The Asian Turfgrass Center (ATC) has recently completed its first training workshop for greenkeepers in India as part of a remit to provide information on turfgrass management to the golf and amenity turfgrass industries across the country.
The workshop, the first phase in a three-year programme organised in association with the Indian Golf Union and with the support of The R&A, was attended by a total of 120 greenkeepers from the four regions of India. Representatives were also present from the neighbouring countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.
Over the course of the workshop, and through a combination of both theory and practical sessions, delegates examined topics including:
- grass selection for golf courses in India
- producing desired playing conditions
- operation and maintenance of reel and rotary mowers
- preventative maintenance of golf course machinery
- safe operation of turfgrass equipment
- introduction to irrigation, plant nutrition and management of soil organic matter.
Mr Manjit Singh, President of the Indian Golf Union commented, “We at the IGU are grateful to The R&A for helping us organise the first ever Greenkeepers Training Programme in India to be delivered by Dr Micah Woods. The programme will help improve the standard of courses in India and the region and eventually benefit golf."
The India Greenkeeper Education Programme is just one of an increasing number of projects which the ATC has become involved with since its formation in 2006. To date, the organisation has supplied education and consultancy services to turfgrass management professionals in countries including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
Since 2009, the ATC has also organised and run the successful Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia Conference, which is held annually in Thailand. This conference, which is operated in conjunction with the Thailand Golf Association and the Thai Golf Course Superintendents Association, with the support of The R&A, attracts over 200 delegates from nearly 20 different countries. The three day event provides an important platform for exploring the issues surrounding grass species selection and management on golf courses across Asia. Registration for the 2012 event, which is to be held from 12-14 March at the 5-star Amari Orchid Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand, is now available at www.asianturfseminar.com.
Among its other activities, the ATC is also developing a series of interactive climate charts which illustrate the changes in normal temperature, rainfall, and sunshine hours through the year for cities around the globe. This information can then be used to conceptualise how different turfgrass species can be expected to grow in different parts of the world. The project is on-going and aims to provide decision makers with a valuable tool for making informed turfgrass species selections.
Dr Micah Woods, Chief Scientist at the Asian Turfgrass Center, has seen his research work published in journals such as Applied Turfgrass Science, Crop Science, International Turfgrass Society Research Journal, Soil Science and Weed Technology. The ATC has also supplied articles about turfgrass management for Golf Course Seminar magazine, a publication from the same stable as Golf Digest Japan.
Much of the best practice advice given by the ATC on turfgrass selection in Southeast Asia is based on research carried out between 2006 and 2009. During that period, the ATC operated a turfgrass research facility in the Ayuddhaya province of Thailand, 70 km north of Bangkok, where over 50 different varieties of grass were grown and evaluated. This work identified the mowing regimes and input levels of water, fertiliser and pesticides required to produce the desired levels of performance for golf greens and fairways from Bermudagrass, Seashore paspalum and Zoysia in the tropical climate of the region. These findings are now being used to support the grass selection decisions being made by the likes of Banyan Golf Club in Thailand and Wack Wack Golf & Country Club in the Philippines.
The ATC is currently collecting surface performance data to benchmark playing conditions on putting greens across Asia. The project includes assessments of soil moisture content, surface firmness and green speed; the aim being to determine the typical data ranges for different warm-season turfgrass species. Once the data on playing performance has been collected and analysed it will, in conjunction with the grass variety work, provide valuable information on which grasses are most suitable for use in different parts of the Continent.
Further information about the work of the ATC can be found at www.asianturfgrass.com.
The ATC has supplied articles for an on-going monthly series about turfgrass management for Golf Course Seminar magazine in Japan, a publication of Japan's Golf Digest.
A wide range of information about turfgrass management is also provided through Viridescent; the Asian Turfgrass Center blog.
A series of interactive climate charts are being developed by the ATC to conceptualise how different turfgrass species can be expected to grow in different parts of the world.
... in order to benchmark playing surface conditions on putting greens across Asia.