Club 1000 Route De Lotbiniere Vaudreuil – Dorion, QC J7V 8P2 T: 450-455-0929 F: 450-455-8898


cover photo: New CGSA President John Mills, superintendent of Northumberland Links Golf Club Credit: Linda Graves, Serendipity Photography

Your course is like no other – especially when it comes to soil and water quality issues. That’s why we’ve designed a comprehensive line of products to help you manage your unique soiland water-related challenges. From salt stress to carbonate buildup, we’ll help you evaluate your turf’s needs and build a program that is both effective and affordable. Contact your Aquatrols distributor for more information.

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MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 3






Join the CGsA

• TS



AdvocAcy Programs and Services Promotion of the Profession

Professional Development

Representation certificAtion


tGif AcceSS

national tournament Program

Fall Field Day

Manulife Group RRSP


CGsA Live LeArninG Centre

GreenMaster CITCTS AD&D and Life and Health Group Insurance On the Fringe Lower Event and Service Rates EnCouRAGE YouR SuPERInTEnDEnT To JoIn: You’ll find that the benefits derived for you, your superintendent and your facility from membership in CGSA are far greater in value than the annual fee.

Join noW! or contact Lori micucci at 905-602-8873 ext. 226

e di tor ’s n ote ◗ bill garrett MAY/JUNE 2013

greenmaster Vol 48, no. 3

GreenMaster is published six times a year (Jan/Feb, March/April, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) by the Canadian Golf Superintendents’ Association:

bill garrett, CEM managing editor

◗ CGSA’s Communications, Marketing and Public Relations Committee recently held their inaugural meeting for the 2013 – 2014 year. This group, led by Chair, Darren Kalyniuk, will shape the editorial direction of GreenMaster for the coming year and a half. In addition to insuring that CGSA has a wide variety of communications vehicles, the committee is working to develop a theme for each issue of GreenMaster and will point CGSA staff in the right direction to find the most knowledgeable people to write on each subject. It is gratifying to witness the enthusiasm of this committee and their commitment to make every issue of GreenMaster something to be proud of. Of course, commitment and enthusiasm aren’t always enough to produce the end result that our readers expect. We need the consistent support of our advertisers…. please, buy from them and refer them whenever you can. In this issue, we are introducing a brand new section called Talk Back (pg 39). Here we will print feedback and ideas from our readers. Tell us how great you think the magazine is or where it needs improvement. Comment on articles you have read or send in some interesting

CGSA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Ken Cousineau, CAE Tel: 905-602-8873 ext. 222

photos of your course for publication. We think this will be the page you turn to first with each issue. It is satisfying to see so many articles in this issue on such a wide range of topics written by superintendents and assistant superintendents. We will encourage this type of interchange in the future and at the same time endeavor to include some good technical pieces. Our feature article on CGSA President, John Mills, gives extraordinary insight into the career and philosophies of the man leading the association at this exciting and challenging time in our industry. After a long spring and slow start in many areas of the country (as I write this, Saskatchewan is dealing with snow, floods and fire) most courses across the country are finally greening up and getting ready for play. General maintenance is the theme running throughout the following pages with helpful articles on the basics of maintaining greens, fairways and tees as well as some insight to tree maintenance. Here’s to a successful season. GM.

We want your feedback! Email us at:

Assistant Editor: Marc Cousineau

Canadian Golf Superintendents’ Association 5520 Explorer Drive, Suite 205 Mississauga, ON L4W 5L1 Tel: 905-602-8873 / Toll Free: 800-387-1056 Fax: 905-602-1958 Printing Provided by Blenheim INK 4305 Fairview Street, Suite 232 Burlington, ON L7L 6E8 Tel: 289-337-4305 Fax: 289-337-4187 Contact: Terry Davey | Art Direction & Design by Jeanette Thompson Tel: 519-650-2024 ©2013 Canadian Golf Superintendents Association. All rights reserved. The views expressed by the authors of articles or letters published in GreenMaster are not those of the Association and, therefore, the Association shall not be held liable for any of these views. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of the Association. GreenMaster® is a registered trademark of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association. All rights reserved.


FEBRUARY 17th – 21st, 2014

CGSA Fall Field Day

Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show

Wascana Golf and Country Club Regina, Saskatchewan Host Superintendent: Mike Kupchanko

Managing editor & Advertising Sales: Bill Garrett, CEM Tel: 905-602-8873 ext. 224

CANADA POST PUBLICATIONS MAIL PUBLICATIONS AGREEMENT No. 40025905 Return undeliverable copies to: Canadian Golf Superintendents’ Association 5520 Explorer Drive, Suite 205 Mississauga, ON L4W 5L1

Vancouver Convention Centre Vancouver, British Columbia

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 5

It’s why Shawn Emerson uses us on every one of his 108 holes. Desert Mountain, Cochise Course

Six courses. 200 employees. To put it mildly, Shawn Emerson, Director of Agronomy at Desert Mountain, has a lot on his plate. Which is why he counts on John Deere to keep this collection of Jack Nicklaus courses in perfect shape. From our hybrid fairway and greens mowers to our heavy-duty utility vehicles, Shawn and his crew use only John Deere equipment, sun up to sundown. Says Shawn, “There’s a lot of things I worry about. But John Deere isn’t one of them.”

Trusted by the best courses on Earth.


con te n ts ◗ MAY / June 2013



2012 Compensation Survey


Setting the Bargaining Table

Increased course value means contract leverage


Preparing for the PGA


CGSA President John Mills remains


Five Key Strategies for Tree Management


Aeration and Topdressing


A Day in the Life…


Developing Productive Gardens on Golf Courses

Connected to His Roots















Tragedy and Hope at Crow Bush Cove

42 MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 7

v ie wp oi n t ◗ john mills

“The CGSA strives to make leadership a common thread that weaves through all of the its initiatives.” John Mills, CGSA President John Mills, president

Leadership: More than a Title Leadership : Plus qu’un titre ◗ It only seems fitting that I begin a discussion on leadership by recognizing the dedicated guidance that Tim Kubash brought to the presidency of the CGSA. On behalf of the entire membership, thank you for all of your insight and direction during your term. Enjoy your year as Past President, but be prepared for the odd phone call asking for your input. Let me also recognize Debbie Amirault for her dedication to the CGSA Board of Directors over the last eight years. It is a huge commitment of time and energy for anyone who steps forward to serve as a CGSA Director. Thank you for all your passion and insights and I wish you well in your “retirement” from the golf industry. As golf course superintendents, we aspire to be leaders on our respective properties. Leadership is so much more than having the title that goes with being the person in charge. There are plenty of people in a leadership role who do not possess the skills and character to be effective as a leader. Some people have a natural quality about them that commands respect and which results in people listening and following their lead. Generally, effective leaders have great communication skills, a vision, a sense of purpose, confidence and a willingness to hold themselves to high personal standards. All of these attributes can be developed by investing time and effort into one’s personal development and not taking it for granted. The CGSA Board of Directors identified leadership as one of the three key initiatives of the strategic plan that was developed last year. In order for the 8 greenMaster |

CGSA to be effective in carrying out its vision to keep the CGSA essential to success in the golf course management industry through a mission to provide support for and promote the golf course management profession, we must be mindful of our role as industry leaders and work towards continuous improvements in the area of leadership. This is not to suggest that the CGSA has not been providing strong leadership in the past. Quite to the contrary. The CGSA has provided great leadership since 1966; otherwise our profession would not enjoy the professional recognition that it does today. By listing it as a key initiative we are reinforcing its importance and our desire to create an awareness of its importance within the profession and the golf industry. We should never take leadership for granted, personally or organizationally. If we do, that is precisely when leadership will be absent. The CGSA strives to make leadership a common thread that weaves through all of its initiatives. Take the following as examples of CGSA leadership: the development of the National Occupation Standards for the golf course management profession, the organization and delivery of the country’s leading annual turfgrass and golf course management conference and trade show, the initiation of the National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA), the continuing development of environmental policy and best practices papers and the ongoing collection of data and release of statistical information on compensation and environmental best practices at

the national level. There are many other examples of leadership and still many opportunities for the CGSA to demonstrate its commitment to this important association characteristic and key focus area. These same principles apply to how we, as superintendents, conduct our day to day interactions while carrying out our golf course management responsibilities. Effective leadership skills will ensure proper management of the facility and its resources, especially in the areas of staffing, long range planning, member/board/customer relations and the development of sound agronomic programs. Just as I encourage the CGSA not to get complacent with respect to leadership, I also remind everyone not to take leadership for granted. Look for opportunities to seek professional development in this important area and never leave it to chance. In closing, a heartfelt thank you to all who were able to travel to Toronto back in January for the joint CGSA/OGSA conference. It truly was a great week and I extend an invitation to everyone in the golf sector to join us in Vancouver in February 2014. GM ◗ Il me semble tout à fait approprié de commencer cet article sur le leadership en soulignant la contribution exceptionnelle à cet égard de M. Tim Kubash, président sortant de l’ACSG. Au nom de tous les membres de l’association, je vous remercie de la direction éclairée que vous nous avez

donnée au cours de votre mandat et de votre sens de l’organisation. Je vous souhaite une bonne année à titre de président sortant, mais attendez-vous de recevoir quelques appels téléphoniques à l’occasion pour vous demander conseil! J’aimerais également souligner le dévouement exceptionnel de Mme Debbie Amirault au conseil d’administration de l’ACSG au cours des huit dernières années. Pour servir à titre d’administrateur de l’ACSG, il faut être prêt à y consacrer beaucoup de temps et d’énergie. Merci Mme Amirault pour votre passion et votre expertise. Je vous souhaite une bonne « retraite » de l’industrie du golf. À titre de surintendant de terrain de golf, nous voulons tous devenir les chefs de file de nos clubs respectifs. Mais le leadership ne vient pas automatiquement avec la fonction de chef que nous occupons. Plusieurs personnes détiennent un tel poste sans posséder le caractère et les compétences nécessaires pour être efficaces en tant que leader. D’autres possèdent naturellement les qualités requises pour imposer le respect, se faire écouter et assumer la direction. De manière générale, un leader efficace possède des talents exceptionnels de communicateur, une vision, de la détermination, de la confiance en soi et la volonté de se donner des normes personnelles très élevées. Pour se doter de tels attributs, il faut investir beaucoup de temps et d’effort dans sa propre croissance personnelle et ne rien prendre pour acquis. Le leadership est l’un des trois points clés du plan stratégique élaboré l’année dernière par le conseil d’administration de l’ACSG. Pour soutenir et défendre la profession de gestionnaire de terrain de golf, conformément à notre mission, et continuer d’avoir de l’impact dans le monde du golf, nous devons accorder une importance particulière à notre rôle de chef de file de l’industrie et toujours améliorer nos compétences en ce qui a trait au leadership. Ceci n’implique pas que l’ACSG n’ait pas fait preuve d’un solide leadership dans le passé. Bien au contraire. Depuis 1966, l’ACSG joue un rôle de premier plan. Autrement, notre profession ne profiterait pas de la reconnaissance qu’elle obtient aujourd’hui. En faisant du leadership un élément clé de notre organisation, nous voulons simplement sensibiliser

notre profession et toute l’industrie à l’importance de cette question. Il ne faut jamais prendre le leadership pour acquis, que ce soit au plan personnel ou organisationnel. Si nous le faisons, c’est à ce moment même qu’il nous échappera. L’ACSG tente de faire en sorte que le leadership devienne le fil conducteur de toutes ses initiatives. Prenons les exemples suivants où l’ACSG a joué un rôle de tout premier plan : la mise au point des normes professionnelles nationales pour la profession de surintendant de terrain de golf; l’organisation et la direction du congrès et salon annuels des gestionnaires du gazon et des terraines de golf; le lancement de la National Allied Golf Associations (NAGA); le perfectionnement continu des politiques environnementales; la mise en valeur des meilleures pratiques professionnelles; l’enrichissement continu de nos données sur la compensation des surintendants et les meilleures pratiques environnementales au niveau national. L’ACSG exerce son ascendant dans plusieurs autres domaines d’activité et se montre résolu à poursuivre sur la même voie en accordant toujours au leadership une priorité majeure au sein de l’association. Les mêmes principes s’appliquent à nous, en tant que surintendant, dans nos interactions quotidiennes pour assumer nos responsabilités de gestionnaire de terrain de golf. Nos qualités de chef nous permettent de bien gérer notre parcours et nos ressources, particulièrement dans le domaine du recrutement, de la planification à long terme, de nos relations avec les membres, le conseil d’administration et les clients, et dans la mise en place de pratiques agronomiques rationnelles. J’encourage l’ACSG et tous les surintendants à ne jamais prendre le leadership pour acquis. Saisissez les occasions de vous perfectionner professionnellement dans ce domaine d’expertise très important et ne laissez rien au hasard. En terminant, je remercie chaleureusement tous ceux qui ont été en mesure de participer au congrès de l’ACSG et de l’OGSA à Toronto en janvier dernier. Nous avons passé une semaine très enrichissante. Je lance maintenant l’invitation à tous les intervenants de l’industrie du golf à se joindre à nous en février 2014 à Vancouver. GM

“L’ACSA tente de faire en sorte que le leadership devienne le fil conducteur de toutes ses initiatives.” John Mills, CGSA President

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 9

v ie wp oi n t ◗ ken cousineau

“Being prepared to address issues, deal with personalities, consider ‘what if ’ scenarios and plot strategy is the only way that my people can function in the arena of the meeting.” Ken Cousineau, CGSA Executive Director ken cousineau, CAE executive director

Bloody Committees – Bless Their Consensus-Building Hearts Et une réunion de plus! – À la recherche du consensus et de l’efficacité ◗ In the late 1970s, there was a popular movie making the rounds of many public sector boardrooms. It was a spoof on the corporate approach to the establishment of committees to deal with every nuance of management. The video portrayed a manager, played by John Cleese of Monty Python fame, being put on trial for various meeting-related offences. The premise was it was criminal to conduct meetings without giving every aspect of the meeting proper consideration. The participants, the timing and location, the agenda and the expected outcomes all needed to be thought through in order to make the meeting effective and efficient. A favorite scene of mine is when Cleese’s character is being asked about a meeting coming up in a few days. He responds by saying they should have a meeting about the meeting! I am sure that many of you have been guilty of similar actions. I know that I have. In many cases there is much time spent justifying the importance and necessity of the meeting about the meeting. Being prepared to address issues, deal with personalities, consider “what if” scenarios and plot strategy is the only way that many people can function in the arena of the meeting. Let’s consider the typical superintendent working at a member club and dealing with both a Greens Committee and a Board of Directors. You may have a 10 greenMaster |

monthly meeting with each of these groups, each involving an agenda, report preparation, presentation of information and a follow-up on decisions that were finalized during the previous meeting. If this is your scenario, you are no doubt holding preparation meetings with your staff and other organizational leaders to prepare for the meeting. It becomes painfully obvious that many hours each month are dedicated to this very prevalent management activity. For an association, meetings are vital and the committee structure that is implemented can make the association sing or it can create chaos in the decisionmaking process. The CGSA committee structure has become integral to the operation of the association. The upside is it provides opportunities for members to be active within the association and for the Board of Directors to get collegial input prior to making important decisions. The downside is the decision-making time often required to work an issue through a committee. This makes meeting management critical if committee effectiveness is going to be retained. CGSA committees are appointed annually in six key areas: Communications, Public Relations and Marketing; Environment; Member Services; Professional Development and Research; Conference and Events and the Equipment Technicians Advisory

Committee. With the exception of governance issues, these six committees deal with the vast majority of association matters. The primary mandate for each is to monitor activity in their respective area of interest, provide the Board of Directors with input and recommendations and provide advice to the Board of Directors as requested. These standing committees have a Chair and Vice-Chair who are appointed from the Board. The other appointees are predominantly CGSA members who have volunteered to serve the association in that capacity. The association also has three governance committees which do not meet regularly, but are appointed on an annual basis. These include the Management, Nominating and Accreditation Committees. These three groups meet when an issue is presented to the association that requires their input. No issues, no meetings. Another component of the committee system at the CGSA is the ad hoc advisory committee. These are seldom appointed, but when they are, they are given a specific mandate, a timeframe within which to operate and are automatically sunset upon completion of that mandate. These usually, but not always, involve members of the Board of Directors and typically have a short life cycle. The most prominent example of this with the CGSA is the Conference Coordinating

Committee. This committee is appointed annually, always has a new Chair, sometime jointly held with a partner organization, and has a specific mandate to provide a complete program of events for the upcoming Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show. When the input and mandates of these committees, sub-committees, ad hoc groups and governance bodies is considered, the combined impact is significant in ensuring organizational success for the CGSA. Thanks to all of the volunteers that help with this important element of the association and please consider stepping forward at a future date. Your involvement does take time but it makes your association more relevant and more effective. GM ◗ Vers la fin des années 70, un sketch comique a fait le tour de plusieurs conseils d’administration du secteur public. Il s’agissait d’une parodie sur le recours aux comités dans les grandes entreprises pour s’occuper de toutes les facettes de la gestion. Un gestionnaire, interprété par John Cleese, du célèbre groupe d’humoristes britanniques Monthy Python, fait un cauchemar dans lequel il est accusé de conduite de réunion négligente. Il doit répondre à plusieurs chefs d’accusation, dont le défaut de préparation, d’information des participants, d’ordre du jour, de conduite d’animation et de compte rendu, toutes des questions auxquelles il aurait dû penser pour que ses réunions soient plus courtes et plus productives. Dans l’une de mes scènes préférées, le personnage de Cleese suggère de tenir une réunion afin de discuter de la prochaine réunion qui aura lieu dans quelques jours! Je suis certain que plusieurs d’entre vous ont déjà commis certaines des fautes illustrées par le personnage de Cleese. En tout cas, je dois moi-même reconnaître ma culpabilité. Dans bien des cas, nous passons beaucoup de temps à justifier la nécessité de tenir une réunion au sujet d’une autre réunion. Le seul moyen de bien fonctionner au cours d’une réunion, c’est de bien se préparer pour aborder les questions en jeu, composer avec les diverses personnalités autour de la table, envisager divers scénarios hypothétiques et préparer sa stratégie en conséquence. Prenons par exemple le cas d’un surintendant qui travaille dans un club membre et qui doit traiter avec le

comité de l’environnement et le conseil d’administration. Ce surintendant doit probablement tenir une réunion mensuelle avec chacun de ces groupes, préparer l’ordre du jour, rédiger un rapport et faire le suivi des décisions prises au cours de la réunion précédente. Si cela correspond à votre réalité, il ne fait aucun doute que vous tenez des réunions préparatoires avec votre personnel et autres directeurs organisationnels afin de vous préparer en vue de cette réunion. La douloureuse évidence est que vous consacrez de nombreuses heures tous les mois à cette activité incontournable de la gestion. Pour une association, les réunions sont essentielles et la structure organisationnelle faisant appel à des comités peut avoir un effet bénéfique ou dévastateur sur la prise de décision. Pour l’ACSG la structure des comités est devenue un élément intégral du fonctionnement de l’association. L’avantage, c’est que les comités permettent aux membres d’être actifs dans l’association et au conseil d’administration de profiter de cette participation collégiale avant de prendre d’importantes décisions. L’inconvénient, c’est que le processus de prise de décision prend plus de temps lorsque la question doit tout d’abord être discutée dans un comité. La bonne gestion des réunions est donc essentielle pour assurer l’efficacité et la pertinence des comités. Les comités de l’ACSG sont mis en place une fois par année dans six secteurs clés : communications, relations publiques et marketing; services aux membres; perfectionnement professionnel et recherche; congrès; techniciens de l’équipement. Exception faite de la gouvernance, ces six comités se chargent de la vaste majorité des questions entourant le bon fonctionnement de l’association. Le mandat principal de chacun de ces comités consiste à suivre de près l’activité dans son champ d’intérêt

respectif et à donner au conseil ses commentaires et recommandations. Le conseil nomme le président et le viceprésident de chacun de ces comités. Les autres participants sont en grande partie des membres de l’ACSG qui ont offert de servir bénévolement l’association. De plus, trois comités de la gouvernance sont nommés une fois l’an par l’association. Il s’agit des comités de la gestion, des mises en candidature et de l’agrément. Ces trois groupes se réunissent seulement si une question en particulier requiert leur contribution. Dans le cas contraire, il n’y a pas de réunion. Les comités consultatifs ad hoc sont un autre élément de cette structure organisationnelle de l’ACSG. Ce type de comité est rarement mis sur pied, mais si l’occasion se présente, un mandat spécifique lui est confié, un délai de fonctionnement est fixé et, une fois le mandat rempli, il est automatiquement dissous. Le cycle de vie d’un tel comité est très court et il est formé habituellement, mais pas toujours, par des membres du conseil d’administration. Le comité de la coordination du congrès en est un bon exemple. Ce comité est nommé annuellement et il a toujours un nouveau président à sa tête. Parfois, une organisation partenaire y participe, dont le mandat précis est de préparer un programme complet en vue du congrès canadien et salon international sur le gazon. Le succès organisationnel de l’ACSG dépend beaucoup de la contribution des comités, sous-comités, groupes ad hoc et organes de gouvernance. Merci à tous les bénévoles qui apportent cette contribution importante au fonctionnement de l’organisation et à tous ceux qui décideront d’y participer dans l’avenir. Votre contribution demande du temps, mais elle assure la pertinence et l’efficacité de votre association. GM

“Le seul moyen de bien fonctionner au cours d’une réunion, c’est de bien se préparer pour aborder les questions en jeu, composer avec les diverses personnalités autour de la table, envisager divers scénarios hypothétiques et préparer sa stratégie en conséquence.” Ken Cousineau, CGSA Executive Director MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 11

NEWS F ROM T H E G REEN ◗ Marc Cousineau

Forward tee under construction, 9th hole, University Golf Club in vancouver

More is Less – Additional tees make for a shorter, player-friendly course ◗ The University Golf Club in Vancouver is making it easier for golfers of all ages and expertise to play the game by building new tee decks that will shorten the course’s length. The eight new tees currently being created will reduce the length of the course to 5,200 yards for those who play these tees. That saves golfers about 500 yards in a round. This move comes after feedback from golfers around Canada and the globe who say longer courses are too hard to play and discourage participation in the sport. “We know that our layout for many women and beginners is pretty tough,” says University Golf Club general manager Michael Mather. “With the addition of these eight new forward tees (four on each side) we think it’s a pretty good yardage.” The tees are scheduled to be completed by June 1, but the project may only be in its initial stage. The course may add up to six more tees in 2014 to further reduce the yardage of the course to about 4,800 yards, according to Mather. 12 greenMaster |

Pebble Beach fights unlikely pest with even more unlikely source

Forward tee under construction, 2nd hole, University Golf ClUB

“I think it will be one more thing here at the golf course that just makes it even more player-friendly and enjoyable,” Mather says. This isn’t the first innovative initiative the University Golf Club has implemented. The club joined other local businesses in the Zero Heroes pilot project in 2012. The program aimed to reduce individual business waste rates to less than 25 per cent.

◗ Pests don’t just come from the ground and can bother more than just turfgrass and trees at Pebble Beach Golf Course. One of the biggest bothers at the prestigious course comes from the air, is a nuisance for golfers on and off the course and comes in the form of pestering seagulls that pervade the fairways and outdoor eating areas. Pebble Beach has had a problem with seagulls sweeping in from above and bothering guests at the course, mainly diners at the restaurant, as they search for scraps of food. The course’s answer: fight fire with fire, or rather, birds with birds. Jim Tigan and his falcon Fluffy were called in to take care of the problem. In the wilderness, Jim Tigan says, falcons and eagles circle the sky to scare away predators from their young and to establish territory. At Pebble Beach,

Fluffy is doing basically the same thing. Instead of protecting baby falcons, Fluffy is helping Pebble Beach visitors. “We create a no-fly zone,” Kathleen Tigan, Jim’s wife and co-owner of Tactical Avian Predators and Raptor Adventures said. “We put pressure and stress on the (pestering) bird, and they actively leave the area.”

Philip Somerville 1959 – 2013 ◗ We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of our colleague, Philip Somerville. Prior to his untimely passing, Phil was part of the MANA Canada Philip somerville team, where he was Quali-Pro Business Manager, Eastern Business Manager and New Product Development Manager.

Martin to repeat as Golf Saskatchewan president ◗ Moe Martin is returning as president of Golf Saskatchewan moe martin for 2013-2014 after he was elected at the organization’s Annual General Meeting on April 14 in Saskatoon. Martin becomes the second returning president in five years after Byron Harvie of Saskatoon also repeated as president in 2009-2010. “I believe Golf Saskatchewan, in collaboration with our members, member clubs and key industry stakeholders, will continue to grow golf and the game in Saskatchewan,” said Martin after board members voted him in for a second time. “I also look forward to helping Golf Saskatchewan achieve the goals set out in our strategic plan,” he said. Also as part of the proceedings, Golf

Saskatchewan officially announced a complete change to all branding and legal designation from the Saskatchewan Golf Association. With that, all parts to the bylaws of the association now reflect the change in title.

Pictured (From Left to Right) Cameron Shaw (Recipient: Future Superintendent of the Year), Sean Lavin (Turf Care Products Canada), Peter Purvis (GTI), and Dean Armstrong (Toro).

Toro Donates Irrigation Central Control ◗ The Toro Company (Toro) is proud to sponsor the Future Superintendent of the Year Award in conjunction with the Canadian Golf Course Superintendents Association (CGSA). In October 2012, Toro donated a new Lynx® Computerized Central Control to the Guelph Turfgrass Institute (GTI), the former turfgrass school of 2012 Future Superintendent of the Year Award recipient, Cameron Shaw. Turf Care Products Canada donated the set-up, installation, programming and training for the new system. The new Lynx® central computer replaced the GTI’s long-serving Toro SitePro® and will allow the GTI to irrigate its site with the latest technology while providing turfgrass students the opportunity to learn about modern irrigation central control. GM

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MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 13

fe ature ◗ ken cousineau, cae

2012 Compensation Survey ◗ An annual survey of superintendents

from across Canada reveals the average salary for a superintendent at an 18 hole golf course in Canada in 2012 was $81,106. This is one of several hundred pieces of information contained in the 2013 version of the CGSA “Survey of Benefits and Compensation for Golf Superintendents” which was released to members in early January. Based on a response rate of 33% from CGSA member superintendents, the survey results look at compensation, benefits and operating practices, including maintenance and capital budgets, staffing, hours of work, vacation allowances, performance review methods and superintendent demographics. The survey also collects data on a number of variables, making it possible to do cross-Canada comparisons of courses with similar characteristics. The report begins with a series of 11 tables that compare salaries for superintendents based on factors including

Part III, Table 4: Average Annual Superintendent Salary Statistics

Annual Salary 2008

















Sample Size






overall results, type of golf course (private, semi-private, etc.), location, rounds played, number of holes, age, gender, education and turf-related education levels, years of experience, certification and as a percentage of operating budget. These tables compare 2012 to 2011 results for the same question or to the results from the previous four years. Most of the tables present the average, median, minimum and maximum results for the variable being analyzed. (See Table 4, Parts III and V and Table 11 for examples.) In 2012, average salaries increased by

approximately 5.0% across the board with the highest increase seen at resort courses where the average salary increased by 6.5%. Eastern Ontario superintendents received the lowest average salary of any region of the country, while the highest salaries were reported by superintendents aged 61 and over and those with more than 30 years of experience in the golf industry. Certified superintendents were paid 8.9% more than non-certified superintendents on average and the average percentage that a superintendent’s salary was of the facility’s operating budget in 2012 was 15.3%. That

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Part V, Table 4: Total Compensation Package for Superintendents Statistics

Environmental Management Center for Golf Maintenance Facilities

Total Package Value 2008

















Sample Size






Executive Summary, Table 11: Ratio of Superintendents’ Annual Salary to Operating Budget Statistics

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Ratio of Salary to Operating Budget 2008

















Sample Size






percentage represents an increase of 1.7 percentage points, or 12.5%, from the 2008 figure of 13.6%, but a decrease of 1.9 points, or 11.0%, since 2010. When the salary to operating budget ratio increases, it indicates that salaries are increasing at a higher rate than operating budgets. The report also indicates that the percentage of operating budgets allocated to salaries and benefits increased from 57% in 2011 to 58% in 2012, indicating that salary costs increased by a higher rate than overall operating costs in 2012. This ratio has remained fairly consistent over the past five years, ranging between 57 and 58% during that period. With respect to superintendents, the following statistics apply: • 58% of superintendents have contracts and 60% of the contracts are for terms between 12 and 36 months. • 91% of superintendents have a 12 month work year while 4% work nine months or less. • 49% of superintendents receive an annual bonus and the average bonus is $6,318. • The average time worked per week during the golf season was 55.45 hours. • On average, for any given benefit, approximately 28% of superintendents are not receiving coverage (for example, 29% are not provided with accident insurance, 30% for vision care and 22% when it comes to dental services); 2% receive cash in lieu of benefits. • 73% do receive some form of employer

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• 98% receive some form of vehicle or vehicle allowance and 94% chose a pickup truck as their work related vehicle.

• The average professional development 410455_Carbtrol.indd budget is $4758. • The average vacation days were 25 and 51% of superintendents are allowed to take some or all of their vacation time during the golf season.



9:39:51 AM


With respect to total compensation, the average for 2012 was $93,316. This represents an increase of 6.2% over the 2008 total compensation figure or an average annual increase of 1.55% since 2008. With respect to other golf course management personnel, the survey results include statistics on salary, hours worked and benefits for assistant superintendents, equipment technicians, foremen, horticulturalists, irrigation specialists, spray technicians, labourers and administrative assistants. There is also a complete section that deals with further details related to the equipment technician and the operation of the maintenance shop. The CGSA survey of “Benefits and Compensation for Golf Superintendents” is an annual report that is published and, for the first time in 2013, distributed to all CGSA superintendent members. Non-members can purchase the report by contacting Lori Micucci at the CGSA office. GM Quality Signs Since 1983

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2013 | greenMaster 15 PM 12/15/10 12:26:42

fe ature ◗ ROSS dunsmore

Setting the Bargaining Table Increased course value means contract leverage ◗ One expectation with the publication

This article is the first in a series to introduce a prototype employment contract for members to consider in the future. The goal is to inform all members of some of their basic employment rights to permit more informed negotiations of future contracts. Since employment laws are provincially regulated, these comments will not replace the need for local legal assistance in individual cases.

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of a prototype contract is that members will begin to use it and insist upon its terms as much as possible. Having a common approach to contract structure and basic principles makes a lot of sense even though dollar amounts and benefits may vary from case to case. There will be strength in numbers as over time more and more members insist on a common contract structure. In this context, a plan to promote a simple and speedy crosscountry system for dispute resolution will be proposed. This will certainly make sense for all parties when finding a way to avoid costly and inefficient legal disputes.

Bargaining Power

All negotiations are different, even from the same position. We know from published surveys of employment settings that substantial differences in terms and conditions have been achieved across the country and among different sized golf clubs. Why do variations occur? The bottom line is the superintendent’s value is different for every organization. Enhancing that value improves one’s bargaining position. A superintendent’s value to an organization is usually related to the unique contributions the individual makes and the degree to which those contributions could be adequately replaced by the employer. On one hand, we have the best superintendent in the country who can write their own ticket. On the other, there is the person at a small club, in a faraway locale, who is told to take the minimum or leave because they can be easily replaced. The bargaining power of the superintendent rises or falls according to the lengths the club is willing to go to find a replacement. What affects the replacement question? Cost for sure. Compared to the market

norm, is the employee highly paid, at par or underpaid? Performance counts too. The better the job is done, the greater the effort to keep the good or great performer. Special skills or talents delivered to the job also can increase the value equation. If the superintendent is a respected environmentalist, very knowledgeable about soil and grass management or an effective people manager who reduces problems for the club, his or her value will be higher. If the superintendent has implemented special local practices or managed the reconstruction of holes or drainage systems which give him or her important insight into operations, this history creates value. The information gained over time cannot be easily replaced. There is also a risk for the employer during the time when a replacement is learning what the former superintendent already knew. Almost no one intentionally brings upon themselves more hassle than is necessary. The more valuable others believe an employee is, the less likely it is that they will try to remove that person because of the time, cost and risk involved. Relationship building is also a significant consideration. If the superintendent has been an effective member of the club management team, creating solutions instead of problems, the future should be bright. If the superintendent is well regarded by the employees he supervises and can manage without creating labour relations problems, the prospects for continued employment will be high. If the superintendent is known to the membership and praised for his or her contribution to the pleasure of the club members and their pride in the club, there will be a desire to retain the person seen to be responsible. Making others look good is a strong investment in one’s future. However, it works the other way too;

Contract Language

Part of the planning involves having good, clear language which expresses in writing contract terms satisfactory to both parties. More on this subject will follow in subsequent articles. GM


Ross Dunsmore specializes in change management, reorganization and amalgamation. He has worked with many employers on procedures to avoid third party intervention. His practice encompasses analysis and resolution of work place disputes from grievances and human rights complaints to wrongful dismissals. His focus is economical strategies to avoid expensive disputes

• TS



CGSA Fall Field Day

campaign tactics to popularize this idea with all the club decision makers over the time available. Significant improvements are rarely collected from last minute demands. Proper preparation involves convincing the other side, by your actions, that what you wish to secure is reasonable. Often, the passage of time turns novel ideas into commonplace concepts. This is why the skilled bargainer is working every day for the next agreement.


The most effective bargainers are always those who are well prepared. Information is the currency of good negotiators. The more that is known about the situation and the details of the employment setting, the more comprehensive the bargaining plan can be. Preparation for the next agreement starts the day the present agreement is signed. This is when one determines the persons with whom relationships will be important. This is when the operational goals to be achieved during the term of the contract must be identified so they can be fulfilled. This is when to begin research on the conditions of employment other colleagues have secured elsewhere. This is the time to begin the communications plan necessary to ensure that good news about the superintendent and course management is circulated regularly. During the term of the agreement, everything is about creating an environment that is as positive as possible to facilitate the next negotiations. Furthermore, if a bargaining goal is to add new terms like a dental plan or an RRSP contribution, one must develop the


Proper Preparation


bargaining power will decrease if negative things have been occurring at work. For example, a bad economic year at the club may diminish the capacity of the superintendent to maintain his value, especially if he or she is highly paid in the market place and has two experienced, junior assistants ready to advance. The balance between cost of employment and replacement cost may twist towards the younger, cheaper candidate. A financial problem for the club is clearly a financial problem for all employees who are dependent upon the club for pay and employment. Improvements to employment are much easier to negotiate in a strong, economic climate. Similarly, if a number of personnel changes occur at the board level, bargaining with brand new members, with whom one does not have a relationship with, is always problematic. Their agendas may be different from those they replaced. They may feel mandated to effect change. They may also need to be seen to acting on their mandate. The superintendent can be a target in this situation.

Hole #7, Wascana Country Club

Monday September 23rd, 2013 Wascana Country Club Regina, Saskatchewan

Host Superintendent:

Mike Kupchanko MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 17

feature ◗ Mitch Davidson

Mitch Davidson and classmates brave the cold during a lesson at Olds College.

Making the Transition

Reflections of a first-year superintendent re-invent the wheel. There are so many ◗ Being like most turfgrass students other aspects of the position you will coming out of college, my goal was to need to work on and develop. Last become a superintendent. Five years season’s plan involved using many later and after 10 years total in the practices and products I have used, and industry, I had the opportunity to make been successful with, in the past. These the jump to the position. strategies kept the number of unknowns I felt confident in my abilities heading to a minimum. into last season. I had some great Planning and communication are keys mentors along the way that prepared for the success of your team and you as a me for the many different challenges I leader. It is easy to get pulled in a million might face as a superintendent. Coming different directions and to have many into a new course where the unknown things on your mind at once. issues were greater than the known, I am Having a solid plan in place on paper, privileged to have had the guidance of and communicating this plan with support these individuals to help me through the staff, will allow the operation to run challenges our team faced. smoothly even if you are indisposed of. A As a first-year superintendent, Getting dirty comes with the territory well laid out plan will also prevent your there were definitely days where I felt of being a golf course superintendent. team from being confused about the tasks overwhelmed and wondered if we would at hand and keep everyone motivated. continue to make progress. With a great As well, it is important for your assistant superintendent to supporting cast on our turf care team we continued to push understand all aspects of the operation so they are an extension forward and tackle the issues we faced one by one. I took away of you. They need to have the knowledge and confidence to be a handful of lessons this past season that definitely helped me able to make the right decision at all times. grow as a person and a manager. As an assistant superintendent, I was mainly focused on the Retired superintendent Ralph Watkins gave me the great day-to-day operation of the golf course. Being a superintendent, advice of “keeping it simple” during the first few weeks of being I find myself looking further ahead. in my new position. This was something I tried hard not to Long range planning has taken a lot of my focus this past deviate from, especially coming into a new property. season. It is important to identify the direction the club wants to As a first-year superintendent, I think it is important to not

18 greenMaster |

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

As a first-year superintendent, I think it is important to not re-invent the wheel. There are so many other aspects of the position you will need to work on and develop. head and prioritize the improvements that need to be made. As a superintendent, it is your job to make the board of directions aware of what areas of the course need attention. Keeping all lines of communication open will make your job easier and ensure that golfers, other managers and the board of directors are educated on the direction of the turf care team. Making sure these groups are informed will allow your operation to be transparent and make it easier to explain issues if they arise. This past season, we had major issues with the irrigation system. With the use of our turf care blog and meeting with our board of directors, I was able to communicate what improvements needed to be made by educating the board about irrigation systems. Even though many of the board members had no experience with irrigation systems, it is easy to explain to them how a properly operating system will save money and help improve the conditions of the course. I believe if you explain your point, relative to what your board or owners understand, you will have much more success in trying to accomplish your goals. As a first-year superintendent it was easy to get fully engaged in the golf course operation. The golf course is a reflection of you and your reputation as a turfgrass manager depends on the course conditions. I never thought I would be the guy that spent the night at the course making sure the irrigation system functions properly, but that was the case this past season. There are certain times when you have to be at the course, but being able to get away from the course is just as important. Once you hit that point of being burnt out at work, it is hard to motivate your crew as well as yourself. Time away from the course will allow you to focus on other aspects of your life that are important to you and will re-energize you for when you return to work. Finally, I believe it is important to genuinely appreciate your

team. Your success depends solely on the actions of your crew. There is nothing better than having a positive work environment where everyone takes pride in their work. I try to show appreciation as much as I can and usually it is the small gestures that mean the most. As a superintendent you are expected to lead your operation, but in all reality you are just another member of the team that has a role to fill. You are no better than anyone else and I would never expect anyone to do a task that I would not tackle myself. Lead by example, not by words. I will never forget my first season as a superintendent. Thank you to those individuals that always had time to lend an ear my way. It has never been so evident to me that we are lucky to work in such a great industry, with people always willing to help. On the other hand, I am happy that you can only be a firstyear superintendent once. GM Mitch Davidson, Superintendent, Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club.

Dinosaur Trail Golf and Country Club where Mitch Davidson tends the course.

596118_Buffalo.indd 1

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 19 7/11/12 9:43:18 AM

feature ◗ Marc Cousineau

Hole #3

Hole #16

Preparing for the PGA:

Glen Abbey readies for Canada’s largest golf tournment ◗ Preparing to welcome more than 150 world-renown men takes a while. Almost two years to be exact. It was in the fall of 2011 that the golf course management team at Glen Abbey Golf Club began getting ready for the 2013 PGA Canadian Open and transforming the course to challenge some of the greatest players in the world. And there was no better way to start doing so than to target a feature that draws the ire of players during the tournament; bunkers. “All the bunkers were renovated from wall to wall,” says superintendent Andrew Gyba. “This includes new drainage, fixing subgrades, putting in new sand and also going around and redoing all the sod work around the bunker, especially focusing on greenside bunkers. That was our biggest project.” Redoing bunkers was the groundwork, but Gyba and his team also looked a little higher to get the course in top shape for the Open. “We had to do a lot of tree work that had we had to get permits for, especially on our 11th tee, which is one of our signature holes,” says Gyba. “There was lots of overgrowth and it was well overdue for pruning, so we worked with a certified forester and the regional forester to go through the process and 20 greenMaster |

open up the whole thing beautifully.” Trees and bunkers were the two biggest projects, according to Gyba, but the whole course had to be looked at very closely and upgraded where necessary. The team at Glen Abbey worked on re-sodding and focused on preparing the pro tee decks with a main goal of aerifying them at least four times a year. These projects demanded a lot of time and attention, but the hardest part is yet to come for Gyba and his team, says the six-year veteran superintendent. “One of our biggest obstacles will be the amount of play we’re going to have on the course prior to the tournament,” says Gyba. “It’s a very busy property. We’re going to be closed for a week prior to advance week and before that we’re going to have to be very diligent that the course doesn’t get too chewed before the pros get here.” Gyba says he will institute some practical measures to keep the course in pristine condition for when the PGA visits, including closing down and fencing off the pro tees, being “incredibly diligent” with repairing ball marks and having a team completely dedicated to filling divots. These on-course measures also come with off-course responsibilities; mainly balancing the intense conditioning of the course with member access. “The key to that is communication,” says

Gyba of managing member expectations. “It starts with conversations throughout the whole process. You can’t keep anything behind closed doors.” “We fully intend on communicating our full aeration schedule to members and working with our corporate events coordinator to make sure events around the time of aeration are okay with that. We’re also going to take full advantage of member newsletters and email blasts and member meetings to let the members know what to expect.” But there is an advantage when your course has hosted the Canadian Open as many times as Glen Abbey has, a total of 11 times in the last 20 years. “A lot of our members have been through the Canadian Open before,” says Gyba, “and a lot of the membership has a realistic expectation of what we have to do to prepare and they are as excited as the rest of us to see the pros play their home course.” Glen Abbey’s members may have a lot of Canadian Open experience, but Gyba, however, does not. Gyba’s learning curve has been steep, but it is part of what makes preparing for the tournament a great experience, he says. “It’s constantly a learning experience,” says Gyba of preparing for the tournament. “Probably one of the experiences that I

Hole #18

value the most is the opportunity to work with the PGA tour agronomists. They are just an absolute wealth of knowledge and you learn what the standards are and how fast the greens really need to be and that sort of thing. I’m really excited to learn and see what I can take from the agronomists.” Gyba is looking forward to his PGA guests, but says he couldn’t have prepared the course without his loyal team behind him, including assistant superintendent Steve Spiers, equipment manager Doug Moir and Wayne St. Jean who has more than a decade of experience at Glen Abbey. “You’re only as good as the people who work for you,” says Gyba. “They are all a wealth of knowledge and can really help with the little things. You can never be afraid to ask questions to the people that are around you and draw from everyone’s experiences.” But a tournament the size of the Canadian Open requires a team just as large to have it go off without a hitch. That’s why Gyba will be looking to recruit 80-90 volunteers for the Open. There has been a lot of interest about these volunteer positions even before formal notices have gone up, especially from Gyba’s colleagues, he says “There’s a bit of a buzz going around, I’ve been getting a lot of interest. It’s nice to hear from some of my old friends in the industry that are now superintendents who are calling me and asking if we need anyone to rake bunkers for the tournament,” says Gyba. While managing so many people who do not have intimate knowledge of the course may seem daunting, Gyba says it is

easier than it appears. “Managing the volunteers is simple, you just have to stay organized and make sure that you have good people underneath you that you can rely on to manage to your standard.” One of those good people Gyba talks about is Steve Spiers, Glen Abbey’s assistant superintendent. Spiers says the Gleb Abbey team looked far and wide to find volunteers for the Open. “We went to the University of Guelph, the CGSA show and the OGSA show and put up posters and put together job postings,” says Spiers. The Glen Abbey team won’t be looking for just anyone to fill those crucial volunteer roles however. It’s going to take just the right formula says Spiers. “We’re looking for good, reliable people you can lean on because (Gyba and I) can’t do it just the two of us. We have to find people we can trust and have them lead and perform,” he says. Just as the volunteers must be reliable and trustworthy so to do the machines that mow, cut and trim the course into top condition. Doug Moir is the man who keeps the maintenance equipment running at its best ahead of and during the Open. Doing so takes a level of commitment that few are willing to give and fewer will realize. “Come July 1, I’ll be living (at Glen Abbey) for the whole month,” says Moir, the course’s equipment manager. “That’s when we really start putting our nose to the grindstone with double cutting, double rolling, sharpening blades twice. But from July 1, until the last guy

walks off the last green, I’ll be here 24 hours a day.” Even though it seems as if the conditions are extreme, Moir says the best advice he can give to future Canadian Open equipment managers is to treat tournament prep like the status quo. “Treat it as if it’s a regular day at the office,” says Moir. “Be patient because no one is going to yell or scream. They’re going to walk you through it.” For Gyba, preparing for the Canadian Open has taught him lessons; mainly that unity and resourcefulness abound on the golf course, powers that need to be harnessed to put on a successful tournament. “Don’t try to do it on your own and don’t pretend if you’ve never done it before that you know it all and that you can just figure it out as you go,” says Gyba by way of advice. “Everyone around you is a resource that you can draw from and learn from, whether it is a 15-year-old kid who has been raking bunkers for two months or a veteran guy who has been working at the club for 14 years. Draw from those experiences and manage those experiences.” GM

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 21

fe ature ◗ Rick Woelfel

CGSA President John Mills remains

Connected to His Roots ◗ His start in the business could be

described as unconventional; John Mills took a full-time job in the turf industry after just four weeks of formal training. But it quickly became apparent that Mills had found a calling and had a passion for his work. A quarter century later that passion is unabated. Today, Mills is the superintendent at Northumberland Links Golf Club in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, where he has spent virtually his entire career. He is also currently serving as President of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association, a post that provides him with a platform to help promote the turf industry, as well as the men and women who earn their livelihood from it. “Deep down, I believe there’s a responsibility to give back,” he says. “You do what you can, you respect and honor the organization that’s helped give professional meaning to the job you have.” Mills grew up in Tangier, NS, a small town on the Atlantic Coast, roughly an hour’s drive from Halifax. His father was a recreational golfer and Mills enjoyed spending time with him on the course. But he had no thoughts about golf as a career. “Where I grew up, there were no golf courses,” Mills says. “It was an hour’s drive to play golf. I just never thought of a golf course as a place people worked or saw any of the career opportunities. I was interested in things like meteorology.” Mills wound up at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS. He intended to focus on the sciences, but wound up with a business degree instead. After university, he took a job working in the guidance department at Dalhousie University in Halifax where he was encouraged by a colleague to take an

22 greenMaster |

aptitude test. The results showed Mills was ideally suited to a career working outdoors around plant life. With that knowledge in hand, he was soon off to the University of Guelph for a four-week short course on turf management. Upon completing the course, he was hired at Grandview Golf Club in Dartmouth, which was under construction at the time. The year was 1988. “I literally went from a part-time job working in an academic/university environment to an hourly ‘What do you need me to do next?’ kind of thing,” Mills recalls. “Once I got my taste of that, I wasn’t turning back.” The following year, Northumberland Links was looking for an assistant superintendent. Mills turned out to be the ideal candidate – meaning he was willing to work for what the club was willing to pay. The club was in the process of expanding from nine to 18 holes at the time. For someone like Mills who was energetic and enthusiastic it was the ideal place to be. “It was just fantastic,” Mills says now.

“I was still young enough and eager enough that the wage didn’t matter… You took what you got. I was driven.” In 1991, Mills assumed the head superintendents position at Northumberland Links, a post he would hold for the next eight years. It was a time of personal and professional growth; as busy as he was at his job, Mills found time to earn a two-year degree through the turfgrass management program at Penn State. With the support of his members, he spent two years juggling a split schedule, working at his club from mid-March into September, while spending the fall and winter at Penn State. Mills was happy at Northumberland Links, but as the 1999 season approached he was offered an opportunity that was too good to turn down. He was hired as the grow-in superintendent at Royal Oaks Golf Club in Moncton, New Brunswick. The daily-fee facility was Rees Jones’s first design effort in Canada and, at first, Mills was a one-man turf department. ◗ continued on page 24

“It was just fantastic. I was still young enough and eager enough that the wage didn’t matter… You took what you got. I was driven.” John Mills, CGSA President CGSA President John Mills

credit: Linda Graves,Serendipity Photography

May/June 2013 | greenMaster 23

fe ature ◗ Rick Woelfel

◗ continued from page 23

“It was kind of fun,” he recalls, “to start from scratch, plan out the maintenance facility, recruit and hire all your staff and build all that up in to a fully operational golf course; watching the golf course take shape and be part of every aspect of getting it constructed, then overseeing the grow-in, procuring all the equipment and putting all the pieces in place. “I think everybody should do that as part of their development as a golf superintendent.” Royal Oaks opened for play in July of 1999. Mills stayed through 2001, but by then he was looking for a new challenge. “When you’re used to looking at things from a construction/problem solving point of view and it becomes routine maintenance,” he explains, “that’s another mindset. It was time for a change.” As luck would have it, some of his old friends at Northumberland Links came calling. Mills returned there in 2002 as the head superintendent. A few years later he assumed additional management responsibilities, “It’s home now,” he says, “and it’s an awesome sight. We’re right along the shores of the Northumberland Strait. We have one par three that’s breathtaking.” “It’s like the rural community I was raised in. I guess it’s a good lifestyle.” Mills has always felt a deep connection to the CGSA. He recalls the early days of his career when other members would offer him advice and support. 24 greenMaster |

“The CGSA was a well I could go to for tons of information,” he says, “along with being with being a way of meeting people and learning the art side of it, as well as the science of it.” “Keep in mind, here I am in the early 90s, the superintendent of a golf course, and I’d only had four weeks of formal turf education. So the association for me was a source for learning, a source for networking, for acquiring all of the tools you need to be successful and to learn.” “As I progressed I realized the association is a lot more than that; it represents a whole profession. But at that point in time that’s what really attracted me to it; it gave me the opportunity to meet the people you need to meet and mentor with and learn from.” “As an association that’s one of things I think we do well among others, bring people together. And from there, great conversations and friendships form.” “You learn the science from a textbook, but you learn the art from interacting with other superintendents.” Mills’ earliest mentor in the industry was Mike DeYoung, the superintendent at Glenn Arbor Golf Club in Hammonds Place, NS. It was DeYoung who encouraged Mills to make a career in the turf industry and the two have had a close relationship ever since. “He was on the CGSA board when I got involved in the business,” Mills says. “When I was young and full of questions I would call him. He always had time. We would get into pretty lengthy turf discussions. He was

Aerial views of Northumberland links, pugwash, Nova scotia

probably pretty instrumental in introducing me to the association as well. A veteran of 35 years in the profession, DeYoung was named the CGSA’s Superintendent of the Year in 2006. He says Mills’ broad base of knowledge has been a key to his success. “He’s very tied to the tradition of not only the industry, but the game of golf in general,” DeYoung says. “His knowledge is so broad-based, which I think probably makes him unique in the industry. He understands golf, he understands business golf and he understands turf, so from that standpoint he’s extremely well rounded.” Mills himself first got involved with the administrative side of his profession when he served on the board of the Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association in the early 1990s. He was forced to step away from those responsibilities while he was studying at Penn State, but he was named to the CGSA Board of Directors in 2006 and has been part of it ever since. “I always seem to end up in those kinds of positions,” Mills says. “I don’t know if I innately seek them. It’s not like a conscious thing where I say ‘That’s that what I’m going to do.’ “I guess you get asked, you’re honored to be asked, you do your best, and you get involved.” Jim Nix, the superintendent at Abercombie Country Club in New Glasgow, NS, respects Mills’ passion for his work and his practical approach to issues affecting the association. “I think John has a passion for what

we do,” Nix says. “That’s common in our industry, but not as common as we think. He has a passion for growing grass. It’s a bit of a challenging time in the industry, but he understands the importance of the association and the importance of being financially sound. “He has the ability to sit back, listen, and take it all in.” Nancy Pierce has been the superintendent at Crowbush Cove on Prince Edward Island since she came to the club to oversee the grow-in. She’s had a close professional relationship with Mills ever since. “John is extraordinarily intelligent,” she says. “He’s one of the smartest people I know. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have representing our industry than John.” Mills has a pragmatic approach when it comes to association affairs. In an era when everyone in the golf industry is keeping a close eye on their bottom line, he notes it’s important the CGSA does the same thing. “I believe [the CGSA] is searching a little bit for an economically sustainable model,” he says. “We’ve had to utilize some of our reserve funds over the past two years to ensure that the level of service the members have come to expect is provided. However, it’s not sustainable to continue to operate with deficits. It looks like this year we’re going to be good, we’ve made some adjustments and changes over the last few years that are starting to pan out.” “But we’re facing some serious challenges that were brought on by the slowing of the economy.” One of those challenges is the

attendance at national conferences, which has fallen off in recent years, although the turnout at regional events remains strong. “In a perfect world we would be able to fund the association completely on our membership dues,” Mills says. “We wouldn’t be dependant on conferences as much as we are.” Mills is eager to see the association’s membership grow and see other superintendents take advantage of all it has to offer. “Being a member of the association gets you individual benefits,” he says, “but there’s also something about belonging to an organization that represents your profession and recognizing that organization. If it didn’t exist, where would your profession be?” As dedicated as Mills is to the work of the CGSA, his top priority continues to be meeting the needs of his members and daily-fee customers at Northumberland Links. He is quick to admit that the support of his members has been essential to his professional success and is careful not to take that support for granted. “Their support has been everything,” he says. “Without that, there’s a lot of pressure. I’ve seen guys dealing with some of that pressure because they’re in a private-club atmosphere. It’s almost like a coach in professional sports. You can be gone just because they get tired of looking at you.” “So you have to have that support. It’s key and I try not to take it for granted. You’ve got to work to keep that credibility every day. You’ve got to carry yourself the right way and earn it.” GM May/June 2013 | greenMaster 25

fe ature ◗ OWEN RUSSELL

Five Key Strategies for Tree Management ◗ At Markland Wood Golf Club in Toronto, the trees are an integral part of the golf course. They define the routing of holes and create strategy for the players. The golf course is almost 50-years-old, parkland style and situated on 90 acres along the Etobicoke Creek. As the superintendent at Markland, the management of 1,100 trees that line the fairways is a large responsibility. In this article, I will describe five key strategies to our tree management plan. By Illustrating our trials and successes, I hope it will assist other superintendents with their tree management challenges.

1. Create a Tree Inventory

The first step toward a successful tree management plan is knowing what trees you have on your property. This information allows you to examine your tree populations, develop a tree management strategy and record your progress. At Markland, we worked together with a certified arborist, a golf course architect and the Urban Forestry Planner from the City of Toronto to compile a list of 36 attributes we wanted to know about each tree and conducted a comprehensive tree inventory. This list included details such as: height, DBH, age, variety, shade impacts, protection for houses, native species, design impact, storm damage, wildlife present, etc. The arborist completed the tree inventory by touring the golf course, installing a numbered tag on each tree and entering the data for the 36 attributes into his GPS device. With the GPS data, the arborist created a digital map and a database of all the information on the trees. The map feature allows us to quickly look up the data on any tree by clicking on the specific tree icon. The map is an internetbased platform which allows us to access it from anywhere. The database feature allows us to search by specific attributes to provide lists of information quickly. For example, if we would like to determine the number of ash trees on the first hole, the information can be easily sorted, compiled and presented. 26 greenMaster |

Sugar Maple with Burr Oak

12-week-old Sycamore Saplings

Once the inventory is complete, it is important to keep the information current. Documenting all the tree work done each year provides information to assist in planning and budgeting for the future.

be a substantial threat. It was important to warn the membership about the EAB threat by presenting the significant design impacts and the financial costs of losing all of our ash in a short period of time, if left untreated.

2. Protect Your Trees

By using our inventory database, we determined that we have 214 ash trees on our property. With the proliferation of the Emerald Ash Borer in North America steadily spreading north, this became a major concern. During conversations with experts on the subject, it was obvious that if we were to do nothing, we would lose all our ash trees quickly. I presented this risk to the Board of Directors with a solution to protect the ash trees with TreeAzin®. The board was receptive and we began our protection program immediately. The TreeAzin® product needs to be injected into the trees around the base. A treatment is effective for two years, so we divided our ash inventory in half to treat a manageable 107 trees per season. These treatments required an additional $14,000 to be added to our annual tree maintenance budget. We document all of the TreeAzin® treatments by date, in our inventory. To date, we have lost only one ash tree to EAB, while the city trees are dying in record numbers. Not every golf course has a high ash tree population, so this pest would not

3. Tree Removal and Safety

When a tree dies, it can be a complex and emotional decision for the membership to deal with. At Markland, we left a signature sugar maple at the end of its lifecycle standing because of its strategic value to the golf hole. Because the tree was an important feature of the hole, we planted a Burr Oak in front of it to one day restore the strategic value. Unfortunately, the sugar maple eventually became a safety concern, as dead limbs were falling, and the tree had to be removed. Although the tree was missed, member safety is paramount. An arborist report is prepared to document required removals and we ensure that the members are informed. When a decision has been made to remove a dead tree, removal should be swift and efficient with limited golfer disruption. The keys to our operation’s expeditious tree removals are using skilled professionals for difficult take downs and using our grapple attachment for clean-up. With our grapple, we can clean-up trees five times quicker than in previous years. It is important to have staff members

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

that have completed a recognized chainsaw safety and training certification. Climbing and operating wood chippers and stump grinders also require appropriate safety training. Evaluate your crew’s skill level and do not take grass cutters with limited experience and put them in harm’s way. Skilled professionals are usually much more efficient and will assume liability for their crews. It is your job to protect your employees.

4. Promote your trees

The members at Markland are passionate about the trees on the property. In particular, there are four beautiful, old, native sycamore trees, one being an estimated 180-years-old that resides on the 12th hole. At Markland, 95 per cent of the golf course is located within a ravine. The City of Toronto has a strict ravine by-law that protects all trees in the ravine. We are required to prepare an arborist’s report and apply for permits for all tree removals. The permit application requires we replant three trees for every one we remove. When you are entrusted with the trees on your property, and constrained by strict regulations, you must do your best to create good relationships with local officials and declare your commitment to the trees. With this in mind, we decided to promote our sycamore trees. We worked collaboratively with the City of Toronto’s Urban Forestry Department to propagate some saplings from the seeds of these great trees. The city arborists were able to grow 72 saplings from our two sycamore seed pods. The city

planted 36 in Toronto’s High Park and we planted our 36 in two nursery sites on the course. The Markland members embraced the project and are extremely proud of their sycamore babies. After two summers in the nursery, they were ready to be planted on the course. We spaded out the two-year-old trees and planted them around the course. We were able to establish a relationship with the city regulators and demonstrate the club’s commitment to encouraging native trees on our property by joining forces with the Toronto Urban Forestry Department on the sycamore propagation project. As a result, our members were very proud when one of our sycamore trees was featured in the city’s “Great Trees of Toronto” calendar in 2010. Golf courses provide unique settings to highlight beautiful trees. Take the opportunity to allow your trees to promote your club.

5. Turf and Trees: Make it a Fair Fight

As turf managers, we have a priority to produce excellent quality turf for the golfers. At Markland, most of our trees were planted to define holes and establish routing for the golf course. Fifty years later, the turf is in competition with mature trees for sunlight and water. Our goal is to create an environment where the two can coexist. We have completed a shade analysis study for the greens at Markland and, as a result, have been able to strategically prune and remove specific trees to ensure proper morning sun on our greens. Allowing the

morning sun to reach the turf has improved turf quality, reduced incidences of disease and increased turf root mass. In most cases, pruning was sufficient to allow for appropriate light infiltration. The other great challenge is the competition between tree roots and turf for water in the late summer months. We have solved this problem by contracting a company to prune the trees’ roots with a root pruner that cuts two 10-inch-deep slits in the ground, severing the tree roots between the trees and our greens tees and fairways. This unit effectively cuts the tree roots with minimal turf disruption and gives the turf a competitive advantage over the tree roots for water, resulting in healthier turf conditions, less water use and reduced drought-induced disease incidences. Through proper pruning of the tree canopies and the root pruning, we have created an environment where turf and trees can successfully coexist. There are many factors to consider when managing trees on golf courses. At Markland, we created a working inventory that allows us to document all the removals, plantings and cultural practices that we administer. We have demonstrated our commitment to trees to the membership and the local authorities. Using this approach, we are able to justify and make fact-based decisions when managing the trees on our property. GM Owen Russell is superintendent at Markland Wood Country Club

above: Tree Root Pruner; right: the Sycamore on the 12th hole is estimated to be 180 years old.

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 27

fe ature ◗ alex satel, mfc & philip van Wassenaer, MFC

Fall colours accentuate the greens at Westmount Golf and Country Club. CREDIT: Philip van Wassenaer

Keeping Trees in Play Reasons and methods for tree protection and preservation on golf courses ◗ It has been said that a golf club

superintendent must choose between managing a high-performance golf course or an arboretum; in other words, that turf and trees can’t peacefully co-exist. While it is true that poorly-situated trees may adversely affect playability and course agronomics, with good planning and management a golf course can indeed offer world-class play among healthy, beautiful and mature trees. The fact is that a great many golfers value the amenities provided by trees, particularly on parkland style courses. Therefore, it is important to explore the reasons to preserve golf course trees and to understand effective methods to protect them from the changes golf courses may experience.

Reasons to Preserve Trees

The pages of golf journals are filled with reasons why trees are, at best, a barelymanageable headache for superintendents. In his unequivocally-titled article “Trees 28 greenMaster |

– the biggest problem of golf course turf”, former USGA Green Section Director James T. Snow cites four key reasons trees negatively impact turf quality, not to mention playability. These are: shade, poor air circulation, root competition and limb interference. Few golf professionals have stood in support of trees on golf courses. However, the reasons for preserving trees on many golf courses are numerous and wideranging. As a respectful counterpoint to Mr. Snow, we will outline just four key reasons (among many more) for preserving trees on golf courses. These include: • Elements of challenge • A range of architectural functions • Screening and safety • Ecological integrity Let us explore each reason in more detail.

Elements of challenge

In a 2004 survey of over 18,400 golfers ,

“personal challenge” was ranked second only to making “good shots” as the reason golfers play. The same survey suggests that golfers appreciate hazards, including trees, on between ten and twelve of eighteen holes. So, while every golfer likes to make good shots, the experience is enhanced by elements of challenge, such as those provided by tree trunks and limbs. As long as they are located at a reasonable distance and density, trees will encourage golfers to strategize their game and will reward those who play smart.

Architectural functions

A well-designed course is a unique combination of agronomic science, landscape architecture and art. Trees can contribute immensely to golf course aesthetics and make for a more enjoyable player experience. Studies show that humans are innately biophilic; we love natural elements and positively perceive the definition and contrast provided by

Large willow tree at the 14th green of St. Georges Golf and Country Club before (left) and after (right) successful pruning to achieve light goals. CREDIT: Alex Satel

trees in a landscape. This translates well to golf courses, where subtle changes in topography are accentuated by tree shapes, improving the visual and tactile experience of golf play. Trees also provide seasonal interest, which may encourage golfers to extend their playing seasons. Finally, trees markedly improve the perception of scale and distance, which every golfer knows is of great benefit.

Screening and safety

Countless unsuspecting players have undoubtedly been saved from a highflying mulligan by a well-placed tree. The physical form of trees makes them wellsuited to fulfill a natural screening function. Not only do they improve course safety by blocking errant shots; trees also screen out distracting or otherwise undesirable sights and sounds from neighbouring lands, helping players concentrate on their game, feel more secure and better enjoy the overall outdoor recreation experience.

Ecological functions

Golf courses, particularly those located within urban areas, can be vitally important from an ecological perspective. In Toronto, for example, most of the city’s courses are located in the remnants of forested valley lands. Therefore, maintaining trees helps maintain already-degraded natural functions such as wildlife habitats, migratory bird stopovers and linkages between remnant natural areas. Not only is this intrinsically important, but it can also make the golf experience better by providing opportunities for wildlife viewing and connection with nature.

Methods for protecting trees

In spite of the many reasons for preserving trees, situations do arise where they may be damaged or injured. However, there are also many scenarios in which significant tree injury or removal can be avoided while still achieving other course objectives. An in-depth exploration could fill many pages, so let us look at two common scenarios, reducing greens shading and construction of structural elements, where tree protection can be implemented effectively.

Reducing shade without resorting to tree removal

Superintendents are increasingly undertaking greens shade studies, which identify trees for removal and support these recommendations with enticing illustrations of increased sunlight penetration and graphs of improved grass development. Before firing up the chainsaw, it is important to consider that other options may be available that can enable the retention of at least some trees on the site and maintain some of the benefits these trees provide. All arborists and superintendents know that topping trees is bad, but a skilled tree care professional may be able to develop canopy reduction strategies to substantially reduce tree height or spread without compromising tree health. Recently, St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto – five-time host of the Canadian Open – undertook just such an approach to reduce the height of two large weeping willows which were identified as shading a struggling green. While several trees were removed to improve light penetration, the willows were judiciously pruned by trained arborists, reducing height

by approximately 30 per cent. All indications suggest this pruning has enabled light goals to be achieved. Of course, not all species of trees can withstand such extensive pruning, but a detailed understanding of species tolerances and requirements, and of the condition of the subject tree, can help arborists and superintendents decide if such options are available. In summary, while some trees may need to be removed if green performance goals are to be met, innovative options such as canopy reduction pruning should be considered before removal is decided upon. Some creative thinking may enable tree retention and maintain the many benefits trees provide.

Tree protection during construction

Change is a constant factor on the golf course, although larger changes such as building construction or even cart path installation are less frequent. When such structural elements are built, trees can be adversely affected to the point of eventual mortality, usually due to root damage through excavation or soil compaction. Volumes have been written about effective tree protection measures during construction. Many municipalities have their own standards and guidelines for implementation during development and may even regulate tree injury through permit-based processes. However, let us briefly explore the two most common and effective tree protection measures available: establishment of tree protection zones and root exploration/root pruning. ◗ continued ON page 23

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 29

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Root exploration using a hydro-vac (left) exposes roots prior to excavation with machinery. Careful root pruning (right) eliminates further root damage which would otherwise be caused by tearing, pulling or fracturing of roots, reducing tree injury. CREDIT: Philip van Wassenaer

◗ continued from page 21

Tree Protection Zones

The purpose of a Tree Protection Zone (TPZ) is to prevent soil compaction, contamination or root damage. This is done by excluding excavation, materials and equipment storage, and traffic from a protected tree’s rooting zone. The two critical elements in TPZ planning and implementation are the size of the protected area, and the methods and materials used to ensure it is effective throughout the course of site work. Minimum effective Tree Protection Zone size can be difficult to determine. Most arborists suggest that, at minimum, the protected area should extend to the edge of the tree’s dripline (or horizontal extent of the canopy). This may be sufficient, but may leave uneven-canopied or columnar trees woefully under-protected. Some jurisdictions, through tree protection policies, mandate different-sized TPZs depending upon the subject tree’s trunk diameter. More technical approaches take into account species tolerances to root zone disturbance as well as tree size and soil conditions. Regardless of the approach chosen, the minimum TPZ must be of a reasonable size to prevent adverse impacts upon as much of the root zone as possible and should be determined by a qualified arborist. Unless work within the TPZ is required (and is undertaken in a tree-sensitive manner, as described in the next section), the TPZ must remain intact throughout the course of site work. This requires that the area be effectively fenced off. Fencing or hoarding must be constructed

of sturdy materials (plywood is best) that are solidly affixed in place, either through rigid construction or staking/pinning to the ground. The TPZ is ineffective if hoarding can be moved at the discretion of site workers – one occurrence of soil compaction can be just as damaging as repeated traffic.

Root exploration and root pruning

Sometimes, excavation in close proximity to trees to be preserved is unavoidable. In these instances, root exploration and root pruning must be undertaken if damage is to be minimized. The purpose of root exploration, which must be conducted in advance of excavation using machinery, is threefold: 1) to determine if significant roots will be present and could be damaged by excavation 2) to enable improved decisionmaking about trees for which removal or retention depends upon the extent of root damage, and 3) to enable proper root pruning prior to further excavation. Root exploration typically entails creating a trench approximately 200-300 mm wide between the subject tree and the area to be excavated, without damaging existing roots. While hand-digging can be used, the best tools for root-sensitive excavation are a ‘hydro-vac’ (a combination of pressurized water and a vacuum, typically mounted on specialized truck) or pneumatic soil removal (such as an Airspade). If large (greater than 20 mm diameter) or numerous roots are uncovered following root exploration, root pruning should be undertaken before excavation takes place. Root pruning entails the proper cutting of roots in advance of mechanical excavation

to avoid root tearing or shattering, which can be detrimental to tree health. Proper root pruning can encourage the growth of new, fine roots and reduce the spread of decay. Both root exploration and root pruning should be undertaken by, or under the direct supervision of, a qualified and experienced arborist. In spite of potential management challenges, trees on golf courses provide numerous benefits for players and for the natural environment. For these reasons, their preservation and protection should be strongly considered when changes such as construction are to be undertaken. Innovative approaches such as crown reduction pruning should also be considered if shading is an issue; tree removal should be a method of last resort. Of course, the best solution to any tree/turf or tree/infrastructure conflicts is strategic planning. With long-term thinking, tree preservation and protection won’t become an issue, and turf, structures and trees will indeed be able to co-exist and complement each other. Superintendents will be able to maintain high-performance golf courses and arboreta at the same time. In return, golfers will appreciate the added challenge, beauty, safety and ecological functions that golf course trees provide. GM Alex Satel, MFC and Philip van Wassenaer, MFC are with Urban Forest Innovations Inc. (UFI) located in Mississauga, Ontario. UFI is an arboricultural consultancy specializing in the preservation, enhancement and management of all aspects of the urban forest, using a science and research-based approach to provide creative solutions to tree management challenges. Visit for more information. 1. Snow, J.T. Trees – the biggest problem of golf course turf. In 63rd Annual Michigan Turfgrass Conference Proceedings. Volume 22. Lansing, Michigan, 1993. 2. Frankly Consulting LLC. 2005. Growing the Game Survey Report.

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 31


Aeration and Topdressing A reference guide ◗ Soil is king, and your roots determine the overall health and consistency of your turf. We all know the importance and benefits of aerating and topdressing. In regards to this premise, no matter what the new miracle piece of equipment or product being applied is, there are no substitutes for the combination of aerating and topdressing. This applies to all areas of the course, with the focus being greens, tees, collars, approaches, and fairways. There are various methods and routines to accomplish these tasks, which include: solid tines, hollow tine, shatter tine, and deep tine to name a few. The method chosen is influenced by several factors including: time of year, golfing schedule, weather, equipment availability, staffing issues, and aggregate storage and availability etc. The following will provide a breakdown

ABOVE: 4th Fairway after it was aerated and topdressed; RIGHT: Pre-topdressing process for deeptine aeration on the 14th green. 32 greenMaster |

of a greens deep tine aeration and topdressing program, and a fairway aeration and topdressing program. Planning and executing these programs can be a daunting task, not only from a staffing and equipment standpoint, but also determining how much sand is needed and budgeted for. The purpose of this breakdown is not to advocate these programs over any other aeration programs, but to provide a reference or starting point for those utilizing these practices or considering undertaking them.

Greens Deep Tine Aeration and Topdressing Program (based on 3/4" solid tine 12” depth)

Equipment: (Equipment combinations can vary) • 45+ HP tractor with crawl gear. • Deep tine aerator (Verti-drain or Toro

etc.) • Pro pass 180 topdresser with 0.7yd hopper capacity. • MH-400 (optional, speeds up topdressing process). • Skid Steer or equivalent loader. • Drag brushes/matts or keystone matts – pulled with sand pro’s or utility vehicles. • Turbine blowers - pulled with utility vehicles. • Greens roller(s) Process: (optional – fertilize greens before topdressing) • Pre-topdress greens before aeration (amount of sand varies based on green size, a reference will be provided in topdressing guideline section.) • Deep tine aerate greens (minimum 3” x 2” spacing. Tighter spacing may

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

compromise firmness of greens for vehicle traffic to follow). • Roll green to smooth out tufts and ensure sand spreads into holes more effectively. • Begin brushing process once sand has had time to dry. Most effective when a “sweep n fill” style brush is used on first pass to move large amounts of sand into holes. Second pass should be done with more traditional brush or matt. • Use turbine blowers to move sand across green in at least two directions. This process will help fill holes. Then continue with turbine blowers to blow excess sand off greens (this really speeds up the cleanup process). • After greens are cleaned off, roll again and then irrigate heavily. • For several days following aeration and topdressing, mow using junk or spare reels or just roll greens for a few days. If fertilizing at end of process, delay mowing to avoid fertilizer pickup and only roll greens. Roll after dew gone to avoid fertilizer pickup and burning green edges and collars. Topdressing Guide: (varies with green size, and based on 12” tine depth.) • This is not an exact science, it is a guideline we have developed through trial and error that gives us the proper amount of sand without having to waste time re-applying sand later on. It is easier to cleanup excess sand versus re-applying more at a later date and delaying the finished product. • Given Pro-pass 180 with 0.7yd hopper capacity, works out to approximately 0.35yds of sand per 1000sqft of green space. • Example – 8000sqft green = 2.8yds of sand or 4 – 180 Pro-pass hoppers spread evenly over green. • Based on approximately 5.1 acres (220,000sqft) of green space, total sand needed can be calculated using the following: • 220,000sqft x 0.35yds of sand/1000sqft = 77yds of sand to complete deep tine process on 5.1 acres of greens. • Works out to be almost exactly two 30 ton semi loads of topdressing sand to complete greens deep tine and aeration process. • Topdressing sand: aggregate sand cost for greens deep tine topdressing process = approx. $25/ton x 60 ton =

$1500. (Please note this dollar figure is not written in stone, it is a reference point and represents material cost only; prices will vary from region to region and type of sand etc.)

Fairway Aeration and Topdressing Program: Equipment: (Equipment combinations can vary) • 50+HP (or greater) tractor. • Large 3-point hitch PTO aerator (ex. Toro Pro-Core 864). • Core sweeper(s) and utility vehicles. • Large material handler with topdressing spinner kit (Toro MH-400, Dakota, etc.) • Skid steer or equivalent loader. • Large drag matts or keystone matts etc. Process: • Hollow tine aerate all fairways (3/4” tine diameter and 4” x 3” spacing). Spacing can vary depending on turf quality and moisture content. • Core depth (1”- 2”), main goal is to remove organic matter. • Core sweep all fairways (stock pile cores on cart paths and move to designated area/dump site later via loaders and trailers). • Topdress fairways using large material handler with spinner kit (amount of sand used per fairway will be explained in topdressing section). • Brush/matt fairways utilizing various brushes and utility vehicles and irrigate heavily afterwards. • Delay mowing for a few days and brushing can be repeated as needed. Mow fairways with spare or junk reels for the week following if viable or possible.

Topdressing Guide:

(based on ¾” hollow tine, 1” – 2” core depth and 4” x 3” spacing). Again, it should be noted that this is not an exact science; it is a guideline that we have developed through trial and error that gives us an adequate amount of sand, while maintaining productivity and efficiency throughout the process. • Based on 28 acres of fairway area and using a Toro MH-400 (4yd hopper capacity). • Par 4 fairways approximately 6-8 MH-400 hoppers spread over fairway. (Example: 1-1.5 acre fairway = 6 MH-400 hoppers; 1.5-2 acre fairway = 8 MH-400

hoppers). (Par 3 fairways aerated and topdressed when approaches are done). • Par 5 fairways approximately 10-12 MH-400 hoppers spread over fairway. (Example: 2-2.5 acre fairway = 10 MH400 hoppers; 2.5+ acre fairway = 12 or more MH-400 hoppers). • Each 30 ton semi-load of sand gave roughly 2 acres of coverage and therefore, 28 acres of fairway area required 14, 30 ton semi-loads of sand or 420 tons of sand to complete fairway topdressing process. • *Topdressing sand (concrete sand used on fairways): aggregate sand cost for fairway topdressing process = approx. $17/ton x 420 ton = $7140. (Please note this dollar figure is not written in stone, it is a reference point and represents material cost only; prices will vary from region to region and type of sand etc.) *N.B. – It should be restated that concrete sand was used for fairway topdressing with adequate results, and at a substantially lower cost per ton when compared to the topdressing sand used on greens. We all know the importance of the combination of aeration and topdressing, no matter what method or process is used. The two programs previously described are by no means new or groundbreaking information. However, the logistics equipment, and materials required can present several challenges which may include: wasted productivity, weather delays, scheduling conflicts, and worst of all unacceptable and unexpected expenses in the no room for error budget environment we are all operating within. The aggregate sand prices listed in the programs are only meant to serve as a reference point. Further research and costing should be confirmed with your local aggregate supplier when planning and budgeting to execute comparable programs. The main goal of the programs presented is to hopefully provide a starting point for those considering implementing these practices, or a helpful reference for those already utilizing these programs. In either case, these programs can be further tweaked and customized for everyone’s unique properties and budget situations. GM

Chris Marchiori is the First Assistant Superintendent at Wascana Country Club.

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 33

fe ature ◗ Nancy pierce

A Day in the Life…

Tragedy and Hope at Crow Bush Cove

Looking down the fairway towards the 13th green where I had just been, and where the flash had originated, I could see something was amiss.

34 greenMaster |

◗ June 1, 2012. To adapt a literary cliché; it was a dark and drizzly morning. The air, cold and damp; the choppy ocean assuming a somber, grey complexion that reminded me more of November than a spring day in June. Looking back, it was as if the weather was foretelling the events that were about to unfold that fateful morning. I just happened to be changing the hole on the 14th green when it happened. If I hadn’t had my back against the bonechilling wind, I would have been pointed in the wrong direction and would have missed it. “It” was an extremely bright flash that just caught the corner of my eye. Immediately, the light standards that line the entrance road adjacent to the 14th green went out. Looking down the fairway towards the 13th green where I had just been, and where the flash had originated, I could see something was amiss. Our Steiner driver, who had been cutting around the 13th green, had stopped cutting and was looking up at the nearby utility pole that supported a massive nest built just weeks ago by a pair of ospreys. A puff of smoke was still visible around the nest and one of

the ospreys was circling the nest, clearly vocalizing his distress. I rushed back down to the area and the Steiner driver explained what had happened. One of the ospreys had tried to land on the nest, but as fate would have it, because of the drizzle and just plain, bad luck, the osprey was electrocuted on the spot. I had called Maritime Electric earlier in the spring to report that ospreys were attempting to build a nest on the utility pole; this despite the fact Maritime Electric had installed two hoops atop it years ago to discourage that very thing. Maritime Electric said they’d look into it, but no one ever came, as far as I know. The dead bird was draped over the nest, its mate still circling and calling. It was heartbreaking. Ospreys migrate every fall to Central America and into South America. To have this pair survive the migration down and back, build such a magnificent nest and then to have this happen was so very tragic. I made a vow right there to both ospreys that if there were eggs in the nest, I’d do everything I could to ensure their offspring would survive. All our electricity was out of course, as

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

was the power at the clubhouse, resort and all the homes and cottages in the area. My first call was to Maritime Electric. I reported what had happened and was more anxious about the nest than the lack of power. They would send the bucket truck right away, they said. Next, I called Fish and Wildlife and explained the situation to see if they could do something. Gerald MacDougall confirmed my worst fear. If there were eggs, one osprey could not hatch and raise them on its own. Both ospreys were needed for successful fledging. The good news, if any, was it appeared the dead osprey’s body was over the eggs in the nest, protecting them from the cold, damp weather. Next I called the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) in Charlottetown. I knew they had a special fund for rehabilitating injured/orphaned wildlife as we’ve taken injured wildlife to them in the past. I spoke with Wildlife Technician Jody Kocsis. She said AVC would definitely take any eggs and incubate them. While we waited for the bucket truck, Gerald and a small crew arrived from Fish and Wildlife. The plan was to rescue the eggs (if there were any) and get them back to Jody at AVC where they could be properly incubated. If the eggs hatched, Gerald explained, the young ospreys would be placed into known osprey nests that already had young. Usually, the parents will just begin feeding the newcomer as if it was one of their own. Through trial and error, he knew this method had the highest rate of success. All the while, the surviving osprey was circling the nest, calling out and clearly very anxious. Probably about an hour had past since the osprey had died when Maritime Electric arrived with the bucket truck. We quickly got the truck over to the pole. The fellow in the bucket first picked up the dead bird and brought it down. What a magnificent animal! Both wings

were clearly burned and her body was still warm. We all kept an eye on the circling osprey, as Gerald warned they’ve been known to attack people in similar situations. On his next trip, the fellow in the bucket brought down two beautiful (still warm) speckled eggs! A couple of the Fish and Wildlife crew took the eggs and rushed them back to AVC. The bucket fellow then went up one last time to remove the nest from the pole. It was huge and when he knocked it off the pole, it fell pretty much at our feet still in one piece. It was a masterpiece! I know I could not have weaved such a strong and sturdy nest out of branches and I have 10 fingers! AVC performed a necropsy on the dead osprey. It was a young female and had clearly died from acute electrocution. Otherwise, the bird was in excellent condition, was foraging normally (lots of fish vertebrate present) and had no underlying disease problems that might have predisposed it to injury. She weighed 1,854.6 grams. Day after day the male osprey was perched on a nearby tree, unable to understand what had happened to his mate, his eggs and his nest. Ospreys generally mate for life so no one was sure what was going to happen to him. Five days later, Maritime Electric arrived with an osprey nesting structure which they installed close to the utility pole that had held the nest. The male began to gather some branches, but he was a poor nest builder. It’s usually the female that builds the nest from branches brought by the male. Suddenly one, then two more ospreys appeared and the three of them made quite a racket for the next few days! I’m not sure if a breeding pair took over the osprey platform or if the male took

One of the eggs taken from the nest. another mate. However, by Father’s Day (June 17), I took a photo of an osprey pair and their nest on the platform. I hoped it was the surviving male and, because he was young, he had found another mate. A few weeks later, Jodi called me to say the eggs weren’t going to hatch. It was sad news, but she said it’s not unusual for the first batch of eggs from a young osprey not to hatch. She was a young bird and it was very possible this was her first set of eggs. So, we’ll await the ospreys’ return this spring from Central or South America and hope they successfully fledge their young. At least they’ll be much safer on their new platform! GM

Nancy Pierce is superintendent at The Links at Crowbush Cove.

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May/June 2013 | greenMaster 35

fe ature ◗ Dean Piller

Developing Productive Gardens on Golf Courses ◗ Generally speaking, the average golf course in Canada totals over 120 acres in size. Considering the fact that tees, greens, fairways and surrounding areas typically take up approximately half this total acreage, there should be plenty of space to get creative with non-traditional uses of space. Traditional home-based gardens fell out of favor in the past couple of decades until recently when new, trending phrases like ‘buy local’ or ‘garden to table’ have brought the attraction back to the traditional home garden. In the past, only the very finest of restaurants served locally grown or manufactured cheeses, produce and

proteins, but now we have seen a major shift towards locally produced or ‘in-house’ food being served.

Marmalade, Chutney’s, Crisps and Crumble:

Fruit trees, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and rhubarb are just a few of the very basic starting points for developing homegrown signature dishes in your course’s clubhouse restaurant. At Cordova Bay, we are very fortunate to have some very old pear trees in a setting between our 13th green and 14th tee. These large trees produce ample fruit that

our chef uses for chutney. Because the golf course is situated on Vancouver Island where blackberry bushes can proliferate, we have purposely allowed bushes to colonize in a few out-of-the-way places for the golfers and birds to enjoy the berries during the summer and as a source of amazing berries for delicious berry crumble desserts. In one of our many gardens, we have established good old fashioned rhubarb that is used for the occasional signature crisp in the restaurant, as a feature dessert for Men’s Night or as a staff treat during coffee throughout a portion of our summer.

Cordova Bay Golf Course is home to a multitude of vegetable gardens 36 greenMaster |

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

Vegetable produce: Easy and very productive

I think our gardening staff relishes working with our vegetable gardens more than any other part of their gardening maintenance duties. This is, in part, because of the rewarding, productive harvest that goes on for about four months during the summer and fall, but also because of the positive feedback and rave reviews that come from our membership, both on the course and in the restaurant.

Developing a gardening calendar:

Work begins in early April with the seeding of many spring vegetables in or out front of our maintenance building. The list of vegetables that are started indoors includes: tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, squash, cucumbers and zucchini. Taking place at the same time is the direct sowing in rows of several different types of onions and potatoes, as well as beets, peas, carrots and radishes. Our gardeners like to sow carrots and radishes together in a row as the radishes come up quickly to mark the row and, as they are harvested, the carrots are given the room they need to grow. During this same time period, the gardeners are designing the garden, which includes the installation of bamboo tripods for beans and peas to climb on. This method, among one of my favorites,

produces high yields of vegetables over a long period without taking up very much space in the garden. In the fall, as the last of the vegetables are cleaned up and the gardens are turned over, we plant four or five different varieties of garlic by the hundreds. These bulbs are ready to harvest in early to midsummer and provide our kitchen, staff and members some of the best garlic that stays firm and stores well for up to six months without any problems. For the purpose of this article, I would like to classify the garden plants and vegetables into five categories. The first category we will call succession planting vegetables. This group includes vegetables such as potatoes, lettuce, peas, carrots, beets, onions and radishes that should be seeded several times throughout the growing season to ensure a continuous supply of produce occurs. Having several rows available for each type of vegetable allows you to stagger the harvest dates so a fresh crop is always becoming available for use in the restaurant. We like to refer to the second category as continuous harvest vegetables. This group is my personal favorite and includes several types of beans, yellow and green zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, several varieties of squash and Swiss chard. â—— continued on page 38

Growing organic vegetables in the middle of a golf course sends the right message to our active members and guests that play our facility.

Above (left to right): A garden all set to be planted. Cordova Bay staff members pose with a successful garlic harvest. Cordova’s autumn vegetables make for great restaurant additions and course displays. MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 37

fe ature ◗ Dean Piller

◗ continued from page 37

All of these varieties will produce a plentiful harvest over extended periods of time and provide the restaurant and staff with a large variety of vegetables. In particular, several varieties of squash that we grow thrive on top of our compost piles and provide storable produce that supplies a base for soup stock well into winter. The third category of vegetables is what I refer to as showy or decorative plants. These are crops planted mostly for show and autumn displays. This group includes the ornamental gourd family, sweet and ornamental corn, pumpkins and sunflowers. Members of this group can be used for produce, but we tend to use them mostly for decorative value in the garden and, more importantly, as the product we use for decorative harvest displays in the fall for the restaurant, pro shop or around our clubhouse and office buildings. The fourth group of plants that we cultivate for purposes other than on-course garden beautification are called cut or edible flowers. This group of plants includes edible flowers such as nasturtiums, borage and calendula. They are used for garnishing dishes or as a classy addition to fancy salads in the restaurant. The cut flower program our horticulturalists have developed provides fresh cut flowers or flowering stems used in bud vases and clubhouse bouquets from April to October. Proven performers for vases and bouquets include: daffodils in spring, sunflowers, rudbeckia, echinacea, sweet peas and zinnias in the summer and dahlias, a fall favorite, which come in a large variety of colors and sizes and dominate the

38 greenMaster |

gardens and bouquets from August through October. The final class of plants grown with a secondary purpose in our gardening programs are herbs. We grow herbs in one of our clubhouse patio gardens by the kiosk in a traditional bed. A few years ago, because of increased demand from the kitchen, we added decorative boxes mounted to the exterior of the clubhouse with pots to grow the herbs and the results have been favourable. This method is not only very attractive, but it is also very convenient for our chefs when they require fresh cut herbs for their daily features. The list of herbs that we supply from these pots and herb garden for our chefs include, in order of importance: rosemary, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, mint, lovage, dill and fennel. After many years of adding vegetable gardens and multi-purpose plants to our horticulture programs, we are very pleased with the overall benefits this has provided to our facility. First and foremost, growing organic vegetables in the middle of a golf course sends the right message to our active members and guests that play our facility. Secondly, there is an added appeal to a restaurant menu featuring on-course grown herbs and vegetables. The quality of the produce is fresh picked in the morning and comes at no cost to our restaurant. Last, but not least, whether it’s pumpkins at the front door of the restaurant or fresh bouquets for prizes on Ladies Day, these gardens and their unique appeal create discussion that is positive, admiring and a great addition to our facility. GM Dean Piller is the superintendent at Victoria’s Cordova Bay Golf Course.

...because of increased demand from the kitchen, we added decorative boxes mounted to the exterior of the clubhouse with pots to grow the herbs and the results have been favourable.

Above (left to right): A garden in bloom. Herbs grow at Cordova Bay to be used in the restaurant on site.

Ta l k back ◗ from our readers

Super Snapshots: Winter Wonderland

Letters “

 I have also become a firm believer that most of the industry is missing the finest PR opportunity we have ever had to tell our story of solid environmental contribution, remarkable monitoring/ scouting skills, expert training and responsible community support. As long as the legislation is in place, clubs should be doing everything they can to build attendance at the meetings by inviting friends, family, golf members and tournament chairpersons to a meeting that highlights all golf does and how grass supports the environment, in hand with sharing the pesticide application data. After hosting meetings for over 100 clubs I have seen the change and appreciation in attendees when they learn the reality of our industry and the exceptional people who are Superintendents. Food for thought.

Clockwise from top left- Grooming the cross-country ski trails at Revelstoke Golf Club (Greg Austin), little dog Bella plays among the snow covered hoodoos at Dinosaur Trail (Mitch Davidson), a snowy welcome to Wascana Country Club (Mike Kupchanko) and the sun rises on Cherry Hill Club Course (John Gall)

What do you think… Q. W  hat is going to be the biggest environmental issue or innovation for the golf course management industry in 2013? A. “I think belonging to the Audubon

Cooperative Sanctuary Program and pursuing environmental certification will have the biggest impact. We achieved full certification in 2011, not only did we save money, and increased naturalized areas, it was a great improvement to our property from an environmental perspective.” “I believe the Tier 4 emission standards

along with implementation of low input turfgrass varies in peripheral areas to reduce the amount of water, fertilizer, and mowing used to maintain these areas will have a huge impact on our profession.” “I think composting plans are a good topic for small budget members to implement.”

Nigel Rennie Allturf Ltd.

 F irst off, let me congratulate you on the resurrection of the GreenMaster publication. The last two issues have been wonderful, and it is great to have the magazine back in top form.

Paul MacCormack Superintendent Fox Meadow Golf & Country Club

Talk back!


May/June 2013 | greenMaster 39


Force and Motion ◗ Hydraulic systems used on our equipment provide a means of remotely controlling a wide range of components by transmitting a force through a confined fluid. The basic principle behind any hydraulic system is very simple; pressure applied anywhere to a body of fluid causes a force to be transmitted equally in all directions, with the force acting at right angles to any surface in contact with the fluid. This is also known as Pascal’s Law. Pascal’s Law (from Blaise Pascal, 1623 to 1662) comprises a set of principles formulated in 1648 and states that pressure applied to a confined fluid at any point is transmitted, undiminished, throughout the fluid in all directions and acts upon every part of the confining vessel at right angles to its interior surfaces and equally upon equal areas. Pascal’s Law is the basic principle behind any hydraulic system. The word “hydraulics” generally refers to power produced by moving liquids. Modern hydraulics is defined as the use of confined liquid to transmit power, multiply force or produce motion. In figure 1, we have two pistons with different sizes; the left piston has a radius of 0.5 inches while the right piston has a radius of 3 inches. The area of the two pistons is calculated with the following formula: Pi x r2. The area of the left piston is therefore 3.14, while the area of the piston on the right is 28.26. The piston on the right is nine times larger than the piston on the left. So, if you apply a 100-pound downward force to the left piston, a 900-pound upward force will appear on the right. The only catch is that you will have to depress the left piston nine inches to raise the right piston one inch. Hydraulic systems contain the following key components: Fluid – usually hydraulic fluid. Reservoir – to store the fluid and act as a heat dissipater. Hydraulic pump – to convert mechanical energy into hydraulic energy by forcing hydraulic fluid, under pressure, from the reservoir into the system. Fluid lines – to transport the fluid to and from the pump through the hydraulic system. These lines can be rigid metal 40 greenMaster |

Pascal’s Law is the basic principle behind any hydraulic system. The word “hydraulics” generally refers to power produced by moving liquids.

tubes or flexible hose assemblies. Hydraulic valves – to control pressure, direction and flow rate of the hydraulic fluid. Actuators – to convert hydraulic energy into mechanical energy to do work. Actuators on golf course equipment usually take the form of hydraulic cylinders or gear pumps, hydraulic gear motors etc. While there are different kinds of pumps, actuators, valves, etc., the basic design of the hydraulic system is essentially the same for all our equipment.

How do hydraulic circuits and components, used in turf equipment, work?

If we look at a gear pump, it might look the same as a gear motor. However, the difference is the gear pump draws oil in from the reservoir and forces it into the line, while oil is forced into the gear motor from the pump and returned into the reservoir. To make a system work, valves or spool valves are used to open or close hydraulic lines, therefore allowing hydraulic fluid to enter gear pumps or gear motors, or simply

cycle fluid to the reservoir in a neutral position. The purpose of hydraulic fluid (oil) is not only to transfer power, but also to cool internal parts, lubricate moving parts and carry contamination to the filter. Hydrostatic systems make further use of Pascal’s law. Hydrostatic systems were developed for their simplicity. They use no gears or clutches, usually have single lever control and are easy to install. Another advantage is maneuverability. There is a faster response than with other transmissions and, therefore, hydrostatic systems can be used for dynamic breaking and rapid reversals. Working on hydraulic systems can be very dangerous because hydraulic systems must store fluid under high pressure. Three kinds of hazards exist; burns from the hot, high pressure spray of fluid, bruises, cuts or abrasions from flailing hydraulic lines and injection of fluid into the skin. Safe hydraulic system performance requires general maintenance. Proper coupling of high and low pressure hydraulic components and pressure relief valves are

important safety measures. Most maintenance peoples’ hydraulic diagnostic skills are acquired through trial and error. Even the companies who design and manufacture flow meters don’t fully understand how and where to use their products to test hydraulic components safely and effectively. Owning a hydraulic flow meter doesn’t qualify a person as a trouble-shooter. The same can be said of a voltmeter; owning a voltmeter doesn’t qualify a person as an electrician. The proper and safe use of a flow meter can only be achieved if a person is thoroughly trained in three disciplines: hydraulic safety, basic hydraulic laws and principles, and testing hydraulic systems and components. Hydraulic systems present a wide variety of unique safety hazards. An awareness of these safety hazards can only be garnered through training that focuses on all aspects of hydraulic safety. Every element of hydraulic components and system function is, in one way or another, tethered to a basic hydraulic principle or law. These principles and laws cannot be learned through onthe-job training or, more appropriately, through trial and error. Once a person has a thorough understanding of hydraulic safety, the principles and laws that govern hydraulics, the purpose of the primary components in a hydraulic system and, finally, the theory-of-operation of hydraulic components, he/she is ready to advance to learning and understanding diagnostics. However, knowing the purpose

and theory-of-operation of hydraulic components is not enough to make an informed analysis of a component’s condition. To be an effective diagnostic technician, a person must learn exactly how much hydraulic components leak by design. After all, testing hydraulic components is, for the most part, the task of analyzing component leakage rates to determine if they are good, marginal, or unacceptable. Ironically, while the health of hydraulic components is determined by analyzing leakage rates, there is little or no comparative data available to support a technician’s findings. Hydraulic systems present a wide variety of unique safety hazards. An awareness of these safety hazards can only be garnered through training that focuses on all aspects of hydraulic safety. Be thorough when making equipment examinations. Repair or replace damaged components immediately, don’t wait until regular maintenance. Never use a ball valve for controlling a hydraulic cylinder circuit and don’t adjust any circuits’ pressure relief valve. You may be setting yourself up for disaster. Avoid an oil injection injury using a piece of paper to search for leaks. High pressure injection injuries of the hand or other parts of the body have been recognized by the medical profession as being devastating. Oil based solvents, which include grease, hydraulic oil and paint, are particularly hazardous. According to one study, rates of amputation from this injury vary from 16 to 48 per cent.

A hydraulic system has the inherent capability to store energy even when the pump is shut off. Depending on the system design, a hydraulic system can store energy in one or more pockets within a system. In addition, certain types of valves, like counterbalance and pilot-operated check valves, are pressure traps. Consequently, it is wise to err on the side of safety and assume there is stored energy in a hydraulic system when the pump is shut off. As equipment manager and supervisor, you are personally responsible for the safety of the people who are using the equipment you worked on. See to it that this equipment is always safe to use. Train them for every type of discipline that they might encounter in their daily work. You also owe this responsibility to their respective families. Attend, at the very least, a hydraulic safety training seminar so you can see the inherent dangers associated with hydraulics. This will help you understand what you and your assistant have to deal with every day. More about hydraulic and hydraulic safety in the next issue of Green Master. GM Eddie was the head mechanic at the Ladies Golf Club of Toronto for 22 years, regularly contributes to GreenMaster magazine and is a contract professor at Seneca College in Ontario teaching Reel Technology.

You’ve read it. Now be a part of it! GreenMaster is looking for your ideas and original articles on golf course management. No story or idea is too small. If you have a story you have written or an idea for one you would like to see in the pages of our magazine please send it to We welcome all submissions. Your stories and ideas will make the magazine come alive and help golf course professionals across Canada. Those stories written by superintendents and assistant superintendents that appear in GreenMaster will also automatically be considered for the annual Gordon Witteveen Award. Grow with the CGSA!

MAY/JUNE 2013 | greenMaster 41

back n i n e ◗ David mcpherson

Retired CGSA Member Still Gives Back “Many pointed to me and said: ‘There’s the guy that built this place.’ That makes you feel pretty good.” Don Campbell

Don campbell

◗ From a caddy at Riverside Country Club – as a summer student in the 1940s – up the ranks to superintendent, manager, and executive director of this private club on the outskirts of Saskatoon, Sask. Don Campbell recalls this halfcentury journey with pride. “I grew with the club,” he says. “I was treated well there. They really looked after me and still do… it’s a great place. I managed it for 27 years until I ran out of gas!” Today, Campbell is happily retired. While he may be operating in a lower gear, he’s just as busy. He gets his turf fix tinkering in his backyard. “I’m still learning how to garden,” he admits. “I get lots of reward and enjoyment from that.” Twenty years on – from a full-time gig in the turf and maintenance business – Campbell still helps grow the game in other ways. The charter member of the CGSA is currently the executive director of the Saskatchewan Turf Association. Each month, members get a good dose of “Don’s Turf Tips.” Campbell muses on everything from turf trivia to greenkeeping history, news, and general observations on the state of the game; he also offers agronomic advice. These regular updates show Campbell’s sense of humor. Take this nugget from the April 2013 edition where he writes about arriving back to the prairies from a winter trip south to Florida and North Carolina: “We were home one day when Mrs. 42 greenMaster |

Campbell came down with a horrendous cold. It was so bad she had to share it with me.” Campbell, a charter member of the CGSA who served as vice-president back in 1975, enjoys this executive role with his provincial turf association. It keeps him connected to the industry. “After I retired we only had about 60 members and now we have more than 200,” he comments. When he’s not spending time growing the Saskatchewan association Campbell gives back to other charitable causes in his community, most notably the Heart & Stroke Foundation. It’s a cause dear to him since he has suffered from heart disease for many years. In 2005, the charity awarded him its Cardiac Rehabilitation Volunteer of the Year. Campbell is running out of room on his walls for all his awards. Last year, the Saskatchewan Golf Hall of Fame inducted him in the builder category. Previously the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame had bestowed upon him a similar honor. This award adds to his long list of achievements, which also include: the RCGA Distinguished Service Award (2002), CGSA’s John B. Steele Award (2004) and the Saskatchewan Centennial Leadership Award (2005). As a turfgrass manager Campbell admits he always “shot from the hip.” A leadership style that would be difficult in today’s politically-correct world. Riverside members still tell “war stories about Don Campbell,” he laughs. When asked about the role of the modern-day superintendent, the retired greenkeeper says the industry has grown and left him behind. That means there is lots of opportunity for young people choosing this career path. “Superintendents today are better educated and have more tools to work with,” Campbell explains. “They’ve really become professionals. When I started, we were just guys that cut the grass. The

golf pro was front and centre because he was the one that greeted golfers. Now superintendents are recognized as one of the keys to the operation of a successful golf club.” Campbell is now happy to leave the job of tending turf at a golf club to the next generation of greenkeepers like his son Doug, who followed in his footsteps, succeeding him as the head superintendent at Riverside. “It’s probably taken him 20 years to correct all my mistakes!” he laughs. In 2012, Riverside Country Club celebrated its 100th anniversary. During the centennial festivities, longtime club members spoke fondly of Campbell and the impact he left at their home away from home. “Many pointed to me and said: ‘There’s the guy that built this place.’ That makes you feel pretty good.” Looking back on his distinguished career – mistakes and all – Campbell would not change a thing. “I had a wonderful life on the golf course,” he concludes. “It was rewarding and I had a great career. Like the other old-timers, we wouldn’t have done it so long if we didn’t enjoy it. It’s hard work, but work isn’t hard when you are enjoying it.” GM

! W E N




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GreenMaster May/June 2013


GreenMaster May/June 2013