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◗ 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

Strong as Steel The Life and Times and John B Steel Recipient Bob Heron

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Canadian Golf Superintendents Association Board of Directors 2014 – 2015 CHRISTIAN PILON, MS President Master Superintendent Mount Bruno Country Club 665 Chemin des Vingts, QC J3V 4P6 T: 450-653-1265 F: 450-653-8393 KYLE KELLGREN

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

Vice President Superintendent Jackfish Lodge Golf & Conference Centre PO Box 10, Cochin, SK S0M 0L0 T: 306-386-2150 F: 306-386-2840

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


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



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

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



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

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



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

Saskatchewan Director Superintendent Cooke Municipal Golf Club 900 – 22nd Street East Prince Albert, SK S6V 1P1 T: 306-763-2502

COVER PHOTO: J ohn Mills congratulates Robert Heron on winning

R AT E S A R E S E T F O R 2 0 1 4

the 2013 John B Steel Award Credit: Jon Benjamin Photography


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greenmaster VOL 49, NO. 2

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:


◗ If you attended the 2014 Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show in Vancouver in February, you witnessed the beginning of a revitalization process for the event that will continue as the association strives to meet the changing needs of membership. As always, the workshops, seminars, and plenary sessions presented the best educational opportunities for turf professionals anywhere and you can catch up on those events in Kathryn Wood’s article on page 20. This year, however, the organizing committee put special attention on the needs of industry partners with the goal of making it easier for delegates to interact and learn from suppliers and vice versa. The opening of the trade show on the first evening created a real buzz on the floor as exhibitors and superintendents got to meet, greet and get ready to do business the next day during the dedicated show time. Even an Olympic hockey game (with an unforeseen 10:00 am start) didn’t dampen enthusiasm. The “Tech Talks” on the show floor and the Exhibitor Presentations during non-show hours added to the excitement of the week. All of these great programs will be enhanced in future events. With all of the change that has occured, CGSA members will still cherish the traditions that make the organization

CGSA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Ken Cousineau, CAE Tel: 416-626-8873 ext. 222

strong. Today’s innovations will be tomorrow’s traditions. In our cover story we feature Bob Heron, the 2013 John B. Steel Award winner. Bob’s remarkable career is chronicled on page 22. As an innovator, Bob’s involvement both on the job and as a CGSA member helped create many of our traditions. Speaking of award winners, the 2013 Environmental Award winner, Bruce Constable, is profiled in our Back Nine feature and the 2013 Equipment Technician of the Year, Sylvain Nadon is featured in the Mechanic’s Corner. We have also included the second in a series of articles where writers look back on pieces that they contributed to GreenMaster in the past and examine the changes that have occurred since. Jeff Mingay contributes a great second look to his April 2003 article. We have some very good submissions from superintendents and assistants in this issue and urge you to consider writing an article for GreenMaster. It is a pretty sure bet that you know or have experience on some subject that others can learn from. We’d love to hear from you. GM

We want your feedback! Email us at:


FEBRUARY 2nd – 6th, 2015

CGSA Fall Field Day

Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show

Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club Port Carling, Ontario Host Superintendent: James Flett, AGS

MANAGING EDITOR & ADVERTISING SALES: Bill Garrett, CEM Tel: 416-626-8873 ext. 224 ASSISTANT EDITOR: Marc Cousineau

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 PRINTING PROVIDED BY Blenheim INK 4305 Fairview Street, Suite 232 Burlington, ON L7L 6E8 Tel: 289-337-4305 Fax: 289-337-4187 Contact: Terry Davey | ART DIRECTION & DESIGN BY Jeanette Thompson Tel: 519-650-2024 ©2014 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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In Search of the Ideal


Sustainability in Sweden




Women in Turf




CITCTS 2014 Recap






Bob Heron Wins John B Steel Award




Overcoming the Difficulties of Hiring


A Trip to the Turf Bowl


An Industry Pioneer Remembered


Knowledge is Power… and Money

37 MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 7


“As a profession, we also need to work collectively towards a common goal. If your provincial association wins, we all win and if your national association wins, we all win.” Christian Pilon, CGSA President CHRISTIAN PILON, PRESIDENT

A Vision of Our Forefathers and of Unity L’esprit visionnaire de nos prédécesseurs ◗ On September 15, 1967, 10 visionary men, John Steel, Herbert Creed, Robert Paris, Gordon Witteveen, George Kendall, Joseph Reid, Thomas Johnston, William Forrester, Thomas George Unsworth and David Stewart Menzies Gourlay, placed their names on the Letters Patent that formed the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association. The objects of the corporation read as such: a) to promote the position of the golf superintendent, and to achieve more recognition for the superintendent as an authority on golf course maintenance and the culture of fine turf and to promote the science of turf maintenance; b) to encourage and promote research and the interchange of scientific and practical knowledge relating to the care of golf courses thus bringing about more efficient golf course operations, better turf and prestige for the Corporation and its individual members; c) to recognize and promote the value of learning and teaching, and to sponsor, whenever possible, conferences, meetings and exhibitions for the benefit of the members of the Corporation and the turfgrass industry; d) to help members obtain employment and to extend assistance to needy and deserving members; e) to co-operate with other associations, corporations and organizations whose interests run parallel or complement those of the Corporation; f ) to promote fraternity, benevolence, 8 GreenMaster |

justice and mutual understanding to and for the members of the Corporation; g) to establish and support or aid in the establishment and support of funds or trusts calculated to benefit the members of the Corporation or their dependent; h) to adopt such means for making known the objects of the Corporation as may seem expedient by holding of exhibitions or other like means and the granting of awards and distinctions; i) to invest monies of the Corporation not immediately required for the purposes of the Corporation in such investments as trustees may by law invest trust funds; j) to publish, distribute, sell or sponsor publications relating to the Corporation or to its objects; k) to do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objects. l) to promote environmentally-sound and responsible policies and practices which will help preserve, protect and enhance the natural environment, in which the golf course is maintained. (added on December 19, 1991) The necessity to pursue these objects is still as relevant for our profession and the golf industry today as they were then and are at the forefront of our actions at the CGSA. These past few years, the CGSA has gone through many changes. GreenMaster magazine is now published in-house, staffing and overhead costs were reorganized, the office was relocated and

the Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show is consistently being improved, just to name a few of these changes. These necessary changes have been instituted with the optics of minimizing the impact on our ability to deliver services and continue to have a positive influence for our profession and the game of golf as a whole. I am particularly proud of the work that is coming out of our affiliation with the National Allied Golf Association or NAGA. This involvement with other golf organizations is producing concrete initiatives and is proof that together, we can affect the future of our great industry. As a profession, we also need to work collectively towards a common goal. If your provincial association wins, we all win and if your national association wins, we all win. I am both proud and humbled to sit in the CGSA President’s chair and follow in the footsteps of my good friend John Mills. John has held the reins of the CGSA this past year with great leadership, diligence, poise, thoughtfulness and intelligence and really gave our association all his passion and dedication. It was, and still is, a pleasure to serve the CGSA at your side and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am proud of the work that we began and that will be continued by future boards to ensure the sustainability of our great association. I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I served and understood that service was joy. — Rabindranath Tagore


◗ Le 15 septembre 1967, 10 hommes visionnaires, MM. John Steel, Herbert Creed, Robert Paris, Gordon Witteveen, George Kendall, Joseph Reid, Thomas Johnston, William Forrester, Thomas George Unsworth et David Stewart Menzies Gourlay inscrivaient leur nom sur les lettres patentes de l’Association canadienne des surintendants de golf. La corporation visait plusieurs objectifs : a) apporter son soutien à la profession de surintendant de golf, favoriser la reconnaissance professionnelle du surintendant à titre d’expert de l’entretien des terrains de golf et de la culture du gazon de haute qualité, et donner de l’essor aux sciences du gazon; b) encourager et promouvoir la recherche et l’échange de connaissances scientifiques et pratiques se rapportant à l’entretien des terrains de golf, pour une exploitation plus efficace des terrains de golf, un meilleur gazonnement et un prestige accru pour la corporation et ses membres; c) reconnaître et promouvoir la formation et l’enseignement, et parrainer, autant que possible, congrès, réunions et expositions à l’intention des membres de la corporation et de l’industrie du gazon; d) aider les membres à obtenir un emploi et porter assistance aux membres qui en ont besoin et qui le méritent; e) collaborer avec les autres associations, corporations et organismes dont les intérêts sont identiques à ceux de la corporation ou les complètent; f ) promouvoir la fraternité, la bienveillance, la justice et la compréhension mutuelle chez les membres de la corporation; g) établir et appuyer, ou aider à l’établissement et à l’entretien d’un fonds ou d’une fiducie au bénéfice des membres de la corporation ou de leurs personnes à charge. h) prendre les moyens pour faire connaître les objectifs et les buts de la corporation, par la tenue d’expositions ou autres moyens semblables, la distribution de prix ou de récompenses; i) investir l’argent de la corporation qui n’est pas nécessaire à ses fins immédiates, en autant que les

fiduciaires le peuvent selon la loi; j) publier, distribuer, vendre ou parrainer des publications qui ont rapport à la corporation ou à ses objectifs; k) faire tout ce qui est nécessaire pour favoriser ou faciliter la réalisation des objectifs énoncés ci-dessus; l) promouvoir des techniques et des pratiques responsables du point de vue de l’environnement, de manière à contribuer à la préservation, à la protection et à l’amélioration du milieu naturel où le terrain de golf est situé. (ajouté le 19 décembre 1991). La nécessité de poursuivre ces objectifs reste toujours aussi pertinente aujourd’hui pour notre profession et pour l’industrie du golf qu’elle l’était au moment de la fondation de notre association. Nous en faisons toujours notre priorité. Au cours des dernières années, l’ACSG a beaucoup évolué. Par exemple, la revue GreenMaster est maintenant publiée à l’interne, les fonds pour la dotation en personnel et les frais généraux ont été réorganisés, le bureau a été déménagé et nous faisons en sorte de toujours réinventer chaque année le Congrès et salon canadien international du gazon. Ces changements nous permettent de renforcer notre capacité d’offrir des services et d’avoir une influence positive sur notre profession et sur le golf en général.

Je suis particulièrement fier du travail qui a été accompli dans le cadre de notre affiliation avec la National Allied Golf Association ou NAGA. Notre collaboration avec d’autres organisations du monde du golf nous permet de mettre en œuvre des initiatives concrètes et de faire la preuve que, ensemble, nous sommes en mesure de façonner l’avenir de notre industrie. Nous devons travailler de concert, en tant que profession, et mettre le cap sur les mêmes objectifs, aussi bien à l’échelle provinciale que nationale. Ce faisant, nous en sortons tous gagnant. C’est avec fierté et humilité que j’occupe le poste de président de l’ACSG et que j’emboîte le pas à mon bon ami M. John Mills. L’année dernière, John a tenu les rênes de l’ACSG avec beaucoup de leadership, de diligence, d’assurance, de sérieux et d’intelligence. Notre association a profité de sa passion et de sa détermination. Cela reste toujours un plaisir de servir l’ACSG à ses côtés et je veux le remercier de tout cœur. Je suis fier du travail que nous avons entrepris et qui sera poursuivi par les conseils d’administration de l’avenir afin d’assurer la durabilité de notre grande association. J’ai dormi et j’ai rêvé que la vie est joie. Je me suis réveillé et j’ai vu que la vie est toute service. J’ai servi et j’ai vu que le service est joie. — Rabindranath Tagore. GM


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“Without the constant support of the CGSA at the national level, the profession will not maintain its level of recognition and support.” Ken Cousineau, CGSA Executive Director KEN COUSINEAU, CAE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

CGSA and Its Traditions L’ACSG et la tradition ◗ Tradition is a big component of the game of golf. It has seemingly continued to grow, despite our society’s current focus on technology and constant and endless change. Traditions concerning the way the game is played have flourished, whether it’s the basic rules of the game, the spectacles that are given profile or the etiquette used by players, young and old, amateur and professional. Associations that are part of the management of the game and the business also have traditions and history. Sometimes, a quick glimpse at that history and the related traditions can illuminate where we are, how we came to be there and what is needed for the future to be as successful as we can be. The CGSA began its history in 1966 with a meeting of our founding fathers from Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. That quickly evolved into the formation of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA), which held its first annual general meeting at the Skyline Hotel in Toronto on March 15, 1967. With approximately 100 individuals present, the CGSA was formed. As Christian Pilon, the 46th President of the Association, has indicated, the purpose statements adopted by that first AGM, which formed the basis for the CGSA charter, continue to be appropriate even in 2014. (Christian is only the 46th President, even though we are in our 48th year – John B Steel served as President and Chair of the Board of Directors for the first three years of the CGSA. Every other President since has served a one-year term – tradition). Those statements speak to the vision and the ingenuity of the founding group 10 GreenMaster |

of individuals, two of whom have been inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame in recognition of their contributions to golf. But what of traditions and where do they come into play in 2014 with respect to the CGSA? Well, the real purpose of the Association, when you strip the purpose statements down to the bare bones, was to provide an avenue whereby the skill and ability of the superintendent would be recognized by those that play golf, whether for fun or for a living, as an integral part of the game and the industry. From that recognition would flow respect for the contributions and the skills required to provide a consistent, high-quality playing field. That respect would lead to greater responsibility at the club level and within the industry. Achieving that end would not be possible one superintendent at a time. John Steel and his colleagues recognized that advocacy and promotion of the profession would be needed and that this was best achieved collectively. They were also keenly aware that ongoing professional development would be necessary to maintain their status as industry professionals and to provide superintendents with the skills and abilities needed to address their new responsibilities. The reality today is very similar. Golf course operators continue to be faced with the need to provide consistent, high-quality playing surfaces in order to be able to achieve success in the competition-rich golf environment in Canada. Ongoing professional development continues to be paramount to the ability of the

superintendent to meet the expectations of their facility. To generate support for professional development in the current environment, it is necessary for the profession to be represented to the industry to ensure he/she is recognized as a key component to facility success. Without the constant support of the CGSA at the national level, the profession will not maintain its level of recognition and support. No other organization will promote and represent the superintendent at all levels across Canada. No other organization will provide recognized accreditation for superintendents, assistant superintendents and equipment technicians. The CGSA advocates and promotes industry professionals, provides recognition, implements programs and services and uses ongoing professional development opportunities and certification to highlight the value, importance and contributions of the superintendent to the industry. The CGSA was formed 48 years ago to change golf’s attitude toward the profession. Those objectives, and the need for and value of the CGSA to the profession, is as evident today as it was in March, 1967. GM ◗ La tradition est un élément important du monde du golf. Elle se perpétue, malgré les nouvelles technologies et le rythme soutenu des changements. Le poids de la tradition se manifeste dans la manière de jouer, dans les règles de base et dans l’étiquette observée par les joueurs, jeunes et vieux, amateurs et professionnels. Les associations mises à contribution dans l’industrie du golf reposent également sur

la tradition et l’histoire de ce sport. Parfois, il suffit de jeter un coup d’œil à cette histoire et à cette tradition pour comprendre où nous en sommes, faire le point sur le chemin parcouru, et savoir comment poursuivre sur la voie du succès. C’est en 1966, au cours d’une réunion entre des représentants du Manitoba, de l’Ontario et du Québec, que l’ACSG a vu le jour. Peu après, le 15 mars 1967, le premier congrès annuel de l’Association des surintendants de golf (ACSG) a eu lieu au Skyline Hotel de Toronto. C’est en présence d’une centaine de personne que l’ACSG a été formée. Comme le fait remarquer M. Christian Pilon, 46e président de notre association, les déclarations adoptées à cette occasion, et qui sont à la base de la charte de l’ACSG, continuent d’être pertinentes, même en 2014. (Christian est notre 46e président, même si nous en sommes à notre 48e année, parce que M. John B. Steel a été président du conseil d’administration pendant les trois premières années de l’ACSG. Depuis, le mandat de tous les autres présidents est d’un an, une autre tradition.) Ces déclarations reflètent la vision et l’ingéniosité du groupe de pionniers à l’origine de notre association, dont deux font maintenant partie du temple de la renommée du golf, en reconnaissance de leur contribution. Mais qu’en est-il maintenant de la tradition et quel rôle joue-t-elle toujours en 2014 en ce qui a trait à l’ACSG? Le but réel de l’association, dans son essence même, est d’offrir un moyen de faire reconnaître, par ceux qui pratiquent le golf par plaisir ou à titre professionnel, le talent et les capacités des surintendants et le rôle central qu’ils jouent sur le parcours et au sein de l’industrie. De cette reconnaissance découle, tout naturellement, le respect face au savoirfaire requis pour offrir, de manière constante, une surface de jeu de haute qualité. Ce respect a permis aux surintendants d’accroître leurs responsabilités au sein du club et de l’industrie. Une telle réussite n’aurait pas été possible sans unir nos efforts. C’est ce que John Steel et ses

collègues ont compris en mettant l’accent sur notre avancement collectif, grâce à la reconnaissance professionnelle. Ils étaient également très conscients que l’éducation permanente et le perfectionnement professionnel permettraient aux surintendants de maintenir leur statut et d’acquérir les compétences nécessaires pour assumer leurs nouvelles responsabilités au sein de l’industrie. La réalité d’aujourd’hui est très similaire. Les exploitants de terrains de golf doivent offrir constamment des surfaces de jeu de haute qualité dans le monde très concurrentiel du golf au Canada. Le perfectionnement professionnel continu permet aux surintendants de répondre aux attentes de leur club de golf. Pour faire reconnaître la nécessité du perfectionnement professionnel dans l’environnement actuel, il faut tout d’abord mettre en lumière le rôle clé joué par les surintendants dans le succès d’un terrain de golf. Sans l’appui constant de l’ACSG à l’échelle nationale, notre profession ne pourrait maintenir le niveau de reconnaissance et de soutien qu’elle obtient présentement. Les surintendants ne peuvent compter sur aucune autre organisation pour les représenter et les défendre à tous les niveaux, partout au Canada. Aucune autre organisation n’accordera l’agrément professionnel aux surintendants, aux adjoints et aux techniciens de l’équipement. L’ACSG plaide en notre faveur, nous apporte son soutien, assure notre reconnaissance professionnelle, met en place des programmes et services, et utilise les occasions de perfectionnement professionnel et la certification pour mettre en valeur le rôle essentiel joué par les surintendants au sein de l’industrie. L’ACSG a été formée il y a 48 ans pour changer les attitudes envers notre profession dans le monde du golf. Son rôle reste aussi important aujourd’hui pour l’avancement de notre profession qu’il l’était en mars 1967. GM

“Sans l’appui constant de l’ACSG à l’échelle nationale, notre profession ne pourrait maintenir le niveau de reconnaissance et de soutien qu’elle obtient présentement.” Ken Cousineau, directeur général de l’ACSG









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English Course Hopes New Golfers Will Go Wild


◗ The recently opened Congo Rapids Adventure Golf Course is spreading the trend of adventure golf across the Atlantic Ocean in hopes of growing the game. The jungle-themed, 18-hole course opened its doors earlier this year in Norwich, England. Visitors were greeted by a waterfall, a smoking volcano and self-propelled rafts that ferry golfers across water features. Congo Rapids is the brainchild of David Moore, who teamed up with land owner and managing director Robert Barnard to build the course. Moore visited similar facilities in Florida. Moore worked with City Golf Europe, a Swedish company responsible for the design and construction of over 200 adventure golf courses around the continent. Barnard is hoping that adventure golf courses, such as Congo Rapids, can attract younger golfers and encourage them to take up the sport as a life-long hobby. “It’s a benefit to us as hopefully it will get children playing crazy golf and then coming to us for golf lessons,” says Barnard. Moore sees Congo Rapids as the first of many adventure style courses to make its way into smaller cities and towns, a trend he hopes will help make family trips to the links more popular. “For a city the size of Norwich, there are not that many easily accessible, activitiesbased centres such as this,” says Moore. “What is happening across the UK is that more adventure golf courses are coming to cities, rather than being mainly based on the coast.”


Many of the sights and sounds of Congo River may be out of the ordinary for visiting golf enthusiasts, but one may seem familiar. Moore claims hole 13, his favourite, was inspired by the 13th hole at the famed Augusta National, home of the Masters.

Infamous Tree at Augusta Falls Victim to Storm ◗ Surviving a US president’s wrath is one thing, surviving Mother Nature’s is another. Augusta National was forced to remove the iconic Eisenhower tree at the 17th fairway in February due to damage caused by a severe winter storm that swept through the course. The Eisenhower tree, named because of the US President’s attempts to have it removed in the 1950s because it interfered with his slice, was a mainstay on the course for over 100 years. “The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult to accept,” Augusta National and Masters chairman Billy Payne said in a statement. “We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible. We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history - rest assured, we will do both appropriately.” Payne also assured the public, in the same statement, that no further damage had been caused to the course and preparations for the 2014 Masters was unaffected by the storm. PGA Tour veterans Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both said that while they were sad to see such an iconic symbol of the course go, the absence of the tree would have little effect on how the hole plays in April’s tournament. “The way (No.) 17 plays, it really won’t be much different,” said Mickelson. “(The tree) might be replaced somewhere down the line, if it hasn’t been already, but it doesn’t really affect the way the hole plays.”


Nova Scotia Course Attracts International Attention ◗ Forest Lakes Country Club, a new development in Nova Scotia, is drawing the eyes of international investors that are lining up to buy a piece of the much-anticipated golf course. The Forest Lakes development, being built about 50 km outside of Halifax, will feature an 18-hole golf course designed by Nicklaus Design and will be the company’s first course in Atlantic Canada. The ecooriented design of the course and the surrounding resort has attracted potential stakeholders from around the world. “We’re really excited about the widespread interest in this project,” said Chief Operating Officer Dave Kerr in a press release. “Forest Lakes Country Club has attracted buyers from over 40 countries around the world, which shows how much global interest there is in Canada and Nova Scotia. Canada enjoys a stable economy and an excellent quality of life.” The greatest challenge for Nicklaus Design will be turning the wealth of nature around the property into an unforgettable experience for golfers, says Paul Stringer, Senior Vice President. “This unique and wonderful site at Forest Lakes has a great variety, including forest, wetlands and lakes,” says Stringer. “Our challenge is now to take this wonderful canvas and provide the members and guests at Forest Lakes with a golf

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experience that is both enjoyable and memorable, and one of which we can all be proud.”

Golf Canada Names New President ◗ Doug Alexander became the new president of Golf Canada in February, saying that the organization has to do a better job at marketing the sport to the public in order to increase participation. Alexander, the 111th president in Golf Canada’s 119-year history, took the reins of the organization at the annual general meeting in February in London, Ontario. “I am privileged and deeply honoured to be appointed the 111th president of this storied Association,” said Alexander. “As a golf enthusiast and long-time volunteer, I believe that our organization, working in partnership with our members and industry stakeholders, will continue to do great things to grow participation and excellence in our sport. I look forward to helping Golf Canada accomplish great things in 2014.”

The meeting in London was a homecoming of sorts for Alexander, who was born and raised in Scotland before relocating to London in 1999. The move raises London’s profile in the golf industry further, as the city will be hosting the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open and the PGA Tour Canada Championship. Alexander will step into the position at a time when it appears golf has rebounded from the recent economic downturn. Outgoing Golf Canada president Mike Carroll, in his farewell speech, noted that the organization had its strongest financial year since 2006. He also mentioned that golf ranks as the most played sport in the country, although it ranks well back of top spot for five to 14-year-olds. Alexander’s aim will be to boost the popularity of golf and attract a younger audience to courses across Canada. The key to achieving this is not shifting the way the game is played on the fairways, but rather how it’s portrayed away from them, says the new president. “I believe the game is strong, but I would suggest that it is perhaps how we play the game that can be improved,” Alexander said in his opening address. “I don’t believe we need to change the game to make it more fun, I think we just need to do a better job in selling the experience of golf.” GM


Jacobsen........................................................ 4 John Deere Golf...................................... 29 Links Bridges................................................ 2 NGCOA (National Golf Course Owners Association)............................ 36

Quali-Pro........................................................ 6 Quantum Biotek (Omni Enviro).... 11 The Toro Company............................... 40 Wallah Golf................................................. 19 Western Turf Farms............................... 11

MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 13



This is the second in a series of articles where writers look into the GreenMaster archives, examine articles they have contributed and discuss what has changed and what hasn’t.


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In Search of the Ideal ◗ There’s been an ‘ideal’ in golf

architecture for about 100 years now. That ideal is to design courses that adequately challenge better golfers, but, more importantly, also provide opportunity for everyone to enjoy the game. Eleven years ago, I wrote a column for this magazine titled “Simple Strategies to Improve Basic Layouts.” My advice was simple: More short grass, more hazards in the direct line to the hole and more slope and contour in and around the greens can turn a comparatively basic layout into a much more interesting and enjoyable course for golfers of all abilities. More than a decade later, I’m preaching the same to client clubs across North America where I’m consulting on golf course improvement. If you design a varied collection of interesting greens, with meaningful slope and contour, and dig bunkers where golfers want to go (rather than on the margins of

holes), you can cut super-wide fairways and eliminate long grass from around the greens without threat of the course being deemed “too easy” by low-handicappers. Some added lateral forgiveness is really all weaker golfers need to enjoy the game. A recent trip to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, on the southern coast of Oregon, reminded me that I was on to something back in April 2003 when the aforementioned column was published. All four 18-hole layouts at Bandon are exceptional. But the resort’s newest course, Old Macdonald (opened in June 2010), is one of the best representations of the “ideal” in the world. “Old Mac” is a tribute to pioneer golf architect, Charles Blair Macdonald (18561939). Born in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Macdonald won the first U.S. Amateur championship in 1895. Today he’s better known as the “Father of Modern Golf Architecture.” Macdonald designed

America’s first handful of truly great courses, including Chicago Golf Club (1893), the National Golf Links of America (1910), Piping Rock (1912), the Links Club (1914) and the Creek Club (1922). In preparation to build the National Golf Links of America - out on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York, at Southampton Macdonald made a pilgrimage to the British Isles to study, measure and plot the best holes and golf course features throughout Scotland and England. All of his subsequent golf course designs, including those mentioned above, feature recurring themes based on those detailed studies in the U.K. Macdonald never designed two holes exactly alike, but consistently returned to emulating holes like “Road” and “Eden” at St. Andrews, Prestwick’s “Alps”, the “Redan” at North Berwick and features like the “Principal’s Nose” and “Hell” bunkers, which were also borrowed from the Old Course. Architects Tom Doak and Jim Urbina used the same approach to design “Old Mac”. Like Macdonald’s beloved Old Course at St. Andrews, Old Macdonald is super-wide. There’s very little rough. Most fairways are 100 or more yards across. And it seems

more gorse and other vegetation was cleared from the property than at any other of Bandon’s acclaimed courses. It’s almost impossible to lose a ball at “Old Mac”, but the golf isn’t “easy.” There are a plethora of bunkers in the direct line to the hole, including a fearsome version of “Hell” smack in the middle of the 6th fairway with a high face decorated with wooden ties. By breaking the direct line to the hole, such bunkers create interesting strategies and, in turn, enhance both the physical and cerebral challenges of golf. And, like their famous namesakes, the greens at “Old Mac” are varied and incredibly interesting, demanding strategic driving, ball control and deft touch to recover from their tightly mown surrounds. As I wrote on these pages previously, greens are a golf course’s greatest defense. Short grass around the greens makes for very interesting and potentially more challenging recovery play, especially for low-handicappers. From a tight lie, higher handicap players will usually putt the ball onto the green. At the same time, better golfers tend to be more perplexed simply because a tight lie presents option to pitch,

chip or putt. The added challenge is mental, relative to determining what type of shot to play, and indecision can cause difficulties. It’s funny; golf courses designed along these lines are few and far between. We find, more often, back-to-front sloping greens surrounded by rough that will accept any shot from all angles. There are also hazards consistently placed out on the periphery of the course that really don’t make the game any more interesting, but simply penalize errant shots. It is also common to see fairways that are way too narrow for the average golfer, bordered by long grass and lined with trees. Eleven years later, I’m sticking to my guns. Designing greens (and surrounds) with meaningful and varied slope and contour, placing bunkers exactly where golfers want to go and mowing as much short grass as possible relative to available acreage and the maintenance budget are still simple strategies to improve basic layouts, in emulation of the “ideal” in golf architecture. GM Jeff Mingay is a golf course architect with Jeff Mingay Course Design.

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MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 15


Sustainability in Sweden Guelph’s 2014 Superintendent-in-residence ◗ Close your eyes for a moment. Let’s conjure up a 15th-century Scottish golf course. Sheep and other livestock act as Mother Nature’s greenkeepers. Turf consists mostly of fescue and bentgrasses that give off a golden hue. Near the green, rabbits nibble the grass shorter. Keep this picture in mind. Now think of how far modern maintenance practices have evolved from this minimalist, natural approach. Carts replace caddies; walking is no longer the norm. Golfers expect green, short grass and soft conditions. With golf participation stagnating, environmental and government regulations on the rise and budgets being slashed, is this still a viable vision for the industry? No way, says Stefan Nilsson, course manager at Vallda Golf & Country Club in Gothenburg, Sweden. One simple, sustainable solution, according to the Guelph Turfgrass Institute’s 2014 Superintendent-in-residence, involves two words: red fescue. “I love it,” says the Swede. During his visit to Canada in mid-February, Nilsson shared

his sustainability story with students, staff, faculty and industry representatives, creating a dialogue and offering proven practical solutions from his unique, Scandinavian experience. Nilsson started working in the golf industry in 1992 after completing his mandatory 15-month military service. Over the years, he’s worked with a variety of turfgrass species. When he took the course manager job at Vallda G&CC seven years ago during the grow-in, Nilsson was faced with a limited budget and knew he needed an out-of-the-box idea for the project to succeed. Looking to a best practice from Denmark, they decided to seed the entire course with red fescue to reduce labor and maintenance costs. Red fescue creates dry and firm conditions similar to Scottish links-style courses, which encourages golfers to play a bump-andrun game. Getting players to accept this is the biggest challenge Nilsson faces. “Once they learn it, they love it,” says the 2012 Swedish Superintendent of the Year. Legislation governing the turf industry in Nordic countries is often much stricter than in other European countries. Nilsson does not use any fungicides and water is a limited resource for many courses. Economic and environmental sustainability drive all decisions Swedish greenkeepeers make. “Swedes are really good greenkeepers,” Nilsson comments. “They are producing good turf on low budgets. We all need to think outside the box because the tide is changing, which I think is quite exciting.” Nilsson manages his course with only seven full-time staff. He estimates it costs four times as much to maintain creeping bentgrass as it does to maintain red fescue. Some North American courses use more water in 15 days than Vallda G&CC uses in a year.



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The Superintendent-in-residence program run by the Guelph Turfgrass Institute brings in a veteran industry professional each year to spend a few days on campus with Associate Diploma in Turfgrass Management and Turf Managers Short Course students, staff and faculty. As part of the visit, the Superintendent-in-residence gives a public lecture covering their career experiences and sharing some best practices. Since 2010, these lectures have been recorded. Learn more about the program, past Superintendent-inresidence, and get access to past talks online here:

Nilsson does not use any fungicides and water is a limited resource for many courses. Economic and environmental sustainability drive all decisions Swedish greenkeepeers make. “Last season was the first time we irrigated our fairways in five years,” Nilsson reveals. Red fescue winters well and requires a lot less maintenance throughout the playing season. Nilsson uses fertilizer from mid-May to the end of August and aerates during this same period. “We only work with the fescue when it’s growing,” he explains. “We treat the fescue nice in the preseason and then, by midsummer, we start to dry it out, which kills the poa.” Greens are only cut three times per week and never on the weekends. The putting surfaces are rolled a couple of times weekly to increase their speed and Nilsson topdresses them monthly. Fairways are cut every seven to 10 days. Another broad message Nilsson highlighted—and a major difference between Swedish and North American golfers—is the contrary attitudes toward using carts. His course only has four carts for 900 members. These carts are primarily available for players with accessibility issues. “In Sweden, golf is considered exercise, so everyone walks,” says Rob Witherspoon, Guelph’s Turfgrass Institute Director. “Stefan’s message was an important one to get across to our industry as we look at ways to make the game more affordable, accessible and fun.” David Kuypers, superintendent at Cutten Fields, had the chance to chat with Nilsson a lot during his stay. The pair discovered they shared many similar agronomic philosophies and practices.


Kuyper’s agrees with Witherspoon that the Swede’s sustainability solutions and ideas couldn’t have come at a better time. “Legislatively and culturally, what is going on in Sweden with golf’s access to resources is where we are heading in Canada,” he says. “It was a good message for the Ontario golf industry and the Ontario golfer to hear.” GM

Gothenburg is the second largest city in Sweden with a population of approximately 500,000. The city is located on the west coast and is marked by an oceanic climate that is unpredictable because of the effect of the Gulf Stream. The summer sees average high temperatures of 19 to 20 °C and lows of 10 to 12 °C. Winters are cold and windy with temperatures averaging somewhere between -5 to 3 °C; it rarely drops below -15 °C.


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MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 17




Women in Turf How one assistant is getting inspired and connected ◗ I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. I am a mom to a beautiful girl, Ruby. My family was raised on good family values with my parents teaching me a strong work ethic, self-discipline and loyalty. The first job I had was working for my Auntie. She owned a water store and as kids we were allowed to help bottle water. We would drive about 1.5 hours outside Calgary to the water plant that was located on a Hutterite Colony and spend a day bottling 500ml, 2L and 4L water bottles. I remember that it wasn’t a job I wanted to do as a living, but it did teach me what hard work was. After I graduated high school, I found myself working at a local greenhouse. I worked in the annual plant section, stocking shelves of fresh plants ready to sell. I knew this is what I wanted to do; be a horticulturist! Well, it was a short, temporary job for that spring, but my curiosity for horticulture work didn’t stop there. I applied for horticulture school and graduated in 2004 with a diploma in Landscape Management from Olds College, AB. I was an onsite horticulturist for a couple of landscaping companies where 18 GreenMaster |


I planted the flowers and maintained the gardens throughout the season. I helped plant flower beds all over Calgary, mainly at condo sites. A short time later, in the spring of 2005, my grandma found an ad in the local paper saying that a nearby golf course was hiring for the season. I actually frowned at the idea, but I didn’t want to disappoint

my grandma, so I applied. I went to my interview and I remember being really nervous. I suppose this was because I was out of my element. I sat in front of the superintendent and the assistant superintendent as both asked questions. I was shy and my answers were barely heard; my voice sounded like a mouse squeak. Despite my quiet nature, they hired me. I fell in love with the golf course; it was a beautiful piece of paradise. I put myself through the Winter Turf School at UMass in 2009 and began my new journey into the turf world. I am currently the assistant superintendent at Connaught Golf Club in Medicine Hat, AB. I have now been here for two years. Like most assistants, I take care of the irrigation repairs, train employees, set mower heights, mow turf, fertilize turf, apply pesticides and help the superintendent maintain acres of fine turf for the golf course. After attending the eighth annual Green Start Academy in August last year (2013), my imagination was ignited. I was, once again, the only female in the class. I was humbled that I could be the only female selected for an amazing opportunity to network. With that, I began to think of different

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

“I fell in love with the golf course; it was a beautiful piece of paradise.” Andrea Li ways to improve this area so more women can benefit from being accepted into programs such as the Green Start Academy. From there, I created an online twitter account, @WomeninTurf, and a Facebook page, Women in Turf. Turf Republic is helping make my ideas come to fruition with a new community on the platform called Women in Turf. I am excited to say I have been networking with women in every facet of the turf industry across the globe. Here is a short description of Turf Republic’s goals and direction from CEO Bill Brown: Turf Republic brings solutions to a singular location across the most modern and diverse technology platform in the turfgrass industry. We made Turf Republic extremely simple. Everyday those in the turf community are charged with developing and providing solutions. Turf Republic has been built by individuals encompassing over 100 years of combined experience of bringing solutions to the turfgrass industry. Turf Republic was built to be the natural extension for the turf community: the student, the professional, the educator, Industry and even the enthusiast. We are providing the most simple yet powerful tool for turf mangers to both find and share solutions. Turf Republic is the one stop shop for technology, education, outreach, turf management and professional development. We aren’t looking at doing things better than everyone else in the industry. We are just doing things differently. – Bill Brown, CEO Turf Republic The women I have met are superintendents, assistants, teachers, scientists, soil specialist, suppliers and all-round turf geeks that thoroughly enjoy their work. I aim to inspire and promote the women in the turf industry and share their stories as they share with me, each telling their journey in our industry. We are able to relate to others who are doing the same type of work we do. I look forward to meeting all these people face-to-face one day. I hope to see more women come into the turf industry and grow into future industry leaders. I have been a social media geek


right from the get go. I enjoy the social interactions between groups of people from all over the world, each person having different opinions and goals. I am a huge fan of Instagram. This app uses photography to share a visual story of the pictures you snap. I started taking pictures of my work and turning it into a photo journal. I can look back and see what the beginning of the season looked like and compare it to what it looks like throughout the season and what it looks like when the course has been put to bed. I will always have those photos to keep and share with others. Another social media platform I enjoy using is Twitter. We all know you either love it or hate it. Each person always has a different opinion of how to utilize the platform, but since there is no real boundaries, except the 140 word limit for each post, using it can push our normal, inside-the-box way of thinking, create a virtually new way to bring people together and construct a different dimension of networking. I love what I do because I get to share my passion of working on a golf course with others and, together, build longlasting friendships along the way. Join in the conversation @WomeninTurf or our Facebook Page, Women in Turf. GM

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Andrea Li, Assistant Superintendent, Connaught Golf Club MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 19


2014 CITCTS: The Cutting Edge Over 100 hours of education, new trade show set-up make for great conference ◗ The 2014 Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show (CITCTS) wrapped up a week of education, networking and fellowship in Vancouver, BC. The 2014 CITCTS was co-hosted with the Western Canada Turfgrass Association and supported by the British Columbia Golf Superintendents Association. The 2014 CITCTS debuted a new approach to the event by moving away from weekend days to a weekday event. With several other new or improved features, the event offered vibrant energy and real enthusiasm. The event began with a complement of Specialized Learning Workshops offering the opportunity for in-depth learning on specific topics. With the option of all-day or half-day sessions, delegates could choose from topics such as leadership, disease management, green speed and turf stress. Nearly 100 delegates attended this in-depth learning on the first day of the CITCTS week. The evening featured the President’s Welcome Reception, sponsored by Rain Bird International. It was the perfect beginning to the conference week activities. Conference co-chairs Greg Austin and Keith Lyall kicked off the conference on Tuesday morning at the Opening Ceremonies. The traditional O Canada presentation, presidential messages from John Mills (CGSA), Keith Lyall (WCTA) and Dean Piller (BCGSA), along with a sponsor’s message from Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, were all highlights. The education program featured five

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Added for the 2014 CITCTS education program were the Industry Presentations...offered to industry professionals to educate attendees about new innovations, ideas or products they offered. tracks of education on this day. They highlighted all aspects of turf management, sports field management, equipment technician education and horticultural topics. The lineup of speakers included renowned educators, superintendents, researchers and related specialists. The Annual Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Bayer Environmental Science, introduced the award winners for 2013. • R. T. (Bob) Heron, MS Emeritus, recipient of the John B. Steel Award; • Jim McGarvey, AGS, winner of the CGSA Superintendent of the Year Award; • Jordan Collins, CGSA/Toro Future Superintendent Award winner; • Bruce Constable, MS, AGS, Environmental Achievement Award winner; • Sylvain Nadon, Equipment Technician Award winner. • Jason Honeyball, Gordon Witteveen Award Other awards presented as part of the award ceremonies included the 2013 AGS and AAGS Designations, MS Designation and the membership service awards for 25 and 30 year members. The day finished off with a new feature of the 2014 CITCTS; the Trade Show Opening Reception. This event gave attendees an

opportunity to view the products and services offered in the trade show and plan their visit for the next day. Wednesday morning began with the CGSA’s 47th Annual General Meeting. Members attended and received updates on the current activities of the CGSA and saw the election of the new Board of Directors. The results of this election saw the following: • Christian Pilon, MS, President (1 year term) • Kyle Kellgren, Vice President (1 year term) • Kendall Costain, Atlantic Director (2 year term) • John Scott, AGS, Quebec Director (2 year term) • Jim Flett, AGS, Ontario Director (2 year term) • Darren Kalyniuk, Manitoba Director (2 year term) Also announced during the AGM was the appointee for the Saskatchewan Director, Pierre Vezeau. Pierre will take over the remaining one year of Kyle Kellgren’s term. Keynote speaker Trevor Linden delivered his address to a captive and standing room only audience. His remarks were focused on the changes in the NHL, how to lead by example and stories from his days playing professional hockey. Linden then moved

into the trade show to sign autographs and pose for pictures with participants. The trade show schedule offered six dedicated hours for attendees to learn about new products and services and innovative ways to improve course condition or sports field playing conditions. Exhibitors saw a steady stream of traffic at their booth throughout the day. We all shared a relaxed evening, enjoying some laughs and fellowship during the Wednesday Night Party, sponsored by John Deere Golf. The function included a pubstyle meal and some comedy provided by Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club. Thursday was another full day of education for attendees and featured sessions dedicated to application technology and sports field and golf course turf management. There was also an offsite equipment technician program including a shop tour at Seymour Golf & Country Club and Capilano Golf & Country Club. The day finished on a high note as the BCGSA and their sponsors held a pub night. The conference week ended with over 50 people participating in Specialized Learning Workshops on Friday. Options to attend half-day sessions allowed many to take in some further education and still get home that evening. This year, exhibitors were given the opportunity to present their product and services away from the show floor in the intimacy of seminar rooms. The attendance at these Industry Presentations proved that there exists a need for this interaction, and will be a part of the education sessions at future conferences. The companies featured were: • Magnation Water Technologies • Nilex • RainBird International • Keso Turf Supplies and Ostara • Aquatrols • Grigg Brothers • Bayer Environmental Science • Jacobsen – A Textron Company • RainBird International • Keso Turf Supplies and The Andersons The local coordinating committee, made up of CGSA, WCTA and BCGSA members,


is to be congratulation for a job well done. Their hard work to make this event a success and is much appreciated. Many thanks to all those who supported and participated in the events of the week. Mark your calendars for the 2015 Canadian International Turfgrass Conference and Trade Show. It will be held in Calgary, Alberta from Monday, February 2 – Friday, February 6, 2015. Put it in your budget today! GM

We would also like to recognize the contributions of CGSA’s Past Presidents who continue to support their national association. Thank you to these individuals who attended the Vancouver 2014 conference: Tim Kubash David Boyd Jim McGarvey Terry McNeilly Jay Leach Dean Piller Jim Nix

Pat Moir Greg Holden Bob Burrows Trevor Smith Dean Morrison Robert Heron

MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 21


His innovative spirit wasn’t contained to the golf course. Heron was instrumental in breaking new ground as a board member of the CGSA, saying one of his proudest moments was having a hand in creating the Association’s current logo.


John B Steel Award Winner is an Inspiration ◗ Bob Heron remembers the moment he knew he was going to be a golf course superintendent. The year was 1957 and Heron was 14-years-old, a grounds crew member at the Guelph Cutten Club. That’s when and where he saw the course’s superintendent, Jim Wyllie, with his blue and white convertible. “Back in those days, Jim used to drive around a 1956 Chevy Convertible,” says Heron. “That was his golf cart. That kind of look was a little impressive to me so I thought, this is a pretty good looking business.” Wyllie, for his part, still remembers the story too. “He always used to tell me this story and he still tells it to me every time he

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sees me,” says Wyllie. “He was totally impressed that I was driving around town in this car and he thought, well, I want to have a car like that and I’m going to be a superintendent too.” Of course it was more than a flashy car that propelled Heron into one of the most well-respected and successful careers in the turf management industry, a career capped off by receiving the CGSA’s John B Steel Award last February. Wyllie has another memory of the young Heron that captures some of the attributes that made him such a great superintendent and leader. “Bob came to me when he was around 14 and started to bug me that he wanted to work (at the Guelph Cutten Club),” says Wyllie. Wyllie rejected Heron’s application, saying that he couldn’t hire the son of a course member. This didn’t deter Heron one bit.

“(Heron) was very persistent, he bugged, bugged, bugged me about it. Finally I gave him a try-out and as it turns out, he was a very hard working kid,” remembers Wyllie, a former president of the CGSA and GCSAA and a John B Steel winner. Heron’s persistence and hard work, along with passion and an eagerness for learning, were key ingredients to forging a tremendous career for himself and blazing a path for future generations of Canadian superintendents. Heron’s pioneering ways started before his superintendent career even began. He was, by his count, the second Canadian to attend the Penn State turfgrass program and the first alumni from Canada to become a superintendent. After graduating, Heron worked with Howard Watson, a golf course architect. With Watson, Heron helped build the Board of Trade Country Club in

Woodbridge, Ontario. After the course’s completion, Heron stayed on as assistant superintendent and played a large part in hosting the PGA’s Carling World Open in 1967. What followed was a career spanning several decades at some of Canada’s highest regarded golf courses, including Markland Wood Golf Club, Mississaugua Golf Club and Beacon Hall Golf Club. Although Heron’s career was a long one, he says he learned some important lessons early on. “I learned pretty quickly that the profession is a very humbling business,” says Heron. “When you’re dealing with Mother Nature, you can be a hero one day and, if you’re not very careful, the next day you can be a bum. I was very fortunate to work at some very good courses which gave me the chance to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do at other courses.” This may have been one of Heron’s early lessons, but his career was full of learning, something he craved and allowed him to innovate and push the boundaries of golf course management.

Heron was part of a small class of superintendents that experimented with different turfgrasses, cultural practices and pest treatments in the 1970s and 1980s. One of his first big adventures was a test of a product that has become mainstream, but was new and unproven in Heron’s time. That product was Roundup. “It was around 1978 or 1979 when Roundup came out and I was one of the early pioneers that used Roundup to eradicate undesirable grass and then reestablish with bentgrass,” says Heron. Heron’s experiment with bentgrass turned out to be a trend setter and marked an important movement in the industry, remembers Wyllie. “I was one of the first superintendents to convert all my fairways to bentgrass,” says Wyllie, “and I got all the credit for being the first person to do this. In reality, Bob had been experimenting with bentgrass at Markland Wood for a long time. I converted all the fairways to bentgrass and it was because of the results Bob got at his course that I attempted that.” Heron was also an early adopter of

breathable winter greens covers, using them for the first time in 1981 at the Mississaugua Golf Club. His innovative spirit wasn’t contained to the golf course. Heron was instrumental in breaking new ground as a board member of the CGSA, saying one of his proudest moments was having a hand in creating the Association’s current logo. “Every time I look at the logo, I get very proud,” says Heron. “It was developed when I was on the board and it was derived from the Team Canada jersey that the hockey team wore in the 1972 Summit Series. There was the half Maple Leaf and then we added the golf ball and the tee to represent our game.” The logo was just one of many contributions Heron made to the CGSA. A member for over 45 years, Heron was also on the board of directors from 1972-1980 and was president of the Association in 1979.


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Membership in the CGSA gave Heron great opportunities and great friends, he says. “Being in the Association was huge, it was paramount,” says Heron. “It gave me a chance to meet a lot of key people, whether it was in other provinces, around the country or in America and Britain.” While taking hold of these opportunities allowed Heron’s career to flourish, giving back was crucial to him personally. “The Association gives us a lot; it gives us recognition, it gives us fellowship and it gives us a lot of learning capabilities,” says Heron. “To be able to put something back into the Association is very worthwhile and you get a lot of self-satisfaction from getting involved.” Heron was a member through the early part of the CGSA’s history and through its many changes and improvements, just as he has been there for many of the changes in the industry. “Back in my day, being a superintendent was 50 per cent art, 25 per cent business and 25 per cent science,” says Heron. “Now it’s probably gone full circle and these days the industry is almost 50 per cent business and 25 per cent art.” Heron has also seen more awareness about environmental issues recently, but says this is more of a change in the public’s eyes. Superintendents have, and always will be, great stewards of the land and will continue to focus on sustainability, says Heron. Heron’s life on the golf course prepared him for his life away from the fairways and greens. He says the skills he picked up from being a superintendent helped him in other parts of his life. “Managing people was a big skill I learned,” says Heron. “Getting things done by others and finding ways to motivate people is a bit of an art and it was very important. It’s still very important.” It was this ability to get the best out of others that allowed him to get the best out of the entire industry, an achievement

that earned him the John B Steel Award. Heron says the greatest honour is following in the footsteps of so many distinguished superintendents before him. “I was ecstatic,” says Heron about his feelings upon hearing he was receiving the award. “There were a lot of great people who won before me and I was honoured to get the award because it’s a wonderful experience to be acknowledged by your peers and the people you worked with for so many years.” Heron was more than just a hard worker, he was a mentor for so many, which is one of the many reasons he was a great choice for the award, says his longtime friend Wyllie. “Bob taught a lot of young guys who interned with him and a lot of them went on to their own successful jobs,” says Wyllie. “He was very well-respected by these young superintendents because he always set such a good example for them. He set the bar high.” Through all the years, all the protégés and all the trials and triumphs, Heron has gathered advice for the next generation of Canadian superintendents. “A lot of courses are going to learn to do more with less because of budget restraints,” says Heron. “Courses are going to have to be better prepared and provide the same kind of conditions with fewer staff and less money.” Financials aside, Heron says the ultimate aim is to have passion for the job and love every minute on the course. “In order to survive this job, you need to look forward to each and every day,” says Heron. “Be more involved out on the course and enjoy it.” GM


MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 25


Overcoming the Difficulties of Hiring Preparation and evaluation key to finding a good fit ◗ At this time of year, we have begun the process of filling our vacant grounds crew positions for the upcoming season. Some years there is turnover, some years not. Usually we are not short on resumes that come across our desk, but how do we identify the candidates that are going to be the long-term parts in our maintenance machine? After eliminating candidates based on skills, education and job experience, how do we find the right individuals to maintain the continuity of our culture and fit within the social workings of our current employees? After reviewing our interview process from the past, I found that there is only so much information that can be extracted from the standard interview, as most candidates are prepared ahead of time for the types of questions that appear in a typical interview. After searching the internet and social media (thanks Tweeps!) for guidance, the place to start is to identify the characteristics of the job for which you are hiring. After identifying these characteristics, formulating questions for the interview process can begin, focusing on the attributes you are trying to acquire in an employee. What are the competencies required to fill this position? For any position, from entrylevel grounds to a management position, it should be evaluated based on five categories: Intellectual, Communication, Leadership, Management and Personal. *Dan Erling - Competency Profile www. Intellectual is self-explanatory. Does the candidate have the intelligence, decisionmaking, (common) sense and training needed to qualify for the position? I put common in brackets, as it should be called good sense. In my experience, good sense is not all that common. Communication is an important skill, no matter how high the employee is in the company. Every employee is a representative of the company and, as such, 26 GreenMaster |

is part of the image of the organization. Will they be able to communicate effectively within their own department and with coworkers? Can they interact with our clientele, which is both member and guestbased, and effectively walk the company line as a proponent of the organization? We have all had an employee at one time or another which has contributed to gossip and degradation of the company and we know how destructive an influence that can be. Leadership is an interesting category and can be more or less important depending on the position you are hiring for. In a management position, you want strongwilled, independent-thinking individuals who are capable of rational thinking and problem solving. In an entry-level position, or in positions that can be repetitive, a similar individual can struggle and feel bound and frustrated by the job, whereas a person who appreciates consistency and routine can thrive in this environment. It is a rare person that knows when they should lead, when they should follow and has the humility to do both. Good management can be something as simple as successful time management, up to and including scheduling personnel or organizing teams to accomplish tasks. Is the candidate able to manage his day to accomplish tasks, both individual and in a group setting? Will they be able to function as part of a team and/or as a leader of small work groups? Can the person get the job done, reaching the end goal, whether through established steps or by creating and implementing steps on their own? I think that in any situation, a good balance of both of these traits is ideal. Then there are the personal skills of an individual. Are they passionate about what they do and the environment they are in? How do they deal with stressful situations and expectations? Are they detail-oriented and big-picture-oriented? What are their motivations: money, job satisfaction,

recognition? Understanding a person’s motivations and what goals they are trying to satisfy in their own lives can provide the clues as to whether or not a person is going to thrive in the environment of your work place. Identifying the position’s obstacles and challenges from an employee’s perspective will also guide you to the person you should be hiring. A person that will be successful in any company must embrace the challenges associated with the position in the industry and in the company. If they don’t, they are short-lived and the hiring process must start over. They may also become disgruntled over time after the ‘honeymoon’ probationary period, affecting the culture and working environment of the department. In the end, this causes increased expense through lost time and decreased job quality, performance and morale. The first challenge presented by these positions in our company is that these are seasonal positions in a small resort community, a similar situation a lot of us face. Cost of living is not cheap by any means. It is very difficult for candidates to relocate to this area for this specific job and entry-level position. Is the candidate able to maintain his standard of living by having a seasonal position (retired, semi-retired, financially-independent, student)? Does he/she have another seasonal position to transfer to after his/her layoff? We have had some success working with local ski resorts in this area. The second challenge they face is being in our union environment that dictates job description and advancement. The entry positions are the bottom of our union hierarchy and are labour intensive. Can they perform physical tasks early in the morning and in high daytime temperatures while still maintaining job satisfaction? Can they perform in an environment where the daily tasks are repetitive, as they are assigned by seniority? Can they perform and thrive in a

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Asking a few questions, which appear completely unrelated, can often reveal a great deal, not just in the candidate’s response, but in how they physically react. position where advancement is dependent upon achieving seniority and waiting for upper pay and job levels to become available (transfer, retirement, termination)? “In some cases, this may take several seasons to achieve.” After identifying those two challenges, the candidate pool starts to shrink considerably. Students appear to be a viable option considering their passion for the industry. However, they have invested considerable time and money into their educations. While possessing the passion and skill for the job, saddling them in an entry-level position with these restrictions can be limiting and discouraging. Our collective bargaining agreement stipulates pay rate, which is higher and provides an opportunity for more benefits (medical, dental, RSP, union pension) than a non-unionized workplace. However, working, able-bodied adults are more difficult to come by due to competition from other industries. These industries, such as construction and orchardists (fruit picking), can provide a better wage while not requiring the skill set for which we are looking. Companies in other industries can have the advantage of offering continued employment as new projects become available. While enticing to some prospective employees, the opportunity for playing privileges as compensation for seasonal employment time or lower pay carries only so much weight and is only valuable to the candidates that play the game. Now that we have established the characteristics that we are searching for in an employee, these need to be identified in a candidate by the questions used in the interview process. There is no shortage of interview questions that can be found these days on the internet, in addition to the old staples such as, “Why do you want to work here?” I have found that asking a few questions, which appear completely unrelated, can often reveal a great deal, not just in the candidate’s response, but in how they physically react. These types of questions can shake up an interviewee and give you a glimpse into how they respond to

unexpected changes in a stressful situation. These types of questions can also lighten the tone of the process and possibly allow the person to become more comfortable. This can hopefully lead them to be more open about themselves and reveal true traits. This can also, however, be detrimental to their chances of being employed, but can give you incite as to why they may or may not work out. One of the ‘outside the box’ questions I’ve used in the past has been, “How do you like to be managed/not managed as an employee?” I use this question to get an idea of how the prospect leads or follows, can be a team player or an instigator of contempt. It also can be telling as to how they will respond in your management environment. Another question that can switch things up is, “If you were a super hero, who would you be and why?” While sounding silly at first, it accomplishes a few things. It totally changes the tone of the interview environment, switches the interviewee’s brain from analytical to creative and can often reveal the imagination and creative thinking side if they are that type of person. The question, “On a scale of 1–5, how lucky do you consider yourself?” can help you evaluate a person’s disposition and outlook on life, whether they are a glass half full or half empty type of person. My last and maybe favourite question is, “If you entered a room and your theme song was playing, what would it be and why?” I feel this question enables you to see a candidate’s self-image, motivations, past history, lifestyle and passions in life. I have heard everything from Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World to the Hockey Night in Canada theme as responses. Their responses can be very telling and, as you can see now, can be much more effective in helping you make the right decision on whether or not this person is

going to be a fit for your environment. I have spent a great deal of time thinking about, reading about and participating in the hiring process over the past few months and seasons. I feel that I have learned a great deal from these experiences and continue to learn and improve the process. This process cannot be properly undertaken without understanding the current culture of your workplace and where you want that culture to go. Understanding the challenges faced by your company and the tasks required for the position and for prospective employees allows you to know what you are competing against. A better understanding of these factors makes me more confident when starting this process. Now that I have these tools, it has become much easier to evaluate and identify the individuals that will excel in our environment and we have been able to retain a greater number of new hires, which are achieving quality and job satisfaction on a daily basis. GM Ryan Dunkley, B.B.A., Assistant Superintendent, The Osoyoos Golf Club

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The University of Guelph Turf Bowl Experience ◗ Eight students from the University of Guelph Turfgrass Management program attended the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America Conference in Orlando and competed in the 20th Annual GCSAA Collegiate Turf Bowl. The Turf Bowl is an academic competition between students enrolled in two and four-year turfgrass management programs. In the 20-year history of the Turf Bowl, the only international teams that have competed have been from the University of Guelph The 2014 University of Guelph teams competed against 71 squads from across the United States. Our teams finished 24th (Sean Van Beurden, Aidan Fitzgerald, Paul Sullivan and Michael Allan) and 39th (Geoff Hay, Ryan Campbell, Brian Lewicki and Alex Taylor). While our goal of a top-10 podium finish was not achieved, we are proud of the result considering the differences in products available in Canada and the United States. The Turf Bowl exam consisted of multiple choice, short answer, specimen identification, fill-in-the-blank and essay questions. The exam was based on the American turfgrass industry which meant we needed to prepare for questions on grasses and chemicals we rarely have experience with in Canada. Despite this obstacle, we found the test to be fair and would like to commend the GCSAA and the Turf Bowl organizers for taking the


It is easy to be excited about being part of an industry where competition takes a back seat to cooperation and knowledge. Geoff Hay time to make the competition accessible to international competitors by removing common names specific to the United States from the exam. Our preparation for the Turf Bowl began in early September under the guidance of Dr. Eric Lyons. We also received help and guidance from many professors and alumni associated with the University of Guelph Turfgrass Management Program throughout the semester. To aid in our preparation for the exam, we gathered study materials from schools in the United States to increase our knowledge base of products and situations specific to other regions of the U.S. As students from the only institution outside the United States to compete, we knew we had to focus our attention on the turfgrass industry in the U.S., the different products available and the different practices our colleagues to the south have implemented. Once we arrived in Orlando, we spent our time having team study sessions and attending networking events, educational opportunities and the trade show. We also had the chance to visit Matt Beaver, golf course superintendent at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club. We received a tour of his property and learned about the process of hosting a PGA Tour event.  We also met a number of very experienced American superintendents during our stay, including Martin Morozowsky, director of agronomy at Seven Oaks Country Club in Bakersfield, California, who was willing to help with any questions we had regarding U.S. practices and turfgrass management in the southern U.S. regions. We appreciate the support and encouragement industry professionals provided us throughout our trip. As we have progressed through the

Turfgrass Management program at Guelph and our internships, we are reminded daily of the importance of networking and sharing information with colleagues in the industry. We are impressed with the level of interaction and communication within the industry and the importance placed on sharing knowledge and experience. Everyone we met on our trip was a willing resource. We have witnessed many situations where the solution to one superintendent’s problem comes from discussion with another who has faced the same issue in the past. It is easy to be excited about being part of an industry where competition takes a back seat to cooperation and knowledge. Knowing that we will have other opportunities to attend conferences like this in the future, we all agree it was a tremendous experience that reinforces our career choice. The University of Guelph Turf Bowl team members would like to thank our very generous sponsors and supporters: Clublink, Engage Agro, Green Horizons Group of Farms, the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association, Ontario Seed Company, SFOAC and Syngenta. Without their support, this opportunity would not have been possible. Finally, we would like to thank the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association for their continued support and for allowing us to share our experience with their membership. GM

Geoff Hay is a student enrolled in Guelph University’s Turfgrass Management program and a member of the 2014 U of G Turf Bowl team.

Trust Trust

It’s why Garret Bodington changed his entire feet to John Deere.

Oak Hill, East Course

Sebonack Golf Club, Southampton, NY

With the US Women’s Open coming to Sebonack in 2013, Garret Bodington made the decision to go with John Deere. Why? “John Deere gave us tremendous support for the Women’s Open, from existing equipment to loaners. Also, the E-Cut™ Hybrid technology was a big selling point. We use E-Cuts on every fairway and every green.” From E-Cut Hybrid technology to heavy-duty utility vehicles, Garret trusts his entire course to John Deere. To see the difference we can make on your course and call your John Deere Golf distributor today.

Trusted by the best courses on Earth. 58082


Kendall: Remembered for Intelligence, Kindness, Passion An industry pioneer who greatly contributed to the turfgrass management industry ◗ Michael P. Kendall. Born in Calgary, Alberta, October 23, 1948 to George and Marie Elizabeth Linscott Kendall. At that time, his father George was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and stationed in Europe. As with many army families, Michael and his siblings moved around the world to wherever their father was stationed. At the end of George’s career, the family settled in Winnipeg where George went on to become the golf superintendent at Breezy Bend. Michael started in the business, humbly, as a golf course employee under the guidance of his father George at Breezy Bend. George was a pillar in the formation of Golf Associations in Manitoba as well as being a founding father of the CGSA. After high school, Michael ventured to Lakeland College in Florida to further his education in turfgrass management. On completion of his studies at Lakeland, Michael went on to be the golf course superintendent and assistant GM (1974-79) at the Wildwood Golf Club in Winnipeg, Manitoba. During that time, he also became the President

of the Manitoba Golf Superintendents Association. From there, Michael made his way west and landed on his feet as the maintenance supervisor at the Okanagan Park Country Club Resort Hotel (now the Lake Okanagan Resort) in Kelowna, from 1980-81. It was at this point in his career when Michael decided to move into the fertilizer business, where he became a technical sales rep for the O.M Scott & Sons Proturf Division. Michael stayed as a tech rep from 1982–85, servicing clients for The Scotts Company and creating great sales numbers all the way to the Manitoba border. During the month of April 1985, in a fashion specific only to Michael, he resigned and then made a proposal to The Scotts Company to be their Western Canada independent agent. Once again he saw an opportunity! The company was not quick to reply or to hire anyone else to replace him. But Michael had a plan and, as usual, was ready to walk away. He did, taking a job

at the University Golf Club as the golf superintendent, working together with General Manager David Gillespie. It didn’t take long for The Scotts Company to come calling again. In July of that same year, the company accepted Michael’s proposal to be their Western Canada agent. Michael gave up his position as golf superintendent and went straight to work, incorporating Kengill Holdings as an agent for the Scotts Company and incorporating KESO Turf Enterprises Ltd. Kengill would be the exclusive Scotts Proturf Agent while Keso Turf Enterprises would look toward distributing other golf related products. His plan was falling into place. As usual, Michael wasn’t sitting still. How could he promote and advertise his products when there were very few industry trade publications available to do so in 1988? The problem had an easy solution. Michael collaborated with his brother Rud, whose experience in publishing led them both into starting up MRK Publications. It was then that Turf and



He was a hard-driving businessperson with an amazing heart, helping others without any need for acknowledgement. Recreation Magazine was born! Over the next seven years, Michael focused on refining and building his company. There were a few changes in the company names in order to keep up with a changing business. It was in 1995 when Michael’s biggest undertaking came to fruition, the opening of his new warehouse. He would no longer work out of a building he did not own! The plan continued to move along! In 2000, Keso Turf/Scotts Proturf changed for the last time to do business as KESO Turf Supplies. That year was an interesting one for The Scotts Company as they sold to NuGro in Canada and the Andersons in the US. During the next three years, Michael created relationships with Precision Labs and Griggs Brothers, building a more diverse offering for the existing and future clientele. It was in 2008 that the change from KESO Turf Supplies selling Proturf products occurred. It was then, with Michael’s business acumen and the solid relationships that Michael had built

with The Scotts Company, that KESO Turf Supplies entered into a business relationship with the Andersons Company to distribute their exceptional products in Western Canada. In 2010, Michael made the decision to split the companies and separate Kengill Holdings from KESO Turf Supplies, incorporating as KESO Turf Supplies Ltd. During the end of the 2010 year, Michael entered into conversations with his existing employees, Scott Kraemer, Scott Anderson, David Robbins, Kelly Watkins and Trevor Smith, offering them the opportunity to purchase KESO Turf Supplies Ltd. It was agreed that they as a group would purchase the company from Michael, completing his successful move into retirement. Michael’s offer to purchase his successful, long-time company was one of great honor and an opportunity not often afforded to employees of a company. This gesture, as was found later, was very much in line with Michael’s nature. He was a hard-driving businessperson

with an amazing heart, helping others without any need for acknowledgement. His random acts of kindness always came without requirements and most often without anyone knowing who did it. In passing, Michael leaves his partner and the love of his life Donella. The Michael P. Kendall/Keso Turf Scholarship fund has been set up in honor of Michael in British Columbia. We honor and cherish our time with Michael and will endeavor to carry on the dedication and commitment to growing and building on Michael’s successes. GM

Trevor Smith is a part-owner of KESO Turf Supplies, a past president of the CGSA and the 2014 recipient of the BCGSA’s Industry Recognition Award.

MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 31


Knowledge is Power… and Money The turf care centre as a revenue generator ◗ Although not traditionally thought of as a centre for generating revenue, the turf maintenance department at your golf course can certainly generate dollars. This offset of expenses will surely lead to a very desirable budget line.

Dollars from trees

If there is one constant among most North American golf courses it is trees. Trees are initially part of most golf course designs. A tug-of-war will inevitably commence between the maturing trees, turfgrass health and the intent of the original design. Trees can grow very fast, relative to the time a golf hole may be around for, and in some cases are overplanted to achieve a desired effect faster. The growing environment for trees on a course couldn’t be better. They have very little competition for air, light and nutrients and are given regular fertilizer and water. Many golf courses will form a tree committee or develop a long-term tree management plan. There comes a point when tree pruning and removal will become a regular occurrence and this presents an excellent opportunity to generate income. Firewood is the most obvious place to start. When performing essential pruning or removal, it

32 GreenMaster |

is just as easy to cut the limbs or damaged hardwood into firewood-length pieces. They can be transported to an aggregate storage area for processing. Here, a fairly quick split and stack of the material results in a finished product ready to sell. Wood splitters can be rented very inexpensively, but I suggest that if you have enough potential wood from year to year, the purchase of such a unit would be the most cost-effective way to go. This would make the entire process more efficient. They say that firewood makes you warm many times. First when you cut it, then split and stack it, again when you move it into the house and finally when it is burned. The less you handle it, the better. We simply advertise the firewood in the pro shop or online and people pick it up. They are happy to have it at a slightly reduced cost than firewood delivery would charge and many people who burn wood for heat either have a truck and trailer or have access to one. Most golf courses will have a dump wagon that can be pulled behind a course tractor, therefore creating an opportunity for deliveries within a short distance of the property. This added service can add even more money to the pot. Every time you are cutting something down, instead of just renting a chipper or hauling it off to the burn pile, you could instead process the wood and make money. Logs also present an income opportunity. Straight hardwood logs in lengths greater than eight feet can be sold for between $400 and $500 per thousand board foot. A board foot is a simple

measurement of 12”x12”x1” thick so it is relatively easy to scale a log and determine a value. In most cases, it will be worth more in this form and take less of your time than to process it into firewood. Not all trees are created equal. Some will have far greater value than others. For example, a veneer-quality log that can be used for veneer wood in the construction of furniture or high quality plywood may be worth several times that of a normal log. A bit of research here on your part might be very fruitful for the bottom line. Please also consider that some soft woods may have a use for you or others. Basswood is a very desirable wood for carving and may be able to be marketed. Spruce, cedar and even poplar can be processed at a local or portable sawmill and either used back on the property for fencing, siding, decorative finishes or, once again, sold for profit. Burls are also another possibility. A burl is a bulbous protrusion on a tree trunk. It is created as result of stress to the tree caused by an injury, virus, fungus or insect infestation. These abnormalities in wood grain are often very desirable to woodworkers. They can be used in various projects to create beautiful and unique bowls and other items. The diverse wood grains naturally occurring in the burls make for a very interesting and attractive finished product, thus making the wood very sought after. Once again, something that might otherwise get thrown away could have another use. A call to a local artist co-op should provide you with a list of possible contacts. Why not make money growing trees? Many of us have open spaces somewhere on the property where a small nursery could be established. You probably already have numerous trees

This article is eligible for the

Gordon Witteveen Award designation for the author.

With a little imagination, revenue generation from the turf maintenance department can be achieved and will be a most welcome addition to the bottom line.

on the property producing seeds each year. Collect seeds or dig up seedlings and plant them in your nursery. They will require very little care and can quite easily be root pruned and dug for transplant or sale when still a manageable size.

Scrap Products

There are also many waste items that are created throughout the course of the year. I will start with scrap metal. In this instance, consider used bedknives, rotary mower blades, metal replacement parts and used wiring or plumbing if renovating. Other sources include old light fixtures, broken hand tools, kitchen appliances etc. The list is endless. If all this material is separated out across the board it can be sold by weight to scrap dealers. It may be worth separating out stainless steel, copper or other semiprecious metals. In most cases, you can arrange for these materials to be picked up, but you can maximize income by taking them to the dealers yourself. Used oils can also provide income to help offset their cost. Used equipment oils can be stored and then safely removed to be refined. The same applies to used cooking oils from the kitchen. In both cases you are being paid for someone to come in and remove a waste product for you. In our area, Safety Kleen picks up the used equipment oils and Rothsay picks up the used kitchen oils. Scrap batteries are also worth the effort. This can become a very important budget line when replacing batteries in an entire golf cart fleet. In most cases, batteries can be stored onsite and scrap dealers will come to your door and pay you to take them away.

Sustainability Knowledge

Eco or ethical tourism is a growing market. Travel Weekly (2012) projects that by the end of 2012, 25 per cent of the world’s travel market could belong to

eco-tourism. There is a demand for guided tours on the property to help educate those interested in the positive things golf courses are doing. Is your golf course Audubon Certified or working towards that goal? If you are, I’ll bet you have some interesting environmental projects you have completed or are working on. People are eager to see how you are reducing the impact your golf course is having on the surrounding environment. Wildlife habitat creation is also of great interest. Once again, you are only limited by your imagination on this one. One of the most rewarding experiences I have had professionally was touring a group of field naturalists around the property. They were amazed with how the golf peacefully coexisted with the surrounding environment. Maybe a two hour tour and presentation could end with a trip to the clubhouse for a lunch or dinner onsite. I see more and more golf courses supplying their restaurant kitchen by growing their own herbs and vegetables. While not creating a direct income, this practice can certainly deliver fresh veggies to the kitchen and reduce expenses. Can you save kitchen waste and organic waste created on the golf course and create compost? This highly sought after end product can easily be used on the property and I know of at least one golf course that actually sells finished compost.

then charge for the custom operation. The added revenue will help to offset purchase and upkeep costs. Do you have staff and equipment interested in snow removal on neighbouring properties in the offseason? Grinding reels for neighbouring courses can be beneficial to some smaller scale operations. They may find it very cost-effective to have this work done for them, saving them the expense of not having to purchase expensive reel and bedknife grinding equipment. This may also present an opportunity for both the club and the equipment technician to earn a few extra dollars. Golf course maintenance has traditionally been looked at only as an expense. With a little imagination, revenue generation from the turf maintenance department can be achieved and will be a most welcome addition to the bottom line. Every little bit helps to make the business a success! GM

Marc Brooks, MS, AGS, CGCS is Property Manager at Stone Tree Golf & Fitness Club in Owen Sound, Ontario

Rental Equipment

Many golf courses have some highly specialized equipment that, while very important to the success of the operation, is also sitting around collecting dust for much of the year. I am referring mainly to aeration or overseeding equipment. The opportunity certainly exists here to rent out this equipment when not in use. You could also provide an operator and

MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 33


From Farm to Fairway 2013 Equipment Technician of the Year, Sylvain Nadon, has a passion for learning, working and traveling ◗ Sylvain Nadon’s motto is; work hard, then work even harder. Nadon’s daily schedule gets him to Rosemere Golf Club, where he is the equipment technician, early in the morning. After a day at the course, he goes home and takes a small break before working on his family’s onion farm until dark. That’s when he fires up his computer for an hour or two of research on ways to improve the farm and the golf course. It’s this passion, this drive for improvement, and a love of hard work that has made Nadon one of the most respected staff members at Rosemere and earned him the CGSA’s Equipment Technician of the Year Award for 2013. Nadon works at Rosemere with tremendous purpose, but his beginnings at the club were somewhat of an accident. Nadon was called into the club by the superintendent, Mr. Gauthier, a week before his eighteenth birthday because they needed someone to fill in and complete some odd jobs. “They really liked Sylvain and they kept him on through the winter,” says Dan Reid, the current superintendent at Rosemere, translating for Nadon who speaks mostly French. “He ended up working year-round and grew into the position of head equipment technician without really being officially hired until a couple years later.” That was more than 30 years ago and Nadon has spent the past three-plus decades keeping the mowers, carts and all the other equipment at Rosemere in tip-top shape. Over the course of his time at


Rosemere, Nadon has seen the business change dramatically in some areas and not at all in others. “The reality is, golf is changing, but the business hasn’t really changed,” says Nadon. “The objectives have stayed the same and haven’t really changed for my job. There are good times and bad times, but you have to make do and always have the equipment ready for the course.” Nadon has seen four superintendents and countless co-workers come and go while at Rosemere. The turnover, however, has been higher in recent years. “He says that staff, in the modern work place, don’t stay with the same employer

“Every day is different, there’s no real routine. Every season and every year is different and has different challenges. As long as you’re challenged, you’ll always love your job.” Sylvain Nadon 34 GreenMaster |

as long,” says Nadon through Reid. “You used to work with staff for 10 or 12 years. Now you work with the average staff member for five years or so. It’s hard to build that family and that affinity that was once there, especially with private clubs.” The same goes for members. Nadon says that in today’s society, members expect more for less and many change clubs frequently. Although Rosemere has been fortunate enough to have a loyal, long-lasting membership, says Nadon, they are not exempt. It’s rare that the lives of members and equipment techs at a golf club intersect, especially in these changing times, but at Rosemere, things are a little different; Nadon is part of the family. “The general manager sent out a message that Sylvain had won the award and I got an incredible amount of replies from members saying how much they appreciate the opportunity he had to win,” says Reid. “We’re lucky at Rosemere, we’re still

a good family of members and staff, compared to other clubs. Sylvain is more valued by the members than he gives himself credit for.” While Nadon spends most of his time around large machines and noisy technology, the 50-year-old is exactly the opposite; humble and understated. Case in point, his reaction to winning the CGSA’s Equipment Tech of the Year Award. “He mentioned to me that he was humble and that (winning the award) was due to the club giving him the opportunity to work there for 32 years and not his actual work, but the reality is, everyone at the club really values him,” says Reid. Nadon’s tremendous skills and dedication can be summed up in one anecdote, says Reid. Rosemere has six tractors, says Reid, but rarely does the course use all six of them. Sure enough, there came a day when Reid needed all six machines and needed them badly. Unfortunately, one of parts on one of the machines had worn out, leaving the superintendent down a tractor. Without being able to do much to solve the problem then and there, both Reid and Nadon went home for the night. Reid came to work the next morning and discovered, to his surprise, the ailing tractor back up and running. Nadon, as it turns out, couldn’t get the machine off his mind.

“He told me he had been in bed the night before and woke up thinking that his tractor at the family farm probably had the same part,” explains Reid. “So he ran into the barn, took the part out of his tractor and ran over to the course to install it into the tractor that was on its last legs. He said he knew it was important to me and the course and then he asked me if he could leave at lunch because he had been there since 3 a.m.” Every day is a new adventure for Nadon. It’s this adventurous spirit that keeps him on his toes and coming back to the shop week after week. “I was raised to work hard and I like working hard,” says Nadon. “Every day is different, there’s no real routine. Every season and every year is different and has different challenges. As long as you’re challenged, you’ll always love your job.” It’s hard to imagine Nadon’s hard work and desire to improve will stop here. His yearning for information seems to have no bounds. Rosemere’s head mechanic will often save the delivery slips from equipment purchases and trace the piece back to its maker, says Reid. He will explore and see what else the manufacturer has to offer, researching anything and everything in order to present as many options to the club as possible. Nadon doesn’t just go the extra mile though; he goes an extra thousand miles.

The equipment tech travels to Europe every other year to visit farms, golf courses and other agricultural land in order to learn and take back as much as he can to Quebec. “He travels to Europe every second year for about a month with agrologists,” says Reid. “He just loves seeing different cultures and different agricultural cultures.” With so many years of experience comes wisdom and Nadon has plenty for the next generation of golf course equipment technicians. “There’s nothing better than starting young in this business,” says Nadon, “because it’s a tough business. It’s important to be patient, be willing to pay your dues and learn everything you can. You really need to be passionate about it because it’s a changing industry and that’s tough. It’s all about being part of a team.” GM

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

MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 35

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Sunrises and Sustainable Solutions Bruce Constable and Woodside Golf Course 2013 Environmental Award winner ◗ Bruce Constable’s story is a familiar one. A summer job in the turf and maintenance department at Calgary’s Earl Grey Golf Club back in 1977 hooked him for life. “I have never once regretted my decision to go into this profession,” says Constable, winner of the 2013 CGSA Environmental Award and superintendent at Woodside Golf Club in Airdrie, Alberta. “I love my job and everything that goes with it, from working outside and seeing sunrises in the summer to the day-to-day challenges of maintaining a golf course to high standards.” Woodside exemplifies how a course with a limited budget and a small crew can achieve its goals with hard work, determination and the right sustainability vision. From sunrise to closing the maintenance shop each night, all decisions by Constable and his core leadership team, which includes mechanic John MacKeeman and assistant superintendent Brent Lees, are driven by hard work, determination and a shared passion to succeed. The greenkeeper first planted the seeds for his sustainability model in 2004. Constable created a long-range plan to naturalize the 18-hole, semi-private golf course to save money and reduce its impact on the environment. The first step: designating some rough areas as “no-mow zones.” “I was hoping to sneak this in under the golfers’ radar and ease into this, but we had our typical June rains that year, followed by a hot July, and soon the grass was one to two-feet tall,” recalls Constable, who started as an assistant at Woodside in 1994 and assumed the head job in 1999. “Prior to this, all the rough was mowed at 1.5 inches.” It wasn’t long before errant shots

landing in this thick rough raised the ire of golfers. Constable and his crew were on the defensive. Some homeowners, whose property borders the course, were also not happy. Constable stuck to his naturalization plan and through open and ongoing communication eventually solved these tensions. Woodside’s key strategic objectives in its sustainability project plan were to reduce fuel, fertilizer applications, mower hours, air pollution and water usage while concurrently filtering any runoff entering their ponds. The added benefit, says Constable, is that within four years, the amount and the diversity of wildlife on the golf course increased. “We went from a golf course with gophers, mallards and geese to one with foxes, hawks, grebes, herons, owls, bitterns and a good variety of ducks,” he says. “I am an amateur photographer, so it is a lot of fun trying to get a good shot of all this wildlife with the right light.” Thanks to all of these initiatives, Woodside GC became a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary in 2008. Adding the CGSA 2013 Environmental Achievement Award is an honor for the turf team. “It means a lot to all of us,” says Constable, who is also a two-time winner of the GCSAA’s International Environmental Leader award. “Much time is spent both implementing practices out in the field and later documenting everything, which often takes place at home after work or on weekend afternoons. A person has to make a commitment, both in terms of time and


energy, to keep programs moving forward. To get recognized for this effort is amazing.” Constable believes in continuous learning and challenges his team to always search for new and innovative maintenance practices. Solutions begin and end with sustainability in mind. He gives his fellow CGSA members the same advice. “Learn as much as you can, challenge the ways that things have been done and make decisions as if you were the owner of the golf course,” Constable comments. In 2014, Woodside enters the third year of a tree-planting program to further diversify the landscape. They are also evaluating their fertilizer program. “We are looking at significant reductions along with alternatives to the traditional fertilizers in a never-ending desire to be more sustainable,” Constable says. Though some days are more challenging than others, Constable, 53, doesn’t take anything about this joyous job for granted. The veteran superintendent has no regrets about his chosen career path and he plans to enjoy a lot more sunrises. “I am still in awe of a sunrise in the summer with the sprinkler system running and the birds doing their morning thing,” he concludes. “It’s my peaceful time of day.” GM

MARCH/APRIL 2014 | GreenMaster 37


SUPER SNAPSHOTS: Conference Moments

Letters Re: CITCTS, Vancouver 2014

 T hanks to the CGSA, WCTA and BCGSA for an outstanding event. Looking forward to CITC2015 in Calgary. (AGSA)

P  roud to be a part of the Kwantlen Turf Club that donated $5000 to turf grass research. (Landen Huculak)

 T his inspiring second hockey Gold for Canada produced a unified country around a common cause. Passion produces results. (Christian Pilon)

 T hanks to all staff, volunteers, delegates and industry supporters that made this year’s show the best ever! (Greg Austin)


Talk back!


Word on the Course… Q. D  oes anyone have some take-aways from CITC2014 that they’d like to share? A. “The CITC2014 confirmed that Supers


& Industry Reps truly recognize the importance of being able to adapt to remain relevant!” “I was told I should roll more but I’m already rolling twice per day!”

38 GreenMaster |

A. “Another great conference. I always hate to leave Vancouver, especially when it’s -25 here. Next week will be doing research then snow removal.”

Q. W  hat will be the buzzwords in the golf management industry for 2014? A. ”A 12-hole course in Quebec.”

A. ”Drive membership, reduce labor A. A. A.

costs.” ”Polar Vortex, direct cold temperature injury, seed, renovation.” ”Patience, communication, recovery and vacation! Along with many, many others.” ”EIQ, ISR, GP and MLSN.”






Join the CGsA

• TS



AdvocAcy Programs and Services Promotion of the Profession

Professional Development

Representation certificAtion


tGif AcceSS

national tournament Program

Fall Field Day

Manulife Group RRSP


CGsA Live LeArninG Centre

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

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

Chapter 2

TIME ISN’T MONEY. PRODUCTIVITY IS. The challenge today isn’t simply to maintain a beautiful golf course. It’s to maintain it on a budget. To succeed, you need to work smarter, more efficiently and more economically than ever before.

It’s simple Turfonomics.




Bunkers are critical to a course’s reputation and to yours. That’s why we’ve engineered the all-new Toro Sand Pro 2040Z.

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We understand the challenges you face every day. That’s why we make innovative equipment that delivers the best overall course conditions combined with budget-friendly total cost of ownership. Then we back every product we build with our industry-leading support network. No one delivers more value than Toro.



As an industry-first, this zero-turn bunker rake grooms bunkers other machines can’t. By pairing our patent-pending Lift-in-Turn system with a flex tooth rake, the 2040Z grooms contour bunkers, steep slopes and tight fingers without leaving tire marks or teardrop mounds of sand. ™

©2014 The Toro Company. All rights reserved.

The exclusive zero-turn steering means grooming more bunkers with less labor and less hand raking. With a top transport speed of 12 mph, operators can work quickly and move on to the next task. Plus, the 2040Z’s innovative tooth rake won’t damage turf or bunker liners, so you can groom right up to the bunker’s edge. All for a price that’s less than you’d expect.

It’s simple Turfonomics.

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Sand Pro 2040Z ®

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Cgsa greenmaster v49 2