Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Haig Day at Whitevale

The annual Men's and Women's Haig tournaments were held this past weekend. These popular events were well attended and the weather cooperated were only the last groups of the day had to play in the rain.

The Women's Event had some last minute drama as the final group of the tournament produced a winner! The Team of Debbie Couch and Sandra Milner-Docking fired a great round of 60 to secure the Trophy.
Lisa Mackie and Kandice Brackenbury finish in 2nd place with a score of 63. The team of Dee Steinwall and Maureen Rutter fired a 66 to secure 3rd place.

The Men's Event saw the Team of Kevin Ashe and Tom Berminghan post an amazing round of 58 early Saturday morning and their score stood up for the victory. Greg Haley and Bob Doyle score of 60 placed them in 2nd place followed closely by Peter Garvey and Dave Wallace whose 62 secured 3rd spot.

The  Gross Haig was won by Mark Burrell and Jared Docking who shot a fine score of 67.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Men's & Women's Senior Club Championship

Senior Men's Club Championship

Overall  Gross   
1st 151 - Dec Dunn 
2nd 152* Dave Walker               

Overall  Net        
1st 130* Ron Bell  (Winner of a Playoff)
2nd 130 Jerry Kimber

55 - 64 
Gross   1st 152* Kevin Hughes
                  2nd 154 Bob Nebel
                  3rd 155 Barry Catterall

Net         1st 133 Nello Mariani                     
                  2nd 135 Tom Hill
                   3rd 138 Mike Berry

Gross    1st 155 Bob Spahn
                  2nd 156 Jim Glover
                  3rd 157 Walt Lemon
Net          1st 133 Wayne Carpenter
                   2nd 138 Peter Leaney
                   3rd *140 Grant Barrett

Senior Women's Club Championship
Overall Net            1st Lucy Blais - 127            

Overall Gross      1st Angela Colm - 165

Seniors Net            1st Josette Bell - 134

Diamonds Net     1st Barb Rogers - 147                      

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Member Guest and More....

The Annual Men's Member Guest was held on Friday July 12th under ideal conditions. Once again the Chairman of the Event - Glenn Hogg and his committee put on an excellent day for all the players.

The field had 142 players in the Event and the Championship had to be determined by a Playoff (Chip off). Keith MacIssac and his guest Don Fox were this years winners. They tied for the lead with a score of 61 net with John Thompson and Bill Colville and John Mikula and Joe Cagna. The chip off took place on the 18th hole and Don Fox's chip ended up Closest to the Pin.

The Low Gross score for the field went to Mike McGarragle and guest Barry Fairhurst (yes - that Barry Fairhurst) who fired a 2 under 69.

The Thursday night shoot out had the most players ever with 74 contestants. The back nine was used this year and the Davis Brothers (Glen and Don - or is that Don and Glen ??) were the Champions. The Par 3 Contest on Friday morning went to Bob Nebel and Jim Orr.

A huge "Thank You" to all the Sponsors who make this such an outstanding event and one of the highlights of the golf season.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

ARE WE IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER, OR...................

It's July and most people would say we are in the middle of summer.
Golf Course Superintendents refer to this time of year as “The 100 days of Hell”.
Superintendents expect that the months of June, July and August will be the most stressful to our turf grass, and can cause the loss of grass regardless of what tools we have at our disposal. We can’t bring our greens in from the heat for a 30 minute cool-down in air conditioning the way humans and pets can. We need to do everything in our power to reduce the stress so the turf plant can make it through this extreme weather until we get to more realistic weather patterns.
This damage was simply caused from a cart driving over an area where the grass
was under high stress and the weight of the cart driving over the grass pushed it
beyond its ability to make it through the day.
If you have been on the golf course lately you have, no doubt, seen the fans running and been interrupted by staff watering greens with  hand held hoses, or by running the overhead sprinklers. Just as a small breeze helps cool you down as you are walking the fairways, air movement to evaporate water is imperative to the survival of the turf grass during this heat. Water management must be monitored very closely! Putting out more water thinking this will help cool the grass and provide moisture so the grass can “have a drink” is a sure road to disaster. Over watering will kill grass MUCH faster than under watering in the hot humid days we are experiencing.
We are also venting greens, helping get life-giving oxygen down to the root system and
helping destructive gases such as carbon dioxide and methane escape the soil.
This is done with solid needle tines on our aerifier.
These solid ¼ inch diameter tines perform the venting process.
Once we have completed the venting, we roll to smooth
the surface with a speed roller.
This is the putting surface after rolling, most golfers don’t even know we have put holes in the green.
Making sure our fertilizer and fungicide programs are in place occurred months ago in what we call
“pre-stress conditioning”. The final thing we can do is to reduce the stress and allow the plant to survive the heat is to eliminate all cultural practices and raise the height of cut on the greens. This allows more leaf blade to perform photosynthesis.  
This also means slower greens compared to what we are used to. But consistency is always what we strive for, so for the next while greens will be noticeably slower; however will remain true for a nice ball roll. A few minutes on the putting green before your round and you will have them gauged properly.  
Our new mantra here at Whitevale: BETTER A LITTLE SLOW….THAN DEAD!
Staff are also feeling the heat. We remind staff every morning to continually drink water, and take occasional breaks in the shade or air conditioning. We  understand that they will not be as productive as during more comfortable temperatures. This approach also prevents heat stroke and missed days due to illness. All staff are told to take breaks as often as they feel they need to. An air conditioner in the lunch room gives them a place to bring their core temperature down while on break. We also tell them if they feel it’s too much to continue working they are permitted to go home for the rest of the day. Some overly dedicated staff have also been sent home early because we are concerned about the possibility of them getting sun stroke. The skeleton staff that is left visits green site after green site monitoring moisture levels and applying water as necessary.
If all else fails to help keep us cool and calm during the extreme heat alert...............

maybe this picture of what the course will look like in 6 or 7 months will help.  Stay cool my friends!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Addressing thinning greens

There was a comedian that once said, “Everyone’s always talking about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it!” Last summer we were all talking about the extreme heat and drought, over the winter it was the lack of any winter weather. If we were to look back over the last 10 years, we probably wouldn’t find many of them to have been what any of us consider normal. Weather is constantly going through cycles of extremes. The only question might be how many years between cycles? Personally I think it’s not worth worrying about. As a turf manager I focus on what we have right now and what might be coming in the next day or two. Beyond that it’s not worth spending too much time thinking about. The main thing that stands out for this summer is the amount of rain we have received. No doubt you have heard of the 121mm that the city of Toronto recently received. I was shocked when it was reported this was more than fell during Hurricane Hazel in the 1950’s. Many city clubs are devastated. If you have not seen pictures it is impossible to describe. I know Islington Golf Club has announced they are now closed for the rest of the 2013 season. There are serious issues at Weston, Lambton, Royal Woodbine and Markland Woods just to name a few.

Whitevale has had it's share of rain related events. This photo from 2005 shows the flooding we dealt with after a major summer storm. But it was nothing compared to what my associates in the city are dealing with at the moment.

Clearly we here at Whitevale have faired MUCH better, despite the continuous storms. Depending on where you look you can appreciate that the club is in the best condition ever. But focus on the challenges we have had and you might think some greens are in big trouble. The thin areas on some greens is directly caused by heavy rains and our restriction on excessive aeration so we don’t interfere with play. After last years disease infections we put together a preventative spray program this past spring to go on the offensive for these diseases. This has been working well; however, we have been hit with three different diseases over the last two months due to the extreme weather putting abnormal stress on the turf’s root system. We continue to work with the control products available to us despite the cost. Some keen eyed members can even see the slightly different colour to the greens which is caused by some of these fungicides.

 On top of these challenges, we have also seen a thinning on the areas we have sodded in the past. You have heard it before, but the greens and collars that are showing signs of stress and thinning are all areas that have been sodded with turf brought in from another location. Greens 4, 6, 11, 12, 17, the collars on the front of 4 and 5, all sodded in the past. This sod has a layer of soil which is never the same as soil where it is laid in a new location causing a layer. This layer affects water movement causing moisture to be held up in the upper root zone reducing oxygen levels and promoting bacterial activity that is also oxygen depleting, and causing foot traffic stress to show. This makes for unhealthy soil and stress on the roots of our turf. The consistent rain event this summer has added to this depletion of oxygen. These thin wet areas are now prone to algae growth, which some mistake for moss. As things begin to dry out the algae will dry up and die making these thin areas even more visibly “off” until turf growth can fill back in.

 It’s impossible for us to do anything about a rain event, but we can try to help dry out the root zone. I use the aerifier with ¼ solid tines to poke holes in the greens surface. We do this every two weeks to all greens all season long. Additional “venting” events take place on these problematic greens. The small holes help, but don’t solve the problem. The only thing that will is aerification with hollow tines which pull a core. This will physically remove some of this layer. Unfortunately, this also disturbs golfers and is a dangerous process during the heat of the summer. So until the shorter cooler days of September arrive we take the bandage approach and save the surgery for later. Sometimes I also use the Hydro-ject as it uses gentle water jets to make a hole that oxygen can get in without any physical damage to the green. It may be hard to believe but a spring aerification with ¼ `` tines and a fall event with ½ `` tines only impacts about 7% of the surface combined.  Ideally I need to do this process 10-15 times to remove our damaging layer.

Rest assured, we are constantly baby sitting these unique green sites and when the weather turns cooler, and dryer I will be able to push a healthy recovery program again. What can you do to help? Pick up your feet on the greens and focus on the positives while I handle the heavy lifting.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Blair must be using bigger cups on the Par 3's because we had 2 Holes in One this week!

John Liska aced the 14th Hole on June 29th. Witnesses to John's second Hole in One were Peter Lambrinos, John McCormick and Pat Lamanna.

Evicting John from the parking spot was Craig Baxter who scored his Hole in One on July 4th also on the 14th Hole. No! He isn't a new member, in fact Craig has been a member since 2002. Joining Craig for Ace were members Ron Johnson, Jeff Madeley, and Craig's guest. (Craig is the one in the black shirt)


We now have a new spotter down on the 14th Hole! This young lady was hanging around on Thursday afternoon hoping to see another Ace!

Canada Day News and More!!

Canada Day is always a busy but fun day at Whitevale! Members get into the spirit of the day with their Red shirts, hats, and some with Flags on their bags and carts. (We didn't have Kevin Ashe styling his Canada Day pants this year!!)

The Annual Women's Flag Day event was won by Kandice Brackenbury. This Event sees the players add their handicap to the course par and once they have used up all the strokes they plant their Canada flags on the course. Second place went to Karen Parsons, third was Julie Pingree, forth was Sandra Milner-Docking and Barb Rogers and Ann Griffin rounded out the prize winners.

The Men's Four Ball was also held on Canada Day. For the second year in a row the winning score was an amazing 13 under par score of 59! This year's Champs were Steve Flude and Tom Kelly.
 They edged Pat Scanga and Al Billington by one stroke! Craig and Pat Burrell fired a 61 to finish in 3rd place. Peter Brandt and David Dean shot a score of 63 to finish 4th one ahead of Rob Connors and Gerry Dickie.