The Final Chapter 

Writers note: This will be the final post to this blog. I will leave it active till the New Year

I still remember the first time I turned into the driveway at Pheasant Run. I was blown away that such a nice golf course was actually considering hiring me to work there. That day was also the first birthday of my twin boys Liam and Luke. The story of my time at this golf course goes well beyond “just a job”. 

When I was hired as the Assistant Superintendent in August of 2005 I wondered if this was going to be a good job. A wise man (Mark Sharpe-debate this one if you wish hahaha) told me that a job isn’t good, it’s the person who’s hired for the job that makes it good. I worked my tail off for 2 years and was promoted to Superintendent in late 2007. I’ve shouted from the rooftops about Pheasant Run and everything we’ve been through both good and bad. 

I didn’t see myself as a “blogger”, “writer” or “social media savant” in those early years but somehow I ended up there. In recent weeks Superintendent’s at great golf courses are thanking me for what I’ve done. There are also those who disliked my approach for one reason or another. The turf industry is chalk full of great people who are driven by their passion for what they do. I too, am one of those people who loves the golf/turf industry. I did all I could to promote what Superintendents do and how we do it. If I’m guilty of anything it’s that I loved my job, the profession and the people who work in this vocation. 

The fond memories of the many staff over the years I will carry with me for many years. I can list dozens upon dozens of great staff I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the last 10 years. But, the great stories always seem to be the ones about the staff (I hired them. Of course haha) that were quirky, lazy, perpetually late and generally disinterested. It’s often been said that the movie Caddyshack is a great misrepresentation of golf course maintenance. But there have been a lot of days where Carl Spackler could have walked through the door at our shop and fit right in.
The 2015 golf season was my best as a Superintendent. The fruition of a lot of hard work, hardships and scathing golf forum reviews that drove me the last 3 years. I always felt I had something to prove and a standard to raise. I was alone blowing leaves this past Friday afternoon and with my head held high I was proud of the turf conditions I’m leaving for “the next guy”. I will walk out the door of the shop and drive out that long driveway for the last time as Superintendent this coming Thursday knowing I went out on top. That’s an amazing feeling!

It is quite possible that my three boys may miss the golf course more than me. Every summer Saturday for 7 years Liam, Luke and Ethan have been by my side watering greens, patiently waiting as I fix sprinklers or quite simply driving around making sure the course was ok. Those days were “our thing” and really created an eye opening experience for me. Liam and Luke were diagnosed with autism shortly into my 2nd year at Pheasant Run. The golf course was a happy place for them, which allowed me to not “sweat the small stuff”. Ethan LOVED seeing the geese, frogs, turtles, foxes, dear and on and on… His view of the golf course was that it was some sort of wildlife sanctuary or zoo. He also caught on by the end of this year that we always checked Highlands 1 and Uplands 1 greens first because “they were my life”. My boys grew up on the golf course, I’m hoping we can find a new passion next summer that can remotely match what we had at Pheasant Run.

My wife Judy has put up with a lot of crap over the years. Staying late for this, stressing about that (don’t even mention the weather), the constant falling asleep and never ending text messages/phone calls are just a small sample size of what the Superintendents wife deals with. She’s gone to important appointments without me and had to pickup sick kids from school because I couldn’t. Though this new job scares her she knows that I have earned the opportunity. Right to the end…behind every good Superintendent is an even better woman!

Lastly, to all of you who (for some crazy reason) followed this blog I want to say thank you. This platform has been wonderfully therapeutic at times and I legitimately loved posting on here. To my Twitter followers who followed my journey from @pheasantturf to @andrewhardyturf to @PRTurfUpdates thank you to all of you as well. I’m an honest guy (sometimes too honest) who really loved to have a good laugh once in a while. I never felt that “being in character” all the time fit me as a person or as a Superintendent. Some of my best friends in the industry have come from the Twitter community (my wife calls it online dating for Supers) and I’m not ashamed broadcast that. 

On Monday November 16th I will board an early morning flight to Winnipeg for orientation with Brett Young. And with that my (and my family) new journey and next chapter begins. 

Andrew Hardy

For the last time…Superintendent Pheasant Run Golf Club

Turning the Page

I had really hoped to post this next week. But a series of strange interactions today has me writing this on Friday night. I have officially resigned as the Superintendent at Pheasant Run Golf Club. My last day will be Thursday November 12th, and I will begin as the Regional Account Manager with Brett Young Seeds shortly afterward. 

This is the right time and most importantly the right company for me to make this move. It had become quite obvious to me and my family that it was “time for a change”. 

I love Pheasant Run and the people who represent the club. Pheasant Run has been a critical part of me (and my family) for 10 years and to say I won’t miss it is far fetched. The Evans family has taken me in to their family and been through a lot with me and my family. I am fortunate to have worked there and can say without second thought that the new Superintendent will be fortunate to be the just the 3rd Superintendent in the 36 year history of the club. 

There are so many people to thank. Craig, Brenda, Karen, Lynne, Mark, Kent and those who worked in and around the clubhouse. But mostly I thank those who made me look good, and those who stood by my side when things weren’t great. Over the years the names are too numerous, but, Rob Marsiglio, Troy McCusker, Evan Mundy, Tom Jenkins, Julie Cain, John Chang and Mike Winters were my reliable people who carried me time and time again. Students (sorry I just can’t list all of you) such as Ally Cripps, Nik Marsiglio, Brendan Dean and Rosie Gettel who were leaders in their own special way. 

Then there’s my rocks, my confidantes, my “pains in the ass”, the old timers.  Bob, Peter, Blake, Lloyd and Gord and others over the years will always bring a smile to my face. Blenchard was the first person I hired and he’s been a royal pain in the butt the whole way, but, I couldn’t have done it without you! And Frank, oh Frank. You drive me nuts, you did what you wanted, but you always had my back. Frank epitomizes Pheasant Run and I am proud to call him my friend. I am happy to walk out the door for the last time with you at my side. 

And how can I forget my commuting partner and Equipment Technician Brent. It was nice to have a professional golf course mechanic my last 3 years here. Yes we had our moments, but, it was great to watch a real pro at work. I will miss our rides to work and your dead-on staff voice impersonations.

Over the years and regardless how I felt about the course. The backing of members like Michael Gardner, Larry Dworkin and Jim Rodgers was what made Pheasant Run a great place. Thank you to everyone for 10 amazing years!! 
“Never say goodbye, because saying goodbye means going away. And going away means forgetting”

 – Peter Pan
Many regards,

Andrew Hardy


The frost phenomenom


This weekends weather could affect those early tee times.

Originally posted on Pheasant Run GC Turf Department Maintenance Blog:

Though we have been incredibly lucky so far this fall with regards to frost delays. They do continue to be a “pain in the butt” for staff and customers. So I am taking this post to explain frost and the damage that can occur via walking/cart traffic on frost covered grass. So far this season we have had only 6 frost delays, which in terms of comparing to past seasons is remarkable. Generally frost inhibits players and workers alike from about Thanksgiving forward. So we have been lucky in 2011 to say the least.

Frost is essentially the turf lowering its temperature lower than the temperature in the atmosphere and high humidity. The grass becomes covered in water vapors. The Frost Delay tends to occur on clear nights and may actually not hit its peak in coverage until the sun comes up (cooling grass plants in combination with heat of the sun…

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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