Osprey Valley Golf - October 2016 Newsletter
Osprey Valley Golf - October 2016 Newsletter
Osprey Valley Golf Newsletter
Osprey Valley Golf October Newsletter
Happy Thanksgiving from Osprey Valley Golf
When caught up in the rigours of daily life and work, we often forget to appreciate how fortunate we are. As we prepare for Thanksgiving here in Osprey Valley, we like to take time to reflect upon the many personal and professional blessings that we enjoy. We have so much to be grateful for the support of our loved ones, our freedoms as Canadians, and the privilege of working in such a beautiful place, for a great organization. We are also grateful to you, our golfers and friends. OVG would not be where it is today without your patronage and support.

It has been an exceptional season thus far. We've had many fabulous tournaments and events. More families than ever have taken advantage of our Kids Golf Free at OVG program, helping to grow our favourite game, and our Osprey Helps program, which was new this season, is now in full swing, helping us give back to the community we love. Fall Rates will begin on the 8th, just in time for the Thanksgiving Weekend, so be sure to come and join us for some holiday cheer!
Caledonian Open
Marching to the beat of a different drummer - the Caledonian Open at OVG

It remains our goal to provide you with an exceptional golf experience and we look forward to continuing to improve on that promise for years to come. May joy, bounty and peace be yours and your family's in abundance, not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the coming year.

"If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt."
~ Dean Martin
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Arnold Palmer Quote
Arnold Palmer 1929-2016
This past month, golf lost it's favourite son, Arnold Palmer. The outpouring of love for the giant of of the game on social media, at the Ryder Cup and at his memorial service show why he was known as - and will always be - the King.
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Try These for Your Thanksgiving Table
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts - with Bacon!
Thanksgiving is upon us and in celebration we thought we'd share one of our favourite side dishes! It's practically an axiom these days that kids won't eat their brussels sprouts - but if you try these sweet and salty treats, they will be a staple the family will ask for again and again!

The secret to Brussel sprouts that children and adults alike will adore, is all in how they're cooked. Roasting brings out the best in the little marvels. They get a crisp, golden brown and develop a sweet, caramelized flavor. If you enjoy this recipe, try them again roasted with just olive oil, salt and pepper - or add a small drizzle of balsamic vinegar to change them up. Some people like to add chopped apples before baking, or chopped hazelnuts! You can even sprinkle the finished brussels with pomegranate seeds for a delightful and surprising burst of acid!

Whatever options you try, be sure to start with fresh brussel sprouts that are tightly packed and still bright green. Remove any yellow or brown or loose outer leaves and trim the bottom stem about 1/8th of an inch. They vary in size, so cut the larger brussels in half or quarter them for even cooking.
Brussels Sprouts
** The recipes we publish in our newsletter, while delicious, are not the same as those served in the Osprey Bistro.


2 lbs. Brussel sprouts
1/2 lb bacon, cut into thin strips
1 oz. maple syrup
2 tsp. smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
1-2 Tbsp butter


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the bacon on it. Bake in the lower third of the oven until crisp. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes, depending on how thick your bacon is, so keep your eyes on it.

While the bacon is crisping, place your trimmed, raw Brussels sprouts in a bowl. Drizzle them generously with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and paprika.

Spread the seasoned sprouts on another lined baking sheet in a single layer. Over-crowding will result in mushy sprouts, so if you need to, use two baking sheets!

Remove the bacon from the oven and roast the brussels sprouts for 20 minutes until golden brown. While they are roasting, remove the bacon to paper towels to drain.

When the brussels are golden brown, toss them with the bacon, maple syrup and whole butter and serve!

Dave Hunter and Chloe

Calm Amid the Storm
A Day in the Life of Superintendent of Hoot & Toot Dave Hunter

Even the busiest times of the year have occasional slow days, and this may be one of them for Dave Hunter, the Superintendent of Hoot and Toot. But for the Osprey Valley Turf Department, the plan for a day and what actually happens are not always the same thing.

Often, unforeseen events often mean sudden adjustments. “It can be a game changer, for sure,” Dave says. Yesterday was a prime example, when a big rain storm meant rescheduling the planned aeration of the Heathlands greens to this morning. Instead, the challenge became “trying to get our mow in” between bursts of heavy rainfall. After a busy weekend and a big tournament on Hoot on Friday, the courses needed a full mow, regardless of the rain and being short staffed. “It was a great mix. Everybody was soaked. Good times,” Dave says with a characteristic understated smile.

This morning began as most of them do, with an early alarm and a nudge from Dave’s long-time work companion, a yellow lab named Chloe. “As soon as I touch the button on the alarm, she’s ready to go,” he says. “Good old Chloe. Eleven years and going strong. She’s been here almost every day from the beginning.”

Chloe is a fixture in Osprey Valley, loved by everyone, even the regulars. “I have golfers coming up,” Dave says, “not even saying hi to me, they go right for the dog.”
Morning coffee with Jason Sharples
Morning coffee with Head Mechanic Jason Sharples in the workshop

His first stop of the morning the north workshop for a 20 minute meeting with Toot Assistant Superintendent Aaron Hill to review the plan for the day. Next comes a repeat with Hoot Assistant Superintendent Peter Kemp at the main workshop before each branches off to whatever task begins the day.

With much of the staff lending a hand with the aeration work on Heathlands, there will be a little less activity on Hoot and Toot, but that is an exception. Unexpected rainstorms aside, the seasonal change in weather brings with it a new set of responsibilities. People not familiar with the job sometimes think “summer’s over, it’s getting easier now, but it’s quite the opposite. During the summer, you’re in a routine. The fall is one of the busier times of the season.” And there is a lot of season left. Last year, Osprey Valley Golf was open into December and with this year’s late arriving summer, anything is possible.

Aeration is a good example of a labour intensive fall task, part of the “fall push to keep the turf in good shape”. It involves removing small cores of soil and turf and refilling them with a sand top dressing. It encourages turf growth and health and keeps the playing surfaces in top shape.

The benefits are already self evident on the Hoot and Toot greens, aerated one and two weeks ago respectively, where Dave points out that you can already see “quite a difference in the knitting, in how the turf is growing back together.” While some visual evidence remains, there is no lingering impact on playability.
Toot Greens - 2 weeks after aerification
Toot greens looking healthy just wo weeks after aearification

The first adjustment that has to be made on Hoot today is not much of a surprise. The first glow of morning light reveals the pale shine of a seasonal frost in the long grass alongside the first fairway of Hoot. Dave tests it with his foot and it bounces back. Not bad.

Still, there is a flurry of radio activity as Dave and Pete touch base with the staff to confirm that everyone knows where they should and shouldn’t drive. Pete has the mowers hold off temporarily. Rough that could be damaged by walking or driving on it can’t be cut until a little later, but the duo preparing to remove dew from the fairways is given the go ahead to proceed, with the proviso to take care to stay strictly within the fairway.

Both Pete and Aaron will spend the better part of their mornings spreading fertilizer on the greens. Pete arrives at the Hoot #1 green to talk fertilizer with Dave. Greens are fertilized throughout the season, but usually with a soluble spray. This time of year, it is switched for one in granular form. It is a different composition and lasts a little longer, which is important as this will likely be the last application before the final dormant fertilizer, which will be stored in the plant and roots until the spring. That will probably happen in the first or second week of November, when reduced temperatures have reliably stabilized.

As Pete gets started with the application, Dave checks the tee sheet in the clubhouse to let both Assistants know when they can expect to see early golfers, something they have to factor into their timing. His next stop is across the property on the banks of the Credit River.
Checking tee times in the clubhouse
Checking morning tee times in the clubhouse

On the way, he stops to point out a section of a fairway on Toot that is recovering from an outbreak of dollar spot. Dollar spot is a fungal disease that Dave calls “one of our biggest challenges out here.” It is something the senior staff has been dealing with throughout the growing season, though it gets harder to spot in the fall.

Even a badly hit area, like the one Dave indicates on the Toot #18 fairway, would escape the notice of most golfers, but turf staff have a trained and experienced eyes for it and high standards that have kept all three courses in top condition throughout a busy season with demanding weather.

The plan for this patch - and a few others like it - is some manual intervention, verticutting to stimulate growth and “get some recovery before the end of the season.” Verticutting works similarly to aerating, but involves multiple circular blades cutting grooves and removing thatch (dead matter) from the turf canopy.

Growth depends on weather and temperatures. “If we get a nice warm fall,” Dave explains, “she’ll still grow, but historically that last week of October or first week of November is the latest that the plants will be active.”

Detour completed, he continues to his original destination, away from the courses and down a narrow laneway to the Credit River where an intake pipe feeds the property’s irrigation ponds. The mechanism is fitted with a data logger that measures how much water is taken from the river. Dave connects a laptop and begins to download the data.
Taking water readings
Downloading water intake readings

Tracking water use is important to ensure a harmonious relationship with Osprey Valley’s beautiful ecosystem and reporting to the Ministry of Environment is necessary for approval to continue using water from the river.

Monitoring water levels in the river was likewise critical during this past hot and dry summer when water had to be used very sparingly. Substantial labour-intensive hand watering was needed to balance proper care for the turf and vital water conservation.

While the information downloads, Dave takes a moment to enjoy the serenity of this beautiful spot that most people never get to see, while Chloe happily nibbles on some grass. A flock of geese fly overhead honking, but she barely looks up.

“Back in the day, she used to be the goose chaser,” Dave says. Lately, that job has been largely passed on to Aaron Hill’s sidekick Bauer, though Aaron credits Chloe with “teaching him everything he knows” about goose wrangling.
With Aaron Hill
Co-ordinating tasks with Toot Asst. Superintendent Aaron Hill

Chloe’s contribution and seniority come with a few perks unique among the senior staff. “I give her weekends off,” Dave says. “She’s the only one who gets that.” Otherwise, she puts in a full day like everyone else, even if it sometimes means needing a little help climbing up into the truck at the end of the day.

The next stop is the pumphouse on Hoot. If water is the lifeblood of any golf course, it’s pumphouse is the heart and this one serves both Hoot and Toot. It had to be rebuilt after an unfortunate fire in 2013. During an early morning spring ice storm, a power surge caused an electrical malfunction and the entire building was lost. Rebuilding this critical building was, Dave says, “one of the biggest challenges we ever faced.”

He credits Steve Wilkinson from Pumps Plus in Stayer with helping to locate three new Flotronex pumps, which usually have to be custom built in the United States, and piece by piece, the pump house was put back together while Hoot and Toot had to make do with limited water provided by a diesel powered pump.

The new building is a big improvement. Resting on a concrete floor and lined with concrete board, it is much more fire resistant than the previous one. Access panels were built into the roof to facilitate installation and servicing of the pumps, each of which has to be moved by crane. There is one large pump that operates the waterfall alongside the Hoot #17 green and three slightly smaller ones, which supply the extensive network of pipes that serve both Hoot and Toot.

Once Dave has finished downloading information from the pumphouse data loggers, he returns to the main workshop to log the measurements and complete some health & safety paperwork while Chloe takes a quick nap. Later, he will head back outside, while Chloe spends the afternoon shift assisting Head Mechanic Jason Sharples inside. For Chloe, the workshop has the added advantage of being where the biscuits can be found.
Chloe gets a biscuit
Chloe enjoying the perks of the afternoon shift in the workshop

For a quiet morning that is just beginning, a great deal has already been been accomplished, and teamwork is a central theme of the day. “None of this would be doable without the key guys,” Dave says, including not just Heathlands Superintendent Scott Brook and Director of Horticulture Mike Hunter, but also the three Assistants, Aaron, Pete and Heathlands’ Scott Littleton and several full time employees. “Each one is unique,” he continues. “They all have their personalities, but they work well together. They do a damn good job. It’s a fine bunch of people we have here.”

That and the teamwork that stems from it are perhaps the most impressive qualities of the invaluable Osprey Valley Golf Turf Department. “Nobody is out for themselves,” Dave points out, “they are out for Osprey Valley.” Each Assistant knows the entire property and have proven themselves able to step in for each other or either Superintendent if needed.

He pauses to listen as Aaron and Pete check in with each other by radio to compare notes on their progress fertilizing the greens. 

Dave smiles: “That’s a great example right there of what we were just talking about. You’ve got Aaron checking with Pete to see roughly where they’re at. They’re working hand in hand on opposite sides of the property. I love it. You can’t ask for much better.”
Arnold Palmer enjoys an Arnold Palmer
The King's Own Drink: The Arnold Palmer
It may be Thanksgiving and the Masters may be a ways off, but for this month's drink recipe, we couldn't help ourselves. We're re-running our recipe from the March 2015 newsletter ...

... the Arnold Palmer.

Palmer's Own Recipe:

• Mostly unsweetened iced tea
• Plus a healthy splash of lemonade

Add ice cubes to a Mason Jar and use the lemonade as the sweetener for the tea. That's how Palmer himself does it - he does not mix half-and-half, he keeps the tea as the dominant part of the drink (about 75-percent tea, but at least two thirds tea). Sliced lemon for garnish.

Out there in the wild, the drink has converged on a 50-50 mix. So here is the  most common, basic version:

• 1 part unsweetened iced tea
• 1 part lemonade

Add ice cubes to a glass. Fill halfway with lemonade and fill the rest of the glass with unsweetened Iced tea.
Once upon a time, any basic Arnold
Palmer to which alcohol was added
became known as an ...

"adult Arnold Palmer"
"spiked Arnold Palmer"
"drunken Arnold Palmer"
"tipsy Arnold Palmer,"

... among other variations on the theme.

Vodka and bourbon are commonly the liquors of choice, but the alcohol is up to your preference.
Happy Thanksgiving ...
... from the Osprey Valley Golf family, to your family!
Wild Turkeys on Hoot
Osprey Valley Golf
18821 Main Street
Caledon, Ontario
L7K 1R1
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© Osprey Valley Golf 2016