TURF News - April 2024

Page 1

AGSA CONFERENCE REVIEW

Exceeding all expectations with a record-breaking attendance and positive feedback. pg. 9

Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association TURF NEWS APRIL 2024 www.agsa.ca Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association Digital Edition
President’s Message pg. 5 Irrigation Corner pg. 6 Service Advice pg. 18 Behind the Grass pg. 24
SUPERINTENDENTS NEED TO TELL THEIR OWN STORY pg. 14 SHAKING OFF WINTER pg. 20

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Membership Rates * Class A & B 180 Corporate $210 Industry Affiliate $165 Student $50 Maintenance $50 4+ employees hired by a Class A $150 Ad & Article Deadlines February (Supplier) January 1 May (Spring) April 1 July (Summer) June 15 October (Fall) September 15 Advertising Inquiries AGSA Inc 571 Willow Avenue, Unit 1 New Glasgow, NS B2H 2A1 www.agsa.ca Executive Director Jim Nix 1967agsa@gmail.com Turf News Editor Jim Nix Contributors Barry K Stone, Robert McGregor, Paul MacCormack, Nichole Parker, Pat Jones, Sean Hart Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association inside AGSA Conference Review The Halifax conference exceeded all expectations with a record-breaking attendance and positive feedback. 9 Superintendents Tell Their Own Story Study suggests they needed to market themselves more effectively or do a better job of networking. 14 President’s Message pg. 5 Irrigation Corner pg. 6 Service Advice pg. 18 Behind the Grass pg. 24 *Membership prices are +HST Snow-mageddon to Tee-riffic How Atlantic Canada golf courses are shaking off icy grip as the first signs of spring emerge. 20 Musings on Momentum Successful folks take slow, steady action by staying the course and momentum finds them eventually. 28
4 Turf News - April 2024 WISHING EVERYONE A SUCCESSFUL 2024 GROWING SEASON It is our privilege to serve you again this season. Veseys Equipment is committed to providing you with quality solution-based equipment. Our parts and service staff are committed to providing you with knowledgeable and expert advice and support. For Parts & Service, Call Toll Free 1-833-246-2200 or parts@veseys.com Sales, Service, Parts & Financing EQUIPMENT

president’s report

The upcoming golf season is upon us and we are all in the midst of getting our properties prepared. Our region provides us with varying conditions throughout the golf season and spring is no different. In the last couple weeks, I have experienced three seasons in one day numerous times with summer being the missing one. As we all know, in due time.

The 2024 Conference & Trade Show returned to The Westin in downtown Halifax providing delegates with great seminars, presentations, industry supplier interactions and great networking opportunities. The awards banquet was a great evening for everyone to sit back, enjoy a great meal and take in the presentations of bursary award winners, superintendent of the year and the distinguished service award. A great thank you goes out to the conference planning committee and Syngenta for the continued education support, the Westin for hosting a great event along with all of you who attended. A very special thank you to Jim and Colleen for the numerous hours of behind the scenes planning and organizing to make our annual event a success for all attendees!!

The annual general meeting will be held via Zoom Thursday April 11th at 11 am Atlantic time. The link has been sent to all members for access and I encourage you to take part as an overall annual update of the association will be given along with the introduction of the 2024 board of directors. Please feel free to reach out to Jim for any questions regarding the meeting.

The digital Turf News will continue this year with four issues. I would like to welcome Nichole Parker, assistant superintendent at Mill Ridge Golf Course who will be collecting content for all issues. Nichole will be taking care of the Behind the Grass interviews with fellow superintendents and will be looking for your contributions to keep the local feel of each edition. Thank you Nichole, for supporting and contributing to the AGSA!!

As out going president, I would like to thank everyone for making the AGSA a successful, growing and welcoming association. Good luck with the upcoming season and remember we are all in this together. #AGSA proud

IRRIGATION CORNER

Below are two common questions and their answers that get discussed every spring just before start-up and shortly there after when the pumps start having excess start alarms in a given hour.

How should you fill up your system section by section or a larger portion ?

The answer I always give is section by section, this way you are only filling and pressurizing a small portion of the system at one time, you have better control over where the water is travelling and if there is a leak or a problem it is isolated to the one section. All the air should be allowed to escape slowly out through sprinklers, drain valves, or air/vacuum release valves, again an easier process in small sections. If the process takes over a day or two and the system leaks off over night there are only the sections that have been charged up to check for leaks and not the full golf course. Lastly if there are any breaks the dirt that can become sucked into the pipe is limited to the section charged up and not the full system. Controlling the velocity of the water is also critical try keeping the water to 2 or 3 feet per second, not sure how much that might….. here are some simple answers to help 30 gpm in 2 in pipe, 51 gpm in 2.5 in pipe, 75 gpm in 3 in pipe, 120 gpm in 4 in pipe, and 240 gpm in 6in pipe.

Another question is how long should a system take to loose pressure before the PM pump will come on, this depends on several things and events, but here are some points to consider, the location of your pump station in relationship to the system will have a large part to play, for example a pump station located at the highest point will lose pressure faster than one located at the lowest point, as all the head pressure in the system is working back on the pump when it is located at the lowest point.

A system is considered reasonably tight if the PM pump only runs every 15 minutes and very tight if the pump runs only every 30 minutes. Remember the pump station location will alter these numbers and shorten or extend them by a few minutes.

Most pump station designs call for alarms when the number of pump starts per hour exceeds a total of 6. When this starts happening it is time to start looking for those leaks and get them fixed.

Have a great spring

Jim Brown – You will be missed

On March 16th our turf industry lost a true gentleman with the passing of Jim Brown at the age of 87. Jim hung his hat at 3 courses as superintendent over his career: Algonquin Golf Club, Penobscot Valley Country Club in Maine, and 27 years at Brightwood Golf Club. Jim Brown was very dedicated to his family, his co-workers, friends, Masonic Brothers, and members of the AGSA and CGSA.

He would never walk by anyone he knew without a firm handshake and a caring question about you and your family. He had a talent for making everyone feel at home around him and seen the positive in each situation. He would gladly offer support and help to anyone in need and always looked for the best in every individual.

His smile and laughter would always brighten a room and you just felt better after a conversation with Jim.

In the last few days, I have spoken with some younger members of our industry and they all have fond memories of chatting with Jim, or his quiet explanation about a turf problem, or some solid advice on life in general and again his desire to make you feel welcome .

On a personal note, I have known Jim for 40 years, first as a mentor and friend in the industry and later years as a Brother Mason. It was aways a pleasure to see and talk with such a very fine gentleman.

To his family we all grieve his lost and quietly pray that he may hear those welcoming words “Well done good and faithful servant”

Respectfully

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8 Turf News - April 2024
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AGSA Conference Review

The Atlantic Golf Course Superintendents Association conference in Halifax, held from February 13th to 15th, 2024, exceeded all expectations with a record-breaking attendance and positive feedback. The event was a testament to the dedication and passion of our members, who came together for three days of networking and education.

The conference featured an exceptional lineup of speakers and panelists, whose expertise and insights resonated with attendees. From discussions on turfgrass management to presentations on business practices and technological innovations, each session left participants inspired and equipped with valuable knowledge to enhance their day-to-day operations.

A sincere thank you goes out to all our sponsors, whose support played a crucial role in making the event a success.

The tradeshow was a highlight for many, attracting a significant number of attendees eager to explore the latest advancements in industry equipment, products and services. The great reception of the tradeshow is a testament to the value it brings to our members.

Behind the scenes, Jim and the Conference Committee worked diligently to ensure a seamless and memorable

Award Recipients

experience for all attendees. Their efforts did not go unnoticed.

Lastly the conference provided us with the opportunity to host our annual Awards Banquet where as an association we could celebrate and give recognition to our 2023 Award Winners. Once again, I would like to congratulate the recipients of the Jack Fairhurst Superintendent of the Year Award (Ted Tremere), Blake Palmer Award (Hugh Yorke), and the Alvin Rowledge Bursary Winners (Josh Collins and Isaac Brooks). Their dedication and contributions to the profession are truly commendable and serve as inspirations to us all.

Overall, the AGSA conference was a resounding success, thanks to the collective efforts of our members, sponsors, speakers, panelists, and organizers. The event left attendees feeling inspired, informed, and enthusiastic about the future of golf course management.

Jack Fairhurst AGSA Superintendent of the Year Award - Ted Tremere

The Jack Fairhurst Superintendent of the Year Award is a prestigious award honoring individuals who have demonstrated exceptional dedication, leadership, and contributions to the AGSA (Atlantic Golf Course Superintendent’s Association), the profession, and the game of golf. Unlike awards focused on short-term achievements or specific events, this award celebrates the long-term commitment and efforts of superintendents, educators, corporate members, and others within the industry.

Recipients of the Jack Fairhurst Superintendent of the Year Award are esteemed for their sustained dedication to maintaining and enhancing golf courses, their commitment to professional development and education, and their positive impact on the golfing community.

9 Turf News - April 2024

“Jack Fairhurst was my turf instructor when I was a student in the Golf Management Program at Holland College twenty-eight years ago. He was my mentor and gave me an incredible amount of guidance, help, and suggestions during the early years at Red Sands Golf Course. He became a friend and I probably would not be a superintendent today if not for Jack.

Jack took great pleasure in working as a golf course superintendent and was a mentor to many of us.

In 1999, twenty-five years ago, I was hired as the General Manager and Superintendent at Red Sands Golf Course in Clinton, P.E.I. during the grow-in stage of the golf course. I have been there ever since.

Our course has been very fortunate over the years. We have been nationally recognized by the Canadian Business Magazine and by the Canadian Golf Magazine as one of the top nine-hole golf courses in the country.

The ownership group/shareholders of Red Sands Golf Course have given me the freedom, tools, and support to do my job. Their confidence in me makes running the course so much more possible and meaningful. They have become like an extended family to me and I am very grateful for that. I never take for granted the trust that they have placed in me.

My dedicated staff at Red Sands Golf Course, some of whom I have had for over twenty years, are top notch and share the same passion that I do.

I have been married to my best friend Shelley for thirty years and we live in Borden-Carleton. P.E.I. Our two sons, Nicholas and Clay, have both worked with me at Red Sands. My older son Nicholas is the General Manager and Superintendent at the Woodstock Golf & Curling Club.

Outside of work, I enjoy traveling with my wife and sports such as hockey, curling, and golf. Our dog Ozzy brings me great joy and has become a very popular golf course dog at Red Sands. My wife and I are also very proud to be Grammie & Grampie to our granddaughter Brielle.”

Blake Palmer AGSA Distinguished Service Award - Hugh Yorke

The Blake Palmer award is a prestigious recognition granted to an individual who has had a lasting, positive impact on our industry. Named in honor of Blake Palmer, a devoted member of the AGSA, this award pays tribute to his unwavering commitment to the advancement of our profession and association. Recipients of the Blake Palmer award exemplify Blake’s spirit of dedication, innovation, and service, consistently striving to elevate the standards and practices within our industry. Their contributions serve as inspiration for others, motivating collective progress and excellence in the field.

“I spent 45 years in the turf industry. My career began at the new Ashburn Golf Club starting in 1969 for 5 years. I left to attend the University of Guelph, and upon graduating, I accepted my first Superintendents position at Moncton Golf Club (1976-1981). I then joined Price Contractors as a landscape maintenance supervisor for 1.5 years. I next was hired by Halifax Seed Co. and soon joined the newly founded Eastern Turf Equipment Ltd. for 6 years. In 1988, I returned to golf course maintenance as Assistant Superintendent at Oakfield Golf Club. In 1990 I became Superintendent until my retirement in 2014.

10 Turf News - April 2024

During my career, I mentored six assistants and two staff members to become Superintendents in Atlantic Canada. At each property that I supervised, there were major improvements in playability and management strategies.

I was a member of the A.G.S.A. for 40 years and served on the board as President, Past President, Secretary and Treasurer. The membership was valuable to my personal growth and was a very rewarding experience. Being a member of the A.G.S.A. and Atlantic Turfgrass Foundation Boards was very helpful and rewarding as we shared common goals and exchanged golf management ideas. The A.G.S.A. works hard to provide good value for the members in areas of education and turf industry updates.

I wish to thank those who remembered my contributions to the Atlantic Turf Industry. I am honoured to have received this award and join the list of past recipients.”

Alvin Rowledge Bursary - Isaac Brooks

The Alvin Rowledge Bursary Award is a commendable initiative aimed at supporting the educational aspirations of students who are the sons or daughters of AGSA members. This award is intended to alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with postsecondary education, thereby facilitating the pursuit of academic and career goals.

Named in honor of Alvin Rowledge, a respected and longstanding member of the AGSA from Prince Edward Island, the award pays tribute to his dedication to the association and its members. Recipients of the Alvin Rowledge Bursary Award are selected based on their demonstrated hard work, commitment to academic excellence, and determination to succeed in their chosen career paths.

“Receiving the Alvin Rowledge Bursary through the Atlantic Golf Course Superintendents Association is very meaningful to me and I am sincerely thankful for the recognition that has been shown to me. This award allows me to pursue my Bachelor of Engineering degree at Dalhousie University while alleviating some of the financial burden. As well, it allows me to continue to focus solely on my education while also recognizing the hard work and dedication that I apply to my studies. I wish to say thank you to the AGSA and its members for this award and for making awards like this available. It truly makes a difference.”

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SUPERINTENDENTS Need To Tell Their Own Story

Superintendents need to be proactive when it comes to explaining and promoting their maintenance programs. Otherwise, they may find themselves at the mercy of rumors and misinformation.

My friend Tyler Bloom and I recently collaborated on a study of employment issues facing golf course superintendents. We dug into things like worklife balance, compensation gaps and overall career satisfaction. The results – including nearly 1,000 insightful verbatim comments – are a deep dive inside the mind of today’s superintendent.

For me, as someone who’s thumped the drum on behalf of supers for nearly 40 years, the most telling question was, “What do you think you need to do to go to the next level of employment or compensation?”

Some felt they needed more management experience, certifications or specialized skills like course construction. But I was pleasantly surprised to find nearly two-thirds of the 300 supers who responded said they needed to market themselves more effectively or do a better job of networking with key influencers. Can I get an amen?

For too long, the culture of the profession has been that telling your story to golfers or other leaders at the course was somehow inappropriate. It seemed like bragging in the “my results speak for themselves” world of turf. If you were lucky, you might have an enlightened green committee chair (or a USGA agronomist) to speak on your behalf. But mostly, the superintendent’s story went untold; or worse, was poorly told by those who neither understood nor supported the efforts of the golf course maintenance team.

All that changed about 20 years ago when blogging really became a thing. A handful of pioneering turf pros began to share their stories directly with members and others via blogs. Suddenly, supers could talk directly to golfers about how to fix ball marks properly or explain why the 40-year-old irrigation system was a wee bit problematic. Social media took that power to the next level, and also brought some problems along with it. With great power comes great responsibility!

So, here we are in 2024 with unprecedented interest in golf and course maintenance and a thing you carry around in your pocket gives you the power to create

14 Turf News - April 2024
Re-printed with permission from www.usga.org

and share content globally in an instant. What should you do to tell your story, grow your program and advance your career? Here are five things I think every superintendent should consider doing to sell themselves and their maintenance programs more effectively.

Make a marketing plan for yourself.

What are your goals for your program and your career? Do you need to secure funding to replace an ancient irrigation system? Are you trying to get members to buy into a tree removal plan? Or do you simply want to build awareness of your work and successes to position yourself for the next level? Whatever those three or four communication goals are, write them down and refer to them regularly.

Develop simple messages that you repeat often and in different ways.

Whether it’s promoting the work of your department or advancing a proposal for major course improvements, simplicity is important. What does your target audience need to know? Example: “Removing just 50 unhealthy trees will make the course safer and improve playing conditions on several holes.” Develop a brief message for each of your goals and repeat often using slightly different angles or techniques. A tweet or Instagram post highlighting shade issues can get people thinking, a blog post can lead with the key message and go into more detail, and never discount the power of face-to-face communication. Take your committee or key golfers out to the areas in question and repeat your message with the issue right there to see. Then start the process all over again!

Use a maintenance blog as “content central.”

Develop a stand-alone blog or use the functionality of your course’s website to house all of your posts, pictures, videos and stories. Keeping everything in one place makes life simpler for you and your audience. Remember that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are just delivery systems for your content. Instead of just tweeting, try to be “platform agnostic” and post stuff everywhere. Think your blog posts need to be 3,000-word dissertations? Nope, just start with a few pictures and captions to show why those trees need to go. Shorter is better.

Find authoritative content from other sources that tell your story for you.

You have two huge resources for this. First is the Turfgrass Information File (TGIF) system developed decades ago by Michigan State with USGA funding (https://tic.msu.edu/tgif/search). The site contains pretty much every article ever written about golf course maintenance and it is now open access. Want to make a point about Poa annua encroachment? You can find and cite articles written about Poa in the 1920s or two weeks ago. The second place to look for authoritative content is the USGA Green Section Record (https://www.usga.org/course-care/greensection-record.html), especially the Fore the Golfer series (https://www.usga.org/course-care/green-section-record. html#sectionFilters=fore-the-golfer). This is credible, well-produced content on dang near every agronomic and business topic you could want. Want support to establish a Maintenance Monday program at your place? Here you go: Making Time for Maintenance (https://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/course-care/green-sectionrecord/60/05/making-time-for-maintenance.html).

Target your content to the right people in the right format.

There’s one platform that’s often overlooked: simple emails. Sure, you can piggyback content onto your facility’s regular broadcast emails, but you can also use a focused approach. You probably know the key golfers and decisionmakers who will have the most influence on your program and your goals. Develop an email list just for them and tell your story using short videos, images and articles that share key messages. A two-minute video of you explaining in layman’s terms how those new robot mowers work will be extremely effective. If those key folks aren’t big on tech, seek them out in person. Remember, a marketing plan is only effective if it reaches people.

The bottom line is that if you don’t tell your own story, you’re likely to be at the mercy of bad information, rumors and whatever comes up first on Google. Put the same effort into a marketing plan for your program and yourself that you’d put into planning a project on the course. It’s totally worth it.

15 Turf News - April 2024

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Service Advice

Mechanic’s Article

The role of an Equipment Manager in golf course maintenance is crucial for ensuring that all machinery and equipment are operating at peak performance to maintain course conditions. Winter maintenance is especially vital during the o<-season to prepare equipment for the upcoming season.

Winter maintenance involves thorough inspections of machinery, focusing on areas such as filter and fluid changes, electrical maintenance, greasing, and the grinding of reels and bed knives. Filter and fluid changes have become a pretty standard practice for equipment managers following programs based on equipment hours of operation. Depending on how equipment is put away and stored over the winter, electrical maintenance is becoming a crucial part of machine maintenance, whether its maintaining batteries, or replacing fuses, wires, or relays because of corrosion. With everything moving more and more towards hybrid and fully electric, doing our due diligence is becoming more and more important in our industry.

Greasing is a very important aspect of machine maintenance as well to ensure the smooth operation of moving parts and prevents the buildup of rust.

Most equipment managers have their own plan going through the winter as far as replacing bed knives every spring or sharpening the ones from the fall to get through the rough first few mows coming out of winter before installing new bed knives for the mowing season. It all depends on preference and what has been agreed upon with your fellow superintendent. Along with that comes inspecting reels with a pi tape to make sure they are within spec for the upcoming season. After the grinding is completed, it is essential that a specific bed knife attitude in aspect of the reel is being achieved based on specific heights of cut. After this step is making sure contact is parallel and consistent across the reel and height of cut is set. With the help of a height of cut prism gauge, constant quality control and maintenance of a sharp edge can ensure that the best after cut appearance is being presented for your guests.

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“These operators keep the turf cut and birds away, It’s a two for one.”

In addition to traditional maintenance practices, Equipment Managers are increasingly integrating new management technologies. These technologies include equipment monitoring systems that track usage and performance metrics, allowing for proactive maintenance scheduling and optimizing equipment usage.

Advanced diagnostic tools can identify potential issues before they become costly problems, improving e<iciency and reducing downtime.

Overall, by addressing fluid and filter changes, preventative electrical maintenance, grease points, grinding reels and bed knife setups and implementing new managerial technologies, Equipment Managers play a crucial role in maintaining the quality and playability of golf courses.

As we look forward to the 2024 season, let us extend our best wishes to everyone involved in the golf course maintenance profession, including Equipment Managers, Superintendents, and their teams. Here’s to the upcoming season being filled with success, growth, and exceptional course conditions across Atlantic Canada.

19 Turf News - April 2024

SNOW-MAGEDDON TO TEE-RIFFIC

How Atlantic Canada Golf Courses Are Shaking Off Winter Blues

As winter relinquishes its icy grip and the first signs of spring emerge, Superintendents are eagerly prepared to shake off the winter blues and embrace the upcoming season’s challenges and opportunities. After months of meticulous planning and maintenance routines tailored to withstand the harsh conditions, we are all eager to witness our efforts blossom into lush fairways and pristine greens once again.

Thanks to the AGSA provincial reps, I was able to compile firsthand accounts of how Superintendents across all four provinces faired this winter. Giving us the opportunity to learn about the conditions and issues many of us are going to be up against in the coming months.

NOVA SCOTIA

The main part of Nova Scotia saw untraditionally mild winter with just enough snowfall to create a protective barrier for the turf. Whereas our colleagues in Cape Breton had an average snow fall of 523.9 cm (17 ft).

Most of the snow seen here in NS was during snow events, rather than extended periods. We also experienced on and off warm spells seeing temperatures rising between 8-12 degrees with varying amounts of rain. In many cases it was unlikely that ice had a chance to form, but if or when it did it never exceeded a 30-day window.

Superintendents have been saying that they are seeing very little signs of ice damage or wind desiccation across the province. However, they are seeing their fair share of tree damage. Some trees were damaged but hurricane Fiona and tropical storm Lee, which have finally come down. Others are your typical winter losses.

Due to our mild weather, we’ve also had quite a few members out completing projects, or wrapping up ones that were undertaken in the fall.

At Brunello Joel and his team built a new tee deck on their 9th hole and are eagerly waiting to put down the Bentgrass. They spring they will also be constructing and installing steps into many other tee decks as weather permits. Many members also began drainage and irrigation projects in the fall that will need to wrapped up come early spring. (See photos next page)

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Aside from the typical things to watch out for, Superintendents are also battling the grubs/ bird damage, are curious to know if it’s a localized problem or more widespread.

NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

This winter, like the last few have been very untypical, many found themselves battling significant rains upwards of 120mm in a single event. This led to ice buildup on greens and unfortunate flooding for Dennis Cox at Grand Falls Golf Club where he was battling 3 feet of ice on areas of his turf. The consensus from across the province is everyone is hoping Spring gets an early start and brings in the warm weather ASAP. Until they shed some more of the snow and ice accumulation Superintendents haven’t had the chance to properly assess their conditions.

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

“I hope everyone had a good winter and was able to catch up on some much needed rest!

From my standpoint it seemed like we had a very mild winter with little to no snow cover until the early part of January when we got a large dumping of snow followed by rain and cold temps. We had the ice set in around January 13th. Thankfully with the warm spell we had in late February/ early March most of it, if not all of the snow melted off and we were able to get out and remove any remaining ice. I’ve talked with quite a few superintendents from across the island in the last few weeks and it seems like most of the courses came through extremely well! Some courses were dealing with a bit of ice, thankfully mother nature cooperated! There is snow mould pressure in the untreated areas but nearly as high as in the past. Be on the lookout for Microdochium Patch this spring, cool wet weather

21 Turf News - April 2024
The Links at Brunello Photo Credits: Joel Amirault The Links at Brunello Photo Credits: Joel Amirault Ice from #6 Green at Glasgow Hills Photo Credit: Robert Clark Grub Damage Photo Credits: Dawson Acker

is ideal for formation. With the spring rains and the ground thawing I’m sure there will be no shortage of pressure. The lack of snow is not ideal as it may introduce faster than usual cut off times for courses with very specific PTTW guidelines, forest fire risks will be higher and the potential to see higher than usual insect populations. So, keep that in mind!

favorite parts of coming out without winter injury is being able to hit the ground running with projects and not having to worry about bringing turf back!! Lots of courses are also in the process of bringing back their returning staff and hiring new seasonal staff, which can always be a challenge in itself!

Equipment techs will also be busy over the next month and a half getting their respective fleets serviced and sharpened for what could be an early spring! A huge shout out to them as they “grind” away at it! “

Best of luck to everyone with spring start-up!

Overall, the transition of Atlantic Canada golf courses out of winter exemplifies the resilience and dedication of our members across all four provinces. Despite the challenges posed by harsh winter conditions we are seeing relatively good course conditions with minimal damage.

Best wishes to all golf course superintendents and their dedicated teams as you embark on the upcoming season. Remember, when life gives you rough patches, just call it a "natural hazard" and move on with a smile.

Cheers to the 2024 Season!

Upcoming Events

AGSA Annual General Meeting

April 11th

CGSA Summer Shamble (Chester Golf Club)

June 25th

22 Turf News - April 2024
Bridge re-build on hole #11 at Crowbush Photo Credit: Dwain MacAulay New 8th Green at Country View last week (Sodded Oct 26th). Photo Credit: Alex Taylor Country View
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BEHIND THE GRASS

EMERSON COULTER, KenWo Golf Club

Tell us a little about yourself (Education, Family, past positions etc.)

My journey in the golf industry began at Eden Golf and Country Club, working as a seasonal greenkeeper when I was 17. Following my time at Eden, I spent four years at The Algonquin Resort as the 2nd Assistant Superintendent. For the last three years, I have been at Capilano Golf and Country Club where I was the 2nd Assistant Superintendent before becoming an Assistant Superintendent. During my time in the industry, I have completed a diploma in Golf Club Management from Holland College, Basic and Advanced certificates in Golf Club Management from The Ohio State University, and Basic and Advanced certificates in Turfgrass Management from Penn State University. Currently I am the Golf Course Superintendent at KenWo Golf Club in New Minas, Nova Scotia.

What is it that drew you to the Turf industry?

Golf has always been a huge part of my summer activities. I took a summer job at my home course, partly because the free golf and discounts on food sounded like a great way to spend the summer. What can I say? Since then, there have been many factors and experiences that attracted me to a career as a Superintendent; problem solving, variety in daily and seasonal tasks, and working as part of a team.

What are some of your interests away from the golf course?

When I’m not at the golf course, I spend time with my family and friends hiking, cooking, reading, and socializing. Growing up, sports played a significant role in my life, and I remain active in curling and hockey. Golf course architecture has become a passion, and I enjoy playing new courses whenever possible.

Which of your professional accomplishments are you most proud of?

My most rewarding professional experience thus far has been completing the requirements to become an Accredited Assistant Golf Superintendent through the CGSA. Becoming accredited was a goal I set years ago, when I first decided to pursue becoming a Superintendent. It was an instrumental step in my career. Without the help and support from everyone at the CGSA, Capilano, and The Algonquin, this accomplishment would not have been possible.

24 Turf News - April 2024
Capilano Hole #3 PCA Morning Prep

Who has made the biggest impact in/on your career and professional accomplishments thus far?

This is a tough question to narrow down to one person, as many people have impacted my professional life. Notably, Steve Williams at The Algonquin first made being a Superintendent look “cool” – and showed me what my life could look like if I pursued it as a career. Steve was extremely generous with his personal time mentoring me and demonstrating how to build an effective team. He allowed me to make and learn from my mistakes, for which I will always be grateful. I wouldn’t be where I am in the industry today if not for Steve. Without the support of Stu Sheridan at Capilano, I would not have been able to achieve my personal goals or develop as a professional in this industry. Stu’s mentorship and guidance have prepared me for my current role.

Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside several talented Assistant Superintendents and Equipment Managers and it wouldn’t feel right

My bucket list course, both to play and work at, would be a course I had a hand in building. Working on a course from inception, through to development and maintaining it alongside friends I’ve made along the way is the most

Can you give us a little insight into your plan for Greens Management, knowing it’s your first season at KenWo

New this season, we will use a data-based approach to manage the greens surfaces. We will implement daily clipping volume, stimp, and VWC measurements on all greens surfaces. Additionally, we will introduce regular greens rolling, increased top dressing, and use organic matter test results to design our plan for fall aeration. Recording this data will help us establish benchmark numbers for optimal playing surfaces and set targets in preparation for the Canadian

Following up on the last question, what other changes are you implementing to your management practices and routines? (New Technology, Data Collecting, Staff

Every Superintendent manages their team differently. This year the focus will be on learning what has been working well and implementing changes to improve job satisfaction, efficiency and turf conditions. We have a strong team with extensive knowledge of the property and their insight will be instrumental to the success of the golf course this season.

I’m also happy to say we have some new faces joining the team. Creating a team culture where everyone is working for each other and towards a collective goal will be a theme for

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How would you pitch our industry to a room full of undecided college students?

When pitching our industry to a group of undecided college students, I would focus on a couple of areas that make this a dynamic and rewarding industry to work in. Firstly, I would promote and highlight positive changes that I have seen since I began in the industry. Superintendents are increasingly recognized as “turfgrass professionals,” with a strong growing body of knowledge and compensation reflects the skill set we provide. I would also highlight the importance of what the industry will look like in 10, 20, 40 years, which is important when attracting and retaining talent in the industry.

As a young person, this industry offers excellent opportunities to travel and see the world while continuing professional development. There are numerous avenues supporting and promoting international work within the industry. An area needing better highlighting is the range of opportunities available within the turf industry. Whether you want to

work at the course in your hometown, manage a highend facility, run a PGA Tour event, Major Championship, Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, or pursue roles in construction, equipment management, sales, research and development for equipment, chemicals/fertilizer, technology, or consulting – are all possible. For those passionate about golf and considering it for a career, we don’t always emphasize or provide clear pathways for people who want to work in the industry. I want to change that.

Lastly, What are most looking forward to in your first season as a Golf Course Superintendent?

I enjoy taking on a challenge and am eager for everything my new role as a Superintendent will entail. I’m looking forward to building the team, familiarizing myself with a new property and the unique challenges that will come with it. However, this season I am most excited to learn and continue to grow as a person.

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27 Turf News - April 2024
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Musings on MOMENTUM

Lately in my quiet moments, there is a notion that I find myself circling back to. It’s the idea of momentum. It would appear to be both elusive and very common, with most of us not even pausing to appreciate it until it vanishes. Our culture doesn’t often reflect on the necessary elements that go into creating momentum, instead spending much of our time chasing quick fixes and expecting instant results.

My personal life has recently been an interesting paradox in momentum. On one hand something that I have worked incredibly hard to build over a long period of time is beginning to find its own momentum. Things appear to be falling into place without continual extreme effort. Connections are manifesting themselves now almost as by magic, and opportunities are presenting themselves right before my eyes.

It feels wonderful.

On the other side of the same personal fence, there are aspects of my life that one could confidently describe as “anti-momentum.” Difficult personal situations which have been exacerbated by variables beyond my control have left me with feelings of stuckness.

Instead of wonderful, it’s been both emotionally draining and physically exhausting and has taken all of my mindful practice and then some to remain upright many days.

These are two vastly different experiences of the workings of momentum in my own life. Hence

my curiosity about the misconceptions that surround it and how erroneous expectations can often times lead us down the wrong path.

Our cultural take on momentum generally falls somewhere in the vicinity of a sports team seemingly waking up one day and finding they have become a dynasty or a musical artist/band that suddenly finds themselves an overnight success. We laud the idea of such grand achievements and act as though someone waved their wand and poof: success materializes!

Such wonders can feel mysterious because we rarely understand the full complexity of what lies behind a surge in positive momentum.

When we sneak a peek behind the curtain, we are oftentimes too quick to attribute these phenomena to natural ability. Hard work sometimes factors into the conversation, but it’s usually a distant second. Ironically it’s most often the inverse that is true. Lots of folks have natural talents and gifts, but no idea about the amount of work it takes to develop them to the highest level. It’s a rarity when someone fuses them both successfully.

People who have a healthy relationship with the idea of momentum generally have a few things in common. Firstly they realize that it’s a long con. Step by step, one day at a time, they put in the work with intention bolstered by passion.

The idea of a flywheel comes to mind.

A great amount of consistent effort is necessary to get the wheel moving, until it builds to a point where the momentum of the flywheel itself generates its own continued energy. The key factor is action. It’s impossible to generate momentum in anything by sitting idly by and expecting something to happen. Successful folks take slow, steady action by staying the course and the momentum finds them eventually.

Another thing that people who have a healthy relationship with momentum appreciate is the idea that progress is not linear. Life never progresses in a straight line and we need to learn to accept everything that comes our way. There are lessons contained within both the ups and the downs, and practicing acceptance allows us to access a deeper sense of ease.

Think of what goes into building the career of a golf course superintendent. Reflect on the intention, commitment and at times, the personal sacrifices which

brought you to where you are today. How long did it take to get to the point when it seemed like things really started going your way? Have you learned to accept the inevitable difficulties? Are you still working at building your momentum?

The other commonality folks who know how to work with the concept of momentum share is the full realization that everything comes and goes. Nothing lasts forever so it is vital to seize the opportunity and then ride the wave of momentum when it presents itself.

Author and music producer Rick Rubin has a wonderful outlook on this saying basically that we must deeply attune ourselves to the creative process and listen intently for the signs of possibility. His philosophy is that when we are fully dialed into the process, we can take part in the momentum while it exists, and then be willing to let it go once it plays its part.

What about those moments during the course of the season when we step back, see it all laid out in front of us and say, everything is exactly as it’s supposed to be. When these moments of such super bliss occur its often because we have put in the work, adhered to the process and are then rewarded with a feeling that everything is as it should be. Its rarified air and it’s critical to pause and be grateful for when it occurs. This sense of gratitude is important, because we will need it to reflect back on when this moment moves on.

As I circle back to the circumstances that have fueled my reflections as of late, I am comforted by the notion that there is purpose in it all. Some things are more trying than others, but the idea that they will shift into something that I cannot yet see gives meaning beyond the suffering.

Remembering, as well, that all things pass in time gives critical perspective when you still have your shoulder to the wheel.

I am grateful for the current positive momentum which has gathered in one realm of my life and am deeply thankful to those who have supported me and played a part in the journey. That includes all of you who take the time to pause and read this blog.

Thanks so much for reading.

29 Turf News - April 2024
Turf News - April 2024 WISHING EVERYONE A SUCCESSFUL 2024 GROWING SEASON It is our privilege to serve you again this season. Veseys Equipment is committed to providing you with quality solution-based equipment. Our parts and service staff are committed to providing you with knowledgeable and expert advice and support. For Parts & Service, Call Toll Free 1-833-246-2200 or parts@veseys.com Sales, Service, Parts & Financing EQUIPMENT Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association TURF NEWS MAY 2021 www.agsa.ca Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association SELF CARE Step outside yourself to evaluate the good, the bad and the ugly PICK A PATTERN How they affect so many of our daily tasks Digital Edition THE NEST PT.2 How spring unveiled a jig saw puzzle of challenges for the build team BEHIND THE GRASS Michel Bourgeois, AGSA 2020 Superintendent of the Year Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association TURF NEWS Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association TURF NEWS www.agsa.caJULY2021 AtlanticGolf SuperintendentsAssociation MILLRIVER ScrambleVisitwiththehostoftheAGSA August2021 MIXSTATIONTIPS equipmentAfewnotesaboutgettingtheright andproperapplication Digital Edition WESTHILLS Finishingtouchesthatfindaperfect balancebetweenformandfunction ACLOSERLOOKATTHE INCREDIBLEWORLD BELOWOURFEET MISS AN ISSUE? No problem! Past issues are available on our web site! www.agsa.ca
Contact Your Professional Turf Specialist Today! Derrick Hawley Technical Sales Representative PEI & NB derrick.hawley@halifaxseed.ca (902) 969-1769 Mitch Rand Technical Sales Representative NS & NL mitch.rand@halifaxseed.ca (902) 222-9335
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