I posted this picture on Twitter the other day. Not because of where the cart is parked, not because the gentleman is hitting outside the marker and not because he’s teeing up multiple balls. Pictured is Morris Miller and he’s 91 years old. He plays 9 holes of golf Monday through Friday (that’s right 5 days a week!!!). He rarely complains (our goose dog Bitsy bit him about 7 years ago which was the only time I’ve seen upset), always pays his dues and up until a few years ago he walked those 9 holes. He is in my estimation, the perfect golf course member.

While I don’t always get to engage Mr. Miller in conversation. On Tuesday I chatted with him shortly and took a few things home from that conversation and had a couple of chuckles as well. Mr. Miller has played the game since the 40’s, not for 40 years but the 1940’s!! He likes playing Midlands and his favorite holes consequently enough are the ones he’s had hole-in-one’s on.

So what makes Morris Miller a good member to me? He represents the true essence of what this game, or any game for that matter, is all about. He doesn’t keep score, he plays to keep himself moving and most of all he likes the people here. In a world that has parents pushing their children towards an almost unattainable goal of the life and riches of pro sports. Perhaps we can all take something from the 91 year man who still enjoys the game, likes the exercise it provides and relationships it produces.

I have been reminded regularly that even though you’re cemented in a career the continuous learning never stops. I was reminded of this again this week with what amounted to a 15 minute conversation. While many of us would love to enjoy a healthy life of 91 years, Morris Miller is living proof that golf and exercise are one way of getting there. Mr. Miller is a total class act. We could all take a little something from him.

Andrew Hardy


Greens Rolling…What’s all the fuss

I will begin this by stating that we have rolled greens for as long as I have worked here (10 years). While it was just a supplement to mowing in the fall in my early years. It has become a part of the everyday routine and at times a replacement to mowing during times of high heat/humidity. I noticed something very interesting with regards to our rolling program this year. And that is there are some pretty funny opinions from players on what the actual intent of greens rolling is.

This spring we deviated from our old rollers and purchased a roller that you sit on and roll side-to-side with (I won’t mention company names. Below is an example and NOT the roller we had).


We had been rolling with a greensmower type weighted roller for many years with decent success;


The interesting thing I heard from players and members numerous times this spring was that because we bought the more modern roller the greens were better. I then remembered that an intern we had here in 2006 did a roller study. We used a side-to-side roller, a set of weighted rollers like the ones pictured above and a set of rollers that vibrate. The study concluded a very small deviation between the 3 rollers under similar conditions produced green speeds within 6 inches of one another.

Below shows the moisture pattern of a rolled area vs. unrolled. The right side of the red arrow is rolled, left is not. The red arrow clearly shows the rolled area, this is actually moisture forced out of the top layer of turf to the surface;


It seems as though all of the above just shows that perhaps this season and the end of last season is the fruition of the changes made to our programs the last 2 years;

  • a good fertility program (Gennext and Redox make great products period!!)
  • frequent/light topdressing (sand fills the voids that can cause imperfections in greens)
  • past experience has taught us that we need to manage water better (irrigating smarter, use of wetting agents, greens audits and hand watering)
  • preventative fungicide treatments (though expensive) are a must (Summer patch can be devastating)
  • our “shade management” program has given greens a fighting chance to live (no sun=no photosynthesis=dead grass)
  • learning from past decisions (i.e. reduced fertility inputs just won’t work on these greens)
  • suitable amounts of core aeration, solid tine aeration and regular venting (greens LOVE oxygen)

While rolling greens has become a staple in our greens maintenance routine. Rolling is done for smoothness, some disease control (no Dollar spot applications on greens in 6 years) and to allow us to cut at a higher height of cut during the high environmental stress periods of summer. Rolling is not done for green speed, though due to the smoothing of putting surfaces I’m sure it helps (maybe I will delve further into this next season).

I hope this dispels the myth of the greens roller. As a side note we no longer own this roller. The fact is it spent more time in the shop than it did on the golf course. Our two weighted rollers will fill the void admirably.


It appears as though our unusually warm September looks to be winding down and headed to more seasonable temperatures. Enjoy your weekend as I feel this is the best time of the year for golf!!

Andrew Hardy




EIQ: What is it? And why you should care…

Environmental Impact Quotient (EIQ) “is a formula created to provide growers with data regarding the environmental and health impacts of their pesticide options so they can make better informed decisions regarding their pesticide selection”. This definition comes directly from Cornell University in New York State. New York has a mandatory program that includes the EIQ, similar to Ontario’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. While I’m not looking to critique our IPM program, I am looking at how we at Pheasant Run can become even more environmentally conscious.

I have posted on here ad nauseam my dislike for the IPM program as it’s currently dictated. It’s an extra cost to golf courses (minimum $2000/year) and the general public just don’t seem to care. IPM is measured in kilograms of active ingredient and we are asked to explain why we used more/less from the previous season. For 3 straight seasons our kg of active ingredient has been in the 98kg neighbourhood. Is that a good number? Via an easy search I found a club near us (approximately 600kg), a high-end private club (approximately 600kg) and a club with a similar soil/topography to Pheasant Run (approximately 700kg). Now let’s keep perspective, private club Superintendents use a lot of product as to meet demands of members who pay a lot of money for memberships.

EIQ has been of great interest to me for a few years now. Unfortunately my free time between work and home is fairly limited to figure out our “EIQ total”. I took a few days off (for those of you in golf, a summer vacation is amazing and I highly recommend it!!) 2 weeks ago and flew out west to visit family. Sitting in airports and on planes gave me time to work on Pheasant Run’s EIQ. Why? Anything that directly relates to environmental impact is definitely worth a deeper look.

Our total EIQ quotient for the 2015 golf season will be 334 (this is an edit to the original number. I had originally calculated EIQ for every application, but, its calculated based on the actual product being used). This is easily determined due to the fact I know what has been applied and what remains to be sprayed and when. The only other course I’m aware of with an EIQ total is Thornhill Golf Club, they are 129.

What have I learned in this process? The biggest issue is being wary of “sticker shock” of higher prices for longer lasting control products. For years I never purchased a fungicide called Heritage Maxx because the price of one case scared me. This product is now a staple in our Summer Patch (our biggest disease we deal with) program. I see similar changes coming to our fairway spray program as well. The active ingredients Boscalid and Isofetamid are a little more costly, but they do provide longer duration disease suppression and a dramatically lower EIQ (Boscalid value is 7.7. Isofetamid is 14.7) than what products we are currently using. We have relied on the “old school” traditional products for our fairway disease issues. Two of these “older” products are Thiophenate-methyl (has an EIQ value of 371.9) and chlorothalonil (is valued at 243.2).

I’ve also learned that 3-way herbicides are off the charts when it comes to EIQ. In the last few years we have used only one of the weed eradication products (Dicamba). This was done due to the low application rates and the greater control of weeds in general. Dicamba when applied alone has an EIQ rating of 2.5. When mixing Dicamba with 2,4-D and mecoprop the total EIQ is 30.5.

While the EIQ protocol is not mandatory it has certainly exposed some interesting results. It has also reinforced some of what we have been doing for many years now. Civitas (link to our use of this product here has been a staple product in our tee and fairway program for a few years now. Its EIQ value is as closer to zero (its EIQ is actually less than 1.0) than any product I researched. This is due to the fact that it’s a naturally developed mineral oil mixed with a harmonizer pigment. This product provides natural defense mechanisms for plants and has shown some fungicidal/insecticidal effects as well.

Here are some of the links to the full EIQ program and the EIQ calculator;

EIQ website

EIQ calculator

While many may scoff at this level of detail. I think it’s extremely important to continue to preach the positive virtues of the golf industry and what we are doing as an industry environmentally. I feel that this process is certainly more “Joe Public” friendly than the current Ontario IPM program. The EIQ frames the numbers in a more understandable picture. It makes far more sense to say product A is less environmentally impactful than product B. When golf preaches “sustainability” (I hate this word, in case you’ve forgotten) a large portion of that goal starts with EIQ and responsible stewardship it encompasses.

Andrew Hardy



Out of our League??

While a Superintendents job can be a lonely one at times. The golf industry does tend to be a very tight-knit community. Without this closeness with my peers, bouncing and sharing ideas, or just having an ear to bend once in a while can push my brain to the verge of implosion.

I do not have the luxury of an Assistant Superintendent, Irrigation technician or full-time Spray tech. I am on any (most) given day, all of those guys. The time and dedication that goes into being the “keeper the green” is plenty. And sometimes the rewards that are reaped can be few. That’s why it is certainly a great boost (particularly in the dog days of August) to have your name used in the same sentence as some fellow Superintendents you greatly respect.

The quarterly publication of the Ontario Golf Superintendents Association (OGSA) was released last week. While I was aware I was contributing to the article, it was very gratifying to me to see my name beside Jay Honeyball (Oslerbrook Golf Club), Jeff Stauffer (Rosedale Golf Club) and Greg McFarlane (Thornhill Golf Club). These gentlemen are some of the best in the business and we all share a passion for environmental golf course management.

Out of my league? No doubt. Proud? You better believe it.

Here is the link to the article, enjoy.

Summer is rapidly winding down, as are our staffing numbers. The first couple weeks of September will be very busy with events and low staff numbers. It will be nice to have a small staff for the remainder of the season. Though I would argue this has been our best staff in my 10 years here.

Andrew Hardy


Preventative measures and behind the scenes

It’s hot out, really hot out! Not exactly a revelation or groundbreaking statement to say the least. We have had an extended stretch of hot/humid weather over the last few weeks, with a few breaks in the middle as well. While runs of this hot/humid weather are not unusual for us. After last summers cooler overall trend, this weather seems much hotter.

Below is the last 3 years weather data for June and July. With 3-4 more days expected to hit 90F (32C humidex included) this week. We will be on par with the weather we incurred during 2013.

Year Historical Monthly Average Actual Rainfall Days over 90F (32C) humidity included
Jun-2015 148.6mm 1
Jun-2014 72.8mm 63.44mm 3
Jun-2013 96.8mm 6
Jul-2015 38.8mm 10
Jul-2014 82.0mm 72.6 3
Jul-2013 132.7 14

For those of you who remember 2013 presented some major issues for us with heat scald on some greens. The biggest difference is with rainfall. Unless we incur a major deluge of rain in the next 5 days we will be well below the historical average rainfall. So not only is it hot, but, it’s dry as well.

Within the parameters of our water taking permit we are applying close to 600,000 gallons of water/night. Our predominantly sandy soils need a lot of water and will need some rainfall to catch-up;

077Warm weather usually starts to show some gaps in our irrigation system;



.The weepers for our septic system are even stressed;


While water is not a huge issue for us here. We do have a water permit, and do have to abide by the guidelines of the permit. So the thought that we can water as much as we want isn’t necessarily true. Also, the facts are that turf doesn’t lose a lot of water in hot/humid weather. We just need to water smarter right now.

Hand watering to cool the turf surface (not adding water, quite simply think of how good you feel for the half hour after you get out of a pool);


Wetting agent on greens to provide uniform soil moisture;


We also took some preventative measures with our putting surfaces to ensure they were not going to be exposed to the extreme heat. Our height of cut was raised from .120″ to .145″ two weeks ago. We spiked greens;




And deep tined greens with bayonets;


We also spoon fed the greens with fertilizer, and added a healthy dose of fungicide to protect the plant (yes even the environmental nutcase likes a little insurance). All this was done in the last two weeks to ensure our greens would withstand the heat and look good heading into August;


While some “green speed” was lost in this process. After next week’s solid tine aeration, we should be able to return cutting heights back to where they were and push the greens a little harder in the cooler (and much shorter) days of August. All of this in time to start raising them again in late September for winter preparation.

Stay cool in the heat and keep yourself hydrated.

Andrew Hardy



Midlands 5 bunker reno

Ironically enough 2 weeks after my post about minimizing bunker inputs. We just completed a renovation of the green side bunker in front of the green at Midlands 5. The main issue was the ornamental grass that had spread beyond where it needed to be over the last 2 seasons.


We had aggressively cut this grass down last summer and treated it with Roundup. But it just seemed to thrive in this environment. The easiest solution was to remove all the plant material and the root contaminated soil and have a steep pitched face/larger bunker as the finished product.

Removing the plant and subsoil;


While we were in the midst of the project it was decided that we would reclaim the original shape of the trap. The area closest to the approach had overgrown with turf by close to 4 feet.


Once all the material was removed, the remaining sand inside the trap was pushed into the face and packed in to create a sandier subsurface.


Today we spent most of the day adding sand to the trap. We used our USGA topdressing sand as that is what is in the rest of the bunkers on the property.



While we don’t have the desire to make these drastic changes on a lot of our sandy hazards. Sometimes the easiest remedy for an ugly site is fixing it properly. I’m quite sure that this new and improved bunker will see lots of action. Troy and the crew did a great job on this bunker and should be proud of the finished product they have produced.

Andrew Hardy