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Education, golf blend at superintendents’ event

Montreal group defends ‘title belt’ against Ottawa region

October 13, 2016  By Ryan Schreiber Superintendent Loch March Golf Club

Club de Golf St. Raphael in Montreal played host to the second annual Syngenta Challenge and Education Day in July, featuring a friendly golf match between members of the Ottawa Valley Turfgrass Association (OVTA) and the Surintendent Region de Montreal (SRM).

Dr. Mike Agnew, senior field technical manager for Syngenta Turf and Landscape, was the day’s featured speaker, taking to the floor after breakfast with a discussion on “a best management approach for poa annua greens in New England.” With weather patterns similar to his Ottawa and Montreal-area audiences, they were able to identify with the topic.

Agnew emphasized that nitrogen levels must be a priority for plants’ defence mechanisms. He cited two of the most common issues affecting poa annua greens are anthracnose and take-all patch, and noted the water volume for fungicides when dealing with anthracnose and take-all are paramount to any success in finding control. He discussed topdressing rates and that the pH level is a major factor when managing poa annua.

Afterward, Chris Andejicka, long-time superintendent at Essex Golf and Country Club in Windsor, took the audience through Essex’s recent major greens resurfacing project.  


The winter of 2013-2014 was not kind to many Ontario clubs, and Essex was no different. Seventeen of 18 poa annuagreens had major turf loss, and Andrejicka acknowledged he had never encountered such extensive damage. He immediately came up with options for the club to deal with the aftermath of such a devastating winter.

Ultimately, the club chose to go with a fumigation process using Basamid to rid the greens of poa and convert them to bentgrass. The project involved joining massive tarps used to seal the area after the fumigant was applied.  


Andrejicka also noted the unique challenges that the Windsor area climate poses when managing turf. The course, built in 1926 and one of few Donald Ross-designed courses in Canada, had seen numerous trees planted over time in and around green complexes that posed obvious challenges as well. The club removed several trees to improve original sightlines to the course and improve turf conditions. He pointed out the cooperation of his staff and the membership as being vital to the success of the project, and said he has no plans to aerate the greens in an effort to keep the new bent greens as pure as possible.

Following the education session, it was time for the SRM team of players to defend the Syngenta Challenge title belt against their competitors from Ottawa. The format was a Ryder Cup-style event with six holes played as four-ball (two-man best ball), six holes played as a scramble and six holes played as alternate shots.

The matches were set as follows:

  • Ryan Schreiber, Loch March Golf Club, and Bruce Holt, G.C. Duke Equipment, represented OVTA, against Pat Moir, Hillsdale Golf and Country Club, and Phil Jangl, OJ Company, in the first group.
  • Ryan Beauchamp, turfgrass specialist with Syngenta, and Chris Nelski, the Marshes Golf Club, representing OVTA, against Guillaume Depres, Club de Golf Beloeil, and Claude Gaudet, Club de Golf Montcalm.
  • The third match featured David Kuypers, head of lawn and garden with Syngenta, and Dave Campbell, The Marshes Golf Club, against Collin Deschamps, Le Mirage, and Ronald Begin, Club de Golf Le Blainvillier
  • The fourth match featured John Lamoureux, GT Golf and Turf, and Ken Campbell, Smiths Falls Golf and Country Club, against host superintendent Andre Groulx, St. Raphael, and J.P. Doucet, Club Le Grand Portneuf.
  • The fifth match had Essex’s Chris Andrejicka and Syngenta senior field technical manager Dr. Mike Agnew, representing the OVTA, against Royal Montreal’s Greg Greer and Luc Ladouceur, Laval Sur le Lac.
  • Representing the OVTA in the sixth match were Alex LeClaire, Casselview, and Chris Chapman, Camelo,t against Doug Meyer, Beaconsfield, and Dean O’Doherty, Club De Golf Vallee du Richelieu.
  • In the final group, the pairing of Chris Vollette, Quinelle Golf Club, and Gordon Johansson, Turf Care Products, represented the OVTA against Eric Briand, Club de
  • Golf St, Jean, and Bernard Lefebvre, Country Club of Montreal.

In the end, after a great day on St. Raphael’s Blue course, the Surintendet Region de Montreal was able to defend the Syngenta Challenge title belt and win once again. After a post-golf meal, the presentation of the belt took place with Kuypers and Beauchamp presenting the belt a second consecutive year to the SRM.  

The OVTA members are already working on their games in anticipation of another chance at the belt in 2017. The Syngenta-sponsored event was enjoyed by all participants. It is regarded as an ideal balance of education, fun and camaraderie.

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