Western Canada Turf Managers Experience First Green

By Stan Kazymerchyk

A group of BC Golf Superintendents assembled at Kelowna, BC’s Two Eagles Golf Course for the BCGSA’s annual Fall Exchange August 19-21, hosted by Superintendent Warren Blue, with a First Green program tutorial as the keynote event held on August 20.

Attendees first viewed a presentation by WCTA’s First Green Coordinator, Stan Kazymerchyk, outlining the basics of what a First Green event is about followed by tips and checklists needed to host their own outing.  The event then moved out to the Two Eagles practice green complex to observe four interactive demo stations using local grade 5 kids as demonstration participants.

This First Green outing was themed “water conservation” as requested by the grade 5's teacher.  Mutliple demonstrators each had goals of communicating the importance of water to turf health and play and to showcase our professional role in environmental responsibility all while maximizing hands-on learning at the grade 5 level. 

Two Eagles Assistant Golf Pro, Kim Ausman, starts the First Green demo with a fun putting lesson.

First, Two Eagles Assistant Pro Kimberly Ausman conducted a putting tutorial while discussing the impact of water on putting quality.  After a good bit of putting practice through a fun obstacle course, Jason Hooper of Target Specialty Products let the kids see and use turf moisture evaluation tools such as TDR-300, Stimpmeter and Tru-Firm.  Next, Travis Olson of Kamloops Golf Club got their tiny hands dirty with a soils and moisture session, learning about soil components, drainage and water retention.  Finally, Jeff Bennett of Mabel Lake golf course showed kids how good we are at “water use efficiency” by handling tools like handwatering hose, filters, nozzles, heads and controllers.

With a couple moms and several supers looking on, Jason Hooper shows kids some cool turf tools at Two Eagles Golf Course. 

Jeff Bennett gets a hand hauling hose and dialing up the nozzle from a group of 5th graders at Two Eagles Golf Course.    

Kids love getting their hands dirty.  Travis Olson gave them that chance with his ‘Soils and Moisture’ demonstration.

Although this was our demonstration personnel's first crack at First Green, they excelled and proved that Golf Superintendents are naturals at presenting our profession in a positive light.  At the following ‘Tailgate Talk’ Jason, Travis and Jeff shared their experiences while observing superintendents commented on what they just saw.  Students commented that “ It was fun, I learned a lot of new things I didn’t know, like measuring water… how it mattered how to keep the grass with enough water…and all the machines were cool too.”  

That same week, about 50 sportsfield managers attended the WCTA/STC “Alberta Field Day” at Edmonton’s Rundle Park.  Although most First Green outings have been held at golf courses, the first ever First Green event at a sportsfield was done in Canada at Langley, BC’s Macleod Athletic Park in 2016. 

During the afternoon, delegates were rotated through five activity stations, one of which provided sportsfield managers an introduction to the First Green program with a sportsfield focus.  First Green Coordinator, Stan Kazymerchyk, provided lesson examples of area measurement, soils and water efficiency.

Stan Kazymerchyk with Alberta Sportsfield Managers at Edmonton’s Rundle Park.

Turf Managers from both events walked away with a handout summary of what First Green is about and the resources to plan their own event.  If anyone would like further information on how to host a First Green outing, please contact Stan Kazymerchyk at Stan.Kazymerchyk@kpu.ca.

Editor's note(s):  Great job helping raise awareness of the First Green program, thanks for your time and effort Stan!  Also, a very special thanks to Shelia Finney from the Golf Course Superintendent's Association of America, the new First Green program benefactor, for travelling all the way from Lawrence, Kansas to be at Two Eagles for this demonstration event..