Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

I am a little late posting about my latest article regarding golf course maintenance in August but better late than never. To access the article "The Dog Days of Summer" go to

Monday, August 2, 2010

Two New Inside Golf Articles

As I have mentioned in many of my previous posts I firmly believe that educating ourselves and golfers about what it takes to maintain a golf course is the key to helping the industry to survive the future. Two articles I have written for Inside Golf magazine can be read online. The first one is "Education is Key to Survival of Golf Industry."

"Green Speeds a Slippery Slope"

Skins Game at Bear Mountain

Once I returned from a business trip to the Okanagan I quickly did a landscape job here on the island before working at Bear Mountain for 3 weeks to help prepare for the Skins Game.

After 20 years of golf course construction and maintenance I was suprised by how much I learned in 3 weeks preparing for a such a large event. For the most part I was simply a part of the maintenance team but I made sure to learn as much as possible along the way.

I think that what I gathered the most was from Superintendent Darren Burns about water conservation and how to irrigate for an event like a Skins Game. In the weeks leading up to the event Burns watered very little in order to make the track fast and firm for the PGA players.

Any Superintendent could certainly learn a lot about water conservation and the ability to produce world class conditions using very little water from Darren Burns.

Anyone who was able to attend the event or watch it on TV must have been extremely impressed as the course was in fantastic condition. In 25 years of playing golf and working at some of the best courses in Canada I can comfortably say that I have never seen a golf course in better condition than Bear Mountain was on June 21 and 22.

To read more about my experience at Bear Mountain see my article in Inside Golf at The article is entitled Bear Mountain Maintenance Staff Ready to Host the World.

Interior Trip

Man, time sure flies when you are having fun or are busy or both. I have not posted a blog since the middle of May so I have some catching up to do.

As many of you may already know I help golf courses with certfication in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Along with this I also do some landscaping as well as contract work with local (Vancouver Island) golf courses.

Since I last posted I spent some time in the Interior of BC. My first stop was to visit Jeff Bennett at the Okanagan Club to help him get his Audubon program moving along. Two things were evident to me when I arrived at the OGC. One, the spring was not kind to the golf courses in the Interior. Unfortunately, the OGC lost a lot of turf over the winter and from what I could gather it had a lot to do with ice formation on the greens. There is not a lot that a Superintendent can do about that other than get the ice off as quickly as possible in the spring.

The second thing I realized was the professionalism and committment to excellence that Jeff Bennett brought each day to the maintenance department at the OGC. Maintaining 36 holes and a large staff is no easy task yet Jeff does it with the calmness and care that is demanded of him. In all the course was in great shape despite the damage from the winter.

My second stop was to visit Frits Verkerk at Gallagher's Canyon. Again, the spring was not kind to Gallagher's. Like his colleque Frits exemplifies professionalism and care about what he does. Both are well on their way to Audubon certification and with some changes to infrastructure and administration should have little problem achieving it within a couple of years.

My third stop on this trip was to Predator Ridge where I presented to the National Golf Course Owners Association on the Business Value of Environmental Programs. The facility was spectacular and the presentation went well. Unfortunately there were not as many people there as we had hoped.

NGCOA Regional Director Doug Ferne and the people at Predator were great hosts and I enjoyed the stay all the same. The highlight of Predator for me was the opportunity to tour the course, new 18 recently opened. The course is awesome! I took the chance to stop by the makeshift maintenance facility to congratulate Superintendent TJ McNamara on a job well done and was pleased to be able to shake his hand and tell him personally how great the place looked. Buffer zones and wildlife habitats were certainly abundant. I see Audubon certification in the future for TJ and Predator Ridge.