Thailand

Grow-in potential

These pictures were taken 28 days apart. Here's what the grasses looked like yesterday, on February 24. That was 4 weeks, exactly 28 days after planting.

Medium_salt_28_days

On 27 January, five different grass varieties were planted from stolons. The grasses, shown from left to right, are:

  • manilagrass (nuwan noi)
  • tropical carpetgrass (yaa malay)
  • seashore paspalum (salam)
  • manilagrass (hosoba korai)
  • bermudagrass (Tifway 419)

For the first 10 days after planting, all the grasses were irrigated with 330 TDS (total dissolved solids, in units of ppm) water. For the next 18 days, the grasses shown above were irrigated with 4,500 TDS water.

The planting rates for the stolons ranged from 99 g/m2 for the nuwan noi to 312 g/m2 for the yaa malay. This is the mean mass for the stolons planted in the pots. We cut the stolons into 10 segments with 3 nodes each and then weighed them and planted them; each 0.02 m2 pot was planted with 30 nodes (1,500 nodes per square meter).

This is what the pots looked like immediately after planting, on January 27.

Planting_jan27

I think this is interesting for two reasons. One, this gives some indication of the grow-in rate (and relative rates) of various grass varieties. Second, this shows the tolerance or not of the grasses to different salt levels in the water.

One set of grasses is getting water with salt (TDS) at 330 ppm, the one pictured are getting 4,500 ppm, and another set are being irrigated with 9,000 ppm.

I'll be talking about this, and showing some of these grasses, at the upcoming Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia conference.


This will be fun to follow: 100 courses in 100 days

This will be interesting, and you might like to follow along too. Paul Jansen, the golf course architect, will be traveling to 100 golf courses in a span of 100 days. All the courses are in SE Asia, and he is starting in Bali on 19 March and ending in Bangkok on 28 June.

Bali's a great place to start. The last time I played golf in Bali I birdied the 6th, 7th, and 8th at Nirwana Bali, just missing a hole-in-one here at the famed 7th.

Bali1

Behind

Paul's itinerary lists all the courses he will visit. He writes that he will "use the opportunity to highlight the richness and diverse nature of the golf experiences across the entirety of South East Asia." That will certainly be interesting, although I'm more looking forward to the serendipitous and surprising things that are sure to happen.

Perhaps visits to a few hidden gem courses that aren't on the written agenda? The food from so many different cuisines. I've had some great meals in the places he is going to visit. How's his stomach? No food poisoning, I hope. Traffic? Missed flights? Adjusted schedules. Mistranslations. Lost in the countryside and not speaking the language? No internet access? There are so many things that can happen on this adventure, and I'm looking forward to following along.

Paul has promised to take lots of pictures and to keep us updated. He will be sharing updates on a regular basis, maybe even daily. You can follow along at:

He's got quite a busy schedule during those 100 days, but I will try to catch up with him at one or two places along the way. I can't wait to hear what he has to say after actually doing this.

Plantation


Woodball

This was a new one to me. I saw the course laid out at the Ayutthaya Historical Park and thought it looked similar to Park Golf. But where Park Golf involves hitting the ball into a hole, a woodball hole is completed when the ball passes through a gate.

Woodball course laid out on *Polytrias indica* in Ayuddhaya

A photo posted by Micah Woods (@asianturfgrass) on


This video explains the woodball rules.

Looks like fun.


Even more elephant footprints on golf courses

And these are the real ones this time, not the turf disease.

image from c1.staticflickr.com

I was at Soi Dao Highland Golf Resort in Chanthaburi. This resort is surrounded by mountains near Khao Khitchakut National Park and Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary.

I asked, "are there any elephants here?" There weren't any, but I was told the count is 11 elephants living in the adjacent forests, and that the occasional elephant comes onto the course. Here are elephant footprints at the edge of a pond on the course.

image from c1.staticflickr.com

All the flags and all the rakes are collected each night to prevent elephants from playing with and breaking them. Apparently that was a problem in the past.

image from c2.staticflickr.com

The course has impressive views and holes that border the forest and tropical mountain streams. The driving range is one of the best in Thailand. I wasn't sure if this was a driving range or a par 3 course. It could be both.

Sd_dr

For more elephant footprints on turfgrass -- the real ones, and the fungal ones -- see:



A couple new things, and a reminder of an old one

When I saw that Brad Revill had started a blog, I was intrigued, because there are not many blogs written by turf managers in the tropics. I was even more intrigued when I saw that the title of his very first post was The start of something new -- MLSN!!. He wrote:

For years I have been following the recommendations from soil testing laboratories trying to create the "ideal soil" with the correct ratios of nutrients. After each soil test I would follow the recommendations, most of the time adding more and more calcium. After each test my ppm values would increase along with the "target" ppm values which kept getting higher and higher until it seemed I would never reach it. I grew frustrated with the recommendations and after reading article after article and research papers online, I came across the MLSN guidelines produced by Pace Turf and Dr. Micah Woods.

That's a new blog that I expect will be quite interesting to read.

Now for my annual reminder of an excellent resource, the Golf course management blogging world site. This site aggregates blogs from around the world and shows the most recent updates at the top.

Selection_107

The site administrators sometimes make manual updates to confirm the feeds are correct and the code is updated. I'm hoping they will do a refresh on the site again this winter to make sure all the feeds are active.

And one more thing. If you are really wanting to read about turf, I have updated my last blog post about an eclectic reference list, so that each article or book that I cited now has a link to the item. I cited articles from 1859 until 2012, and you can get the full text of most of the items for free. Have a look, and see if you find anything interesting.


Thailand putting green performance in July: a summary

Roll

While Eric Reasor was collecting the data on ball roll dispersion in Thailand -- read yesterday's post for more about that -- I collected data on the the same greens. The data summary shown here are the data I collected from 19 greens on 19 different courses. The grasses on these greens included various bermudagrass varieties, seashore paspalum, and manilagrass.

I took 3 stimpmeter readings per green, measured 9 locations per green with a 500 g Clegg soil impact tester, and used a TDR-300 with 7.5 cm rods to measure soil water content at those same 9 locations. I also made some measurements of soil temperature, surface temperature, and air temperature.

I showed the distribution of air temperature (median was 31.8°C) and heat index (median was 38.9°C) in a previous post.

Here's the summary of soil and surface temperature from these greens.

Soil_temp

Surface

Putting greens in Thailand tend to be relatively soft, and the measurements in July were consistent with previous measurements.

Clegg

This is the distribution of soil water content.

Vwc

This is the distribution of green speed.

Speed

I measured the speed on each green in 3 different locations. With that, I get some idea not only of the green speed, but also about the variation in green speed. I express the variation in green speed within a green as the coefficient of variation (cv), which is the standard deviation of the measurements on a green divided by the mean of the measurements on a green.

Then I compared the distribution of cv for the 19 greens measured in Thailand with the cv for 26 greens measured during the recent KBC Augusta tournament in Japan. Under tournament conditions, there was slightly less variation in green speed. But many of the greens in Thailand had variation the same as measured during a tournament.

Cv

For more summaries of putting green measurements, and of measurements from greens in Thailand, see this post on playing with numbers. There are links to handouts and other data sources there. Or look at the charts in these slides:


Bangkok is a long way from Knoxville

Tys_to_bkk

When Eric Reasor came to Thailand in July, he brought along measuring tools to assess how golf balls roll across putting greens.

Eric1

He visited 22 golf courses in 5 days. Here's a map with the locations visited marked as an orange .

July_data

The primary measurement he made was rolling balls using a customized Perfect Putter, so that all balls were launched on their roll at the same line and with the same pace.

Each ball was marked where it stopped.

Eric2

Then the width and length of the dispersion area was recorded. Sometimes the balls dispersed a lot before they stopped.

Dispersion1

On other rolls, or other greens, the dispersion was relatively small.

Dispersion2

The purpose of the project is to study what factors influence the dispersion of the ball as it rolls across the green. Is it the grass species? Is it the mowing height? Do off-type grasses affect the dispersion? Is it something else? This is all part of his research about bermudagrass off-types. For an overview of this problem, see Reasor et al. on the genetic and phenotypic variability of interspecific hybrid bermudagrasses (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. × C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy) used on golf course putting greens.

As we traveled around central Thailand, we got to see all the major species used as turfgrass in this region. For more about that, see What grasses are growing on golf courses in Thailand? Here's a few notes about what we saw in July.

Seashore paspalum must be maintained with a relatively rapid growth rate in this climate. If paspalum is not kept growing, it will be overtaken by other grasses. Therefore, a lot of work is required to keep paspalum surfaces in a playable condition, and we saw verticutting on paspalum fairways to manage the organic matter.

Paspalum_vcut

There are lots of birds on Thailand golf courses. These are Asian openbill and a little egret.

Birds

I haven't identified this bird yet.

Bird2

Bermuda greens and seashore paspalum fairways are pretty common around Bangkok.

Clouds

Manilagrass (Zoysia matrella) is even more common. Let's call it ubiquitous. You can find it at the airport, along the expressways, in lawns, on golf courses, and on football fields and tennis courts.

Taxi_roadside

This is bermuda on greens with the nuwan noi variety of manilagrass on fairways. The fairway would have been planted to bermudagrass, but over time the nuwan noi comes to dominate the sward.

Korai_chonburi

In parks, palace lawns, and temples, one tends to find tropical carpetgrass (Axonopus compressus) under the trees and nuwan noi manilagrass in full sun. For more about the grasses on lawns, see this post about climate and this one about botanizing in Bangkok.

Park

We were lucky with the weather for that time of year. With 22 golf courses visited, we got rained out zero times. Normal weather in July at Bangkok will have 155 mm of rain and 13 rainy days.

We saw a bit of rain, but not enough to interfere with our work.

City

It was plenty warm. These are temperatures and heat indices at the time I collected data at 19 of the courses. It was only less than 30°C twice. What a great place for a tropical holiday! Or in this case, for 5 days of intensive data collection.

Air_temperature

Heat_index


Optimum playing conditions, minimum inputs

"Mekong River diverted into Thailand's waterways, worrying drought-stricken neighbours like Vietnam," says a recent headline. "Drought exacts toll on crops in region," says another. And "China has embarked on an unprecedented 'water diplomacy' mission to alleviate the drought in Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam by discharging massive quantities of fresh water downstream from one of its dams," says a third article.

Micah_beijing

The recent R&A Seminars on Sustainable Golf Course Design, Renovation and Maintenance in Asia, held in early March in Beijing and then in mid-March near Bangkok, were timely in addressing the use of water (and other resources) on golf courses.

Selection_037At these seminars, I spoke about how one can optimize the playing conditions of the golf course while minimizing inputs of resources such as water.

This 12 page handout has details of what I discussed, and includes links to articles and all my presentations.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of water required is to minimize the area of maintained turf.

Another way to reduce the water requirement is to use drought tolerant species. In particular, one can produce the best surfaces with the fewest inputs by using native species.

I also explained how to calculate the irrigation water requirement for any area of turf. First, estimate the water use by evapotranspiration, then subtract the quantity of effective rainfall and adjust for the surface area to be irrigated. Then, make further adjustments for the distribution uniformity of the irrigation system and the salinity of the water, and one is left with the quantity of water required as irrigation.

It is quite useful to have this number, and especially to make that calculation for a drought year. In that way, the necessary amount of water storage can be built, or one can adjust the turfgrass area or turfgrass species to make sure the golf course will be sustainable in terms of water.

Ascc

If there isn't enough water for irrigation, then some grasses will die. Seashore paspalum is the grass that requires the most water to survive in Southeast Asia, and it dies when irrigation water is not supplied. Calculating the irrigation water requirement and planning to have that much water available can be quite useful. As this article states, regarding the current drought, and planning for water availability in such conditions:

Such long-term planning is unfortunately uncommon, say agriculture experts. Dr Leocadio Sebastian, a Vietnam-based regional programme leader for the Consultative Group On International Agricultural Research, says governments tend to be reactive. "They tend to favour relief intervention."

For golf course turf, one can't expect relief intervention, so it is better to plan ahead by choosing grasses that require fewer inputs.


Delegate maps, presentations, and photos from Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2016

It was another fun conference in Thailand, as the TGCSA welcomed 283 delegates from 24 countries to Pattaya for the Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2016 conference. This conference is organized by the TGCSA and ATC for the TGA, with support from the R&A.

Thailand sent the most delegates, with 153; next was Vietnam, with 23, and then Singapore with 18. These maps show the delegate counts by country.


Data: forPlot • Chart ID: GeoMapID4c09296ac8a7googleVis-0.5.10
R version 3.2.4 (2016-03-10) • Google Terms of UseDocumentation and Data Policy

Data: forPlot • Chart ID: GeoMapID4c096e53e2b9googleVis-0.5.10
R version 3.2.4 (2016-03-10) • Google Terms of UseDocumentation and Data Policy

Presentation slides from this year's conference (and previous years) are available for download.

Boy Yothin took hundreds of photos from the conference, field day, and AGIF turfgrass management exhibition and made them available in this Facebook album. A few of his photos from the conference are shown below.

Seminar

Dinner2
Qa
Expo
Dinner

Fieldday

Lc

Dinner3

End


Animated charts showing photosynthetically active radiation for a year

I spoke at the Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2016 conference about light at different locations. The presentations slides can be viewed here, or embedded below. For more about the conference, which saw 278 delegates from 24 countries and 5 continents travel to Pattaya this year, see this post at the Asian Turf Seminar site.

Light is important. Without enough light, grass won't grow well. I suggested that "no-problem" daily light integral (DLI) values for putting greens of bermudagrass, seashore paspalum, and zoysiagrass, may be about 40, 30, and 20 respectively. And I showed what PAR is, and how PAR is measured in one second as the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD), and then how all the PPFD over the course of a day are added together to make up the DLI.

I showed charts for one day, and also animated charts that show PPFD and DLI for every day of the year. This chart shows the maximum expected PPFD by time of day, and maximum possible DLI by day of the year, at Tokyo and Bangkok if there were no clouds. You may need to click the browser's "refresh" button to play these animations.

Result

I wanted to visualize how these maximum possible values, on days when the sky is clear and about 75% of the extraterrestrial radiation reaches the earth's surface. To do that, I looked up the global solar radiation for Tokyo for every hour of 2015, converted those values to PAR units, and plotted them together with the maximum possible values assuming 75% transmittance of extraterrestrial radiation. That is plotted here.

Tokyo2015

I also explained that the global solar radiation has a large influence on the evapotranspiration (ET). I demonstrated this ET calculator that uses the Hargreaves equation to estimate the ET based on global solar radiation.