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Behind the Game: What it takes to look after a golf course in Edmonton

Behind the Game: The life of looking after a golf course in Edmonton
WATCH ABOVE: For Todd Paquette, it started as a summer job when he was a teenager, but his love for working on a golf course took him to Olds College. Now almost 30 years later he’s the superintendent at Mill Woods Golf Course. Learn more in this week’s Behind the Game segment.

Growing up in North Battleford, Sask., Todd Paquette got a job at the local golf course for the summer of 1989.

It was only two years later that he enrolled in the Turfgrass Management Diploma program at Olds College.

“It’s very popular now,” said Paquette of the program, which was quite new when he attended in 1991. “It’s one of the few turfgrass schools left in Canada.”

He learned all the science behind maintaining a golf course, and then honed his skills for 17 years at Glendale Golf & Country Club before moving to the superintendent role at Mill Woods Golf Course in 2010.

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In Canada, the superintendent has a big job of being sure that the greens come out okay after our long frigid winters; 90 per cent of damage on a course is due to ice, and not disease.

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Timing of the fungicide application in the fall is important but Paquette said it’s tarps, and when they get on the course, that is the biggest factor.

“We have a tarping system that we first had at Glendale,” said Paquette. “We got it from the States, but we kind of developed it for Canada and I’ve had it hear for the last seven years, eight years.

Not business-as-usual as Alberta golf courses begin to open
Not business-as-usual as Alberta golf courses begin to open

Timing is key to preserving the tuft.

“You’d like it [the turf] to be frozen… you’d like it to be before snow so you don’t have to shovel the snow off, we’ve done that before,” Paquette said.
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“Because we’re a pay-to-play golf course, we try and push it as long as we can in the fall to make some more money,

“So if we can even get two or three days where we’re like ‘Okay it’s decent out, let’s get these tarps down and get closed properly.”