Category Archives: Water Management

Designing with Trees in Mind: Design challenges

Root loss through this type of construction leads to tree mortality or failure. Photo © Philip van Wassenaer


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

When contemplating site development, there are two main considerations with regard to trees: can existing trees be effectively preserved and contribute to the site, and what opportunities are there to successfully incorporate new ones into the design? There are challenges to both options, but with careful consideration, both can be accomplished.

There are many ways trees can be negatively affected by construction activities; some more obvious than others. The main impacts to trees due to construction include the following:
● root loss;
● root stress;
● direct wounding;
● inadequate soil moisture;
● excess soil moisture;
● air;
● light;
● water;
● nutrients;
● temperature;
● space; and
● soil.

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

A Turfgrass Legacy: Educating and designating

By Molly Doyle

Today, most superintendents have degrees or diplomas. However, when Bill Fach became a superintendent oh so many years ago, there were very few who had much education, and many honed their craft onsite. Now it has become a professional business and everybody is trained.

“We have been recognized a lot more as well-educated individuals,” says Fach. “Before, when I started, it was mostly farmer-type guys who looked after the golf course. Today, we are what you would call true professionals. We have degrees and we are up on all the new techniques and innovations. When we are not on the golf course, we are on the computer taking online courses and/or attending conferences. There is a big change in the amount of education superintendents have today.”

Fach always strives to be better at his job and encourages other superintendents to do the same. One way is to seek accreditation through either the CGSA or Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA).

“There are about 13,000 to 14,000 superintendents in the United States, and I do not think there are any more than 1500 that are certified,” explains Fach. “In Canada, we have probably 1000 superintendents, and I do not think we have any more than 20 to 25 master superintendents.”

Read the full article: A Turfgrass Legacy: Bill Fach’s driving ambition

A Turfgrass Legacy: Winterizing the course

Bill Fach works 70 to 75 hours a week in the summer, maintaining about 107 ha (265 acre) of the 324-ha (800-acre) site by cutting fairways, greens, and tees, changing the holes, and hand-raking the traps and bunkers. Photo courtesy Bill Fach


By Molly Doyle

One of Bill Fach’s important winter tasks involves putting a fungicide on to battle snow mould so he does not lose the turf come spring. His team sprays preventatively for mould diseases because once the snow hits, a fungicide is of little use.

Fach also hardens off the turf by fertilizing or reducing the water reaching it. He says one of the difficult tasks is trying to decide if the course needs any more water, because once the system is shut down, if it gets dry or there is no rain, there is no more water.

“Blowing out the system is another winterizing task,” explains Fach. “We have to make the decision on when is the best time to winterize our irrigation system before it freezes. It is a very important process making sure you are getting water out of all the pipes. On an older golf course, this is so crucial because if you do not do it, they are all going to break.”

Fach says most courses in Ontario will blow their system out between the third week of October to around December 1.

“If it was in Burlington, for example, I might blow my system out the third week in November,” says Fach. “If I lived north around Barrie, I would be blowing my system out the second week in October because if you get caught with snow on the ground and you have got to blow out an irrigation system, you are in deep trouble.”

Read the full article: A Turfgrass Legacy: Bill Fach’s driving ambition

A Turfgrass Legacy: Par for the course

Bill Fach, superintendent at Black Bear Ridge Golf Course in Belleville, Ont., has been maintaining golf courses for the last 43 years. Photo courtesy Bill Fach


By Molly Doyle

During the summer, Bill Fach gets up around 5:30 a.m. to prepare the course before the first golfer tees off. He says every course has its own schedule, and staff normally works eight hours.

“They get the heck in, do their stuff and cut the greens, and get out, Fach explains. “They get their job done before the golfers get here because they slow us down. We have to wait for them every time we want to do something because we are in the way.”

Since Fach’s job is also his hobby, he works more than most people at the golf course—between 70 and 75 hours a week. He is out there seven days a week, pulling at least 10-hour days. He does not take weekends off, either. Since he lives at the golf course, he is outside about six hours a day on Saturdays and Sundays, and sometimes even finds himself driving around at night checking things out.

Fach looks after all the grounds, not just the golf course itself. He maintains about 107 ha (265 acre) of the 324-ha (800-acre) site by cutting the fields down twice a year so they do not overgrow with the trees, and maintaining the fine turf. Fach’s team cuts the greens and tees three times per week—about 2 ha (about 5 acre) each. The fairways (totalling 10 ha [25 acre]) are also cut three times a week, and the rough is cut continuously for a week. Then his team starts all over again. The holes in the greens are changed daily so when a golfer plays two days in a row, he or she does not have the same hole on the green.

The traps and bunkers are also raked by hand on a daily basis. Once a week, the crew is sent around to fill in the divots or chunks taken out of the turf with seed and topsoil—a task that takes about 15 to 20 hours to complete.

“You can see we just do not look after a little bit of turf—we have a whole bunch of other things to do to make things look nice and clean and neat,” Fach explains. “I mean, there are smaller jobs we do, but normally those are the basics of what golf course superintendents would do in a week for, say, 30 weeks.”

Read the full article: A Turfgrass Legacy: Bill Fach’s driving ambition

A Turfgrass Legacy: Bill Fach’s driving ambition

Photo courtesy Bill Fach


By Molly Doyle

Bill Fach has been maintaining golf courses for the last 43 years, working his way up from assistant to master superintendent. Named Superintendent of the Year by the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association (CGSA) in 2008, he says he cannot imagine doing anything else, not even for a million dollars.

In 1977, Fach graduated from the University of Guelph with a degree in horticulture. While attending school, he worked as an assistant superintendent at St. Georges Golf and Country Club in Etobicoke, Ont. After graduation, he worked at the Essex Golf and Country Club in LaSalle, Ont., for 10 years, then moved to Toronto to be the superintendent at Rosedale Golf Club. A decade later, Fach switched locations to work at the York Downs Golf and Country Club in Markham, Ont., which he looked after for five years. Then, in 2003, he moved to Belleville, Ont., to be the superintendent at Black Bear Ridge Golf Course.

“You could not give me another job,” he says laughing. “Maybe I’ll decide to become a baseball player and make a million dollars… but no, with my capabilities, this is by far the best job.”

Read the full article: A Turfgrass Legacy: Bill Fach’s driving ambition