Olds College Campus News
by Jason Pick, Instructor, Turf Management Program
The final quarter of the 2013 Olds College school year was an exciting one – we began the new year with a guest lecture from Mitch Davidson AGS, superintendent of Dinosaur Trail Golf Club who reminded us to “Invest in Ourselves” sharing how you can support your associations while advancing your communication skills. At the CGSA conference in Toronto, we saw our 2012 Applied degree graduate Andrew Krek win the $2500 scholarship, while Cody Inkster and Franz Unterberger both also collected scholastic grants from the WCTA.
In Penticton we also announced Olds College’s new online B.A.Sc. in Turfgrass Management, and have since welcomed several students for the September offering and the new educational platform. Mr. Jordan Collins, 2nd year diploma graduate gave his guest lecture, about growing up on a small town course; soon to have his eyes are open wide this summer at Banff Springs Golf Club. Jordan was one of twenty four students who graduated from the Turf Management Diploma program, and another fourteen, graduated from our Bachelor of Applied Science Degree majoring in Golf Course Management. An excellent response for applications into the 2013/2014 school year so far, and may soon be considering the inevitability of a waiting list into the turf program!
Another highlight this winter was our annual “Assistant Superintendents Panel” where six assistant superintendents from some of the finest courses in Alberta and British Columbia visited our school for an open forum Q&A about what life is like as an assistant. There truly are some things you can’t learn about in school, Duane Epp (Stewart Creek), Evan Olausen (Silvertip), Mike McKinnon (Priddis Greens), Ryan Cassidy (Heritage Pointe), Adam Champion (Greywolf), and Cameron Watt (Kananaskis) each offered their insights into operations at their respective courses. This year we also benefited from some input by assistants across the border; Pebble Beach Corporation assistants led by superintendent and Olds graduate Jeff Steen provided responses also. Sharing their USA insights into golf course maintenance, the same time were hosting the PGA’s AT&T, we must sincerely thank our panel members again from both sides of the border.
Our winter semester continued with guest lectures from Mark Jull of Turf Canada, Barry Cochrane of TORO, and Scott Morrison, SJM Consults and founder of Turfhugger.com even Theo Fleury also came to talk about mental health. An incredible success this year was the Olds College turf club, who led the charge to win Olds College’s Club of the year – the first time the Turf Club has won in 16yrs! Among a long list of fundraising and community service activities, the club has established a scholarship fund as a legacy to the next generation of turf club members for many years to come.
We also acknowledge the outstanding support from TORO distributor Oakcreek in Calgary, Mr. Claude Cloutier, Reef Caulder, and the technicians who hosted our diploma students for 2 X 2wk sessions on reel maintenance, sharpening reels and bed knives at their shop in Calgary. Training was 2:1 - absolutely incredible support from the best in the business.
Lastly, we must thank Mr. Jay Leech, for his exceptional instruction, offering inspirational lectures at Olds College since 2011. Jay recently accepted the superintendent’s role on Vancouver Island at Morningstar Golf Club, and although we are sad to see him go, we realize how lucky Morningstar is to have gained another true professional. Jay joins the company of similarly decorated and distinguished superintendents on the Island (But why? Snow mold and ice damage are so much fun!?). Jay’s commitment to the improvement of our turf program cannot be understated, we have all benefited shared in the stories and experience from thirty years as a golf course Superintendent. While instructing our turf program, Jay also assisted with the start-up of the Olds College golf team, who narrowly missed nationals in their first season. Jay also helped bring our newest botanical gardens and constructed wetlands project to its completion. With sincerest gratitude, from all the faculty in the School of Environment, we wish Jay the very best as he continues on to Morningstar Golf Club. Until next time Jay, keep it down the middle.