With funding support from The R&A, Dr Micah Woods, President of the Asian Turfgrass Center, visited Bangladesh from 26 to 30 May to conduct a seminar entitled Sustainable Management of Golf Course Turfgrass. He also visited golf courses to provide advice about turfgrass management to the Bangladesh Golf Federation and its members.
The seminar, held on 27 May at Kurmitola Golf Club in Dhaka, was attended by 40 people representing eleven clubs. Woods spoke about the principles of turfgrass management for all types of turfgrass and then talked specifically about the tropical grasses that are used at golf courses in Bangladesh.
There was great interest from the audience and an extensive discussion period, with the seminar lasting for five hours. An abbreviated version of this seminar and discussion was also given on 28 May to officials of Bhatiary Golf and Country Club at the port city of Chittagong.
Bermudagrass is used on putting greens in Bangladesh, and most courses utilise this grass through the green as well. Few courses, however, are able to maintain a pure surface of Bermudagrass beyond the putting greens due to the pressure of other invading species, most frequently the local ‘cow grass’. Removal of weeds is done by hand at Bangladesh, with no other effective means of controlling native grass invasion.
During the seminars and on his visits to courses, Woods stressed the importance of optimising the playing condition of the turf, and noted that the native grasses provide excellent playing surfaces if mowed closely and regularly.
"Clubs such as Hong Kong Golf Club, Wack Wack Country Club in Manila, and Singapore Island Country Club have great playing surfaces on native grasses that require almost no weeding," said Woods. “If I were the greenkeeper of a course at Bangladesh, I would keep pure Bermudagrass greens, but for the other areas of the course I would manage the grasses best adapted to the different environments found on the course."
Brigadier General (Retired) Salim Akhtar of the Bangladesh Golf Federation said: "This was extremely helpful. The visit has been very educative for us and I am sure all the clubs will benefit, especially the ones that Dr Woods visited."
“Supporting education events such as this, and utilising the expertise and experience of experts like Micah Woods, helps us promote our message of sustainability and emphasise that it is the quality of the playing surface that really matters, not how it looks,” remarked Steve Isaac, Director – Golf Course Management at The R&A.