TURF News - May 2022

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TURF Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association



How much effort do you put into developing your internal resilience?

NATIONAL AND PROVINCIAL TURF ASSOCIATIONS NEED A BETTER WORKING STRUCTURE President’s Message pg. 5 Irrigation Corner pg. 9 Behind The Grass pg. 16 Service Tips pg. 21

Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association

MAY 2022 www.agsa.ca

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National and Provincial Turf Associations Need a Better Working Structure Associations help us connect and share but also provide benchmark data for wages, resources required, best practices, lobby efforts for fair regulations, etc.

Mindful Resiliance As we reflect on how much effort we put into developing resilience within our turf operations, have thought about how much effort you put into developing internal resilience?

President’s Message pg. 5 Irrigation Corner pg. 9 Behind The Grass pg. 16 Service Tips pg. 21


Atlantic Golf Superintendents Association

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 CGIA, John Mills, Paul MacCormack, Jamie Matheson, Robert McGregor.

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Turf News - May 2022

president’s report

Robert McGregor, Green Gables Golf Club

For the second consecutive year the AGSA hosted a virtual conference in February and an AGM via Zoom in March. I would like to thank the conference planning committee for a quick pivot in January as a new wave of Covid-19 presented itself along with increased public health guidelines forcing an in-person conference to be put on hold for another year. Thank you again to our industry partners for assisting in the virtual education days and congratulations to our award winners Sandy Snow, superintendent of the year and to Barry Stone the distinguished service award. Planning for the 2023 conference in Halifax has already started to take shape! The AGM presented the membership with a strong financial foundation going forward along with the news of the Association’s scramble taking place at West Hills in Fredericton, New Brunswick in August with host superintendent Adam Fletcher. I would like to welcome Chris Wallace, NS director and Kris Currie, PEI director to the board and would like to thank John Mills for his past 2 years of service as president. John showed great leadership during his time as president and will continue to provide valued mentorship to the board during his past presidency role. As the 2022 golf season gets started, I would like to wish everyone a safe and successful opening to what sounds like another record year of play throughout the Maritimes. I would also like to remind everyone to take pictures and notes of any projects, landscapes and anything you might find of interest to fellow members at your course. We are always looking for local content to be a part of the Turf News! As we make our way through the season make sure to take some time for yourselves away from the hustle and enjoy family, friends and our beautiful surroundings. Robert McGregor Green Gables Golf Club

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The startup season for irrigation systems has arrived, and as the pipes are being filled and pumps serviced for the coming dry season a few points to ponder might be in order. •

Always check your pumps prior to starting for free movement; with turbines by turning the line shaft in the discharge head, centrifugal if disconnected from the suction line by very gently turning the impeller on the inlet port, submersibles are usually left in the water so these must be started with power. So here the only way is an amperage draw test to make sure the pump is not pulling excessive current.

Always fill your system slowly and in sections if you have proper working isolation valves. Many pump stations offer drive features so you can control the speed and volume of moving water.

Remember every usgal of water is 8.3 lbs so 100 gals/min is a mass of 830 pounds moving in the pipes.

Repair and/or service any noises or signs of poor performance in your pumps as many times simple problems can be solved prior to major failures.

Air is the enemy in the pipes and always goes to the highest points, make sure there are open valves or open sprinklers at the high point in each section of the course as you charge up.

If a break is detected shut down immediately, close the section valves for that area, leaking water brings in dirt and future grief.

When repairs are required consider the options available, for example ductile fittings with joint restraints offers a strong repair, and in the majority of cases does not require concrete thrust blocks, which offers a faster turnaround time but higher upfront costs.

The installation of mainline valves coupled with valve to pipe restraints offers a concrete free solution that can be recharged immediately after completing the repair.

Wet/Dry or RedHot solvent weld can be applied in damp or wet conditions on PVC pipe, but sets very quickly and all excess must be wiped off immediately or it will melt into or through the pipe.

Gray solvent weld with Purple Primer is an easier product to work with, but conditions must be completely dry, a simple few drops of water will ruin your joint and produce a leak.

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Unexpected failures can lead to quick and/or temporary repairs, which lead ultimately to more failures.

In the heat of the moment planning a repair sounds a bit difficult, but a little preplanning from the perspective of discussing the options that you are comfortable to use, and making sure you have stock of these options, will make the decisions easier and faster to complete.

Most important, practice excellent safely measures when working with your irrigation system, you have 2 key components, water and electricity (2 components that are not meant to be together). Never guess on the answer, ask for help and make sure you understand the answers and directions thoroughly.

Hope your startup goes well and all the grass comes up green. Cheers Barry K Stone CGIA Turf News - May 2022


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Turf News - May 2022

National and Provincial Turf Associations Need a Better Working Structure by John Mills I have been a member of our national turf association, the CGSA, for 30 plus years. When I joined in 1991 it was to gain professional recognition as a qualified golf course superintendent. Not because you wanted a discount from NAPA! (Back then it was discounts on car rentals and hotels!) The CGSA like any national association, CPGA, NGCOA, GCSAA, to name a few, has a national mandate to represent our great profession. Without that representation we are all just individuals who are trying to convince a golf course owner that we have the skill to take care of their golf course. Likewise, the owner may hire a friend of a friend who has a nice lawn. Afterall he must be qualified right! As individuals we would then be on our own to negotiate a fair wage. Our ability to share with others in the profession would depend on our own individual efforts to establish connections with others in the same position. The list goes on. Associations help us connect and share but also provide benchmark data for wages, resources required, best practices, lobby efforts for fair regulations, etc. A national association is in a very important position of drawing from a broader base and providing even more strength as a result.

but really need to be working in proper synergy with their national counterpart so that the member gets full benefit of both together working synergistically. I’m not casting blame, just making observations, but conversation needs to start. In the US for example they have a chapter structure for the industry where roles are defined and the national group and the regional group work cooperatively for the benefit of the golf course superintendent professional. In Canada this system is poorly defined and is not happening the way it should be. Relationships with the provincial groups seem to be transactional based in the form of a business contract in many cases. In the end the member looses by paying for multiple memberships and we have competition between provincial associations and the national association. This is very inefficient and counterproductive. To conclude, I firmly believe in the need and role of a national association and really think the relationships with regional associations needs to be discussed from a structural context to seek out efficiency for the greater good of our profession.

Social media and online content and information have certainly been a big asset for superintendents to connect, share and access information about agronomics and management best practices. This is a very positive thing in the advancement of the profession. I see this as a valuable tool, not a replacement for what a national association represents for the profession of golf turf management. I maintain that we need a voice for issues that affect our profession, and we need a governing body for accreditation so that we have a way to document and validate our individual qualifications. I am writing this message because I believe in the cause and purpose of national associations and the strong role the provincial associations contribute to the whole package as a total member benefit. Regional and provincial associations play a very important role also

Turf News - May 2022


[ Mindful Resilience ] 1.

The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.


The ability of an object to spring back into shape; elasticity

by Paul MacCormack So much of our job as Superintendents depends on our ability to build resilience into our systems. We focus a great deal of time and energy on building the ability for our turf to recover quickly from inevitable hardship. The full range of our cultural practices, from nutrition, to hydration, air movement and proper light levels are all designed to promote turf health and the ability for the system to bounce back from difficulties. As we reflect on how much effort we put into developing resilience within our turf operations, have you ever stopped to ask yourself the same question? Have you paused lately and thought about how much effort you put into developing internal resilience? How are your nutrition and hydration levels? What are your stress levels like? Do you have a good relationship with your breath? What about your natural light exposure? Do you get outside enough for replenishing time in nature? These questions can be a starting point when considering your own ability to be resilient. Over the next few posts on this blog, we are going to delve into what it means to develop Mindful Resilience. We will explore some of the practices and themes we can hone in on to help us build the ability to absorb and move through life’s ups and downs. We will explore:


Intention – Where does your internal compass point? What are the values you fall back on when the seas get choppy? We will reflect on the power of intention when it comes to building internal strength.

Self Care – It’s hard to be flexible during times of turmoil if you haven’t taken care of the basics during the good times. Our relationship with our body, rest, and nurturing are key components to fostering resilience.

Vulnerability – Resilience isn’t about strength and toughness. We don’t have to become an iron woman/man twenty four hours a day. It’s more about recognizing that as humans, we all suffer and that our choices as per how we relate to that suffering will determine the degree of ease we live with.

Letting Go – As we move through life and practice letting things be, we end up creating a lot of much needed space. This space is a vital element in crafting a container that can hold life’s troubles with both kindness and compassion.

Courage/Acceptance – It’s nearly impossible to create true resilience if we cannot accept what is happening. This process of acceptance takes a great deal of courage. Showing up and facing life’s difficulties with wisdom and strength are key to developing our ability to rebound.

Turf News - May 2022

Gratitude & Joy – By actively fostering an outlook that emphasizes and opens to both gratitude and joy is crucial to promoting resilience. Being able to pause and appreciate the good in life when things are rough is a skill worthy of practice.

Self Compassion – When we are helping others our compassion knows no boundaries. Extending that same level of compassion to ourselves helps to create a more friendly internal relationship and is vital for sustainability moving forward more resiliently.

Community – The idea that we can build true resilience on our own is a cultural myth. Bottom line is that we all are deeply interconnected and we all really need each other in this world. Surrounding yourself with a loving and supportive team is integral to long term well being. No person is an island. Kind welcoming of yourself to this is key.

Each of these skills will be its own post. We will break them down and dive a bit deeper into how they can help you build a life in which you can navigate the bumps in the road with greater ease and develop a better relationship with yourself in the process. Thanks so much for reading. Paul

* Source: Oxford Dictionary



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The 2022 AGSA Annual Virtual Conference is now complete. It was a tremendous success with approximately 100 attendees. We would like to thank the delegates and corporate members for their continued support. We’re already looking forward to next year’s conference, to be held at the Westin in Halifax on February 14-16, 2023. Turf News - May 2022



aN AGSA Superintendent Profile

MERLIN AFFLECK, Stanhope Golf Club Joining us today is Merlin Affleck. Merlin is a 30 year plus member of both the AGSA and the CGSA, as well as being a Past President of both. He is currently the General Manager of Stanhope Golf Club in PEI. Most people in Atlantic Canada would know you Merlin but for those that do not and for those that maybe don’t know a lot about you, maybe tell us a bit about yourself, your family and if that single digit handicap is still happening? Well, I am 66 years old and live in York, PEI with my lovely wife of 46 years, Rose. We have four children, Krista, Kelly Jerred and BJ, as well as 6 grandchildren. I grew up in Mt Stewart and after attending high school in Morell, I went to Holland College to study Business. I have always been a sport nut and I feel fortunate to have ended up in the golf business, where even after 42 years, I still enjoy working and playing. And yes, I still manage to play to a 6 handicap When you aren’t busy at the golf course or playing golf, what would Merlin Affleck find himself doing? Growing up with a mother that was a librarian, it is no surprise that I do enjoy reading to relax and Rose and I also spend a lot of time at home or at sporting events with the grandchildren. My other interest in the off season is travelling, which we are hopeful to get back at soon after two years of COVID stopping that.


Turf News - May 2022

Merlin, Rose and their four kids, Krista, Kelly, Jerred and BJ

Something that people may know less about is the Stanhope Golf Club. When was it built, by whom and what type of club is it? Stanhope was built in 1970 by Robbie Robinson and sits on Covehead Bay, which gives us both great views and lots of wind! It is a public course, which is owned by a conglomerate of 9 families. It is a very busy course, with a good membership base as well as green fee traffic, which comes from PEI Residents, as well as tourists and corporate events. You have been at Stanhope a long time and I know that your wife Rose has worked there and your son BJ as well. I am thinking it must really be your second home? You could certainly say that. My wife operated the kitchen for ten years and my daughters Krista and Kelly worked here during high school, while my son BJ worked on the course through high school and university. So, yes Stanhope has certainly been my second home and Rose may even say it is my first home during the season. Take us through your journey at Stanhope. I started at Stanhope in 1980 and just five years later, our superintendent at the time, Gideon MacLauchlan had health problems that forced him to retire. The owners recognized my keen interest in the work and offered me a chance to become the Superintendent. I was in that position from 1986-2003, when I became the Superintendent/Manager. Five years ago, we hired Scott Larsen to be our superintendent and I became more a true Manager. Hiring Scott has helped Stanhope immensely! Becoming General Manager must come with some real challenges. What were yours and how did you get through them? The key to being able to take on a dual role and having success with it, is all about having a great staff. At the time, I had Robert Palmer, who many of you will know, as my right-hand man and he was a great asset. I still made time to be here first thing every day and playing golf three times a week allowed me the chance to take notes on what I needed to discuss with Robert. I think we would all agree there has been major changes in the importance of education over the last several years. What are the other biggest changes you have seen in turfgrass management?

For me, the biggest changes are in fertility management as we new feed the turf more frequently and with lower rates of N based on growth. The other big change is in how we are able to manage irrigation today. I also believe with all of the new advancements and research available, it is very important to be a member of your regional and national associations, as they provide opportunities to stay up to date and current on all of these things. So, your maintenance program, what grasses you growing on tees and greens especially and what are your mowing heights. What does your greens maintenance program look like and how has it changed over the years? Stanhope features push up greens that are now predominantly poa annua, with any necessary overseeding being bentgrass. Overseeding of tees, as well as our divot mix is dwarf bluegrass, which blends reasonably with the poa. Greens are mowed at .125 in season and rolled regularly. When we are looking for a little more speed, we tend to roll more frequently. Having a roller has allowed us to obtain more consistency than in the past. Putting on your GM hat for a minute, Covid has been devastating for so many people over the last couple of years. But, as bad as it has been, there is no denying it has been a real boom for golf. Has this been the case for Stanhope as well and do you see this being sustainable over the next several years or do you expect the market to return to pre-Covid numbers? We actually saw our numbers increasing for a couple of years. prior to Covid. However, there is no question we have seen more people getting back into golf, especially in those under 30 years of age. I continue to see more interest in golf and I believe with the ownership here at Stanhope reinvesting in the club over the last couple of years, we have a great opportunity to continue to retain this growth. Staffing has been a problem for almost every market and business out there. How has that been for yourself and golf courses on PEI? I have been very fortunate here at Stanhope in that I have not had any staffing issues although I am not sure if this is the case with other PEI courses. I think with the population between Charlottetown and Stanhope

Turf News - May 2022


growing and the fact that Stanhope has become more of a year-round living community, it has increased the number of people looking to work, at least in the seasonal and/or part time sector. We mentioned earlier about your involvement in the AGSA and the CGSA. What do you see the importance of association membership is and what it has meant to you? When I became the superintendent in 1986, I was encouraged by my ownership to join and become active in the AGSA and the CGSA. They were involved in their own associations and believed very strongly in the benefits of associations. When I first joined the AGSA, I remember being amazed at how willing fellow AGSA superintendents were to sharing their knowledge with you at anytime and how so many were willing to speak at conferences to help others. Getting involved with the CGSA and eventually being in the board and working my way through the chair has certainly benefitted me in many ways, even more so, when I became the manager at Stanhope. I would recommend to anyone that they should become members and get involved in our association.

What would you say to a young person who might be considering membership in the AGSA Whenever I get the chance, I tell anyone new in the turf business, to join the AGSA as quickly as possible as they will get so much more out of it than they would think. I also tell them to make sure they get involved when they are comfortable. It is well worth it. Last two questions. I know you have played a lot of golf around the world. If you had the chance to play any golf course in the world, which one would it be and why? Who would that foursome be? As President of the CGSA, I had the pleasure of having some great contacts in Scotland, who invited the board to come over and play some golf. Along with my great friend, Bill Fach, who I got to know as a board member with the CGSA, we were able to go to Scotland twice on golf trips. On my second trip, we got to play Royal Dornoch. I would love to go play it again and my dream group would be Bill and myself, along with Fred Couples and Rory McIlroy Thanks Merlin!

As the President of the CGSA in particular, you had some great experiences. Can you put into words what being President meant to you? One of the things being President of the CGSA did for me was force me to come to grips with public speaking. As I saw it becoming a possibility, I signed up for the Toastmasters Program, a two-year commitment but very much worth it. I feel that my time in both the CGSA and the AGSA has allowed me to give back a little. Certainly, as the CGSA President, I was able to travel to many places, which was also nice as I go to know so many people in so many other associations.


Turf News - May 2022

Turf News - May 2022


NOVATURF.CA Matt Giles: (902) 478-3843 Scott Shanks: (902) 799-1793 Pascal Richard: (506) 227-1585

Thank You from our team for all your support this past season!

Keep It Sharp Hopefully by the time you are reading this article the world is semi back to normal, the sun is shining and the golf courses are full of golfers. There are three points I would like to hit in this article. The first is the high price of fuel. With fuel prices through the roof we have to keep our equipment in tip top shape. A lot of times when we think of keeping everything sharp we tend to think of our reel mowers and we forget a little more about our rotary mowers. Sharp reels and blades will help us save fuel and also give us a great quality of cut. It is really a win-win situation. Along with savings on fuel, sharp blades will also help extend the life on drive belts, and saves wear and tear on the hydraulics. With the high price of fuel, general maintenance is also more important than ever. Clean air filters, fuel filters, and new spark plugs will help the engines run at maximum efficiency. Even proper air pressure in the tires will make a difference, and some tire sizes are getting hard to get. The second point I would like to discuss is the rising wait times for parts. With parts being unavailable we are going to find we are patching equipment up to keep it going. This isn't a bad thing because in the middle of the season we sometimes have to do what we have to do so the equipment can do its job. The important thing is we don’t leave it like that. We still have to order the proper pieces and make sure we repair them properly. The prices of equipment are also very high right now and there is a chance the dealer wouldn't even be able to get a piece of equipment to sell you. You don’t want to end up with a barn full of patched up equipment. The third point I would like to hit is batteries. Like everything else they are priced through the roof right now and the availability can be sketchy by times. Preventive maintenance is more important than ever. Make sure the connections are kept clean and they are getting watered properly. To end on a more positive note it looks like it is going to be another busy summer for golf. Hopefully everyone will get a chance to get a few rounds themselves and get some time to enjoy a bit of summer with their families. All the best to everyone in the 2022 season! Jamie Matheson Head Mechanic Brudenell River / Dundarave Golf Courses

Miss an issue? No problem! Past issues are available on our web site!

www.agsa.ca 22

Turf News - May 2022




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