Sunday, September 30, 2012

Closing Field Day Weekend

Early in the week weather the forecast was for a wet and cold weekend! Once again Whitevale was blessed with some outstanding conditions for both the Men's and Women's Closing Field Day events.

The Men's Closing was held on Saturday and the team of Jim Glover, Walt Lemon, Tom O'connor and Mike McDonald finished on the winners podium. They shot a net scramble score of 58.9.

Second place went to Terry Calder, Ed Griffin, Harry Cummins and Wayne Wellman who fired a 59.72. Close behind in third place was the team of Jeff Sinovic, Steve Flude, Brad Hewitt and David Dean who came in with a score of 60.025.

The Women's Closing Field Day was won by the team of Gail Pimm, Karen Parsons, Dee Steinwall and Theresa Arbuthnot who shot a net scramble score of 64.475.
Second place went to Jacquelyn Dunne, Kelly Glass and Lynne Downey who fired a 65.75 narrowly defeating the third place team of Meghan Dove, Joan Store and Kandice Brackenbury who shot 66.25.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

"FROST"..........A four letter word in these parts!!

You may not want to believe it, and I’ll bet you don’t want to hear it, but we have already had one frost delay this week, and a second morning with patchy frost that didn’t require us to hold up play, but did require us to make adjustments to our morning maintenance schedule. If you haven’t heard before, when frost is on the turf the leaf blade is frozen and putting any traffic on the leaf when it is in this state breaks the cells within the leaf blade killing it. The result is dead leaf blades that turn black from damage of the foot traffic or the wheels of the vehicle that was driven across these areas. It is imperative that we don’t enter any turf area when frost is present. This is the reason we have frost delays in spring and fall.

On Tuesday of this past week we had the United States Greens Association (USGA) come in for a consultation. The agronomist toured every area of the golf course with us visiting every hole from the tee to the green. We discussed all our cultural practices such as aerification, verticutting and top dressing, fertility and fungicide programs, mowing heights and so on. We spent more time on areas such as the 5th and 12th greens talking about every aspect of our maintenance practices as well as the environment in which they are located We also spent extra time looking at the areas in our fairways that were severely beat up during the verticutting and aerification process.
In general speaking we are doing most things right. His recommendations, again, generally speaking is that more aerification, more top dressing, more sunlight, and more air movement will improve turf conditions, and thus the overall health of the turf. We already knew all that and continue to make head way in that direction within the limits of the budget, and such things as the TRCA which dictate what trees we are allowed to cut down.
One thing we identified was a weedy grass prevalent in our fairways. Most of us are familiar with Poa annua, well this turf is in the same family and has also caused us grief.
The grass I am talking about is Poa Trivialis. This turf is used in the southern states as an over seeding turf to Bermuda grass in the winter. If you have ever watched a golf event on TV in Arizona, you probably notice the tees, fairways and greens all look like normal healthy turf. But areas around bunkers are just brown. In that climate it’s too hot to grow Bent grass. Bermuda grass is the predominant turf in that part of the world, but it goes dormant during the cooler winters. So they over seed the flatter and main play areas with Poa Trivialis. When the heat returns the Bermuda grass wakes up and out competes the Poa that is under sever stress from the heat.
Poa Trivialis is as much a weed as its brother Poa annua. This grass probably came in contaminated seed used to over seed fairways in the mid to late 90’s. At that time, seed companies ensured their quality by only focussing on the fact that there was no contamination from bluegrass or rye grass in their bent grass seed cultivars.
Because of the weak growth habit of this turf, and how it thatches up, it was easily ripped up during our normal fairway program. Areas that stood up well are predominantly Bent grass. So what’s the solution for the future? Well, that’s mainly going to depend on budget and how we want to handle it. There is a herbicide available that will help to choke this weed out but it is expensive, and it will also makes the rest of the fairway turn a sickly yellow. Another option might be to aggressively verticut once a year knowing this Poa Trivialis will be torn out, then aggressively over seed with bent. Either way there is no magic bullet to rid our fairways from this invasive weed.
All recommendations from the agronomists visit will be made available to all members in his detailed report which we should have in the next few weeks.

I heard my first comment yesterday that the green are too fast, so safe to say the vast majority of the healing is complete with all other areas continuing to improve. We have a vast amount of seed in many areas which continue to germinate and heal.
Clubs leaving their aerification programs to October will enter the winter in a weakened state and risk higher possibility of winter kill from many different weather patterns.
All our programs are scheduled to prepare the turf for the most stressful times of the season which are through the summer and winter seasons. As always we review everything about all maintenance programs and timing, and make recommendations for how to improve for the least possible disruption to members play. Safe to say we already have a number of improvements to implement for 2013.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Husband and Wife Tournament - Finally!

The Annual Husband and Wife Event was finally held on Saturday after being rained out on two previous occassions. The weather looked like it was going to play havoc again but the afternoon cleared and the players only had to contend with some windy conditions.

Ann and Ed Griffin are this years champions with a score of 68.5. They narrowly defeated the second place finishers Lisa / Mark Brewer and Darlene / Bob Doyle who tied with scores of 69.
Josette and Ron Bell finished fourth at 72.5 with Ron Stoneburgh and Kelly Glass finishing with a 74 good for fifth and Julie and Art Pingree shot a 74.5 which secured sixth place.

Men's Night Shot Gun

The final Men's Night Shot Gun of the season was held on Wednesday afternoon and the small but elite field were treated to some fine weather. The format change produced as close finish for top spot and the leaders were evenly distributed between the Blue and White Tees.

The winners, with a score of 133 were Bernie Docking, Cam Hreljac, Mark Brewer and Dave Walker. Second place went to Fred Calvert, Garnett Gaham, David Hulme and Chester Sadecki who shot a 134. We had a tie for third place at 136 between Peter Smith, John Thompson, Kevin Collins and Brian Godin and the team of Kevin Ashe, Fred Nuremberger, Larry Aicken and Ken Josling

The Flop Wall contest produced some interesting shots!! All those who cleared the wall were entered into a draw for a bottle of scotch donated by Diageo.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Men's Night Shot Gun - New Format

The final Men's Night Shot Gun of the season takes place this Wednesday (Sept 19th) at 1:00.

Count 1 Gross and 1 Net score per hole.
Play Blue or White Tees

A Handicap adjustment of 2 strokes will be applied to those playing the White Tees.
Blue Rating 70.5 - White Rating 68.7 = 1.8 (rounds to 2)

In place of a putting contest we will be having a "BIG BREAK" Flop Shot contest - so get your 60 wedge warmed up!

Sponsors - we are still looking for a Prize sponsor - failing that a $10 entry fee for prizes will apply.
(Anyone wishing to sponsor the day please contact Tony or Alex.)

Sign up is open online.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

NAGA's Consumer Behavior Study

The National Allied Golf Associations have released a Canadian Golf Consumer Behaviour Study to the golf industry with the objective of understanding the current state of the game, as well as factors that influence the behaviour of consumers as they relate to golf.

You kind read the entire study here :

Below are some key points from Golf News Now

The study was conducted by Navicom and was based on a national survey of over 1,300 respondents. The study focused on the population of Canadians who are capable of playing golf and eliminated portions of the overall population not able to play due to age, health, finances or location.

The effective populations of golfers were broken into categories such as Avid (25 plus rounds per year), Frequent (9-24 rounds), Occasional (3-8 rounds) and Infrequent (2 or less).

The following is an executive summary that was provided by NAGA and Navicom:

Among the population of approximately 5.7 million golfers, the number of people entering the game is equal to the number of people leaving the game (18% or approximately 1.026 million people).

Among the population of golfers, the number of golfers playing fewer rounds (38%) is greater than the number of golfers playing more rounds (14%).

There is a fundamental lack of engagement among consumers in the Canadian golf industry (engagement is defined as playing, following, supporting and endorsing the game).

Those that are engaged represent 25% of the golfer population (approximately 1.4 million people) while 75% of the golf population (approximately 4.3 million) are of the mind that they can ‘take or leave the game’.

The majority of rounds are being played by less than 26% of golfers (approximately 1.5 million people).

The game has a focused appeal across the effective population (well educated / higher income / male dominated / attracts executives, professionals, sales & service, trades and retired / little ethnic diversity – although changing with Canada’s ethnic demographic). This finding represents both a positive in terms of the strength of that base of players, but also a threat in terms of its current narrow focus across the effective population.


Time and money constrain the playing of the game – they do not drive the game (prior to the study, the industry would say time and money are the drivers).

Engagement with the game is emotional and self-expressive – it is not functional (it’s about how the game makes golfers feel).

The game today is both vulnerable and on the cusp of greatness.
*Vulnerable because too large a portion of playing population not engaged with the game.
*On the cusp of greatness because you have a very large population of players who play the game even though they’re not engaged.

Men and women see much differing value in the game. Although women will tell you top of mind that they have an interest in playing the game, statistically they associate with “the game is not worth the cost”. Conversely, men statistically associate with “the game is worth the cost.”

There is a recognized, identifiable progression by golfers coming in and going out of the game. 
Golfers come in young and enthused…as they get older in the game, they begin to lose some enthusiasm…as they continue to age, they tend to get more disillusioned and they begin to leave the game. The largest influx into the game are 18-25 year olds; the largest outpouring of the game are 46-59 year olds; and we see in 26-35 year olds the flattening of enthusiasm within the game.


In order to drive engagement and subsequent increases in rounds played and dollars spent on lessons, equipment, apparel, accessories and in the clubhouse, it is essential to have more golfers statistically associate with the benefits of the game of golf.

The Canadian golf industry must work together to find innovative ways to show golfers that the game and everything attached to the game is fun, enjoyable, social, challenging but winnable, inspiring, prideful and lead edge.

The game needs more engaged/loyal consumers – arguably more than it needs new participants

From a consumer behaviour perspective, success means getting golfers more engaged by playing more, following more, supporting more and spending more. The degree to which that measure goes up has all sorts of impact. The more engaged golfers are, the more they will spend.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall Derby - Update!!

At the Captain's Meeting last night it was decided to allow male players with handicap factors of 16.8 or higher to play the White Tees during the Spring and Fall Derby.

White Tees:
Male Players may choose to play the White Tees if their handicap factor is 16.8 or higher.
(This is the same factor used for the C Division in the Men’s Club Championship.)

Handicap Adjustment (Section 9 – Handicap Rules)
Different Tees in Same Competition

Men – Blue Rating/White 70.5 – 68.7 = 1.8
Women – Red/ Men White 70.5 – 68.7 = 1.8

White Players handicap will be reduced by 2

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekday Men's Stableford

This year's Team Stableford event was held on Monday September 10th with near perfect golfing weather. The winners score of 128 was 10 shots ahead of their nearest competitors.

The Team of Ron King, Frank Winter, Tom O'Connor and Luiz de Carvalho finished first and second went to Bill Harburak, Brian Murdoch, Paul Lacour and Manny Dacosta who shot 118 points.

Third place went to Peter Cant, Rick Johnson, Paul Cryne and John Toman who fired a 116.
Closest to the Hole Winners were John Elia and John Toman.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Although most areas on our greens have made significant progress in their healing, we have seen mechanical damage to some areas on more greens than we would normally anticipate during this type of event. In order to get through the aerification process as efficiently and productively as possible, we borrowed an aerifier from a neighbouring course. Unfortunately this equipment caused gouging every time it was lifted or lowered into the turf. By the time we had caught up to this aerifier significant damage had occurred.

Another challenge and one of the most frustrating issues we had is what we call lifting.
When the aerator tines are being pulled up out of the soil there is a certain amount of friction between the soil and the tine. This causes a lifting action on the surrounding turf.
This is very common and we specifically roll the greens to level them out and firm them up after cores are removed. But in some areas we experienced more “lift” than usual. When the roller goes over these areas it is not heavy enough to fully firm the surface to where it was. Then, when the top dresser which is loaded with heavy sand, goes across the surface the wheels leave depressions. Renting a very heavy roller to possibly give us a better firming of the surface will also cause compaction, one of the main things we are trying to reduce.
These depressions now hold sand at a deeper depth than the areas around them and this can cause a couple of problems. The sand can smother the grass and the sun can heat this sand up to temperatures that can be detrimental to the turf. We did send crews out to reduce the sand in these depressions and did extra watering to keep temperatures at bay, but clearly there is some damage that has been sustained. This lifting is a bigger problem in areas of heavy compaction. So what can we do to reduce or eliminate this problem in the future? Simple, aerify more often!
All greens were over seeded at the same time as our aerification and we have significant germination in all areas, unfortunately, as you know they won’t fill in over night.
Green speeds have improved since the first 10 or 12 days but have still not returned to normal. We attempted to lower heights yesterday but found we were still mowing sand, so we determined it necessary to leave the height of cut where it is at least through this weekend.
We began the process of verti-cutting fairways this week ahead of aerification which starts Monday. This is another necessary program to ensure the continued health of our fairways. Removal of the thatch that accumulates through normal growth will, if left unchecked, cause significant turf loss under drought conditions, which can happen in the form of desiccation in the winter just as easy as drought in the summer. A thick layer of thatch is also ideal for insects and significantly promotes diseases which would cause increased pest control applications which are very expensive. And by using cultural practices instead of chemical control, we continue to show our environmental commitment.
Just like our aerification program, we have planned this event to coincide with the best possible growing condition for our quickest healing time.
If you remember how awesome the course was on opening day, all these programs are imperative to having a strong healthy stand of turf, especially heading into winter.
The old saying “PAY ME NOW, OR PAY ME LATER” really does play here. We could put off all these cultural practices until late in the season, but we would not see recovery until well into June the following season, and we set ourselves up for major winter kill to a weakened stand of turf.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pro Shop Sale - Update!!

50 % Off - Ladies Summer Wear
25 % Off - Golf Bags
25 % Off - Men's Summer Wear
Just Reduced - Foot Joy Shoes - 20 % OFF

Fall Demo Club Clearance
Iron SetsTaylor Made Burner 2.0      -      $395.00*  

Graphite - Reg Flex - 4 to PW + AW

Ping i15     -   $395.00*

Steel - Reg Flex - 4 to PW

Callaway Razr X HL    - $395.00*

Graphite - Regular Flex - 4 Hybrid / 6 to SW

Ping G15      -  $395.00*

Graphite - Regular Flex - 4 to PW

Fall Demo Club Clearance - Drivers/Fairways

Callaway Razr Fit Driver    -  $199.95*

Nike VRS Driver    - $199.95*

Titleist 910 Driver     -  $199.95*

Callaway Razr Fit Fairway $149.95*

Callaway Razr Black Fairway $149.95*

We will also have a bag of assorted drivers, fairways and hybrids that will be priced to clear.

**All prices will be plus applicable taxes and there will be no returns or refunds.**

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

George S. Lyon Champions!

Congratulations to the team representing Whitevale for winning the George S. Lyon Championship at Bond Head Golf Club this afternoon.The competition sees the top four finishers from the Men's Club Championship of GAO member Clubs competing as Teams.

Whitevale was represented by Mark Brewer (74), Barry Fairhurst (73), Chris O'Brien (77) and Cam Hreljac (76). They finished ahead of Brampton GC by one stroke and Kawartha GC by 2 shots.

Well done!!!