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April 2010

China Golf Show 2010 at Beijing

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I was at Beijing this weekend for the China Golf Show. I don't know the exact attendance, but the three day show was busy each day and the China National Convention Center made an excellent venue. The convention center is right next to the Olympic Park. 

This comprehensive golf show included exhibitors of golf maintenance equipment and their distributors in China, golf course architects, management companies, equipment, golf balls, golf course and housing developments, in short, a complete show for the golf enthusiast, whether working in the golf industry or not.

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The show was a fun time for me because I was able to see so many friends. It was a bit of a Shanghai Links reunion (I was the golf course superintendent there from 1998 to 2000) on 17 April when so many of us who had worked there in the late 1990's were all at the show. Above you see Liu Guangjin (at left,now a superintendent in Hefei), me, and William King (at right, now with Witgang); we all worked together at Shanghai Links a decade ago. Others formerly at Shanghai Links who I met at the show included David Young, now Director of China Operations for Nelson-Haworth design, Parson Yao (pictured with me below) of Meinong Group and other business interests, and Marcus Fishenden, Director of Operations - Asia for Troon Golf.

Micah_parson_china With so much new construction in China, there are always many golf course architects exhibiting at the China Golf Show. I talked with a number of architects including Harley Kruse from Greg Norman Design, Peter Thomson and Ross Perrett from their eponymous design firm, and Martin Ebert and Tom Mackenzie from Mackenzie & Ebert. There are a number of excellent new courses being built in China and in other parts of Asia. Choosing the right grasses for each golf course can be quite a challenge and my talks with golf course architects are usually centered around grasses, which work well where, what type of playability can be achieved with different grasses, and what types of maintenance are required for different grasses.

I especially liked the entrance fee for a visitor to the show: 10 RMB (less than USD $2). For me this is the best golf industry trade show in Asia. It is more comprehensive and larger than those held in other countries, covering all aspects of the golf industry, the Asia managers from major industry companies are all in attendance, and it is fun.

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Turf Science Seminars at Tokyo

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The third and concluding day of ATC's Turf Science Seminar 2010 series was held on 15 April at Shinjuku. We discussed management of the turfgrass surface environment to create the desired playing surface. Because of the high summer temperatures in Japan, and in particular the high nighttime temperatures in July and August, special care must be taken to prepare for and then to manage the turfgrass through periods of stress.

Micah_seminar_15april These seminars were a great success. They were fun, interactive, and packed full of science-based information about turfgrass management for greenkeepers in Japan. We had 220 paying delegates at these seminars which were held on 18 January, 15 March, and 15 April at the Shinjuku Maynds Tower. From the 15th floor seminar room, we had views of Mt. Fuji, greater Shinjuku, and the Tokyo Tower. The first seminar provided an overview of turfgrass science principles that every greenkeeper should be aware of. At the 15 March seminar we talked about managing the soil environment, and this week's seminar discussed issues such as data collection and setting playability standards, improving turfgrass stress tolerance, developing disease management plans, and nutrient management. Each seminar concluded with a case study in which participants worked through real-life scenarios and developed a plan to solve turfgrass management problems.

Reviews of the seminars have been extraordinary. A survey of the seminar participants found that over 90% strongly agree that this seminar is valuable for their business and more than 85% want to join future seminars. The seminars were sponsored by Simplot, Syngenta, and Toro; through the support of those companies, the registration fee was reduced to a very affordable ¥2,500.

The translator for these seminars was the inimitable Ueno Yukio (see below). We have had a chance to work together many times: at the TT Tour at Thailand in 2008, at the Kanto Golf Association seminar, in these seminars, and in the monthly article I write for Golf Course Seminar magazine. To Mr. Ueno, the sponsors, and especially all the greenkeepers who took the time and effort to attend these seminars, I wish to say thank you, and let's do this again next winter!

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