Flights and favorite turf photos of 2018

As I say at the end of every year, it was another extraordinary year for studying grass around the world.

In 2018 I took 107 flights for a total distance of 314,748 km (195,575 miles). That’s an increase from 2017, when it was 78 flights and 205,043 km.

2018 flight map

Earlier this month I scrolled through 3,959 photos from 2018 and selected some memorable ones.

paspalum in the Andaman Sea January: Seashore paspalum lawn on an island in the Andaman Sea

There are also lawns of tropical carpetgrass (Axonopus compressus) and of manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) on this small island. Both the carpetgrass and manilagrass provided a better sward. The seashore paspalum here would probably make a better lawn if more irrigation water were supplied. That would increase the growth rate and allow the turf to fully cover the ground.

bentgrass at PGA Catalunya January: Creeping bentgrass putting green at the PGA Catalunya Resort

I made a quick visit to Girona and was impressed at how much bentgrass there was, and how little Poa annua I could find, on the greens here. I first went to Girona in 2012, and since then I’ve learned a lot from David Bataller and the maintenance team there.

March sunrise 4 March: Native grasses (manilagrass, carpetgrass, golden false beardgrass, javagrass, and others that I don’t know) on a golf course in southern Thailand

I bought an annual membership last week at this course in a beautiful part of southern Thailand. The course changes with the seasons, all kinds of colors from the rainy season to the dry season, and depending on which grasses are in flower and how recently the turf has been mown.

manilagrass in Bangkok March: Putting green of manilagrass in central Bangkok

The photo here could have been me celebrating another birdie with the towers of Bangkok in the background. I made quite a few birdies in my rounds here last year. But this is just the grass. There are courses all over East and Southeast Asia with excellent manilagrass greens.

manilagrass in May in eastern Thailand May: Coconut palms and unmaintained manilagrass on an island in Trat Province, Thailand

I went to a number of islands in Thailand in 2018, both on the Pacific and Indian Ocean sides, and found plenty of nice grasses growing wild.

sunset in Trat May: Sunset on that same island after a long day of botanizing

Ok, this one doesn’t have grass in the photo, but it was quite a sunset and it was on that same beach with the fine-bladed manilagrass.

bentgrass in Washington August: There is plenty of bentgrass in this unirrigated backyard on Orcas Island, Washington

This soil will typically be saturated from autumn to spring and then dries out in the summer. When allowed to grow up, it’s apparent that there is a lot of bentgrass. I’ve never noticed Poa annua in this lawn.

sunrise at Pebble Beach August: A sunrise at Pebble Beach

I was at Pebble Beach for the US Amateur Championship and was impressed with the shadows at sunrise.

sunset at Pebble Beach August: A sunset at Pebble Beach

Colors at sunset were impressive too.

sunrise shadows in Fukuoka August: Shadows at sunrise on manilagrass in Fukuoka

Another course in Asia with manilagrass greens. This is at Keya GC during the KBC Augusta tournament.

goto island tee shot View from the tee on the 4th at Hirabaru GC in Nagasaki

There are some amazing golf courses that one won’t find on maps. This is one of them. You can read about it here.

south end of Kashima Soccer Stadium October: South end of Kashima Soccer Stadium, Ibaraki

There was new turf installed in early 2018 at Kashima Soccer Stadium and it performed great through the summer and into the autumn. Even the most shaded section of the pitch, with warm-season turf, was providing a fine surface when I attended a game in October.

777 bentgrass and Mt. Fuji October: A 777 creeping bentgrass practice green near Mt. Fuji

Japan has a lot of golf courses set in spectacular landscapes.

Freud statue on a golf course December: Sculpture on a golf course near Brno, Czech Republic

There is a sculpture of Sigmund Freud right near the first tee at the Kask√°da golf resort. Plenty of other stunning artwork at this facility. See more here.

don’t walk on grass sign, athens December: An untrafficked lawn in Athens

This lawn has a Cynodon base with some winter annuals in it. My collection of “don’t walk on the grass” sign photos is gradually increasing.

See these links for some of my favorite photos (and flight maps) from 2015, 2016, and 2017.

Micah Woods
Micah Woods

Scientist, author, consultant, and founder of the Asian Turfgrass Center