Monthly Archives: July 2013

Celebrating the Dog Days of Golf: Maple

Photo courtesy Tim Muys


By Blair Adams

Tim Muys, superintendent at Piper’s Heath Golf Club in Milton, Ont., is the proud owner of a three-year-old silken windhound named Maple. Never heard of such a breed? “That’s okay, says Muys, not many have, and ‘what type of breed is she?’ is the number one question I get asked when people meet Maple for the first time.”

“The silken windhound is a sighthound with a long silky coat, explains Muys. “The breed looks similar to a borzoi and is affectionate and playful. They are also great racers.”

Indeed, Maple makes quick work of chasing geese off the course along with many other small critters she happens upon.

“She is a sprinter by nature, so her brief spurts of energy are followed by long naps in the shop,” Muys adds.

And when she is not napping or chasing wildlife, Maple can be found at Muys’ side, patrolling the course and greeting golfers.

Read the full article: Celebrating the Dog Days of Golf

Designing with Trees in Mind: Preserving existing trees

Effective tree protection is a key component of good design on sites with existing trees to be retained. Photo © Alex Satel


By Alex Satel, MFC, and Philip van Wassenaer, B.Sc., MFC

When it is an objective of site design and development, successful tree preservation is almost always achievable. However, it requires careful planning, implementation, and post-development follow-up. All too often, the process begins with a preliminary site design, which is then reviewed for potential impacts on existing trees. Although common, this is not the best approach.

The following steps, if undertaken in sequence, can maximize opportunities for tree protection on virtually any development site.
1. Create a tree inventory.
2. Identify trees suitable for preservation.
3. Assess potential impacts.
4. Modify site design.
5. Identify tree work required before removal or grading.
6. Prepare and implement tree protection measures.
7. Monitor trees during site works.
8. Prepare and implement a post-construction maintenance plan.

Read the full article: Designing with Trees in Mind: Incorporating trees into site development

Decreasing contamination of runoff: What the literature suggests

A healthy stand of turfgrass is not only of esthetic and recreational benefit, but can absorb rainwater and prevent runoff that contributes to erosion and carries pollutants such as dissolved nutrients. Photo © Ken Pavely


By Christopher Murray, PhD

Research consistently shows the volume of runoff decreases when turf is fertilized. Second, most studies show the concentration of nutrients in the runoff is more or less proportional to the amount of fertilizer added.

When considering the total amount of nutrients, though, the effect on runoff volume wins out over concentration: fertilizing decreases the total amount of nutrients in runoff, in most cases, compared with lawns where fertilization is eliminated. While the concentration of nutrients in the runoff may be higher when runoff occurs (and there are many studies showing that even nutrient concentration can be equal or lower with fertilization), because runoff occurs less frequently, the overall effect is often to reduce the amount of nutrients leaving the lawn.

Total nutrient loss is not the only item of concern when considering water quality. It is important to note even clean water can be a pollutant, as it carries with it the potential for erosion downstream and can overload stormwater systems, which can sometimes spill into sewer systems and cause hazardous overflows. Very little attention is paid to the benefit turfgrass provides simply because of its ability to decrease the strain on stormwater management systems.

Read the full article: Turf Fertilization: Decreasing contamination of runoff

Using Crumb Rubber on Golf Courses: Working with crumb rubber

Crumb rubber topdressing was applied to a greens approach area. Photo courtesy John Ripp

By J. Tim Vanini, PhD

This author is constantly asked how to apply or manage crumb rubber. There are a few important considerations.

The perception of heat
Pennsylvania State University’s (PSU’s) Center for Sports Surface Research has confirmed radiant heat reflecting off synthetic surfaces can be as high as 66 C (150 F). With plastic fibres and black crumb rubber visible at the surface, it becomes very hot on a sunny 24-C (75-F) day. With this in mind, many professionals wonder if the same principle exists with natural turf: will crumb rubber kill the grass?

Topdressing crumb rubber versus topdressing sand
Light and frequent topdressing is the key to a smooth, reliable surface for putting greens. When topdressing crumb rubber, the inverse has to be applied.

Start with 100 per cent
Beginning with 100 per cent turfgrass coverage is imperative. If there is no turfgrass, crumb rubber is not going to miraculously resurrect the turf back to health.

Relationship between mowing height and crumb rubber depth

A turf manager should topdress at least 25 to 33 per cent (a higher amount can also be applied) of the mowing height to get improved wear and traffic tolerance.

How to manage the turf once it is down

Once finished, the turf can be managed as if there was no topdressing there. In other words, the turf professional should continue to mow, fertilize, and irrigate the same as before, even if crumb rubber is being used at the end of a cart path, for example.

Read the full article: Using Crumb Rubber on Golf Courses

Celebrating the Dog Days of Golf: Basil

Photo courtesy Trevor Morvay


By Blair Adams

Basil, a.k.a. Baz, is a three-year-old American standard boxer. She has been with Trevor Morvay, superintendent at Sawmill Creek Golf Resort and Spa in Camlachie, Ont., since she was a puppy.

When asked to describe Baz’s job, Morvay holds up three fingers and begins counting: geese control, therapist, and social director, he says.

Morvay explains she is very good a chasing geese off the course, but really excels at the latter two tasks.

“If you are having a bad day, playing with Baz for a little while can alleviate the stress,” says Morvay. “And if you happen to have a sandwich in your hand, you are guaranteed to have her undivided attention!”

Greeting golfers has also become a Baz specialty. So much so, players now carry treats in their pockets for when they see her and even give Morvay their tee times for the following day or two with hopes he will bring her by for a quick pat or a good luck tail wag.