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
Rocking Your Renovations Tips to help you takeover the makeover of your golf course
plus ◗ Cut It Out: The race to re-sod greens at Crowbush ◗ Battling the Elements: Supers tell their stories about the Toronto flood ◗ Sand Trappings: Why your bunkers may be maintained too well
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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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alberta Director Superintendent Priddis Greens Golf & CC 1 Priddis Greens Drive Priddis, AB T0L 1W0 T: 403-931-3391 F: 403-931-3219 email@example.com
British Columbia Director Superintendent Revelstoke Golf Club PO Box 9153 RP03 Revelstoke, BC V0E 3K0 T: 250-837-5000 F: 250-837-6123 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
TIM KUBASH, MS, AGS
6/30/10 3:13:01 PM
Past President Master Superintendent Salmon Arm Golf Clujb PO Box 1525, Salmon Arm, BC V1E 4P6 T: 250-832-8834 F: 250-832-6311 email@example.com
Manitoba Director Superintendent St. Boniface Golf & Country Club 100 Youville Street Winnipeg, MN R2H 2S1 T: 204-233-2497 F: 204-237-9794 firstname.lastname@example.org
Atlantic Director Golf Operations Manager Westfield Golf & Country Club 8 Golf Club Road Grand Bay-Westfield, NB E5K 3C8 T: 506-757-2907 email@example.com
JAMES FLETT, AGS
JOHN SCOTT, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
cover photo: Derrick Golf and Winter Club, Edmonton, Alberta
R at e s a R e s e t F o R 2 0 1 4
Credit: Bruce Comeau Photography
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 3
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e di tor ’s n ote ◗ bill garrett september/october 2013
greenmaster Vol 48, no. 5
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
◗ How do you deal with changing times and circumstances? From my point of view, as staff liaison for the Communications Committee, I would say that most in this industry are coping extremely well. Just a few short years ago, one of the issues that the committee wrestled with was how to engage CGSA members in dialogue. At the time, we had set up several “forums” on the CGSA website and encouraged members to use them on a daily/weekly basis to communicate with other members throughout the year. It was a struggle. First, we had to get the word out to members that the forums existed and then we had to start topics that we hoped would stimulate conversation and then… wait. The response time left much to be desired; days instead of minutes. The forums served a purpose for a time, but it was evident that we needed to move to a platform that was both easy to navigate and could generate dialogue in a much more timely fashion. Coinciding with an upgraded website, CGSA quickly embraced social media. Facebook was the first, followed by our twitter accounts email blasts, website news feeds, blogs, a re-vamped GreenMatter and On the Fringe, and, of course, the Talk Back page in this publication. For an industry based on solid tradition, superintendents, as a group, have embraced these changes with gusto. Technology isn’t always a substitute for hands-on, face-toface interaction and you may not want to embrace every new app that comes along, but I would urge you to find your comfort level and participate.
CGSA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Ken Cousineau, CAE Tel: 416-626-8873 ext. 222 firstname.lastname@example.org
Marc Cousineau has given you some ideas on one way you can communicate your experiences to your peers in his article on page 35, Why you should write for us. This year, we will have over a dozen superintendents and assistants competing for the Gordon Witteveen Award (Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent Authored Article of the Year). This is unprecedented and indicative of the desire of our members to share their stories. Hopefully Marc’s insight will simplify the process for anyone considering writing an article for GreenMaster. Renovation, construction and winter readiness are the prevailing themes of the articles on the following pages. David McPherson speaks with two seasoned superintendents about their strategies on how to initiate and steer their projects to completion. Read about these experiences on page 20 and then go to page 32 to catch up on Nancy Pierce’s fascinating project to re-grass the putting surfaces at Crowbush Cove. There is much more, so don’t miss a page. I think you’ll agree that the innovations and different ways of approaching turf challenges on these pages prove that superintendents have no fear of changing times. I would urge you to send your comments through our Talk Back email email@example.com or any of the social media available. GM.
We want your feedback! Email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
COMING EVENTS FEBRUARY 17th – 21st, 2014 Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia
Managing editor & Advertising Sales: Bill Garrett, CEM Tel: 416-626-8873 ext. 224 email@example.com Assistant Editor: Marc Cousineau firstname.lastname@example.org
Canadian Golf Superintendents’ Association 5399 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 201 Toronto, ON M9C 5K6 Tel: 416-626-8873 / Toll Free: 800-387-1056 Fax: 416-626-1958 email@example.com www.golfsupers.com Printing Provided by Blenheim INK 4305 Fairview Street, Suite 232 Burlington, ON L7L 6E8 Tel: 289-337-4305 Fax: 289-337-4187 www.blenheim.ca Contact: Terry Davey | firstname.lastname@example.org Art Direction & Design by Jeanette Thompson Tel: 519-650-2024 email@example.com ©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. CANADA POST PUBLICATIONS MAIL PUBLICATIONS AGREEMENT No. 40025905 Return undeliverable copies to: Canadian Golf Superintendents’ Association 5399 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 201 Toronto, ON M9C 5K6
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con te n ts ◗ SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2013
IN THIS ISSUE
FROM THE EDITOR
Rising to Meet Mother Nature
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE
Are Your Bunkers Too Perfect?
NEWS FROM THE GREEN
THE BACK NINE
Trials and triumphs during the Toronto flood
Ready to Give Your Course a Facelift? Constant communication, strong relationships, the keys to course makeovers
The ups and downs of growing in the golf course at Tswawwassen
Potential of Velvet Bentgrass
Looking at All the Angles
Taking the Plunge
Dealing with staff shortages
Regrassing the putting surfaces at Crowbush Cove
38 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 7
v ie wp oi n t ◗ john mills
“We need to show our stakeholders how our membership in the CGSA will benefit the sustainability of the golf facility.” John Mills, CGSA President John Mills, president
CGSA Membership is More Essential Than Ever During Tough Economic Times L’adhésion à l’ACSG est plus essentielle que jamais lorsque les temps sont difficiles ◗ There is no question that many golf facilities are facing budget challenges in the current golf economy. Finding creative solutions to these challenges without sacrificing quality is an ongoing process that, as industry professionals, we deal with on a daily basis. However, when I hear that facilities are choosing not to renew membership in the CGSA for their superintendent due to budget pressures, it causes me great concern. I believe we need our associations more than ever when times are tough and budget pressures are hitting the golf course maintenance operation. The easy thing for owners or boards to do is chop the line items that may appear to be a perk or not to have an immediate impact on the sustainability of the operations. We need to show our stakeholders how our membership in the CGSA will benefit the sustainability of the golf facility. Actively participating in CGSA activities and opportunities will help superintendents find solutions to the operational challenges that many of us face on a daily basis. Whether it’s through networking with colleagues who have faced similar issues at their facility or attending a workshop, seminar or educational session dealing with topics that relate to your circumstance, CGSA membership is an invaluable tool to help superintendents seek solutions that fit their respective operations. As a key member of the facility management team, superintendents need to communicate the 8 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
value of membership in the CGSA to our stakeholders on a regular basis, long before the budget axe comes down. Another consequence of the budget scrutiny that is taking place is that superintendents are faced with the task of choosing between associations when renewal time rolls around. In some regions of the country, the superintendent has the opportunity to join four different superintendent associations. Each association plays a very important, but, for the most part, different roll in how they serve and benefit the superintendent. I certainly understand why a GM might ask for justification, especially during budget pressures. A quick, honest, eyes wide open, overview of the respective programs and services provided will very quickly identify the value of each organization and the reasons why membership in each is not only justified, but also very good value. As an industry and profession, we need to find ways to work together and find solutions that reduce the duplication and fragmentation that currently exists within the golf sector. All organizations add value for the golf facility and help make the superintendent, golf course management staff and the maintenance operation more efficient. The investment in regional, provincial and national organizations does pay dividends for the superintendent, the profession of golf course manager and the overall industry and each organization should be supported because of the value
it provides. The duplication of programs and services offered is an issue that needs to be addressed by the various organizational levels in order to gain the support of owners and industry participants. As we enter the fall season, start to prepare our facilities for winter and turn our thoughts to some much needed down time and time spent with families, I want to remind everyone to watch for the conference materials for Vancouver Feb 17 – 22. Our conference and events committee along with the 2014 conference committee have put together an exciting week of education sessions and a new trade show format. It promises to be a don’t-miss opportunity for all superintendents. I hope to see you in Vancouver! GM ◗ Il ne fait aucun doute que les difficultés économiques actuelles qui touchent à l’industrie du golf pèsent lourd dans le budget de plusieurs clubs. À titre de professionnel de l’industrie, il nous faut tous les jours trouver des solutions créatives pour relever les défis sans sacrifier la qualité. Cependant, lorsque j’apprends que certains clubs ne veulent plus renouveler l’adhésion de leur surintendant à l’ACSG en raison des compressions budgétaires, je me pose de sérieuses questions. Je crois que notre association est plus importante que jamais lorsque les temps sont durs et que les compressions budgétaires affectent les activités d’entretien du parcours. Une solution facile pour les
propriétaires ou conseils d’administration est de couper dans les postes du budget qui leur paraissent accessoires, ou qui n’ont pas d’impact immédiat sur la viabilité de l’entreprise. Nous devons convaincre nos parties prenantes des avantages que présente l’adhésion à l’ACSG pour la viabilité d’un club de golf. La participation active aux activités et programmes de l’ACSG aide les surintendants à trouver des solutions aux défis opérationnels qu’ils doivent relever tous les jours. Que ce soit par l’entremise du réseautage avec des collègues qui font face à des problèmes similaires sur leur parcours, ou par la participation à un atelier, un séminaire ou une séance de formation sur des sujets pertinents à leur travail, l’adhésion à l’ACSG est un outil d’une valeur inestimable pour aider les surintendants à trouver des solutions adaptées à leur club respectif. À titre de membre de l’équipe de gestion du terrain de golf, le surintendant doit régulièrement prouver le bien-fondé de son adhésion à l’ACSG, avant qu’une décision ne vienne mettre en péril ce poste du budget. Une autre conséquence des contraintes budgétaires c’est que les surintendants doivent choisir entre plusieurs associations lorsque le temps du renouvellement de l’adhésion est arrivé. Dans certaines régions du pays, ils peuvent adhérer à quatre associations différentes de surintendants. Chacune joue un rôle très important, mais ce rôle diffère, en grande partie, en ce qui a trait aux services et avantages offerts. Je comprends certainement qu’un directeur général puisse demander une justification à l’adhésion à l’une ou à l’autre de ces associations, particulièrement en temps de restriction budgétaire. Cependant, une analyse rapide, honnête et rigoureuse des programmes et services respectifs qui sont offerts permettra de faire ressortir la valeur de chaque organisation et les raisons pour lesquelles l’adhésion à chacune d’entre elle est non seulement justifiée, mais également très profitable. À titre de professionnels et de partenaires de l’industrie, nous devons trouver des moyens de travailler ensemble et de proposer des solutions pour réduire les dédoublements et la fragmentation qui existent actuellement dans l’industrie du golf. Toutes les organisations maximisent la valeur ajoutée aux clubs de golf et aident les surintendants, le personnel de gestion des parcours et les employés de l’entretien à travailler plus efficacement. L’investissement dans des organisations régionales, provinciales et nationales rapporte des dividendes aux surintendants, à la profession de gestionnaire de parcours
de golf et à toute l’industrie. Chaque organisation devrait donc être soutenue en raison des avantages qu’elle procure. Le dédoublement des programmes et des services offerts est une question que les divers niveaux organisationnels doivent examiner de près, de manière à obtenir le soutien des propriétaires et des participants de l’industrie. À l’approche de l’automne, alors que nous préparons notre parcours pour l’hiver et que nous pensons à ralentir notre activité et à consacrer plus de temps à notre
famille, j’aimerais attirer votre attention sur notre documentation en vue du congrès de Vancouver qui aura lieu du 17 au 22 février 2014. Notre comité des activités et événements et celui de la préparation du congrès de 2014 ont organisé des séances éducatives passionnantes tout au long de la semaine et mis en place un nouveau format pour notre salon commercial. Il s’agit d’un événement à ne pas manquer pour tous les surintendants. Au plaisir de vous voir à Vancouver! GM
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 9
v ie wp oi n t ◗ ken cousineau
“In Canada and throughout the world, national organizations have promoted the role and the importance of the superintendent.” Ken Cousineau, CGSA Executive Director ken cousineau, CAE executive director
Value is a Must Une offre avantageuse ◗ There are many pressures on the golf industry and the management team at golf facilities to make sure they are spending efficiently, effectively and receiving value for each expenditure, be it a multi-thousand dollar piece of equipment or the several hundred dollars that it requires to be a CGSA member. My objective in this article is to illustrate the value behind the CGSA and the value proposition that goes along with your CGSA membership. Value has a number of different components or levels to it. Some of these apply generally to all members and others may be somewhat difficult to quantify and difficult for some members to relate to the value proposition. On one level, value can be equated to, “what do I receive in return for my $471?” What would the equivalent cost of goods and services be if they were purchased separately? On another level, value can be defined as, “how would my job be different if the association was not functioning and making programs and services available to me?” On still another level, value could be, “what has the association done to improve the overall profession and the profile of the superintendent within the industry and how have I benefitted from those activities?” The primary goal of the CGSA, since its inception, has been to enhance the profile of the golf course superintendent and to increase golfer and industry awareness and understanding of the contributions made by the golf course manager. It would be an overstatement to suggest that the CGSA has accomplished this 10 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
on its own over the past 47 years, but it would not be going too far to suggest that the CGSA has been the leader in this regard over that period of time in Canada. In Canada and throughout the world, national organizations have promoted the role and the importance of the superintendent. The increased prominence of the superintendent at award presentations, on media reports of major events and with respect to budget allocations is confirmation that the industry believes what may seem obvious to some, but which for many years wasn’t the case – that is, in most markets a successful golf facility needs a professional superintendent to have a chance at success. This has led to better wages and benefits, better working conditions and certainly a better profile and a greater level of respect for the superintendent in most facilities across Canada. The CGSA has, and continues to, promote and support these values on behalf of Canadian superintendents and their staff. Another area where the CGSA has been able to add value is in the area of representation. This benefit probably accrues as much to the facility as it does to the individual member and therefore it provides a rationale for the facility to invest in your membership. The value in this case comes from the quality of educational activities available through the association, the opportunity for the profession to have a voice at the table when it comes to everything from environmental regulation to turfgrass research to product development and the value of having an organization that
is always there to promote the ways in which your work improves the facility and the success of the business. Although difficult to put a monetary value on these attributes of the CGSA, it is undeniable that there is real value to every superintendent as a result of the CGSA being in place and participating in these activities and many others that would fall into the same category. Real, easily quantifiable value is another component part of why many associations originally were formed. The CGSA has some of that as well. From the $36.00 GreenMaster subscription, to the $99 (US!) Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) subscription, to the $450 of legal counsel time provided through Law Protector, the real value of the CGSA services to the member is also there. Reduced fees to participate in association activities, free access to many golf events including the Canadian Open and the Canadian Ladies Open as well as the US Open Championship, hotel discounts and AD & D insurance coverage are just a few of the tangible benefits that provide value for the money invested by either the club or the individual. In the end, the CGSA is not the Price Club and that is not why, 47 years ago, Tom Johnston, Gordon Witteveen, David Gourlay, George Kendall, Keith Nisbet, Harold Gard, William Woolley and Marcel Notz met at the Inn on the Park in Toronto for the founding meeting of the CGSA. Their purpose, to a man, was to establish an organization from coast to coast that would support and represent the interests of golf course superintendents for now
and for the future. The value of the CGSA will be a little different for every member, but the investment in membership has and will continue to be good value for money, value that can only be enhanced by having more members and a greater percentage of the membership represented at the CGSA. GM ◗ De nombreuses pressions s’exercent sur l’équipe de direction des parcours de golf pour justifier pleinement le bien-fondé de toutes les dépenses, que se soit pour un appareil de plusieurs milliers de dollars, ou pour les frais d’adhésion de plusieurs centaines de dollars à l’ACSG. L’objectif de cet article est de démontrer la pertinence de l’adhésion à l’ACSG et le caractère exceptionnel de la proposition de valeur offerte aux membres. La valeur de l’adhésion englobe plusieurs niveaux ou éléments. Certains éléments valent pour tous les membres, mais d’autres sont plus difficiles à quantifier ou à cerner clairement. D’un côté, on peut en déterminer la valeur en se posant la question suivante : « Qu’est-ce que j’obtiens en échange de mon 471$? » Quel serait le coût équivalent si tous ces biens et services étaient achetés séparément? D’un autre côté, on pourrait également se demander : « En quoi mon travail serait-il différent si l’association n’existait pas, ni les programmes et services qu’elle m’offre? ». Ou encore : « Comment l’association contribue-t-elle à la reconnaissance et à la valorisation de la profession au sein de l’industrie, et comment est-ce que j’en profite? » Le principal objectif de l’ACSG depuis sa fondation est d’améliorer l’image des surintendants et de sensibiliser les golfeurs et l’industrie à la contribution qu’ils apportent au monde du golf. Il serait exagéré de dire que l’ACSG a réalisé à elle seule cet objectif au cours des 47 dernières années, mais nous sommes d’avis qu’elle a joué un rôle très important au Canada à cet égard pendant cette période. Ici même au pays et dans le monde entier, les organisations nationales mettent en valeur le rôle clé joué par les surintendants. L’importance accrue accordée à leur travail au cours des présentations de prix, dans les reportages des médias sur les grands événements et dans l’allocation du budget de fonctionnement des terrains de golf confirme ce que nous savions depuis toujours, mais que l’industrie a mis
beaucoup de temps à saisir, que pour réussir dans la plupart des marchés, un club de golf a besoin d’un surintendant professionnel. La reconnaissance de notre profession nous a permis d’obtenir de meilleurs salaires et avantages sociaux, et de meilleures conditions de travail. Elle nous a également permis de soigner notre image et d’inspirer le respect dans la plupart des clubs de golf d’un océan à l’autre. L’ACSG fait la promotion de ces valeurs depuis toujours au Canada au nom des surintendants et de leurs employés. Les services de représentation sont un autre domaine d’activités où l’ACSG a été en mesure d’ajouter de la valeur. Le club de golf en profite autant que le membre individuel, ce qui donne une raison de plus à l’employeur d’investir dans votre adhésion. En plus d’offrir des activités de perfectionnement professionnel pour améliorer les chances de succès de votre club, notre association vous donne la parole lorsqu’il est question de réglementation environnementale, de recherche sur le gazon et de développement de produits. Même s’il est parfois difficile d’attribuer une valeur monétaire à l’ACSG, elle joue un rôle de premier plan en ce qui a trait au professionnalisme et à la compétence de chaque surintendant. Il existe également une valeur facilement quantifiable pour expliquer la raison d’être d’une association professionnelle comme la nôtre. Certains des services offerts gratuitement aux membres de l’ACSG sont concrets et tangibles : l’abonnement à GreenMaster, d’une valeur de 36$, et à Turfgrass Information File, d’une valeur de 99$ (américains), ou encore le « Régime protection juridique », d’une valeur de 450$! Les membres de l’ACSG profitent également d’une réduction des frais de participation aux activités de l’association, en plus d’obtenir l’accès gratuit à plusieurs tournois de golf, dont l’Omnium canadien et l’Omnium féminin du Canada, ainsi que le tournoi US Open Championship. Parmi les autres avantages tangibles obtenus par le club ou la personne membre,
mentionnons nos offres de rabais dans certains hôtels et la couverture d’assurance AD & D. Mais l’ACSG n’est pas un Club Price et ce n’est pas la raison pour laquelle elle a été fondée, il y a 47 ans, à l’Hôtel Inn on the Park de Toronto par MM. Tom Johnston, Gordon Witteveen, David Gourlay, George Kendall, Keith Nisbet, Harold Gard, William Woolley et Marcel Notz. Leur objectif était d’établir une organisation permettant de soutenir et de représenter les intérêts des surintendants d’un océan à l’autre, aujourd’hui et dans l’avenir. L’utilité de l’ACSG n’est pas la même pour tous les membres, mais l’investissement dans l’adhésion offre une très bonne valeur en contrepartie de l’argent dépensé, une valeur qui ne peut que s’accroître avec l’augmentation de ses effectifs et un plus grand pourcentage de surintendants représentés à l’ACSG. GM
“Ici même au pays et dans le monde entier, les organisations nationales mettent en valeur le rôle clé joué par les surintendants.” Ken Cousineau, CGSA Executive Director SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 11
NEWS F ROM T H E G REEN ◗ Marc Cousineau
PGA Tour Canada player Joe Panzeri tees off during the ATB Financial Classic final round.
credit: PGA Tour Canada
PGA Tour Canada has First-half Trials, Triumphs ◗ It is half-way through the PGA Tour Canada’s inaugural season, as of this writing, and the circuit has had an interesting rookie campaign thus far, including weather woes and a top-class, hometown favourite. The season started at the Times Colonist Island Savings Open at Uplands Golf Club in Victoria, BC, home of CGSA member Brian Youell. Stephen Gangluff, from the U.S, took home the first trophy of the season by two strokes. The tournament saw three Canadians place in the top five. The ATB Financial Classic at Country Hills Golf Club in Calgary was the next scheduled event, but floods that devastated much of the area halted the event. The Dakota Dunes Open followed, hosted by Dakota Dunes Golf Links and CGSA members Marc Robert, Tyler McComas and Jason Langyel, in Saskatoon. American Wil Collins narrowly beat out two Canadians by one stroke to win. The next tournament saw a Canadian win for the first time this season on the national tour. Riley Wheeldon held off the 12 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
Classic, hosted by CGSA member Scott MacArthur’s course Country Hills, resumed with American Joe Panzeri taking the tournament by two strokes. The top money earner after five events was Canadian Riley Wheeldon, making the tour live up to its name. He topped the field with close to $40,000 in earnings after the half-way point.
The crew at Country Hills work to clear water from the course after unprecedented rainfall struck southern Alberta credit: PGA Tour Canada
field to win the Syncrude Boreal Open the Fort McMurray Golf Club. At the Players Cup at Pine Ridge Golf Club in Winnipeg, Carlos Sainz Jr. beat out fellow American Nathan Tyler by one stroke to prevail. After six weeks, the ATB Financial
Lasers, Prisoners, New Grass All Being Considered at U.S Course ◗ Golf course management at a U.S course are looking at some unorthodox methods for lowering costs and improving the facility, including the use of lasers, prisoners and a new variety of turfgrass. The Black Mountain Golf Course in Black Mountain, North Carolina, has battled years of bad weather, budget shortfalls and an overwhelming amount of geese that have left course management looking for innovative ways to erase the wear that has built up over the seasons.
A young foot golf enthusiast tries out the course at Carman Creek Golf Club. credit: Carman Creek Golf Club
A committee made of course managers and town-appointed members looked into the issues plaguing the municipal course. It was suggested the course use prisoner labour to help maintain the course after complaints about patchy greens and overgrown edges were brought forward last November. Prisoner labour would save the course money and was considered because of the reduced liability that goes with recruiting the help of inmates. Other proposed measures were the use of Bermuda grass on the course to save money and impose uniformity on the playing surfaces and the use of laser pointers to control the geese population. The course had originally used a border collie to deal with the pesky birds, but superintendent Robby Henderson says that after experimenting with laser pointers, that method worked best. “They would come in every morning at 5
a.m. and wake me up,” says Henderson. “I would go out with a laser and shine it across the lake, and they were gone.”
Golfing for Kicks ◗ If you’re feeling a little down about the strength of your golf game, you may want to visit the course where it’s completely acceptable to kick your ball and the holes are five-times larger than normal. That golf course would be Carman Creek Golf Club in Fredericton, New Brunswick, the home of Canada’s newest, and the East Coast’s first, foot golf course. Foot golf is a combination of soccer and golf and was imported from Europe, according to Carman Creek owner Terry Avery. The sport involves players trying to kick a soccer ball from a tee into a 21-inch cup in the least number of kicks. Foot golf is a growing sport across the world, being playing in 17 countries, and
has started to take root in North America. The first Canadian foot golf course opened in Muskoka in June and Carman Creek, which opened its course on August 9, makes two in the country. There are already three courses in the U.S. as of August. There is even a burgeoning American Foot Golf League that hosts tournaments across the country. Avery says he considered building a Frisbee golf course at Carman Creek, but decided foot golf was the easier and cheaper option. “All we did was near or beside our regular greens we mowed separate greens,” Avey says. “I mean, they’re not built to USGA specifications, with the drainage and the sand. They’re just mowed off to the sides of the regular greens.” GM
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 13
fe ature ◗ Rick Woelfel
When Winter Comes Preparing for snow, rain and everything in between ◗ Even in late summer there are reminders of the winter ahead. The sun is lower in the sky and sets earlier than it did in late June. Mother Nature is sending a gentle reminder of what is to come. Not that the reader needs reminding. For as any golf course superintendent knows, preparation is the key to getting through the winter and starting a new season with healthy turf. Greg Hollins is completing his third season as the golf course superintendent and turf manager at Fort William Country Club in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The original nine hole course, designed by Stanley Thompson, dates back to 1926. A second nine, designed by Norman Woods, opened in1964. Hollins has been around the golf industry all his life. He grew up in Manitoba where his parents ran a golf course; his late father Gerry was a CPGA professional for 42 years. Hollins himself has worked in the turf industry for more than two decades. Prior to coming to Thunder Bay, he spent 15 years at the John Blumberg Golf Course in Winnipeg. In 2010 he was named Manitoba Superintendent of the Year by his peers. When Hollins arrived in Ontario, he encountered milder winters than he was accustomed to, thanks to the impact of nearby Lake Superior. “Temperatures have been warmer over the last two winters,” he says. 14 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
“Winnipeg freezes and stays frozen. Thunder Bay has too many warm spells in winter for my liking.” Hollins’ pre-winter checklist includes a solid tine aeration program. This year he’s also planning to strip some high collars with a sod cutter to improve drainage. He notes that in each of the past two winters, temperatures have moderated in January, leading to thaws, melting, and inevitable ice issues. During the winter of 2011-12, five greens suffered ice damage because of a January thaw. That was a prelude to what happened a year later. “We had a two-inch rain event on December 15 (2012),” Hollins recalls. “That cleared the course of any snow and filled all aeration holes we punched on the greens.” Less than a month later, on January 7, 2013, temperatures rose above the freezing mark and stayed there for four days. Melting snow became slush before a flash freeze created a layer of ice that, on average, was a half-inch thick. Hollins and his staff had a plan for dealing with the situation. “We devised a plan to clear the greens of snow,” Hollins says, “and spread milorganite to ‘burn’ through ice to release gasses.” The plan couldn’t be implemented, however, until mid-February, when the air temperature rose to -1C and stayed there
for three days under clear skies. “We had successful ice removal from annual bluegrass/bentgrass greens,” Hollins says. “Poa didn’t fare too well from exposure and ice damage.” In the end, all but three of Hollins’s greens sustained ice damage last winter. To minimize the chances of a recurrence, he recently purchased a Turfco overseeder to deliver more bentgrass to his greens and to allow for overseeding in wake of inclement winter weather. Mike DeYoung arrived at Glen Arbour Golf Club in Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia 15 years ago to assume the role of grow-in superintendent. He’s been tending to the turf there ever since. In recent years, Mother Nature has forced him to modify his winter-preparation protocol. Simply put, he’s seeing a lot more snow than he used to. “We’ve seen bigger snow events,” he says. “The past couple of winters we’ve had snow covers of longer duration.” “Five, six, seven or eight years ago we would make our final application of fungicide sometime in December. With recent trends we’ve made a concerted effort to get that final fungicide application out by the first of November because we know the potential is there to have snow cover from the first of November until sometime in March.”
“With recent trends we’ve made a concerted effort to get that final fungicide application out by the first of November because we know the potential is there to have snow cover from the first of November until sometime in March.” Mike DeYoung, Glen Arbour Golf Club, Nova Scotia
DeYoung says there have been occasions when he’s applied fungicide during a January thaw, but he hasn’t been able to do that as often in recent years due to the weather. When it comes to protecting his greens, his “tools of choice” are top dressing and desiccation blankets. “We use desiccation blankets on some of our open greens,” DeYoung says. “We’ve been known to use blankets on greens that are exposed but we don’t use any ice shields.” “Our biggest program is top dressing. We’ll go out in late October and make two fairly heavy top-dressing applications and that’s kind of our winter blanket.” Needless to say, the fact that Glen Arbour is a young golf course with modern bentgrass greens works to DeYoung’s advantage. “We’re fortunate that the greens have extremely positive surface drainage,” he says, “so we don’t seem to get the accumulation of ice that some of the older golf courses in the area seem to get more frequently. “We know we have areas where the surface drainage isn’t perfect, so we’ll go in and remove some sod so there are paths for the water to get off the greens; we have little pockets on some greens where we’ll cut the sod out.” At Riverside Country Club in Saskatoon, longtime-superintendent Doug Campbell raises the height of his greens as winter weather approaches. In mid summer he’ll cut his greens, which are a mix of bentgrass and poa, to .125 (inches). By mid-September, that height has been raised to .130. By the end of the golf season in late October he may be cutting his putting surfaces to a height of .145. Between the beginning of September and the end of the golf season in late
October, Campbell will put down three or four fungicide applications. He’ll also reduce the amount of nitrogen in the soil. “We don’t want too much heavy growth,” he says. “You don’t want your turf too lush (over the winter); it makes it more susceptible to snow mold.” When the fungicide application cycle is complete and the end of the season is at hand, Campbell will apply topdressing to his greens. He and his staff will place a permeable tarp on the surface of each putting surface then cover the tarp with approximately six inches of flax straw. “We’ve found a formula that we feel is 432092_Green.indd 1 7/17/09 6:47:24 PM working fairly well,” Campbell says. “It’s always a crapshoot with the weather in the winter, but overall we generally come through the winter fairly well. We’ll have one or two greens where something will go SIGNS wrong with them for different reasons.” No methodology is foolproof of course; unexpected snowmelts can and do lead to refreezing and ice buildup that can be fatal to greens. Quality Signs Since 1983 But Campbell has learned to adjust to what the forces of nature throw at him. He’s spent his entire career at Riverside, a private club that dates back to 1912. He’s been the head superintendent since 1985 Toll Free: 1 (800) 909-9927 and is very familiar with winter weather in Fax: (403) 346-6261 Saskatchewan. Last winter he dealt with a E-mail: email@example.com snow covering that persisted for more than firstname.lastname@example.org six months. “Last year we were under snow cover starting October 23,” he says. “We didn’t open the course until May 3. Eastern Distributor There was snow covering the playing area of the golf course until late April.” Jim Schwan Sports “On Opening Day we took a picture of a (705) 504-0776 green being cut,” Campbell recalls. Beaverton, ON “The whole bank behind the green is totally white with snow. The green is Complete Golf Course perfectly green. It’s a nice contrast.” GM
Red Deer, Alberta
Signage & Accessories
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 15 19/06/12 5:05 PM
fe ature ◗ Peter Kinch, Ian McQueen and Robert Cowan
Lambton Golf Course was hit hard by flooding in the Toronto area in July. credit: Lambton Golf Course
Rising to Meet Mother Nature Tales, trials and triumphs during the Toronto flood ◗ Golf course management professionals have a special relationship with the weather that defines a large part of their jobs on a daily basis. This relationship is often classified by the love/hate moniker, Mother Nature’s fickleness and the potential for beauty or disaster on any given day. This relationship is what has given rise to the stories that fill these next couple pages. They are retellings from superintendents that faced the Toronto flooding in early July, an event being called Ontario’s most costly natural disaster by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The damages cost more than $850 million. The following are the trials and triumphs of three superintendents from that day and the days following their battle with the wind and rain.
Peter Kinch – Lambton Golf
Since the storm hit almost 10 days ago, the clean-up and restoration process has been an enormous undertaking. Additional staff was hired to assist with the work. Between course and maintenance staff, a total of 30 people were dedicated to the clean-up and restoration, while others continued to maintain the golf course as best as possible. 16 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
In the first week alone, 1,500 labour hours were spent on storm damage repair and just as much will be dedicated this week until the work is completed. Bunker restoration monopolized the greatest amount of staff time. Just over 70 per cent of labour was dedicated to bunkers. Over 210 tons of new ProAngle sand was required to restore 28 bunkers. This was delivered by tractor trailers from Ohio with a day’s notice. No large equipment is permitted in the bunkers because it would sacrifice their shape and drainage. This meant that all the contaminated sand, which amounted to almost the same tonnage, was shoveled out of the bunkers by hand. The greatest amount of damage was to the bunkers on seven and it has resulted in this hole being closed, but the work continues. The two fairway bunkers and the greenside bunkers had all the sand removed. These three bunkers alone, because of the size and design, required 84 tons of bunker sand. The drainage was compromised and needed to be removed and replaced. Over 200 feet of bunker boards have been installed along with backfilling with 20 cubic yards of soil and re-
installation of drainage tiles. Seven skids of sod will be laid in these areas as well. All of the areas around the bunkers have received substantial silt. Even through these colossal efforts, there will still be lasting silt that the grass will have to grow through and this will take time. We lost three trees during the flood, two on the Valley and one on the Championship course. Apart from this, a significant amount of tree work was needed to deal with broken branches and tree debris washed onto the golf courses. We also had to redo the interior renovations to the washrooms at the 6th tee. Although the storm was severe, the damage was not as great as originally expected. The redesigned course, with the expanded drainage and the elevated tees and greens were a saving factor. Not one green on the Championship Course was under water during the flood and the expanded drainage helped dissipate the water quickly. The grass in the low areas that held water for any length of time has died and will be replaced. This includes the low areas at 10 and 14 fairways as well as
This article is eligible for the
Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.
Left: Lambton Golf Course’s fairways were overtaken by water during the flood. Right: The Humber River rages through the course credit: Lambton Golf Course after heavy rainfall.
rough areas that had standing water on the Valley Course. All of the major work should be completed by the end of today and we expect to open the 7th hole, the Valley Course and the washroom at the 6th tee by tomorrow, Thursday, July 17.
Ian McQueen – Islington Golf Club
It has been just over six weeks since the flood on July 8. A total of nine inches of rain fell from Friday, July 5 to Monday, July 8 and five inches of the rain came on the Monday evening. This was when I saw how devastating the Mimico Creek watershed could be. The last significant flood was caused by Hurricane Hazel in 1954, some 60 years ago; the so-called 100 year storm. After the flood, this may need to be updated to 2013. Islington Golf Club has seven holes that play through the flood plain with all the holes receiving some sort of damage. The damage ranged from silt contamination, tree removal, bridge abutments, bedrock deposits and tee destruction. The worst was greens damage. Silt was removed by hoses from the #15 and #18 greens with little damage, but a third of #11 green was destroyed. After a week of meetings with the Club’s Board of Directors, we hired structural engineers for the bridges and consultants to design new erosion measures along bridge approaches. Also, and most importantly, the insurance adjuster work was approved and we were ready to proceed. The day after the storm, the crew was hard at work removing as much silt as
possible from fairways and greens to minimize the damage. After this was accomplished, we started to work on wood cleanup and an overall debris cleanup of the Valley. Seven tractor trailers of wood were removed from the site. Some of the major work began on #8 where the flood removed the approach to the bridge and deposited bedrock throughout the lower portion of the fairway. The construction company came in and removed 20 tri-axels of shale and rock debris before rebuilding the bridge approach. Culverts were installed as a new erosion measure to eliminate water pressure to the bridge in the event of another flood. At the same time, the golf construction company rebuilt #9 tees and began rebuilding all the bunkers on #8. The biggest improvement to the club will be the #11 green. The green was so severely damaged that a re-build was the only option. The course architect, Ian Andrew, designed a new USGA green. Work began on July 22 and it was seeded on August 14. During the days and weeks following the flood, the entire staff and membership has been dedicated to repairing the Club. As of today, we have rebuilt 30 bunkers with all new bentonite liner and signature sand, one set of tee decks and one new USGA green. We have laid 20 trucks of bluegrass and one truck of bentgrass. It has been a long six weeks, but at the end of the day, the club will have better infrastructure in place and some course improvements that might not have been completed this quickly.
“Although the storm was severe, the damage was not as great as originally expected. The redesigned course, with the expanded drainage and the elevated tees and greens were a saving factor.” Peter Kinch, Lambton Golf
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 17
fe ature ◗ Peter Kinch, Ian McQueen and Robert Cowan
Cart paths and bridges fell victim to the flooding creek at Royal Woodbine Golf Club. credit: Royal Woodbine Golf Club
“Damage was extensive and included ripped up cart paths, fairways, rough and bunkers. Fifteenhundred square feet of the number five green had been torn off and washed down the river. There was also major erosion of creek banks.” Robert Cowan, Royal Woodbine Golf Club
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◗ continued from page 17
Robert Cowan – Royal Woodbine Golf Club
Monday July 8 started out as a beautiful summer day, with partial sun and cloud, a high of 29 degrees Celsius and a slight wind out of the south-west. That all changed around 5 p.m., when an all-time record rainfall began. When the rain ended several hours later, 126 mm had fallen and Royal Woodbine was completely flooded, with some fairways under six feet of water. The following morning, the golf course was still impassable and the maintenance department was dark due to a power outage caused by the storm. By twelve noon, in my shorts and running shoes and walking through two feet of water, I could view the south nine, while the north nine was not accessible until late the following day. A roadway underpass separating the two nines was washed out to a depth of eight feet. By Thursday, we had built a temporary road and the north nine was accessible— and not too soon with temperatures in the high 30 degree Celsius range and a fungicide application badly needed. By Friday, July 12, an assessment of the
damage had been completed, a contractor hired and a temporary fix to get the golf course open was underway. Damage was extensive and included ripped up cart paths, fairways, rough and bunkers. Fifteen-hundred square feet of the fifth green had been torn off and washed down the river. There was also major erosion of creek banks. Over the next 10 days, 11,000 square feet of cart path was prepped for paving, 26,000 square feet of bluegrass sod rolled out, 54,000 square feet of bentgrass fairway replaced, 160 tons of boulders placed to secure bridges and 65 bunkers cleaned and refilled with 600 tons of new sand. The golf course opened 10 days later with one temporary green and two temporary tees. It was fully open by August 8 – only 32 days after the largest single day rainfall ever recorded at Pearson International Airport (less than one mile from the golf course). Although we are now fully open, there are still a lot of areas that need to have a little work done on them in the fall to get back to the shape we were in before the flood. GM
fe ature ◗ Ian Andrews
Are Your Bunkers Too Perfect? It may be time to rethink the way golf course managers handle bunkers and the way players see them. ◗ I was speaking about future trends in golf course architecture at a USGA seminar in Boston this winter when I shared the following thought, “Bunkers have essentially lost their strategic value.” The sucking-in of breath was audible, but I meant what I said. I have spent the better part of the last two decades coming up with ways to keep bunkers playing consistently, avoiding contamination and getting the ball to the bottom of bunkers for playability. While this may receive a resounding thumbs-up from golfers, I’m starting to wonder if I’m doing the right thing. I have watched membership expectations for bunker maintenance reach a point where members demand perfection at all times. In the early days of the game, bunkers were considered the worst place to find your ball, but in the modern version of the game they have often become the best place. I blame everything from extremely diligent superintendents and committed staff members to excellent contractors and the collection of thoughtful details done to protect the sand and improve the lie. But nothing has played a greater role than the development of manufactured sand that not only drains efficiently, but maintains the ball proudly up on the surface. Congratulations to all of us, I think, because the last round of golf I played, I had 10 “bunkers shots” and every one was from an absolutely perfect lie in the bottom of the bunker. The PGA Tour statistics for bunker
play have continued to improve each decade. While great teaching and a better understanding of equipment can be given some credit, nothing has played a bigger role than the quality of lie and consistency of sand found on tour. Don’t believe me? Just watch the British Open and you’ll see the statistics suffer drastically because the bunker is still considered a hazard. While part of the reason for this is the more “sporting view” of what a bunker should be across the pond, nothing plays a larger role than the use of native sand because it creates variety in playing conditions and lie. In this case, nobody is attempting to present a perfect bunker because, in their view, bunkers are supposed to be hard to play out of. There is one problem that all of this has created and it is financial. Every time golfers demand consistency or perfection, it comes at a heavy price. The cost to build a bunker has risen dramatically as we work harder to come up with better detailing and fill them with extremely expensive, manufactured sand. What is more alarming is that many of the courses now require 25 per cent of their entire maintenance budget to be dedicated to keeping the bunkers at this extreme level of perfection. In an era where 90 bunkers on a golf course are common, this is not sustainable. But think about this rationally for a moment; we spend a staggering amount on bunker maintenance to make them as easy as possible to play out of, yet they are also to be a critical source of strategy.
credit: Ian Andrews
The traditional theory for a bunker is they represent a lost shot. And that lost shot can only be saved with an outstanding shot on the way to the hole. Yet when we watch the tour or play with the best players we know, all we here is, “Get in the bunker.” In my presentation, I shared much of this same discussion and went on to talk about alternatives, like extensive short grass around greens as an alternative to bunkering as strategy. Some of the basis of this exploration was the cost and maintenance of modern bunkering. I discussed the fact that most clubs and courses are reducing the number of bunkers to ensure long-term, sustainable operating budgets. But as an architect, I think this a future trend too, costs aside, because our role is to make the game interesting by balancing opportunity with risk. Since we can no longer rely on the intimidation and consequence of all but the deepest of our bunkers, we must turn to other clever alternatives, like short grass, that add risk, but not the costs. Bunkers have indeed lost some of their strategic value, but what is even more fascinating is they are no longer the first line of defence for an architect. GM Ian Andrew has been a golf course architect since 1989 and is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Ian has developed a reputation for his sensitive renovation and restoration of many of Canada’s greatest courses.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 19
fe ature ◗ David McPherson
Ready to Give Your Course a Facelift? Constant communication, strong relationships, the keys to course makeovers
Derrick Golf and Winter Club, Edmonton, Alberta credit: Bruce Comeau Photography
20 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
◗ Cory Janzen glances at the calendar on his office wall. This visual reminds him of what day it is. Forgive Westmount Golf & Country Club’s superintendent if the dog days of summer this year are a blur. On August 19, 2013, the private club in Kitchener, Ont. — perennially ranked as one of the top tracks in Canada — closed a pair of holes and began a $750,000 renovation. Flash back to 2004. That’s when the seeds for this project were planted. After careful consideration, Westmount hired golf course architect Doug Carrick to prepare a new long-range master plan. The club chose the Toronto-based designer due to his familiarity and expertise on Stanley Thompson courses.
“Doug [Carrick] is sympathetic to and understands Thompson’s style,” Janzen says. “He also started his career working under Robbie Robinson, who was Thompson’s apprentice, so there is a nice chain back to the famed Canadian architect.” Before starting any renovation project – whether large or small – superintendents need to develop a comprehensive long-range plan. Then, after the architect presents this vision, it’s essential the pair get along. First, they need to work together to sell this strategic plan to the board and the greens committee. Then, they need to use these key influencers to get buy-in from the broader membership. Flash ahead to the start of the 2012
Derrick Golf and Winter Club, Edmonton, Alberta credit: Bruce Comeau Photography
golf season. Most of the smaller projects outlined in Carrick’s 2004 master plan, such as tree and tee work, were complete. It was high time to redo the bunkers, which were starting to drain poorly – and were last tackled in 1996. Westmount decided it made economic sense to complete renovations of the 11th and 12th greens, which were out of character with the rest of the course and did not match Thompson’s design style, at the same time. “A greens committee member suggested we do it all at once and be done with it,’” Janzen recalls. “That was a great idea that quickly gained a lot of traction.”
Top Five Tips for a renovation’s success 1. Pre-plan as much as you can; don’t rush the planning phase of the project. 2. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and help from experts to help sell your plan. 3. Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! Keep members informed with town-hall meetings, white boards by the first tee, social media such as blogs and Twitter, newsletters, etc. Communicate frequently at every stage of the renovation. 4. Talk to other superintendents to learn from their experiences. “Get out in that winter before your renovation is set to start, during conference time, and talk to others,” says Janzen. “Learn how they did it, why they did it, and what their overall experience was. You can learn a lot of from others. That’s my biggest piece of advice that helped me and gave me confidence. When you hear the same thing from four or five other people, you know you are on the right track.” 5. Set up an Excel spreadsheet and track your expenses daily, so you always know where you stand. “The minute you start renovating an old golf course, there is always a bunch of things that come up and you’re like, ‘wow, we are right here, we might as well do this too.’ You have to control that urge and costs or it can get out of hand fast.”
◗ continued on page 24 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 21
fe ature ◗ David McPherson
Besides using these external experts to sell your club’s plan, ongoing communication is critical to making sure your renovation project is a success.
22 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
◗ continued from page 23
The superintendent strategically positioned the greens and the bunker project as two separate issues since there was a faction within Westmount’s membership who, at the time, did not believe these two putting surfaces needed to change. “We didn’t want to be accused of tying the greens into the bunker project, so we made it two separate votes,” he says. The strategy worked. In the fall of 2012, Westmount members voted overwhelmingly in favour of both projects. “It was a great decision,” Janzen says. “When you look at our master plan, the bunkers and the greens on 11 and 12 were the two things that will affect the play of golf more than anything else left in terms of closing golf holes, so getting this done in one year means a lot less disruption to the course.” As Janzen sold these renovation plans, Carrick and his associates were an integral part of his communication strategy. “I’m a big believer in having outside help to sell stuff,” he says. “If it comes from me it doesn’t have the same weight. Doug [Carrick] came and gave a presentation to our greens committee based on work he had previously done on Stanley Thompson courses. “Carrick’s associate Steve Vanderploeg also created 3-D drawings from photos I’d taken to illustrate what the renovated holes might look like,” Janzen adds. “That’s a little dangerous because it will never look like the photo, but it gives people an idea … this type of communication is a big part of
getting a project like this approved.” For his part, Carrick sees his role in any project such as this as one of support. “You don’t want to be perceived that you are pushing your stamp or ideas on the course,” he says. “First, there has to be a need identified within the membership for change. It is important members believe in that change and for them to be part of that process and sell it to the rest of the membership because if they don’t, the project will fail.” Janzen also relied on another pair of external consultants – Dave Oatis, director of the Northeast Region of the USGA Green Section and Scott Robinson from Arbor.com, who did a shade study, to help sell this plan. “It helps to have more than one outsider agree that your plan is well-thought out and it’s the right thing to do for the club,” he adds. Darryl Maxwell understands the importance of the role of consultants – especially the architect - in selling a renovation project to your club’s membership. The keeper of the greens at The Derrick Golf & Winter Club in Edmonton, Alberta, is currently coordinating a two-year $5.5 million course renovation and rebuild. What began as a massive drainage project grew into a full-scale facelift. Windsor-based golf course architect Jeff Mingay won a Request for Proposal in 2010 to create this vision. It then took two and a half years to get the family-oriented private club to approve his plan that included six brand new holes, changing the sequence of play. According to the architect, who moved
Left: Doug Carrick checking internal contours Right: Saving Bentgrass credit: Westmount Golf & Country Club
his office to Edmonton this past summer to focus on this project, this renovation is as close as you can come to building a new golf course without technically being a new course. A key to the project’s early success is the relationship between the architect and the superintendent. “Darryl [Maxwell] and I immediately hit it off,” says Mingay, who was busy shaping the club’s short-game practice area when we chatted in late August. “That’s always important in these types of projects. In my experience, the superintendent and the architect have to be buddies. First, when you are working with a superintendent who is not interested in what you are doing, or is not on the same wavelength, it’s no fun. Second, if it’s no fun, it probably won’t turn out well.” Maxwell adds that it’s also important for superintendents to think long-term in renovation projects: focus on what the proposed changes will do for the golf course, don’t get sidetracked worrying about how it might affect your department and its agronomic practices. “Put your maintenance hat away and deal with that later,” he says.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Besides using these external experts to sell your club’s plan, ongoing communication is critical to making sure your renovation project is a success. To get the word out and to get buy-in for Mingay’s master plan, The Derrick Club polled its membership on various proposals surrounding the project such as when and
how long to close the course. Maxwell and Mingay co-led four town hall meetings and the pair also helped organize management and board information sessions leading up to the vote. From these large face-toface meetings to smaller focus groups, Maxwell says there was “a massive amount of communication.” Prior to the final vote, he estimates there were at least a dozen of these member interactions. Another key communication tool was a 100-plus page booklet, complete with architectural drawings and renderings that outlined all facets of the multi-million dollar project and tried to answer any possible questions that members might have. Once the renovation began, the superintendent and architect kept the lines of member communication open; they gave course tours to small groups to show them first-hand the project’s progress and Maxwell provided weekly construction updates via the course website. “This was effective as these members could then help spread the word about the work that was going on,” he says. While Maxwell is not into social media, Janzen, 44, finds blogging is an effective communication tool to reach a core group of Westmount members. “I have about 100 people that read my blog,” he says. “I have a big e-mail list and anyone that ever sits on a committee gets automatically added, so this list has grown over time. Even if it’s only 100 people, they are going to play golf with potentially hundreds more and when the wrong message gets spread, they can say, ‘no, I
just read that on his blog,’ and correct them. Even though there are still not as many as I would like reading it yet, it gets the message out.” Back in Edmonton, at The Derrick Club, as autumn creeps in, Darryl Maxwell is in a reflective mood, taking stock in his maintenance shop. The superintendent stares at his day timer open on his desk. He crosses off what’s already been done in phase one of this multi-million dollar renovation and then skips ahead to plan what still needs to be completed in phase two come the spring. “It’s hard to reflect back,” Maxwell concludes. “When you are in the middle of project like this your time is completely taken… you are just putting out fires every day and things are changing all the time. But, if I was to do it again, in an ideal world, I would love to take one year after the members voted to investigate all the perfect methods, getting enough consultants, and taking more time in planning process.” GM
David McPherson is a regular contributor to GreenMaster. Over the years, many golf publications have featured the Toronto-based freelancers’ work, including: PGATOUR.com, Golf Canada, ScoreGolf, Fairways, Golf Course Architecture, Golf Course Industry, Pro Shop, and Golf Course Management. As president of McPherson Communications (www. mcphersoncommunications), David helps a wide range of clients get their message heard. Follow him on Twitter @mcphersoncomm. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 23
fe ature ◗ Gord Olson
Grow-in Up The ups and downs of growing in the golf course at Tsawwassen ◗ The Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club began life in 1967 and operated for 40 years as one of the busiest tournament golf courses in the lower mainland, British Colombia. It was a 4500 yard, par-65 that was set amidst a beautiful, park-like setting with mature weeping willow, sequoia and fir trees and a number of lakes filled with carp and koi. The club had its heyday in the eighties and nineties while golf was going through a growth spurt and the TGCC was the go-to course for company golf outings due to its shorter length and attractive setting. The numbers began to drop off in the new millennium with the economic downturn that had some companies deciding they could not afford the company golf tournament. The course also had an old, troublesome Vari-time irrigation system that couldn’t keep things green in the summer drought months. The old system was single row with a hodgepodge of heads; 690s and 650s for fairways and 730s and 634s on tees and around greens. Irrigation uniformity was a hopeless dream. In 2007, the club was purchased by local businessman Ron Toigo. He had a vision
of a new community surrounded by a reimagined and much improved golf course. Although lengthened to 5400 yards from the black tees and brought up to a par-70, the course (designed by Ted Locke) is still very much friendly to shorter hitters, but brings a strategic dimension which the old course lacked. While the old course was short and straightforward, the improved version gives you plenty to consider at most tees. Although I had been superintendent at the TGCC for five years, taking control of the grow-in of a new course was completely new to me and forced me to seek advice from those who had experience with grow-ins. My primary go-to-guy for wisdom was John Przybyszewski who was up from California and was overseeing the construction of the new course. Retired superintendent Bruce Thrasher was also a wealth of information and dropped in periodically to chat and share ideas.
Greens 007 Creeping Bentgrass at 1.5lbs/1000. Greens were seeded from September 15 to October 15, each achieving a different level of density before the November cold snap hit. One green was hit by desiccation
on high points because of below freezing temperatures and high winds while another was struck with a bad case of fusarium that looked not unlike measles. Although difficult to look at over the winter, it only required some minor overseeding in the spring. The 007 greens are easy to care for with the proviso that you are able to provide them with enough sunlight and can keep the thatch from becoming a problem. For the grow-in fertilizer program, we followed a strict regime of Andersons Nutri DG line of products every two weeks. The first few cuts were made at ½” (no buckets) in the afternoon when they were dry, but we quickly brought them down to encourage density. Although initially not a problem, take-all patch began to appear in the second year of establishment and showed up where there was any stress to the greens. If caught early, the symptoms are easily masked with fertilizer, but if that critical point is missed, the grass is unable to recover and needs to be plugged. Our greens’ pH is high (7.3) and this is also a contributing factor for take-all. Therefore, we have been applying ammonium sulphate to lower the pH.
Scenic Tsawwassen G&CC began a grow-in during September 2007, headed up by CGSA member and superintendent Gord Olson 24 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
This article is eligible for the
Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.
Left: Tsawwassen G&CC looking great after the grow-in. above: A green during and after construction. credit: Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club
Fairways 4-way Perennial Rye/Colonial Bentgrass The fairways and tees are composed of a blend of 4 ryegrass cultivars as well as a dusting of colonial bent. Initial mowing was set at ¾” and performed with a Jacobsen tri-plex and solid rollers, front and back. Keeping the seed moist for the first week or so is a time consuming task, particularly during sunny or breezy conditions. With the undulations on the fairways and rough, keeping the surface uniformly moist without allowing it to dry out or washing out and eroding is a frustrating exercise and destined to fail. However, with care and attention, you can achieve limited success. Being a sand base, the fertilization uniformity takes on a heightened importance, as any missed areas will be 1) highly visible and 2) will quickly fall behind in development as well as be prone to weed infestation. With this in mind, it’s imperative that the spreader be calibrated and the operator be well trained.
Tees 4-Way Perennial Rye/Colonial Bentgrass Tees that were seeded late in the fall, and were actively growing when we were hit with a cold snap, developed a coarse, stalky feel which had to be addressed with verti-
Fescue Ryegrass/Fescue Blend
waxwing, kingfisher, blue heron, green backed heron, cormorant, northern shrike, bittern, various hawks, bald eagles and mergansers. Growing in a golf course is a long term project that can at times be stressful, rewarding, exhausting, bewildering and occasionally peaceful, but will definitely test your ability to cope. But if you manage to get through it, you will come out the other side a slightly altered person, for the better. GM
Large swaths of rough and out-of-play areas have been seeded to a fescue blend and have been allowed to grow, providing both visual interest as well as reducing the maintenance costs of mowing, fertilizing and irrigation. These areas have proven to be great nesting grounds for the killdeer, coyote and raptor populations, which enjoy hunting for field mice in the tall grass. Some of the crew have become amateur ornithologists and some of the regular, winged visitors to the course include cedar
Gord Olson is the superintendent at Tsawwassen Golf and Country Club and a member of the CGSA. Olson has been the superintendent at Tsawwassen for more than a decade and oversaw the grow-in at the course.
cutting, overseeding and topdressing in the spring in order to bring back the proper texture. On a couple tees, the colonial became the main turf, which resulted in a soft, thatchy surface that was prone to pink patch. A program of overseeding with rye and sand topdressing has been implemented to create a firmer surface and to reduce the incidence of pink patch.
“...taking control of the grow-in of a new course was completely new to me and forced me to seek advice from those who had experience with grow-ins.” Gord Olson, Tsawwassen Golf & Country Club SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 25
fe ature ◗ Tatsiana Espevig, Agnar Kvalbein and Trygve S. Aamlid, Bioforsk Turfgrass Research Group
Potential of Velvet Bentgrass Ideal turfgrass species for greens in winter-cold areas ◗ The number of cool-season turfgrasses seeded on golf greens can be counted on the fingers of one hand. One of them is velvet bentgrass, although the use of this species is small compared with that of annual bluegrass, creeping bentgrass and red fescue, the latter often in mixture with colonial bentgrass. Historically, and probably due to climatic reasons, the greatest use of velvet bentgrass in North America has been in the New England region. In the Nordic countries, velvet bentgrass has been seeded on approximately 15 per cent of the golf greens in Finland, but less than 3 per cent of the golf greens in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Based on our recently finished project ‘Potential for velvet bentgrass (Agrostis canina) on Scandinavian putting greens,’ SCANGREEN variety evaluation and a couple of other STERF projects, the objective of this article is to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages on this perhaps underutilized species and to make recommendations to Canadian greenkeepers wondering if velvet bentgrass could be an alternative for their golf course.
Limited Use Despite Excellent Playability
Why is the use of velvet bentgrass so limited? The most significant reason is probably little experience and knowledge about velvet bentgrass management, especially with regard to thatch control. Secondly, turfgrass breeding and variety development during the past 50 years has focused mostly on creeping bentgrass. However, during the past couple of decades, there has been a resurgence in the interest for velvet bentgrass with varieties such as SR 7200 (Europe: ‘Avalon’), Vesper, Greenwich, Legendary, Villa and Venus coming on the market. According to SCANGREEN trials, Villa is currently the most highly ranked variety in Scandinavia. Well-kept velvet bentgrass greens have a beautiful, light-green color. They are also fast due to an extremely high tiller density, fine leaves and a slow growth rate. These greens tolerate mowing at 2.5-3 mm. Stimpmeter readings 24 hours after mowing show 0.5-1.0 foot better ball roll than with creeping bentgrass and red fescue. Because of the low vertical growth rate,
greenkeepers often cut velvet bentgrass only 3-4 times per week. On the negative side, the low growth rate results in poor recuperative capacity and slow repair of ball marks. Since velvet bentgrass requires less nitrogen and irrigation water, it is usually considered friendlier to the environment than creeping bentgrass.
Winter Hardiness of Velvet Bentgrass
Winter hardiness is perhaps the important criterion when selecting turfgrasses for Nordic climate conditions. The winter hardiness of velvet bentgrass was evaluated at Bioforsk Landvik (coastal location, 58ºN) and Bioforsk Apelsvoll (61ºN, 250 m.a.s.l.) during the first Scandinavian round of variety testing on golf greens from 2003 to 2006. The results from these tests triggered the interest for velvet bentgrass among Scandinavian researchers and greenkeepers. (Table 1, Photo 1). We do not know exactly which features or combinations of features enable velvet bentgrass to survive the Scandinavian winter better than creeping bentgrass. Winter hardiness is, indeed, a very complex
Table 1 2003-2006
General impression (1-9)
Winter damage, %
General impressions (1-9)
Winter damage, %
Slender creeping red fescue
Table 1: Results from SCANGREEN trials at Apelsvoll, Norway, 2003-2006 and 2007-2010. Values are means of 1-15 varieties within each species. *mostly microdochium patch 26 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
1 Winter survival of creeping bentgrass and velvet bentgrass at Apelsvoll, April 2005.
credit: bjørn molteberg
character. The most detrimental factors are long-lasting ice covers or standing water causing oxygen deficiency, depletion of turfgrass reserves and/or accumulation of toxic gases. Another type of damage is caused by snow on unfrozen ground, which increases, among other things, the risk for snow mold damage. On the other hand, if not protected by snow, the turf may die from freezing temperatures, especially if the low temperatures are combined with strong winds that dry out plants unable to absorb water from the frozen soil. It is the ability of the turf to withstand these stresses, both separately and in combination, which is referred to as ‘winter hardiness’. It is all determined by genetics and considerable differences exist, both among species and among varieties within species. While the specific reasons for winter-kill were not identified in SCANGREEN 2003-06 and 2007-10, we are now trying to separate biotic and abiotic factors in the trials started in 2011. The ability of turfgrasses to tolerate winter stresses will normally increase upon exposure to low temperatures and altered light conditions in autumn. This process is referred to as hardening or cold acclimation. Temperatures in the range 2-6ºC for two or more weeks in autumn result in more winter-hardy plants. The periods of subfreezing acclimation at temperatures -2 – -5ºC are required to obtain maximal hardiness. Conversely, mild periods during winter result in deacclimation, i.e. less winter hardiness. As part of the ongoing STERF project ‘Turfgrass winter survival in a changing climate,’ we have tested different species for their ability to resist deacclimation during
12 days at 10ºC in December. Acclimated in the field, creeping bentgrass, velvet bentgrass, chewings fescue, colonial bentgrass and annual bluegrass were able to tolerate temperatures down to -30, -23, -21, -18, and -13ºC respectively. After deacclimation, the corresponding lethal temperatures were, in turn, -23, -22, -17, -12 and -6ºC. Although the freezing tolerance after deacclimation was slightly better in creeping bentgrass than in velvet bentgrass, the moderate loss for velvet bentgrass, both in relative and absolute terms, probably reflects a lower respiration rate, and thus depletion of storage compounds, than in other turfgrass species. A lower respiration rate implies less risk for oxygen deficiency during a long period with ice cover or standing water.
Pink snow mold (2A) and gray snow mold (2B) on velvet bentgrass greens. credit: tatsiana espevig
Winter hardiness is, indeed, a very complex character. The most detrimental factors are long-lasting ice covers or standing water causing oxygen deficiency, depletion of turfgrass reserves and/or accumulation of toxic gases.
Susceptibility to Microdochium Nivale
The most common low-temperature fungal diseases affecting turfgrasses in Scandinavia are pink snow mold caused by Microdochium nivale and gray snow mold caused by Typhula incarnata (Photo 2). In contrast to Typhula, which only develops under snow cover, M. nivale affects grasses both under snow, causing pink snow mold, and during the growing season, causing microdochium patch. There are no turfgrasses used on greens with absolute resistance to M. nivale. Our research under controlled climatic conditions showed that velvet bentgrass was more susceptible to microdochium patch than creeping bentgrass in the nonacclimated state (Photo 3).
3 Symptoms of Microdochium nivale infection on nonacclimated (left) and acclimated (right) turf. Velvet bentgrass cultivars: A = Avalon, V = Villa, G = Greenwich, L = Legendary. A4 = Penn A-4 (creeping bentgrass control) credit: katarina gundsø jensen
◗ continued on page 32
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 27
fe ature ◗ Tatsiana Espevig, Agnar Kvalbein and Trygve S. Aamlid, Bioforsk Turfgrass Research Group
◗ continued from page 31
This was also confirmed by field observations of ‘in-season disease’ in the SCANGREEN trials from 2007 to 2010 (Table 1). Small microdochium patches may occur during cool and wet summer months (Photo 4). On the other hand, our studies showed no difference between velvet and creeping bentgrass in susceptibility to M. nivale after acclimation (Photo 3). Practically, we always recommend spraying both velvet bentgrass and creeping bentgrass with fungicides prior to the winter.
Growing Medium/rootzone Composition for Velvet Bentgrass Greens
4 Microdochium patch on velvet bentgrass green in the early fall. credit: tatsiana espevig
Less microdochium patch on velvet bentgrass plots with 20% (v/v) garden compost (5A) in the USGA rootzone compared with straight sand (5B). Photo 6A: Samples from a velvet bentgrass green with (left) and without (right) degraded lignin in the thatch/ mat layer. photo 6B: The decomposing white-rot fungi caused soft indents with darker turf due to mineralization of nitrogen. credit: trygve s. aamlid
28 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
According to USGA recommendations, putting greens can be constructed with or without organic amendment to the sandbased root zone. Velvet bentgrass greens will benefit from a growing medium with a relatively high water retention capacity enabling it to withdraw water from the thatch/mat layer. Compared with straight sand greens, the inclusion of 1.5-2 per cent (w/w) of organic matter (or even 5 per cent (v/v) of a sandy loam soil) in the root zone will reduce the risk for development of a separate thatch/mat layer very distinct from the root zone underneath. When choosing organic material, one of the advantages of well-defined and homogenous compost is the higher
microbial activity than the more common peat amendment. Our experiments also showed less microdochium patch on compost-amended greens than on straight sand greens (Photo 5). The reverse side of the medal is use of compost may result in soft and dark-colored soft patches caused by white-rot fungi that are able to decompose lignin (Photo 6).
The biggest problem on velvet bentgrass greens is thatch (Photo 7). A moderate thatch layer plays an important role in green stability, wear tolerance and prevention of weeds, but too much thatch results in soft greens with increased risk for diseases, dry spots, scalping, reduced infiltration and poor root development. With inappropriate management, we have seen velvet bentgrass greens build a 20 mm mat layer with an organic matter content of 10 per cent (w/w) in one year (Photo 7). Thatch can be controlled by (1) reducing growth, (2) stimulation of microbial thatch degradation, (3) dilution of the thatch with sand and (4) mechanical thatch removal. A combination of all four methods gives the best result, but nitrogen and topdressing are always key factors. Topdressing not only dilutes the thatch, but also stimulates thatch degradation by creating aerobic conditions for thatch decomposers. This may be especially important in Scandinavia where thatch degradation is often limited by a short and
Left: Samples from an one-year old experimental putting green showing thickness of the mat layer.
credit: Trygve s. aamlid
cool growing season. We recommend up to 2500 kg annual topdressing per 100 m2 applied in biweekly intervals. It is important to have already started this program in the seeding year. On newly established velvet bentgrass greens, the nitrogen amount can be up to 1.8-2.2 kg per 100 m2 per year. A high nitrogen input will not only enhance grow-in and prevent open spots that can be invaded by Poa annua, but it will also decrease the C:N ratio and stimulate microbial activity. On established velvet bentgrass green, N should be reduced to about 0.9-1.0 kg per 100 m2 per year depending on site and root zone composition. Frequent grooming, spiking and slicing are necessary measures on established velvet bentgrass greens. Coring and light vertical cutting reduce mat thickness, but significant reduction in the organic matter concentration in the mat can only be achieved when mechanical thatch removal methods are combined with topdressing. On the other hand, light mechanical treatments may be necessary to facilitate the incorporation of sand in this very dense species.
Nursery Greens for Repair Purposes.
Velvet bentgrass maintenance is a delicate balance. In order to promote faster repair of ball marks, and other damages, superintendents will always be tempted to apply more nitrogen and irrigation water. This, however, may increase turfgrass growth to such an extent that the thatch gets out of control. Instead of pushing growth, we therefore recommend the establishment of a nursery green from which damaged areas can be replaced.
We do not recommend velvet bentgrass as an alternative for golf courses with poor economy or inexperienced greenkeepers. In our opinion, velvet bentgrass is primarily an alternative for highly profiled courses aiming at spectacular greens with extraordinary playing quality. While it is true that velvet bentgrass requires less water and nitrogen than creeping bentgrass, it is not a low-input species with regard to topdressing, fungicides or greenkeepersâ€™ competence. Managing velvet bentgrass is a challenge, but it may be a rewarding species for the right course and the right superintendent. GM
Aamlid, T.S. & B. Molteberg 2011. Turfgrass species and varieties for Scandinavian golf greens Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Soil & Plant Science 61 (2): 143-152. Aamlid, T.S., G. Thorvaldsson, F. Enger & T. Pettersen. 2012. Turfgrass species and varieties for Integrated Pest Management of Scandinavian putting greens. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B Soil & Plant Science 62 (Supplement 1): 10-23. Espevig, T., M. DaCosta, L. Hoffman, T. S. Aamlid, A. M. Tronsmo, B. B. Clarke, and B. Huang. 2011. Freezing tolerance and carbohydrate changes of two Agrostis species during cold acclimation. Crop Science 51:1188-1197. Espevig T., B. Molteberg, A. M. Tronsmo, A. Tronsmo, and T. S. Aamlid. 2012. Thatch control in newly established velvet bentgrass putting greens in Scandinavia. Crop Science 52: 371-382. Tronsmo A., T. Espevig, L. Hjeljord, and T.S. Aamlid. 2013. Evaluation of freezing tolerance and susceptibility to Microdochium nivale of velvet bentgrass cultivars in controlled environments. International Turfgrass Society Research Journal. Accepted for publication.
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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 29
fe ature ◗ Kendall Costain
Westfield Golf and Country Club
credit: Westfield Golf and country club
Looking at All the Angles Dealing with staff shortages during the shoulder seasons ◗ When I was asked to write this article for the CGSA, I felt honored, yet nervous, knowing that writing isn’t my strong point. So I hope you enjoy this insight on some of the issues that supers on the East Coast face season after season, issues I’m sure all of you will face at some point in the future. Staff shortages during the shoulder seasons are an increasingly common issue for superintendents in Atlantic Canada and it isn’t looking much better for the future. With growing unemployment and the mass migration of skilled people to the West, this problem continues each season. As employment insurance guidelines become stricter with seasonal employees, working at a golf course becomes less desirable than in the past. Westfield G&CC during in the fall, when staffing decisions become critical and Needless to say, it’s a challenge. creative solutions are needed. The supers I talk to regarding this issue from all four Atlantic provinces have the Two examples of the tactics superintendents are using are: same problems regarding staff shortages, reduction in budgets, 1) hiring retired staff on a part time basis for 18 to 22 weeks and lower number of members, reduced rounds of golf, smaller 2) getting volunteer help from the membership to do spring windows of work for employees and, for some, the elimination clean-up and fall covering of greens. As well, mechanics are being of the assistant superintendent. With these accumulated issues, utilized more on the golf course during low periods of equipment superintendents are trying different tactics to accomplish the maintenance. same goals directed to them from management and board of Students are still a large part of most course maintenance directors. teams. With the increased difficulty in obtaining government 30 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
This article is eligible for the
Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.
Students are still a large part of most course maintenance teams. With the increased difficulty in obtaining government funding (SEED) and the limited time they have to work, work shortages are created after Labour Day. funding (SEED) and the limited time they have to work, work shortages are created after Labour Day. We are also using a more mechanized approach when doing labour-intensive activities. A common theme for supers is the unchanged work load together with the decrease in the number of employees. This situation means superintendents are doing more hands-on, physical work, like spraying, fertilizing, irrigation repair and construction, activities that were once the responsibility of the assistant. These staff shortages create another set of issues when it comes to major cultural practices on the golf course. Spring is a crucial time of year to get the course in great shape to attract the golfer that is sitting on the fence about joining a club. Supers only have one or two staff working at this time and face a myriad of issues, such as uncovering greens, beginning spring aeration, dealing with winter damage and starting course clean-up. So clubs are in a catch-22; either bring in staff early to maximize the potential of getting the course ready early or wait. The same goes for the fall practice of covering greens, fall aeration, de-thatching and course clean up. If the club had a difficult season, a lot of these practices get pushed to the next season or are not done at all. This is a recipe for disaster which may hurt the golf course and potentially impact the bottom line. One of the practices I find very interesting is using in-house staff to do major, capital projects. This helps the club financially and gives the superintendent more control over these projects. It also allows staff an opportunity to work more weeks and utilizes them during lulls that every project encounters. This has allowed clubs to be more financially flexible while being proactive in course improvements, which entices potential customers. As a personal example, Iâ€™ll relate how I deal with challenges here at Westfield Golf & Country Club. With myself and six fulltime seasonal staff to maintain a 130 acre property, efficiency is a must. My staff is dedicated and mature. We do not have students for all the reasons previously discussed. My lead hand and I start taking the covers off 16 greens starting March 1 using any and all means necessary to do the job. We clean up straw, remove boards and fold covers as we move to the next green. Depending on the weather, this can take us two to three weeks. During down time, we get equipment ready that we will need as soon as the weather breaks. Two more staff members join us on the first of April, in time to start clean-up, mowing, aerating, performing equipment maintenance and everything else that needs to get done. By midApril, the remaining three staff report and we are in full swing to get the course ready for opening in late April or early May. We maintain this throughout the summer. We work every other weekend (three staff work during a weekend shift of four hours). We begin staff reduction in early October and lose staff on a weekly basis until we close October 31. After we close, we begin our fall aeration (deep tine) and start
preparing for winter. This is done with three staff until we start covering 16 greens (mid-November) with breathable covers, straw and solid ice shields. All my staff report back for the three days that it takes to cover greens, making sure that we have a window of weather so time isnâ€™t wasted. On completion of this task, we sit back, enjoy a BBQ, cold pops and maybe a bonfire and reflect on the past season with stories of mishaps, accomplishments and hopes of better weather for the next season. I want to thank all the superintendents that freely gave me information on how they manage these issues because I know how valuable their time is. I hope you all enjoy this article and if you have any questions or comments please contact me. GM
Kendall Costain is the Superintendent at Westfield Golf & Country Club.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 31 7/11/12 9:43:18 AM
fe ature ◗ NANCY PIERCE, AGS
Taking the Plunge Regrassing the putting surfaces at Crowbush Cove ◗ This was going to be a big, big project!
We were tasked with the small matter of re-sodding 15 of our putting greens, along with the practice green, chipping green and turf nursery in October, 2012. That’s why I chose the term “Taking the Plunge” to describe the project. The term suggests entering into an unfamiliar situation filled with excitement and mixed with a healthy dose of trepidation! That describes what this regrassing project was all about for me. The ground was broken for construction of The Links at Crowbush Cove in 1991. Crowbush is an 18-hole golf course nestled amongst the dunes and wetlands of PEI’s north shore. We opened for business on July 9, 1993. If you do the math, you’ll realize this season will be Crowbush’s 20th anniversary! During construction, the greens, tees and fairways had all been seeded out to Penncross creeping bentgrass. As is true in most places, it doesn’t take long in our Maritime climate for creeping bentgrass surfaces to become contaminated with Poa annua without some kind of intervention. For us, that intervention came back in the early and mid-1990s in the form of extra staff in the late fall. I armed them all with hunting knives and buckets and we trotted out to the greens to start cutting out the Poa and filling the holes with topdressing sand. We did it every day, rain or shine. It was labour intensive, but it worked! When Jim Skorulski from the USGA made his first turf visit to Crowbush several years after opening, he commended us on the lack of Poa in the greens. But times changed, money became scarce and that extra shot of staff in the fall became a thing of the past. We tried to remove some of the Poa ourselves with just the few people we had left after closing, in addition to all the other things that needed to be done, but we weren’t keeping up with the infestation. The first three greens at 32 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
Crowbush have always been the worst for Poa; probably because they are the shadiest greens on the property. On these greens, Poa was becoming the dominant species in the low areas, the wear areas and the shady areas. And with that came the usual problems associated with Poa greens; seed head production and often dead grass in the low areas in the spring. It was decided we would re-sod just the first three greens in the spring of 2010. First, we had to answer a few pertinent questions. Where would we get the sod? Transportation was going to comprise a good chunk of our budget, so closer was better. What type of bent should we get? Should we stay with Penncross or switch to one of the newer varieties? Since, at that time, the first three greens were the only ones under consideration, we decided to stick with Penncross in order to maintain consistency across all the greens. Third, who has Penncross sod these days? Well, turns out Bastien Sod Farm, which is just north of Montreal, could accommodate all our needs. Alex Bastien was our contact and I found him to be very knowledgeable about all things turf and sod. He actually had some Penncross sod, so we made arrangements to start the process in early May of 2010. With just 12 staff available to work on sodding, we stripped, prepped, sodded and seam-filled those three greens in just three days. The greens came along nicely and were in great shape by mid-season. Everyone loved them (perhaps you are getting ahead of me and can see where this is leading)! They loved them so much that talk began about re-sodding the remainder of the greens. Alex agreed to grow us more Penncross and a plan was formulated to re-grass the remaining greens in the fall of 2011. But
that summer, word circulated that Tourism was bidding on a large televised event scheduled for Crowbush in 2012 (ie. The Skins Game)! Obviously we didn’t want newly sodded greens in play for such a large event, so the regrassing project was postponed until the fall of 2012. By the time we found out that PEI would not be hosting the event, it was late fall and our window of opportunity was long gone. Later this past summer, once it became clear the project was going ahead with no more delays, Alex Bastien paid us a visit. We went over our plans with him and he made some very helpful suggestions. He recommended we apply a couple of amendments to the root zone prior to sodding, which I’ll discuss a bit later. He also convinced us that using a refer truck for transportation was unnecessary. He guaranteed that the sod would arrive in perfect shape using a much less expensive flatbed truck as long as the proper sod tarps were used. He was absolutely right on that account and his suggestion saved us quite a bit of money. Each truck held 22 pallets or 13,200 sq. ft. of sod, which was easily enough to re-grass two greens, including collars and approaches. As the start date drew closer, we began accumulating the items we would need. We bought about 50 sheets of plywood, a couple dozen pieces of pink rigid Styrofoam insulation (for kneeling on when seamfilling), knee pads, rubberized work gloves and topdressing sand. We also made arrangements to rent a large forklift from a brick mason and a refer truck for sod storage. We borrowed an extra sod cutter and a couple Cushmans from our sister course Dundarave. Most of my staff was brought on a bit later in the spring and would still be working during this project. In total we had 22 people; 13 guys and nine gals. This included
This article is eligible for the
Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.
From left to right: cutting sod, evidence of old sod, prepping for laying sod and the team goes to work putting in new sod. credit: Nancy Pierce
all my staff, my mechanic, two fellows from the clubhouse and our manager, Ryan Garrett. We decided to start with the greens along the coast first (7, 8, 15, 16 and 17) as they are the most exposed greens and we wanted to give them every opportunity to take before the weather turned. About a week before the first delivery, Alex applied a broad spectrum fungicide to our Penncross sod which helped tremendously with disease control during our watering period. We also had to decide what to do with the old sod. We knew Blair at Mill River wanted some for new tee decks he was rebuilding. Whatever sod Blair didn’t use, we decided just to pile it in a heap in the parking lot for the meantime. The parking lot became ground zero for the operation. That’s where the storage refer truck was kept, where the delivery trucks were unloaded and where we piled the stripped sod. It provided a large unobstructed area to move around in and was more or less centrally located. Staying with the plan, on Sunday, September 30, 2012 the course closed after play. We began getting ready for the first delivery of sod scheduled for Tuesday morning, October 2. We began on the seventh green. To strip the green, we cut lengthwise with a sod cutter, making sure we cut well into the approach as well as into the collar. Then, we took a mechanical edger and cross cut to make smaller, more manageable pieces that were then thrown into a Cushman for disposal. On several greens, you could easily see where past repair sodding jobs had occurred once the old sod was removed. Snow scoops were used to clean any remaining debris on the green. It was dragged with a topdressing mat, amendments were added as recommended by Alex (0-0-22 and SoluCal), a heavy topdressing was applied and the whole green was matted again until smooth. The green was now ready for sod. When sodding, straight lines are the key to success, so a rope was strung from the back to the front of the green, allowing the first row of sod to make a perfect line. Once a green was completely sodded, it was lightly rolled
When sodding, straight lines are the key to success, so a rope was strung from the back to the front of the green, allowing the first row of sod to make a perfect line. with a water-filled roller to eliminate any air pockets and ensure the sod was in firm contact with the root zone. The entire green was seam-filled using topdressing sand. And then, of course, the newly sodded green was watered, watered and watered! Now, before going any further, I have to tell you I was reading about a project in the States where a pushup green was stripped, reshaped and the sod put back down. Here’s an excerpt from the article which I believe was written by someone associated with the architect’s firm, “One individual placed each roll of sod. After gently laying a strip, he checked for edge alignment. He put his eyes two inches from the seam and he nudged the edge with his fingers. After a final look and more nudging he called for another piece. This process was like watching paint dry. They completed the sodding in nine hours.” I can assure you we didn’t take nine hours to sod a green. I can also assure you our edges weren’t as precise as buddy’s; if they were, we’d have been sodding up to Christmas! We simply did not have the luxury of time on our side. We did, however, get a great rhythm going and once we got the kinks worked out, we could easily manage to get two greens sodded (ie one truckload) in an eight-hour day with our 22 people. Generally the gals did the stripping of the old sod and the seam-filling and rolling on the newly sodded greens and the guys matted the stripped greens, applied the amendments and laid the sod. The gals would move ahead and strip the next green. By then, the guys would be finished sodding the green behind them. The girls would go back to seam-fill and roll the newly sodded green while the guys matted and sodded the newly stripped green. This system worked beautifully!
Cushmans flew back and forth from the parking lot. The gals generally had two Cushmans for stripping and dumping the stripped sod and the guys had two Cushmans for sodding. For sodding, the Cushman was loaded with one pallet of sod in the parking lot, using the forklift, then driven to the green where it was unloaded and laid. The weather was incredible in that first week of October; warm, calm, sunny and perfect for our project! We were often down to just T-shirts by the afternoon! Here’s what we accomplished the first week. The first delivery due on Tuesday morning didn’t arrive until 1:30 in the afternoon. But by 5:00 pm, #7 was sodded. Wednesday we sodded #8. Our second sod delivery arrived early Thursday morning and by the afternoon, #15 and #16 were completed. Our third load arrived Friday morning and by late Saturday afternoon, when we ran out of sod, #17, #10, #6 and most of #11 were sodded. In five days (well, 4 1/2 really) we had sodded eight greens! We were half done! That weekend was Thanksgiving, so everyone had Sunday and Monday off for a well deserved break. Sometime over the Thanksgiving weekend the weather changed dramatically, making me very happy we had gotten those most-exposed greens completed. That second week was very cold with strong north winds blowing in off the water. Our fourth delivery was due Wednesday morning, but it never showed up! The driver was waiting at the gates Thursday morning when I arrived so we unloaded and got #9 and #18 sodded by Wednesday afternoon. The fifth delivery arrived Friday morning and by the end of day we had #5 and #14 sodded. ◗ continued on page 34 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 33
fe ature ◗ NANCY PIERCE, AGS
◗ continued from page 33
From top to bottom: The green on hole 7 is seam-filled. A chalkboard message signals a successful sodding. The 7th green, August 2013. credit: Nancy Pierce
34 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
The sixth load came Saturday morning amid heavy rain squalls and intermittent hail. Despite that, we put a big push on and had our most productive day yet. We finished #12, #13, #4 and most of the chipping green by the time we ran out of both daylight and sod. Doing the math, once again, in three days that week we had completed eight more greens. Everyone had Sunday and Monday off again for another well deserved break. In the meantime, my manager and I decided on one last load (our seventh if you’re keeping track!) to do the practice green, the collars around 1, 2 and 3 (which were becoming contaminated with Poa) and the nursery. That final load arrived Wednesday and by Thursday it was all done. I mentioned earlier that Blair was using some of our old sod for rebuilding tee decks at Mill River. Blair and his crew made the trip down twice and ended up using about 8,000 sq. ft. of sod which they removed from our eighth and eighteenth greens. Because the sod was to be reused, the stripping process was a bit different. We still cut the sod lengthwise using the sod cutter. Then we gave Blair the mechanical edger and he used it to cut the sod nice and straight into the lengths he wanted. Finally, we had to decide what to do with the massive pile of old sod in the parking lot. We’ve certainly had our problems with shoreline erosion in the past. The dunes that once loomed over and protected our fifteenth green are more or less gone now. I had always wanted to build a protective berm behind 15 green to help deflect some of the salt-ladened dune sand and sea foam away from the putting surface. It was my assistant who suggested we use the old sod to build such a berm. Using a tractor mounted roto-tiller, the old sod was pulverized in the parking lot, loaded onto trailers and dumped behind our fifteenth green. A small dozer shaped the berm. We capped it off with topsoil and then laid down some bluegrass sod this spring. Hopefully it’ll help when we have our next nor’easter storm! The winter months were nerve wracking as there was a long spell in early February where Crowbush experienced bitter cold, extreme wind and no protective snow cover. The only protection the new greens had was heavy topdressing that had been applied late the previous fall. Fortunately, the newly sodded greens survived the winter unscathed. This spring, however, the weather was extremely uncooperative with cold north winds blowing endlessly. There was still a small snow bank on the right side of our
eleventh fairway on May 3, four to six weeks later than I would expect. We did not even begin cutting the new greens (at .400) until May 2 as they weren’t growing at all in the cold temperatures. Any growth on them had occurred in the fall. The next week, we aerated them with 3/8-inch hollow tines and rolled them. We then applied very heavy topdressing (70 tonnes of sand), used level-lawn rakes to mat the sand in and rolled, rolled and rolled to get rid of any high spots. Two weeks later, we aerated again with 3/8-inch hollow tines and applied another very heavy topdressing followed by lots of rolling. Our anticipated opening date was pushed back a week due to the cold weather. We opened May 23 with the greens at .250; slow but healthy! A week later we were cutting at .175 inches, but we were scalping somewhat, so the height was backed off to .200 for a week or so. We aerated the greens for a third time in early June in order to smooth out any high areas that were scalping. Again, with a lot of topdressing and rolling, we safely brought the greens down to .170 inches by June 21. By then, soil temperatures had increased and there was a noticeable difference in the quality of the turf – we had turned a corner. By the first week of July, cut height was reduced to .150 inches with no issues. The height was gradually reduced every second or third day until we were at our normal height of cut (.125) by mid-July. By that time, no sod seams were evident and you’d never know the greens had been completely redone only a few months ago. It’s always satisfying to look back after you’ve completed a large project such as this one and reflect on what was done correctly and what would change with the benefit of hindsight. The refer truck that was to be used for sod storage was returned after the first week once we realized how quickly we could put down each load. If, for some reason, we couldn’t lay all of the sod in a reasonable time, we decided we could always store it in the cart building where it would stay cool and out of the elements. The preventative fungicide Alex applied to our sod prior to delivery was of such a benefit that I would highly recommend to anyone planning such a large project to request this treatment. It sure helps when disease weather hits and you’re still applying lots of water to the newly laid sod. It was definitely a trying and demanding project (physically and mentally) however it was a great experience, although I’m not sure I’d want to do it again! Nancy Pierce AGS, is the Superintendent at The Links at Crowbush.
fe ature ◗ Marc cousineau
It’s Easy Being Green(Master) Why you should write for us ◗ The weather we have faced this summer has been less than ideal; driving rain, floods, scorching sun and temperatures to match. One thing seems to connect all of Mother Nature’s displays: power outages. During one of the more lengthy periods of powerlessness, I decided to take advantage of the blank computer screens and silent televisions to do some reading. I delved first into a story of a man’s life-changing journey to the U.K. A little while later, I read the harrowing tale of two, winged beauties, a saga that had everything from love to death and renewed hope. At that point the lights came back on and the familiar whir of my laptop started again, but I kept reading, this time about one man’s reflection on his inspiring family tree. At the end of a couple hours I had learned lots, been fascinated many times over and was left with a small stack of GreenMaster magazines at the edge of my desk. Yes, every story I read appeared in this very publication. Of course I had read them before (actually dozens of times in the editing process), but I was still struck by the knowledge I gleaned from each and every article, not just about the turf industry, but about the people who make it great. I was drawn to the profession of journalism because I believed everyone had a story to tell and a lesson to impart. Receiving stories for GreenMaster reaffirms this belief with every issue we publish. Just as every golf course is different, every superintendent, assistant, mechanic, student, etc., has their own story to tell about their time in the industry, experiences that can provide insight for a rookie and a 30-year veteran alike. I have heard many times, from many people, that they have an experience they want to write about, but hesitate because they claim they are not very good with words. Time and again I find these statements untrue. Everyone may have a different writing style, but that is what makes their story unique and engaging. At GreenMaster, we strive as hard as we can to publish original articles by members and industry experts. This
provides authoritative insight that cannot be attained anywhere else. No one knows the nooks and crannies of the industry like those who have the passion and day-to-day experiences that our members have. That is why we encourage our members to come to us if they have a story they want to write or an idea for an article they want to see in the pages of the magazine. Authors have a lot of freedom in the pages of GreenMaster. Although the magazine has a page limit for each issue, there is plenty of flexibility and always an opportunity to be published in future issues. We love to hear all sorts of voices from our authors; from scientific to personal, formal and informal, light-hearted or serious. No two members are the same and we aim to achieve a similar and beneficial diversity in GreenMaster. The editorial team at GreenMaster is always prepared and happy to work with authors to brainstorm ideas, hash out the structure of an article, edit the story and make sure the words achieve what the authors want them to. But writing an article isn’t the only way to contribute to GreenMaster. We are always looking for pictures to match our articles; images that help the words jump off the page and into the minds of readers. We are also always looking for input for our new Talk Back section, a feature that appears in every issue of GreenMaster and gives our readers a louder voice. Stay tuned to your
Just as every golf course is different, every superintendent, assistant, mechanic, student, ect., has their own story to tell... email, Twitter and the CGSA website (www.golfsupers.com) for survey questions, photo requests and more that we will include in Talk Back. We also encourage letters from our readers that we publish in the pages of the magazine. The opportunities to contribute are countless, as are the rewards. Besides seeing your name in print and knowing your insights will help benefit professionals across Canada and the world, superintendents and assistant superintendents that write an article are automatically considered for the Gordon Witteveen Award. So next time a light bulb illuminates a story idea in your head or we come knocking with an outline for an article, please consider contributing to GreenMaster. Our readers are the inspiration and fuel for GreenMaster. It always drives the editorial team to work with our great members. Every idea is the start of something amazing, something engaging and something educational. The next name you see at the top of a page could be yours. GM
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To exhibit or attend, visit www.locongress.com SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 35
Capitalize on s conferences an conference des to help you ach and profession
Ta lk back ◗ from our readers
Super Snapshots: Summer Moments
Letters Re: It Grows in the Family and A Line in the Sand (July/Aug issue)
V ery proud to be a third generation super.
Jason Hooper Superintendent, Quilchena Golf and Country Club
Clockwise from top left – A cart path leads into the sun and a beautiful new day at St. Catherines Golf and Country Club (Steve Gruhl), A picturesque summer view if there ever was one at Canmore G&CC (Reid Solodan), A perfect summer day for golfing at Mainprize Golf Club (Josh Siebel), Blue skies and green grass at Priddis Greens G&CC (Chris Prodahl), A winged friend greets the camera at St. Catherines Golf and Country Club (Steve Gruhl)
V ery good! My son is also a third generation greenkeeper and I’ve had the grandkids out raking bunkers!
John Dempsey Course Manager, Curragh Golf Course (Ireland)
G reat article Jason, keep up the nice work!
What do you think… Q. H ow do you keep your course, your staff and yourself cool in the summer heat?
Q. W hat is the best thing about being a golf course management professional in the fall?
A. “Lots of syringing to cool the turf and
A. “Frost delays! Okay, maybe not. How
start early and leave early!”
A. “ Buy freezies for the staff!” A. “Rely on tdr, turfguards and our
eyes. Late night irrigation followed by early morning spot checks and midafternoon hose fun.”
36 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
about being able to reduce irrigation and other inputs.”
Reg Langen Assistant Superintendent Richmond Hill Golf Club
G reat article by Jason Hooper and Bruce Constable in latest edition of GreenMaster. Thanks for sharing, gents!!
Albert Wong Assistant Superintendent, Pinebrook Golf and Country Club
MEC H ANIC ’S CORNER ◗ EDDie konrad
Force and Motion: A Battle Plan To Reduce Hydraulic Leaks ◗ The problem of hydraulic leaks has been around for as long as hydraulics themselves. It is beyond annoying. It wastes oil, it poses a safety hazard and it can compromise machine reliability. According to hydraulic hose manufacturer Gates, it is estimated that 370 million litres of oil leaks from hydraulic equipment every year. That is a staggering statistic – even more so when you consider that as little as one litre of oil can pollute up to one million litres of water. Sealing technologies have advanced considerably over the past 30 years, but so too have hydraulic system operating pressures and response times. In other words, seal technology has improved, but the stresses they must endure also have increased. As a result, the battle has not been won. But far from waving the white flag, there is much that can be done to ensure the best possible chance of victory in the war against leaking connections. You can eliminate some leaks using reliable connectors. Tapered-thread connectors such as NPT and BSPT are the least reliable type of connector for high-pressure hydraulic systems because the thread itself provides a leak path. The threads are deformed when tightened and, as a result, any subsequent loosening or tightening of the connection increases the potential for leaks. Connectors which incorporate an elastomeric seal such as UN-O-ring, BSPP, ORFS and SAE four-bolt flange offer far superior seal reliability. So, for leak-free reliability, replace pipe-thread connectors with a type that incorporates an elastomeric seal, if possible.
Measure to Manage!
Do you know how much hydraulic oil each of your machines consumes each year? The only way you can know this for sure – particularly if you have more than one hydraulic machine under your supervision – is if you measure and record all topoffs. In my experience, most hydraulic equipment users don’t do this. But when equipment managers have done so at my urging, they are often shocked at how much oil a particular machine actually loses over a year.
Daily equipment checks mean less leaks and, ultimately, less wasted oil
Yes, I know that it’s one more thing to do, but it’s almost impossible to control anything that you don’t measure. What gets measured gets managed. When you consider the true cost of oil leaks, which includes make-up fluid, cleanup, disposal, possible contaminant ingress and safety issues, surrender is not an option. Battle on. Another recurring problem is the leaking of oil out of the reel motor. This happens when the seal between the case halves has failed or when the aluminum casting components of the motor are porous. Also, shaft seals made from inconsistent quality materials may also cause the motor to leak. And as you know, oil on turf is an operator’s worst nightmare. Now let me guide you through replacing a leaking seal on a hydraulic reel motor. Once you remove the motor from the CU, clean it thoroughly before you put it gently in your vice. Put on some safety glasses (snap rings are known to fly away) and remove the internal snap ring in front of your seal. Next, use a punch to tap the seal on opposite sides to prevent the drill from walking away and damaging the aluminum of the motor housing. After tapping the seal, drill two small holes through the seal. Clean the surface again. The reason for drilling two holes into the seal is to be able to install two self-taping screws, which will
allow the removal of the seal with a small bearing puller. Once the seal and the washer beneath it are removed, inspect the inside of the motor for any dirt or debris. For a TORO motor, order a seal kit 92-8863 consisting of a new seal, the metal washer and the snap ring. You can also order an installation kit consisting of the seal installer 49-1450 and the seal protector 49-1430. Start installing the washer, making sure it sits flat. Put the seal protector over the spline shaft preventing damage to the new seal, use hydraulic oil to wet the seal and with the seal installer and a small hammer, gently put the seal into the motor. All that’s left now is to install your new snap ring and put the motor back on the CU. When we look carefully at our equipment on a daily bases, oil leaks will be detected before oil is wasted, creating not only a safety hazard but compromising machine reliability. And remember, as little as one litre of oil can pollute up to one million litres of water. 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.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2013 | greenMaster 37
back n i n e ◗ David mcpherson
Over $4,000 raised for Calgary flood relief
24-hour Golf Marathon ◗ For most, playing 18 holes of golf is mentally tiring. One round a day is enough, thank you very much. Imagine, then, the ensuing exhaustion if you golfed for 24 hours straight? Peter Bysouth knows that feeling. On July 14, 2013, the superintendent at Mable Lake Golf & Country Club, a 9-hole course located in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley, teamed with colleague David Holoiday and did just that. After 1,000 swings, birdies and bogeys, and lots of shared laughs, the pair’s all-day/all-night links marathon raised more than $4,000 for Alberta flood relief efforts. “We were standing in the pro shop one day in June after hearing about the natural disaster in our neighboring province and decided we wanted to help in some small way,” Bysouth recalls. Starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending at the same time the following day — just as his staff arrived — Bysouth and Holoiday, who runs the club’s pro shop, played 21.5 ninehole rounds. The superintendent says the fundraiser’s success was due to community support, a silent auction, and a pair of 50/50 draws leading up to the event. Mable Lake Golf & Country Club’s owners also did their part; ten dollars from each green fee that day went directly to the cause. Afterwards, the
After 1,000 swings, birdies and bogeys and lots of shared laughs, the pair’s all-day/all-night links marathon raised more than $4,000 for Alberta flood relief effors.
When you’re playing 24 hours of golf straight, headlamps become a necessary fashion accessory. 38 greenMaster | www.golfsupers.com
$4,063 raised was donated to The Calgary Foundation’s Flood Rebuilding Fund. “It was nice to see the whole community come together,” says Bysouth, who has been the head greenkeeper at Mable Lake G&CC for the past eight years. Local businesses and the resort also chipped in with nourishment. A nearby dairy farm brought the pair coffee and chocolate in the evening to keep them awake and the resort’s barbecue fed them dinner. A friendly game of match play between the friends also kept them focused. A match, Bysouth laughs, that was not much of a contest, “Holoiday kicked my ass!” While the sun shone, the duo kept score. Several sub-par rounds were recorded. When the sun set, many of the cabins bordering the course left their porch lights on to better illuminate the greens. The pair also used glow golf balls with glow sticks, which they had had shipped in from Toronto. “We quickly realized that we could not hit the glow balls too hard or the sticks would fly out and we would lose our balls,” Bysouth says. “So, after dark, we made the executive decision to hit only 7 irons … I actually played better with the glow ball!” A bonus, says the greenkeeper, was the appearance of the Northern Lights
as the pair played in the twilight. For the superintendent, seeing this spectacular phenomenon was a first and added to the overall experience. “After a while, the bugs went away and it was quiet and peaceful,” Bysouth adds. Around 10 p.m., after the clubhouse closed, a group of supporters joined the pair for several holes to cheer and keep them company. The hardest part of this golfing marathon, recalls the superintendent, was staying focused for the drive home the next morning after the high of being up golfing all night. “I would do it again though,” Bysouth concludes. “The adrenaline keeps you going and it feels great to know we did our part to help those affected by this summer’s disaster in Alberta.” GM David McPherson is a regular contributor to Greenmaster. For more than 15 years, the Toronto-based freelance writer and corporate communicator has written about golf especially turf and maintenance issues - for various publications, including PGATOUR. com, Golf Canada, Golf Course Management, Pro Shop, and Fairways. Follow him on Twitter @mcphersoncomm or contact him at email@example.com.
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