I’ll be speaking at the Thailand Golf Travel Mart in Khao Yai next week as part of the Thailand Golf Paradise seminar about course design, renovation, maintenance, and operations.
These are the slides for my presentation about the best playing conditions with the fewest inputs.
This is a tourism convention, but I’ve been informed the audience will be golf course managers. I’ll be prepared to speak about this to tour operators, golf course owners, journalists, or whoever is in attendance. This is a quick summary of my presentation.
Thailand has some amazing golf courses and playing surfaces. I’ve studied the golf courses of Thailand, the grasses grown on them, and the playing surfaces. Compared to bermudagrass, the “nuan noi” variety of manilagrass has 154% more growth per unit of N applied, and 130% more growth per unit of water applied. This grass tends to overtake whatever was planted originally, so it makes sense to plant it (or something similar) from the start. With such a grass, one can produce the desired conditions easier, with less N and less water. The median green speed is 9.3 feet, surface hardness 80 with a 500 g Clegg Impact Soil Tester – that’s pretty soft – and the median soil water content is 26.2 – that’s pretty high. Now whether you are already producing great conditions, or whether you want to have better conditions, or if you are a tour operator, I’ve got good news for you. Here are five ways to either improve conditions, or to keep the same great conditions while saving money, or (for the tour operators) how to understand what an amazing opportunity there is in Thailand for the production of great surfaces with fewer inputs. The first thing to do is control the growth rate, and I’ve written about that in A Short Grammar of Greenkeeping. Then choose the right grass, minimize water use, supply only the nutrients required to produce the desired growth rate, and once the soil organic matter is at the desired level, you’ll be able to minimize the topdressing and coring too. That gives better conditions, for less money, and more happy golfers.
We’ll see how this goes next week.