Monthly Archives: May 2013

Well-equipped for the Job

Photo courtesy Dave MacIntyre

Over the past 23 years, Dave MacIntyre has been an equipment technician at a cemetery, a car dealership, and three golf courses. Honoured with the first annual Equipment Technician of the Year Award in 2011 from the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA), he says he loves his job at B.C.’s Seymour Golf and Country Club—except for the early mornings.

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Reconstructing the Derrick Club: My inspiration

Looking over a large cross-bunker fronting the green at Windsor, Ont.’s Essex Golf and Country Club’s par-four 16th hole. Designed by legendary golf architect Donald Ross during the late 1920s, Essex is an excellent flatland golf course that provides some inspiration to The Derrick Club’s redesign. Photo courtesy Jeff Mingay

By Jeff Mingay

I was fortunate to grow up playing golf at Essex Golf and Country Club in Windsor, Ont. Designed by legendary golf architect Donald Ross, I believe it is one of the best flatland golf course designs anywhere. Essex instigated my early interest in golf architecture. Although there is a ravine jutting into a portion of the property, the Derrick is similarly laid out over a mostly flat site. As I studied opportunities for improvement there and tried to determine an appropriate style for the new course, Essex kept popping into my mind.

Essex is a classic course with a subtly attractive look and feel about it that is not overly showy but presents very interesting golf played over a beautiful property. It is walkable and difficult to lose golf balls there. These are timeless characteristics that will cater perfectly to a club like the Derrick, comprising golfers of varying abilities. The plan is not to copy Essex at the Derrick, but to emulate some of the course’s best attributes.

Read the full article: Reconstructing the Derrick Club: Phase One

Digging in the Dirt: Lack of definite correlation

Phosphorus deficiency of creeping bentgrass on a high-pH sand-based root zone. Deficiency symptoms disappear above 5 parts per million (ppm) Mehlich-3 extractable soil phosphorus. Image courtesy Bill Kreuser

By Doug Soldat, PhD

Soil test reports generally do not offer a user-friendly experience. In fact, most people understandably skip the details and decimal points, heading straight to the section that says either ‘low,’ ‘optimum,’ or ‘excessive.’ The often-overlooked question, however, asks how these assessment categories were developed. Soil test data are specific to a crop and soil type, meaning the ‘optimum’ number for corn on a Batavia silt loam will be different from that on a Miami silt loam. At the same time, the ‘optimum’ level for soybeans on a Batavia silt loam will differ from that of corn on the same soil. This means several studies need to be run for each crop and soil type to have reliable data.

Much of this work has been done in agriculture because of the economic significance of food production. However, soil testing research for turfgrass is hard to find. The little work that has been done is only specific for a particular grass species (or even variety), and the soil type in which it was growing.

Read the full article: Digging in the Dirt: The reliability of soil testing

Examining Resistance to DMI Fungicides: History of resistance in turf pathogens

With repeated application of fungicides with the same mode of action, the sensitive ones are constantly knocked back, leaving the resistant ones to reproduce. Since resistant ones often do not grow as well as their sensitive counterparts because of resistance-related fitness costs, the latter can constantly attempt to re-invade when the pressure from fungicide application is eased up. Photo courtesy Tom Hsiang

By Tom Hsiang, PhD

There are several fungicides to which no field resistance has developed. These contain active ingredients such as thiram, chlorothalonil, and pentachloronitrobenzene. These types of fungicides are usually protectants, and act by inhibiting a wide range of metabolic processes within the fungus. The turf fungicides to which resistance has developed in the past are systemic fungicides. Before the introduction of systemics, the most commonly used fungicides were probably dithiocarbamates, such as thiram. There have been no major concerns about field resistance to these older compounds.

Benzimidazole fungicides such as benomyl were introduced in the late 1960s. They provided excellent control of many turfgrass diseases, and their use was very widespread. Soon after, there were reports of disease control failure for dollar spot in Pennsylvania. By the late 1980s, disease control failure with benomyl for anthracnose was reported in Michigan and Ohio.

Around 1980, iprodione—a dicarboximide fungicide—was registered for turfgrass diseases. Shortly after, there were reports of field fungicide resistance for Fusarium patch in Washington and for dollar spot in Michigan. There were also cases of multiple resistance to benomyl and iprodione involved in disease control failure for dollar spot in Michigan. Additionally, there have been reports of resistance to metalaxyl, which is used to control Pythium diseases. There have also been several cases where dollar spot was not controlled by DMI fungicides and where anthracnose blight was not properly controlled by regular rates of strobilurin fungicides. These reports have come from several U.S. states, but no verified report of fungicide resistance in turf pathogen has come from Canada.

Read the full article: Examining Resistance to DMI Fungicides

Restoring Fairmont Hot Springs Resort: Community support

Hole two, a par-four and 377 m (412 y), had the least impact. The two debris swaths were in the middle of the fairway and at the forward tees. Photo courtesy Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

By Peter Smith, MBA, CPGA

The support received and offered from friends, neighbours, strangers, and the industry was quite remarkable. Superintendent Tom Altmann headed up the recovery project and was able to draw on all kinds of resources for assistance. Equipment was loaned by Calgary’s Oakcreek Golf & Turf. David Blanchfield, golf course superintendent from Alberta, was in between jobs at this time and on vacation at the Fairmont Riverside Villas with his family and volunteered to help out. Altmann quickly saw the opportunity to use Blanchfield’s skills and put him on a mower for two days. Although Mountainside was closed while under reconstruction, the course was still in the peak growing season and had to be maintained.

Another example of support came from a neighbouring golf course, Eagle Ranch, which showed up for a full afternoon of work with the whole maintenance team. They even rented a bus, which the superintendent’s wife drove.

Support also came in the form of a comprehensive insurance policy. Part of the claim allowed the company to maintain all the staff through the reconstruction project. Many were used to support the additional business Riverside Golf Course sustained due to Mountainside’s closure. A couple of the more senior male employees insisted on working as labourers on the Mountainside project to help restore the course to playability. One Mountainside member insisted on working as a volunteer every day of the 46 days—even when he was told he would have to be on the payroll for liability reasons, he never cashed his paycheques.

Read the full article: Restoring Fairmont Hot Springs Resort