I spent the last month at Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai, Coimbatore, Kodaikanal, and Bangalore, conducting a Greenkeeper Education Programme for the Indian Golf Union. Working with technical experts from the Asian Golf Industry Federation, we taught a series of weeklong courses in each of the country's four zones, providing practical information covering many aspects of golf course maintenance, with a focus on these topics:
- grass selection for golf courses in India
- how to produce the desired playing conditions
- operation and maintenance of reel and rotary mowers
- preventative maintenance of golf course machinery
- safe operation of turfgrass equipment
- introduction to irrigation, plant nutrition, and management of soil organic matter
- on-course sessions to investigate and apply what was learned in the classroom
The primary grass used on golf courses in India is Cynodon (bermudagrass). Some courses have been planted with Paspalum vaginatum (seashore paspalum). Zoysia matrella is used in landscape areas and on a few courses the zoysia has invaded the Cynodon but has not yet been planted on a golf course. Axonopus compressus grows well and provides the playing surface on many courses in the country. Those are the main grasses we discussed, although there is isolated use of Stenotaphrum secundatum, Pennisetum clandestinum, and Digitaria didactyla in the South, and there are some courses at high elevation at which cool-season grasses can grow.
This programme is supported by The R&A and aims to provide information and education that greenkeepers in India can use to develop improved playing conditions on the many golf courses across the country. See photos from the IGU Greenkeeper Education Programme here, or read more about the programme at its dedicated website.