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October 2012

A Remote Report From the Japan Turf Show

RoyalThe Japan Turf Show is one of my favorite industry events, but I wasn't able to attend this year. Fortunately, some friends did attend, and I got updates about the show at Osaka's Banpaku Koen, which appears to have gone off very well.

The weather was sunny for the show, where distributors and manufacturers display their wares in the open air of Kansai in Autumn. The Japan turf industry is big, and there are a mix of imported and domestic machines and products used on golf courses. 

We can find Bernhard & Co grinders, and Toro machinery, as these tweets show.

And we can also find some unique machinery, such as this dropseeder with a sponge roller that allows creeping bentgrass seed to be spread at rates as low as 1 g/m2 - on a new putting green we would use rates 7 to 10 times that high!

I especially like the Japan Turf Show for all the unique machinery that I see there, machinery that is put to good use on hundreds or thousands of golf courses in Japan, but that we do not always see in other countries. Take the Hatsuta company, for example. It seems that every golf course in Japan has one of their core sweepers.

At the Japan Turf Show this year, Hatsuta showed their new TS-1000 sprayer which will be able to work as either a typical riding sprayer, although I expect with the option for a wide range of water volumes, and also can be used as a tanksha.

More than 1,500 people attended the first day of the show, and I don't have full attendance numbers, but I hope to add my name to the attendee list next year. 

Report on the 2012 India Greenkeeper Education Programme

Igu-programme-qutubThe Indian Golf Union's greenkeeper education programme was conducted for four consecutive weeks in the four zones of India, beginning on 24 September in the South and ending on 19 October in the East. 

The South Zone saw 20 delegates gather for five days at host Kodaikanal Golf Club in Tamil Nadu. This is India's only organic golf course, and the summary video from the South Zone programme shows some of the wildlife that can be found on this natural course high in the Palni Hills.

We then moved to Pune in Maharashtra for the West Zone programme, where we were hosted by Poona Club (Golf) and also made visits to Oxford Golf and Country Club and the Army's RSI GC. In each zone, we conducted a five day course on the theme of Improving Course Conditions, with content tailored to the grasses, climate, water supply, and course types in each region.

In the North Zone we were hosted by the Army Environmental Park and Training Area (AEPTA, or simply Army GC) in New Delhi, and we also made a visit to the first public golf course in India, the Delhi Development Authority's Qutub Golf Course. We learned about management of water and soil organic matter to optimize course conditions, weed management, equipment maintenance and mowing quality, and turfgrass nutrient requirements. The presentation notes, slides, and links to additional reading are available for download at the programme website,

Our hosts in the East were Royal Calcutta Golf Club, where we enjoyed a week of fine weather, ate excellent food from West Bengal, visited the Tollygunge Club, and learned about effective turfgrass management techniques.

A selection of photos from each of the four zones have been assembled in this gallery. 

This greenkeeper education programme is organized and delivered by the Indian Golf Union. It is supported by The R&A, and the educational materials are prepared and taught by Dr. Micah Woods of the Asian Turfgrass Center with support from the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF). Our objective with this programme is simple: to share practical and technical information related to greenkeeping that will lead to improved playing conditions on golf courses in India. 

I would like to thank each of the host clubs for this year's programme for providing such a great venue and excellent food, all of the delegates who participated in the programme, the AGIF for their support, and the IGU and The R&A for making this programme possible. Thanks are also due to Dr. Jim Brosnan from the University of Tennessee and Dr. Doug Soldat from the University of Wisconsin, for their assistance in developing the teaching materials used for the weed management and water management topics, respectively. For more information about the topics, more photos, and more downloads of educational materials, please visit the programme website.

PACE Turf and the Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition (MLSN) Guidelines

Pace_mlsnI've been working with Dr. Larry Stowell from PACE Turf in the development of the MLSN guidelines for soil test interpretation. Today, Larry is making a presentation on this project at the Crop Science Society of America annual meeting in Cincinnati.

The paper, Development of Minimum Levels for Sustainable Nutrition Soil Guidelines Using Data Mining and Distribution Fitting Software, can be studied with a look at the abstract or at the presentation slides which have been made available for download.

In addition to the work with PACE Turf for the MLSN project, we have also collaborated to produce informational videos on topics ranging from turfgrass management and light to turfgrass nutrient requirements. Check out the PACE Turf YouTube channel for those videos and others about turf management.

The PACE Turf website contains a wealth of information about turfgrass management and recommendations on disease management, insect management, improving turf conditions during stressful weather, and much more. The work of Dr. Wendy Gelernter and Dr. Larry Stowell at PACE Turf is a valuable resource to turf managers. I refer to their reference guides and other fact sheets on a weekly basis, and I expect a practicing turfgrass manager would find this information even more valuable than I do. 

I highly recommend PACE Turf membership. Check it out at this link, and watch a video introducing MLSN below.

IGU Greenkeeper Education in East Zone

We've moved to Royal Calcutta Golf Club in the eastern city of Kolkata for the 4th and final week of this year's IGU greenkeeper education programme

The programme website has been updated with photos from the West and North Zones, and video reports from the South and West Zones are also available for viewing on the programme website.

At the programme website, you can download the notes for this year's lectures (61 pages, PDF file) or view the presentation slides or find additional reading.

Articles By and About Asian Turfgrass Center, in Chinese

Woods_climate_golf_people_201210.pdf (page 1 of 5)Golf People magazine have just published my article entitled A New Way of Looking at the Weather (in Chinese) in their October issue. I first published this as a handout for the Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia 2012 conference, to supplement my presentation of the same title. See the handout in English here.

I've written other articles that have been translated into Chinese. The Chinese versions of these articles can be downloaded here:

The Right Work at the Right Time

Course Maintenance Standards

Turfgrass Information Resources

GCM magazine's profile article about Micah Woods was also published by GCM China and can be downloaded here

Woods_gcm_cn_20120725.pdf (page 1 of 4)

India Greenkeeper Education Programme South Zone Video

The Indian Golf Union's Greenkeeper Education Programme for the South Zone was held at Kodaikanal Golf Club in Tamil Nadu from 24 to 28 September. This video shows some of the highlights from the week, showing the scenery of Kodaikanal, the wildlife there, and feedback from the programme participants. You'll also see how to get a great workout on the golf course core aerifying a green – by hand!

More pictures from the program can be seen in this photo gallery.

Putting Green Fertilizer: getting it right


Last September, at the end of a relatively mild summer, I visited a golf course in Western Japan and saw that the creeping bentgrass greens had failed during the summer, despite being fertilized with products from a well known company. Once that program was stopped, and the focus was changed to supplying the right amount of nutrients to the turf, using cheap fertilizers, the greens rapidly improved, and at the end of this summer, a much hotter one, the greens are perfect. Additional modifications to the maintenance program, specifically in the management of soil moisture, have also contributed to the much improved conditions.

The most important thing about turfgrass fertilization is ensuring that the turf is supplied with the proper amount of nitrogen. When temperatures are at an optimum for creeping bentgrass, it may use about 3 grams of nitrogen per square meter per month. When temperatures are at an optimum for bermudagrass, it may use about 4 grams of nitrogen per square meter per month. These are approximate values that produce a suitable growth rate for golf courses in 2012.

The second most important thing about turfgrass fertilization is ensuring that the turf is supplied with the proper amount of phosphorus and potassium. The requirement for phosphorus and potassium can be determined by soil testing. In many cases, those elements – especially phosphorus – will be at such high concentrations in the soil that they do not need to be added as fertilizer. And for potassium, we can eliminate any chance of a deficiency just by applying potassium at half the rate of nitrogen. Add any more potassium than that, and it will not be used by the grass.

It's that easy. For more information about turfgrass fertilizer and nutrient requirements, see:

Understanding Turfgrass Nutrient Requirements

How Much Nitrogen?

The Real Price of Fertilizer

A Turfgrass Mystery on Seashore Paspalum in Tamil Nadu


Last week I visited a golf course in Southern India and saw these symptoms on seashore paspalum turf. The general symptoms are shown above, and a close-up of a single patch is shown below. 

Can you identify the cause of these patches? 


This one was quickly solved by three people. Did you have the same answer?

Elephant_crossing_zone_tamil_naduThat, of course, is the correct answer, as this course, right up against the Western Ghats, is visited frequently by elephants. 

If we take an even closer look at one of the elephant footprints, we can see that the patch seems to include some dried mud that remains on the leaf, along with some bruising from the weight of the elephant.

These footprints should not be confused with the autumnal disease of Zoysia japonica in Japan, caused by Rhizoctonia cerealis, and known by the common name of elephant's footprint.


Hopefully this information will help you to identify elephant footprints on your turf the next time they occur, and you will easily be able to distinguish the real elephant's footprint from the one caused by R. cerealis.