Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Challenges

As the summer stresses become more evident on the golf course, certain areas begin to look less than 100% healthy. Areas in many of the fairways are showing signs of drought stress. These areas can get a yellow and brown colour to them and the leaf tissue will almost cease to exist. Looking closely at areas around these hydrophobic spots can look as healthy as any turf ever has, so cranking up the irrigation to try and rid the property of every isolated dry spot is really just a waste of water and an added expense.

You may have also noticed that the collars on some greens, such as at 5, 11, 12 and 17 have looked like we neglected to get water to them and the drought stress caused some damage. However Kyle and I have known for a week that something else was going on in these areas. When we see turf decline on any part of the golf course, the first thing we do is to remove a plug and send it in to the University of Guelph so the lab can diagnose if there is a pathogen infecting the turf grass.

While we patiently wait for the lab to identify a possible disease that is not visible to the naked eye, we continue to watch for any other possible causes such as insects, fertilizer issues or abiotic stresses.

When the University got back to me they said they found no pathogens and no insects. I really started to stress out at this point because I know something is causing this turf to decline, (and it’s not drought related) and without positive identification of what’s going on, I know the turf health will continue to go backwards until we positively identify the problem and it’s only a matter of time before the problem gets into the greens.

So our first line of action knowing we had some turf decline, but not knowing the cause, was to reduce stress any way we could. First off we did not verticut on our maintenance morning the way we normally would as this puts enormous stress on the turf and opens wounds in the leaf tissue making fungal attack easier, but we did do a solid mini tine aerification on all greens and collars. This allows fresh oxygen better access to the roots and allows carbon dioxide and methane as well as other gases to escape the soil. It also allows easier water penetration to the root zone. We kept the roller off the affected areas which again reduces stress and traffic. We used a mini tine to pull cores from the damaged collars and over seeded to promote healing, and followed up with a light shot of fertilizer. We also called in three different technical advisors from different companies to ask their opinions. I took photos with my phone and sent them to fellow superintendents and asked if they were experiencing anything similar, and asked for ideas or suggestions.

When we did get the message from Guelph that no pathogen was found, I was immediately suspicious as these labs always find something, and the usual challenge for us is determining if everything they find is actually causing any problems or if there is just low populations which is the normal case. So we immediately sent off a 2nd plug for re-diagnosis. Late on Wednesday the University emailed me with their findings. Pythium!

If you don’t know what Pythium is, having it diagnosed on our turf is a little like having a family member being diagnosed with cancer. It is as serious as it gets. And like cancer, there are different strains, different levels of infection, and if the host is healthy and strong, fighting it is easier. We are confident that the greens are healthy and that we got the correct product into the plant early enough to get complete control.

Since we don’t stock products that can help us fight this disease, I quickly called our fungicide supplier and told him our dilemma, and he agreed to get the products we need and have them delivered to us by 6am Thursday morning. We were able to get the fungicide sprayed onto all greens and collars early Thursday morning. I would like to apologize to the first few groups of members who had to deal with the irrigation system running as this product had to be watered into the root zone, and I thank you for your patients. We feel at this point we caught the infection early enough to stop it from spreading, but we will certainly have a close eye as we may have to reapply in 7 to 12 days.

Recovery with this type of damage is never fast, and member’s can help us by avoid walking on the stressed areas. As always, the healthier the turf looks the better it handles the traffic. 24 hours after this product was applied and we are happy to say we are seeing a slight improvement already.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


All Cart and Stand Golf Bags will be on sale for 20% Off


Sale ends Wednesday July 4th

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Are you Ready for Canada Day??

Are you ready to show that you are a proud Canadian?

The Second Skin shirts feature patented Coolon Moisture Management technology to provide excellent comfort even on the hottest day. They come in Men's and Women's models and are available in Red, White and Black.

We also have a limited number of Canada Proud Lt. Wind Jackets. These are water resistant, breathable and quiet!

You won't have to pack these items away after the 1st - remember the little Event taking place in London later this summer!

Go |Canada Go!

Yellow Ball / Best Ball Results

The Annual weekday Men's Yellow Ball/ Best Ball Event took place yesterday in some cool and extremely windy conditions.

The Format for the event is each team is given a yellow ball and one player in the group must use the ball for a hole - then the  next player uses it on the next hole and so on! If you lose it - sorry you are out of the running for the coveted Yellow Ball title. The Champions this year was the Team of Bill Harbaruk, Paul Cormier, Hank Okada and Tom Lindsay who shot an even par 72. Of the eight teams that started out with a yellow ball, only 4 teams survived the round without losing it.

The Best Ball competition ending in a tie. The team of Ron King, Greg Shea, Ray Northey tied the team of Paul Lacour, Pat Burrell, Ron Snow and Al Van Dusen. Both teams  shot rounds of 58.

Al Kershaw was the Closest to the Hole winner on the 4th Hole and John Toman was the winner on the 12th Hole.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Longest Day Tradition

The Longest Day of Golf tradition continued at Whitevale on Friday June 22nd.

The weather was spectacular and so was the golf.
This year's Team included Ann Griffin, Paul Stephenson, Steve Rodriguez and Kevan Goble.

The first ball was in the air at 5:00 am and the last putt rolled in at 9:40. We had a great crowd at 18 this year and the players were piped onto the green by Tom Munroe. The group completed 9 rounds over the day and there were some impressive highlights. These included an opening round of 69 by Kevan (his final round was also a 69), 2 rounds of 66 by Steve and the most impressive fact of the day was that Ann played all 9 rounds without losing a ball.

Of course the real winner is The Cancer Society and a  huge Thanks You for all the generous donations that the members contributed.

The day wouldn't have been possible with out the hard work of Joan and Bob Store, Ed Griffin, Terri-Lynn Liddle, Al Kershaw, Rich Hughes and our Piper Tom Munroe.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ann and Joan on TV

Watch Whitevale members Joan Store and Ann Griffin on Durham Rogers show Daytime being interviewed by Julia Piedimonte (who just happens to be the daughter of member John McCormick) about the Longest Day of Golf.

The Longest day of Golf truly is a Whitevale traditions and overwhelming supported by the members. If you haven't yet donated this year, you can click this link to donate on line.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Men's & Women's Apparel

30 % OFF

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's only a game - Right?

It seems that the Euro Cup is stirring some strong patriotic emotions at the Club. A Battle for bragging right took place on Monday afternoon between Italian supporters Nello Mariani and Alex Maggiacomo and Irish transplants Padraig Darby and Mark Doyle.

The wager was that the losers of the golf match would have to wear the opponents team jersey while watching the match between Italy and Ireland. It was a close battle but the Irish team secured the victory on the 18th hole.

They all "quietly" watched the match after the round!!

Who won the soccer match?? The result seems secondary to the fun that was had on the course! (As it should be!)

Forget The US Open!!

Forget the US Open, forget the walk across the Falls - we had history being made here at Whitevale on Saturday. The team of Joan Store and Tom Kelly set a blistering record score of 55 to win the annual Mixed Haig. I can't find a result that low for that format - Congratulations!! (Joan kept her putting magic going the following day where she was 1 over par after 6 holes!)

We had some new members hit the leaderboard. Julie and Art Pingree were alone in second place with a score of 61. Bob and Darlene Doyle joined a group including Anna and Mike Lindsay and Zona Pereira and Dave Myrvold who finished third with rounds of 62.

The event had 39 teams competing this year which is up from the 30 teams that played last year.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Yesterday we traveled back in time!

For those members who were on the golf course yesterday afternoon at 2pm, I offer an apology. For those of you that were not here, at precisely 2pm yesterday the irrigation system stared running a watering program, and at exactly 30 seconds past 2pm yesterday, I became one of the most popular people around as my phone started “ringing off the hook” as we used to say. I hope it was nothing more than an amusing inconvenience for everyone, but I realize if someone had been in the wrong place at the wrong time not only could you have been blasted by the sprinklers leaving you soaking wet, but there is a real safety concern as you could have also been hit in the eyes. It took about 20 or 25 minutes before the system was shut down completely. I have to admit, I have never actually had to stop a program as it was running before so it did take a bit of time for me to look through the software to find a cancel command.

So why did it start running in the first place? Well, the storm that rolled through Monday night into Tuesday morning caused a power outage at some point. We knew we had lost power through the night but by the time we came in Tuesday morning the computer had rebooted and as I did a run through of the software and set up a program to run for Wednesday night I didn’t notice both the date and time were off. The computer actually thought it was January 1st 2001 at 10pm….Hence the travel back in time. Now you may find it very strange that we would be running any irrigation on January 1st, but the computer date has no connection to the programming, only to the time of day. So when it hit 2 O’clock yesterday, the computer was at 10 O’clock, and went to work just the way it is programmed to do. So, mental note to self…………when we lose power, double check the time on the computer…………

On another topic you may have noticed we have been mowing down some of the naturalized areas around the course. The reason for this is to try and reduce, and hopefully eliminate an invasive weed species called “Dog Strangling Vine”. We have tried some weed sprays in the past with very limited success. One of our best options of control is to mow it down before it goes to seed, which is exactly what we are trying to accomplish. This will not be a quick eradication process as there are many seeds already dropped in the soil waiting for perfect conditions in subsequent years to germinate. The large wide open areas are relatively easy to get at and mow down. But, unfortunately we also have this weed in amongst tight areas around trees, which we will have to cut manually if we are going to prevent it from spreading. We appreciate your patience and understanding with the ugly look of these mowed areas.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Foot Joy Shoes Sale

Save 25% on a new pair of Foot Joy Shoes when you trade in an old worn out pair of golf shoes!

Sale ends Sunday June 10th.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Final Week - Men's Interclub Qualifying


Competition Dates:
@ Oshawa Thurs. June 28

@ Cedarbrae Wed. July 25

@ Whitevale Mon. July 30

@ Meadowbrook Wed. Aug 29

Qualifying Process

Date: Friday May 13 – Monday June 9

Cost: $20 for 3 x 18 hole attempts

Note: qualifying fee to be chitted by Business Office

Handicap Categories: A 0 – 9, B 10 – 15, and C 16+

Process: - must advise Pro Shop before playing and hand in score after play

- qualify from blue tees for A and white tees for B & C

- can re-qualify for an additional $20

- best net score represents your qualifying round

Requirements: 4 men teams from each handicap group

Special Note:

- at this time there are funds available for team shirt

-there will be additional charges to fund the Whitevale hosted suppers pro rated to all participants.

Convenor: Walt Lemon

Phantom Champions!

The 2nd annual Phantom tournament took place on Saturday and the Team of Bernie Docking, Mark Burrell, Kevin Duda and Jeff Sinovic were victorious. They all played well but Kevin Duda carded a fine round of 70 and our reining Club Champion, Mark Burrell closed his round going birdie, eagle, birdie. The Team finished with a total score of 100 points.

Fitting that 2 players are missing from the Phantom Winners photo!!

Second place went to Luiz de Carvalho, Manny Da Costa, John Toman and Paul Lacour who shot a score of 95.

Tied for third were the teams of Pat Burrell, Dave Myrvold, Jerry Kimber and Tom Kelly who along with Larry Aicken, Jim Glover, Dave Sutton and Bob Nebel shot scores of 86.

The Phantom tournament is a quota point format event where you don't find out which hole you count on until after the round.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

An April Nor' June???

If by chance you haven’t been to the course since last Thursday, I can tell you the temper tantrum that “Large Marge” threw on Friday caused quite the mess. On a positive note no trees came down in the Nor’easter that we all might have anticipated hitting us in April.

But the large amount of sticks, pine cones and branches that came down made navigating the fairways to the greens a bit of a challenge. With the amount of leaves that were blown off the trees, it was surprising that there were any left in the canopy of the trees. As you know on weekends and holidays we have only half our staff on, so we were lucky to get the fairways blown off, greens blown off and mowed, and the holes changed ahead of any play on Saturday morning.

Thanks to my crew for getting the course even remotely playable before the split tee at 7am.

Thanks to the golfer for being patient and understanding especially with the noise of the blower’s mere feet from many trying to hit a tee shot or sink a putt, and my apologies for all the carts driving in the way of play while we hauled debris off the golf course to the dump. We have no choice but to throw all courtesy out the window for being still and quiet while we are near play in order to get anything done when such a storm causes such a mess.

Even with the full staff here first thing Monday morning, I expect it will take us all week to even come close to finishing the clean up. Take into consideration that we still have all our regular jobs that cannot be ignored. The 2 inches of rain did bring 23 days of drought to an end and is sure to help top up out reservoir and return some green, to many brown spots we had.