A note on light and grass selection in warm-season areas
Why apply nutrients the plant won't need?

Sea Turtles and Turfgrass, Natural Golf and National Parks

16th green and 17th hole at Tublamu Navy Golf Course

If you didn't know it was there, you would miss the right turn off Thailand's National Highway 4. There's no sign for the golf course on the main road. 10 hours drive and 775 km south of Bangkok, one comes to the town of Tublamu. Just south of the Khao Lak beaches and the jungle of Khao Lak - Lam Ru National Park, Tublamu is home to the Phang-Nga Naval Base and the office of (as well as departure point for boats to) Similan Islands National Park. Following the signs to the navy base, and passing through the security checkpoint at the base entrance, one finds an amazing golf course.

For a country with so much coastline, Thailand doesn't have many oceanside golf holes. The Tublamu Navy Golf Course has 5 holes where the ocean comes into play, and one can see the Andaman Sea, usually a deep and shimmering blue, from nearly every hole.


Damage to the former 1st green after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami

There used to be more trees and undergrowth, but the 2004 tsunami washed much of that away. 

This GOLF Magazine article tells the story of what happened at the course that morning when the tsunami tore across it. The course was rebuilt in 2005. Walking the course today, or looking out from the clubhouse, one doesn't see any sign of the tsunami.

But just beyond the first nine holes, at the southern end of the navy base, one comes to a tsunami memorial. There is a large navy patrol boat, on its side, hundreds of meters from the ocean. This boat was washed ashore during the tsunami and is left in place as a memorial, along with various explanatory plaques, maps, and name lists. 



Turtle_rightThe Sea Turtle Conservation Center has a hatchery and nursery to raise and release 10,000 sea turtles each year into the Andaman Sea. These are primarily green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas).

At the golf course, they take special care to minimize inputs. There is infrequent irrigation, use of native grasses to minimize mowing, and insect pests on the putting greens are dealt with not by using pesticides, but by applying a soapy rinse to the green surface and then collecting the insects from the surface. 

High budget resorts sometimes get the environmental accolades in the golf industry. This type of low-input and natural golf course is worthy of accolades too.


Here's a video of the young turtles at feeding time.

And here's a video of the older sea turtles at the conservation center.

If you are traveling to the resort areas of Phuket or Phang Nga and are interested in golf and the environment, the Phang Nga Naval Base, the small town of Tublamu, and the golf course and sea turtle center are something you will want to see.

Approach to the par 5 16th at Tublamu Navy Golf Course with the Andaman Sea just over the green


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