The Cut - 2 February 2012

Welcome to this instalment of The Cut, the AGCSA’s weekly email newsletter. In this edition we touch base with superintendents in SE QLD and northern NSW to see how they fared after last week’s deluge and reveal the departure of another long-serving superintendent, this time from the ACT. We also welcome back a familiar face... Enjoy the read. 

Neylan to return to AGCSATech in part-time role 

AGCSA general manager Peter Frewin and the Board of the AGCSA are delighted to advise members and the industry that former AGCSA general manager and head of AGCSATech John Neylan will return to work with AGCSATech on a part-time basis. Neylan (pictured), who stood down as AGCSA general manager after last year's Adelaide conference, will rejoin the week starting Monday 13 February, 2012.   

John's prime role within the organisation will be work associated with current and future research projects and assisting the AGCSA with its Horticulture Australia obligations. John will also be a regular contributor to Australian Turfgrass Management Journal and other association publications and will continue to present at AGCSA conferences and workshops.

“John’s knowledge of the industry and his passion for research has been a great asset to the AGCSA in the past and his return, albeit on a part-time, basis will be another great benefit for AGCSA members,” says Frewin.

Courses in clean-up mode after last week's deluge

Following last week’s deluge, golf courses in south east Queensland and northern NSW are slowly starting to dry out. As reported in last week’s edition of The Cut, courses from Brisbane to Coffs Harbour recorded rainfall totals of between 350-500mm, causing widespread inundation and damage.

One of the hardest hit was RACV Royal Pines which is hosting this week’s ANZ Ladies Masters. Despite some concerns about whether the tournament would go ahead, recently appointed course superintendent Lincoln Coombes and his staff worked tirelessly to reinstate the course and today’s opening round and yesterday’s Pro-Am went ahead as scheduled.

“As the photos (below) show there was a fair bit of water around,” Coombes told The Cut. “We lost count of just how much rain fell after Wednesday as our rain gauge, which was situated approximately three metres from the lake edge and a metre high off the ground, was washed away! Combined with a king tide the water backed up real quick."

Colonial Golf Club (superintendent Mark Hauff) was also one of the worst affected and below are some photos of his course as well as other photos and correspondence received by The Cut this week.

Coffs Harbour Golf Club (superintendent Justin Sheehan)
After three consecutive years of 2400mm-plus annual rainfall totals, last week brought with it 330mm in four days plus another 160mm over four hours on Tuesday , causing widespread surface flooding, and bunker damage. “We are hoping for a drought over the next five years as we have just spent $1 million on a new irrigation system!”

Coolangatta and Tweed Heads Golf Club (Peter Lonergan)
“Hopefully we won’t be breaking the rainfall figure for January but we are very close.  The 450mm of rain we received from Monday evening to Saturday morning pushed our January total to 580mm which puts January 2012 down as the second wettest on record behind 1951 when 610mm fell and just in front of 2006 when there was 557mm.  The average for January is 188mm and there have been few occasions when more than 400mm has fallen for the month.

“I don't remember seeing so much water lying in such volumes around the courses after the main rainfall event has finished.  But I guess we can count ourselves lucky that the river didn’t break its banks by too much when you compare us to courses further up the coast such as The Glades and Colonial.  And spare a thought for Royal Pines and their new superintendent Lincoln Coombes and staff who are trying to prepare the course for the Ladies Masters which is supposed to start this week!”  Taken from Peter’s course maintenance blog, posted on 29 Jan.

Pacific Harbour Golf & Country Club (Kelvin Nicholson)
The Bribie Island course received 495mm of rain last week taking its January total to just one millimetre shy of 600! 

Sanctuary Cove Golf & Country Club (Robin Doodson)
“We are starting to dry out nicely after recording more than 350mm with some of the worst flooding I have seen at the Cove. The bunkers on the new Palms course were back up within a day, but on the Pines course, where the bunkers have no form of bunker lining, took between 2-3 days to reinstate.

AGCSA members forum posting - Kangaroos

AGCSA general manager Peter Frewin has made a posting on the AGCSA Members Forum this week, asking members whether they can shed some light on a legal, safe and environmentally friendly way to keep kangaroos off putting greens. If you would like to post a response, simply log into the members section of the AGCSA website and head to the Forums section.

If you are an AGCSA member and not familiar with the members area of the AGCSA website, within this section there is the AGCSA Forum which members can use to post topics for discussion. Although the forum has been up since the AGCSA website was revamped in mid-2008, it has only been used sparingly, so we encourage you to check it out and post a topic in order to get some discussions going. Forums are a great way of sharing ideas and knowledge and as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. To access the AGCSA forums, simply click on the AGCSA Forum menu within the members area of the AGCSA website. Click here to log into the members section of the AGCSA website.

2012 Toro AGCSA Golf Championships clarification 

In last week’s edition of The Cut we announced the venues for the revamped Toro AGCSA Golf Championships to be held in June. Commonwealth and Metropolitan golf clubs will act as hosts for this year’s events and we mentioned that fields at each course will be capped at 140. That number should have read 140 across both courses. For more details about this year’s golf events to be held during the 28th Australian Turfgrass Conference in Melbourne and format changes, click here.

Patton to host turf seed seminars next week

John Patton, vice president and international sales manager for Seed Research of Oregon, will be in Australia for three seminars next week. The seminars, which are being conducted by Advanced Seed, will be held in Melbourne (6 Feb), Canberra (8 Feb) and Sydney (9 Feb). Patton has a wealth of knowledge in the turf seed industry and will present on a range of turfgrass species. Click here for more information about these seminars.

Are you heading to the GIS in Las Vegas?

The AGCSA is interested to know how many Australian turf industry practitioners and representatives are planning on heading over to next February’s GCSAA conference and Golf Industry Show in Las Vegas. If you are intending on heading Stateside and havent already let the AGCSA know, please contact AGCSA general manager Peter Frewin by email


Lording set to farewell Federal GC

Long-serving Federal Golf Club course superintendent and AGCSA member Stephen Lording (pictured) announced this week that he is leaving the club after more than 23 years. Lording informed the club of his decision shortly after returning from a recent five week trekking holiday in Nepal and will finish up in the second week of February. Lording, who originally started out as a bowling greenkeeper in Sydney before moving to Federal in 1983 as assistant under Trevor Mackie, is looking to set up his own business once he finishes at Federal.

“I’m leaving the club on very good terms,” says Lording, who has been Federal superintendent for the past 20 years. “Federal has been a great club to work for and we have certainly achieved a lot over the years, in particular the conversion to couchgrass. More than 23 years is a long time and I felt that the time was right to make the change. I had plenty of time to think about things while trekking in the Himalayas and it was a case of if I didn’t do it now I probably never would.” 

One of the highlights for Lording during his time at Federal has been seeing the development and success of those young apprentices which have worked under him. Lording, who turns 49 in July, has the enviable record of being boss to three past winners of the AGCSA Graduate of the Year Award, including Stephen Heskett, Glenn Dawson and most recently Wade Williams. The AGCSA wishes Stephen all the best in his future endeavours.

Take advantage of Early Bird conference rates

As we announced in The Cut a fortnight ago, registration is NOW OPEN for the 28th Australian Turfgrass Conference and Trade Exhibition which returns to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 4-8 June 2012. An e-book version of the Delegate Registration Brochure is now available for viewing (click the image below to expand and view the e-book) which contains all the information you need to know about this year’s event including conference education programme and streams, accommodation options, registration and payment details, social functions, golf events and post conference turf tours and workshops. Alternatively you can visit the Conference section on the AGCSA website.

You can register for this year’s conference via a number of ways:


The AGCSA invites you to browse the delegate registration brochure and if you have any queries or require more information about the conference visit or call the AGCSA office on (03) 9548 8600. For specific enquires please direct to the following:

Registration and General Conference Enquiries
Simone Staples (AGCSA Events and Education Manager)
M: 0415 322 213
* Please note that Simone will be attending Harrogate Week in the UK and will be away from the office from 19 Jan-9 Feb

Trade Exhibition Enquiries
Melissa Wallace (AGCSA Business Relationship Manager)
M: 0417 011 745


AGCSA Bookshop - Keepers of the Green

The AGCSA now has in stock copies of ‘Keepers of the Green: A History of Golf Course Management’. This magnificent 260-plus page hardback book relays the fascinating history of golf course management right from its earliest incarnation through to its modern day position in the amenity horticulture industry. While the book predominantly focuses on the history of golf course management in America, it nonetheless makes for a fascinating read and is a must for the greenkeeping purist who has an interest in the history of their profession. Click here to read the full review which appeared in Australian Turfgrass Management Journal. AGCSA members can pick up a copy for $63 (non-members $75). To order your copy, contact Lyndel Conway at the AGCSA office on (03) 9548 8600 or email 

To see what other books the AGCSA currently has in stock or can order in, please click here. 

Other News

Good luck to...

... the following AGCSA members who are preparing their courses for major events in the coming week.

Mona Vale Golf Club (superintendent Andy Hugill, pictured top), Long Reef Golf Club (superintendent Peter Donkers, pictured second from top) and Elanora Country Club (superintendent Dan Cook), all NSW: 2012 Men's NSW Amateur Championship, 1-8 Feb.

Flinders Golf Club, VIC (superintendent Colin Morrison, pictured middle): Flinders Pro-Am sponsored by Bendigo Bank, 6 Feb. 

RACV Cape Schanck Resort, VIC (superintendent Mathew Hose, pictured second from bottom): RACV Cape Schanck Resort Pro-Am, 7 Feb.

Pakenham Golf Club, VIC (superintendent Rick McHugh): Power Pro Electrical Contractor Pakenham Pro-Am, 10 Feb. 

Lakelands Golf Club, QLD (superintendent Phil Soegaard, pictured bottom): Lakelands Pro Am, 11 Feb.

If you have a major event coming up at your club, please email details to AGCSA editor Brett Robinson

AGCSA Water Initiative - click here to go to our Water Management Portal. AGCSA Golf Environmental Initiative - click here to go to our Golf Environmental Initiative Portal.