Flights and favorite turf photos of 2019

At the end of every year, I like to look at my flight map and at some of my favorite turf photos.

In 2019 I was on 56 flights over 161,473 km (100,335 miles). That’s a welcome decline from the 107 flights over 314,748 km that I shared in last year’s post.

I looked through more than 4,000 photos from the past year and picked a few memorable ones.

January: manilagrass green and carpetgrass plus C4 mix surround in southern Thailand
January: manilagrass green and carpetgrass plus C4 mix surround in southern Thailand

Pakasai CC in Krabi is on a beautiful property a bit south of the airport. This type of bunker rake is typical on courses in rural southern Thailand.

February: the 16th at Sritrang GC in southern Thailand
February: the 16th at Sritrang GC in southern Thailand

Some golf courses look the same all year. With a lot of irrigation through the dry season, and with the right type of trees, that type of consistency is possible. But is consistency desirable? One of the things I discussed a lot in 2019 was consistency of playing conditions, but not necessarily consistent appearance every day of the year. I enjoy the seasonal changes in appearance at Sritrang GC.

February: colors of late winter in Fukuoka
February: colors of late winter in Fukuoka

I went to Japan a few times last year and I enjoyed visiting Keya GC in Fukuoka just before spring. The korai tees and fairways were still dormant, the korai greens have a bit of colorant on them, and the noshiba rough was dormant too. This is what golf in Japan looks like in the winter.

March: tropical carptgrass lawn at Pak Kret
March: tropical carptgrass lawn at Pak Kret

I was in Bangkok and went to a restaurant in beautiful landscape near the Chao Praya River. The carpetgrass (Axonopus compressus) lawns were shining.

April: seashore paspalum at Suphanburi
April: seashore paspalum at Suphanburi

I saw the pitch at Suphanburi in April, and a couple weeks ago I saw the announcement for the best ground of 2019. Congratulations!

May: end of dry season colours in Hua Hin
May: end of dry season colours in Hua Hin

More about consistency. I played two rounds at Royal Hua Hin in 2019. First in May, then again in October. The conditions have been excellent. I wrote a blog post about that and showed more photos of this superb holiday destination. It’s got elephant riding at a winery, and an amazing birdie dance photo too.

May: end of dry season colours in Chumphon
May: end of dry season colours in Chumphon

One of my favorite places to stop on a road trip between southern and central Thailand is the Khet Udomsak golf course in Chumphon. This is the first hole in May. It was windy, there were rain clouds in the distance, and I needed my “A” game on this day. The ball can bounce and roll into all kinds of trouble with these kinds of conditions.

June: tropical carpetgrass at the Nakara Jardin Bistro
June: tropical carpetgrass at the Nakara Jardin Bistro

Right beside the Ping River in Chiang Mai you can find beautiful lawns and landscape at the Nakara Jardin Bistro. I had a wonderful evening meal there, and a midday meal too. Highly recommended.

June: a lot of different grasses on the 7th at Pebble Beach
June: a lot of different grasses on the 7th at Pebble Beach

I had a great time at the US Open and talked about grasses in California and around the world with a lot of people. One grass I didn’t see around the 7th green was zoysia. Maggie Reiter and Eric Johnson and I went on a botanizing expedition at Spyglass Hill, but we couldn’t find any zoysia.

June: one of two mammoth birdie dances
June: one of two mammoth birdie dances

I made a nice birdie here at Mammoth Dunes in Wisconsin.

June: autonomous mowers and a conventional mower
June: autonomous mowers and a conventional mower

I went to the O.J. Noer Turfgrass Research and Education Facility in June—another photo I took there shows a P deficiency. This one has mowers, and I’m intrigued about the results that can be achieved with autonomous mowers. What will we see 10 or 20 years from now?

September: grass on the tram lines in Kumamoto
September: grass on the tram lines in Kumamoto

This is El Toro zoysia, I believe, in Kumamoto. Kagoshima has grass on tram lines too. This is an interesting technology that one can find at an increasing number of locations in Japan.

December: *Chrysopogon* at Ko Adang
December: Chrysopogon at Ko Adang

I don’t know the exact species, but from the inflorescence this seems to be in the Chrysopogon genus. I found this near the end of the cliff trail at Ko Adang. The view is pretty good, but would be spectacular on a sunny day. This is a great island for botanizing, and I’ll go back.

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