Geographical analysis of those using MLSN

An approximation based on the MLSN newsletter

Allan Dewald posted a poll on Twitter, asking how many other superintendents on Twitter are using the MLSN guidelines. The results of the poll, with 93 votes, were 41% using MLSN, 38% using conventional guidelines, and 21% not soil testing.

In the discussion about that poll, Duncan wanted to see a geographical analysis of those using MLSN.

I’ve made a quick summary which I’ll explain below. But first, a huge asterisk on all this, since these are tiny and biased subsets of those who are using or interested in MLSN. Even so, it is interesting to ask the question, or to look at the data, and see what we can find.

There is a “Country” field in the MLSN newsletter subscription, and of the 458 subscribers as of yesterday, 449 included that information. I’m going to use the subscribers to the MLSN newsletter as a proxy for those using MLSN.

There were 38 countries with at least 1 subscriber.

It’s a bit easier to see the differences between countries by looking only at those 19 countries with more than 1 subscriber.

That is probably a good geographic approximation of the active use of the MLSN guidelines in turfgrass management. Not that this would be the exact number of facilities using MSLN, because I’m sure many are using MLSN but are not signed up to the newsletter, and vice versa.

MLSN is not specific to golf turf, but I expect most who use MLSN are managing golf turf. We can now adjust the number of subscribers per country by the number of golf holes in that country, to give some idea of where the interest in MLSN (based on the MLSN newsletter subscribers) is the highest. This chart shows the number of subscribers per 18 holes. Now, the United States goes into the middle of the pack, and the top 5 countries would be Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, the Philippines, and Thailand.

Those numbers are hard to understand, however. For example, what does 0.038 newsletter subscribers per 18 holes in Ireland mean? I think it is easier to imagine this in terms of 18 holes of golf per subscriber.

Now we can understand what the absolute numbers mean, to get some idea of the reach and interest in MLSN. Again, this is based only on golf courses. In Ireland, we could expect to visit 27 golf courses to find one person signed up to the MLSN newsletter. In the UK we would have to go to 57, and in the USA, 59. From that, one can expect that there is about twice as much interest in MLSN in Ireland as there is in the UK or in the USA.

I’ll omit Japan from the chart, and now it is even easier to see the differences between the countries shown on the chart.

For a couple analyses with similar geographical looks at this, see:

  • MLSN newsletter in 33 countries from April 2016 with a map, or GeoChart, showing the subscriber locations as of that time.
  • Sortable table of visits to the ATC blog by country, which also shows the relative interest in the things I write about (such as MLSN). In that case, for instance, Ireland is 2nd in visits per population, and sends twice the traffic to the ATC blog than does the USA when corrected for population.