Optimum playing conditions with minimum inputs: handout and slides from seminars in Beijing and Bangkok

The R&A Seminar on Sustainable Golf Course Design, Renovation, and Maintenance in Asia was held March 3 and 4 in Beijing and will be March 10 in Thailand.

This is my handout for the five presentations I made at this seminar. Links to all my presentations are in the handout, and I've embedded a couple of the presentations below, or you can find them all on Speaker Deck.



Update from Beijing – Day One of The R&A Seminar on Sustainable Golf Course Design, Renovation & Maintenance in Asia

It was an exciting day in Beijing and I was glad to be a part of this seminar. Here's the day one update from The R&A.

Liang Wen Chong

2 March, 2016, Beijing: The R&A's Sustainable Golf Seminar teed off in Beijing with a team of renowned sustainable golf experts sharing best practice, responsible and practical approaches to golf developments, renovations and course management. A mix of golf course operators, academics and other stakeholders listened and engaged with the speakers on lively discussions on what sustainability is and why it matters, opportunities and threats specifically in China, and a drill down on best practice on project planning and course design.

The quote of the day came from Professor Hu Lin, Director of Green Environment Center of China Agricultural University at the end of his presentation which was packed with statistics on land and water use of golf clubs, and lower grade and contaminated land in China.

“It is unnecessary to use any arable land for golf course construction in China. If only a small part of waste land and other poor land is used, it will be large enough for the development of golf industry in China.”

Wang Liwei, Vice President of China Golf Association, Liang Wen Chong, Captain of the China Olympic Golf Team,Dominic Wall, Director of Asia-Pacific, The R&A


Paul Jansen,Prof. Hu Lin,Dominic Wall,Steve Isaac,Liang Wen Chong,Jonathan Smith, Micah Woods, Lu Jun

The R&A Seminar on Sustainable Golf Course Design, Renovation and Maintenance in Asia

There are a lot of seminars happening in Asia in early March. Two new events are available this year, one in China and another in Thailand. These are The R&A Seminar on Sustainable Golf Course Design, Renovation and Maintenance in Asia.

The first is on March 3 and 4 in Beijing:

The R&A is to host a free to attend seminar in China that promotes responsible and practical approaches to golf course design, renovation and maintenance - highlighting the ongoing work of the industry in raising the expectations for golf.  This seminar will provide the most comprehensive sustainable education event in Asia across golf developments, renovations and course management.

The R&A Seminar on Sustainable Golf Course Design, Renovation and Maintenance in Asia will be held in Beijing on 3 and 4 March, as part of the China Golf Show at the National Convention Centre.


The second is on March 10 in Thailand, focusing on "golf developments, renovations and course management."

The R&A Seminar on Sustainable Golf Course Design, Renovation and Maintenance in Asia will be held at the Amata Spring Country Club on 10 March.

Both seminars are free to attend.

More information and registration for the China seminar is here: registration closes on February 26.

Details and registration for the Thailand seminar are here: registration closes on March 4.

The 2015 Global Soil Survey report and data are now available

Selection_040The end of August marked 2 years of the Global Soil Survey. This report gives a summary of the results so far, shows a map of the locations -- now up to 9 countries! -- from which samples have been submitted, and announces that the survey will end on 31 December.

Thanks to all who have participated in this project for contributing samples from good performing turf at their sites. We now have a dataset which can be used for comparative analyses and as a reference for soil chemical conditions of professionally managed turfgrass.

A few related links:

The eloquent Edwin Roald on Bogey Nights

This is a conversation I really enjoyed, and I think you will too. Edwin has some great ideas about matching the time window of a round of golf to the way we live today. And the implications of this are many -- time, cost, resources, quality, and land use are all naturally influenced by what he has to say.


This fascinating conversation is less than 15 minutes. Have a listen here: Edwin Roald on Bogey Nights, or visit why18holes.com for more information.

Another note of interest is this. Jason McKenzie, one of the hosts of the Bogey Nights show, worked in golf course maintenance during high school before going on to play golf at Mississippi State University. There is a lot of talent and knowledge on this radio show, and I'm glad I had a chance to listen.

Multifunctional golf facilities: a handbook and an article

"During the spring of 2015, the multifunctionality of two golf courses in the Stockholm region were studied. 30 different activities were identified on and around the two golf courses!"

If that sounds interesting, check out these two new documents from STERF explaining more about their multifunctional facilities project:


'Tis the season

Autumn is when one can find one of my favorite turf diseases -- elephant's footprint. Or at least this is my favorite name for a turf disease. It is found most often on unmown Zoysia japonica.

Al Bancroft shared a photo last week of what looks like early development of elephant's footprint.

 This is what the classic symptoms look like, further into autumn:


I was also reminded this week that real elephant footprints can be a turf problem too:

That's in Tamil Nadu, where one must beware of elephants.



For more about real elephant footprints on turf, see this turfgrass mystery.

"One aspect of golf that we never promote is the health aspect"

When I watched the Golf Club Atlas interviews with Don Mahaffey last year, I was struck by the comments Don made about the health benefits of golf. Watch them here, starting at the 14:50 mark:

Don mentions things that are known to be good for health -- walking, spending time with other people, spending time in nature, solving puzzles.

That, he says, describes playing 9 holes of golf, but "no one is talking about that sort of thing, about the health benefits of golf ... I've never heard it packaged like that, anywhere, and I think there's opportunity there to change the image of pesticide, chemical, too much water and all of these things that we get branded with. And we talk about sustainability and we're using too much water and all of these things, but golf is good for you."

He's right, and after hearing his comments, I've been more attentive to articles on this subject. Here's a list I've enjoyed reading:

Seeking input: GEO's proposed international voluntary sustainability standard for 'New Golf Developments'

The Golf Environment Organization (GEO) are seeking input from interested parties on their new golf development criteria. This is an exciting project, and you can read all the details here.

I encourage you to review the draft criteria for new developments and then send your comments to GEO. All the background and scoping information, the draft criteria, and the comments form are available at the new developments public consultation page on the GEO website.

On multifunctional golf facilities, the environment, and health

2015-04-29 11.15.55
I attended a seminar in Garðabær by golf course architect Edwin Roald about golf, Iceland, sustainable golf courses, land use, life expectancy, multifunctional golf courses, and much more.


Roald is on the STERF (Scandanavian Turfgrass and Environment Research Foundation) board, and one of the main projects of STERF is the research and promotion of multifunctional golf facilities.

STERF have funded a number of projects about grass varieties, fertilizer, irrigation, plant growth regulators -- interesting as they are applicable to the Nordic region, but not so different from the topics studied elsewhere. What I find most interesting is the research into multifunctional golf facilities, and the business, societal, environmental, and health benefits of such. Read more about these projects here.

Don Mahaffey spoke in some ways about these topics in interviews with GCA (part 1, part 2) last year. I was reminded, in Roald's seminar, of the 40% mortality reduction measured in Sweden among golf players.

Interesting topics, and ones not always at the forefront in other parts of the world. For more images of golf in Iceland, many of which are multifunctional facilities, see this photo gallery. Below is a photo of the Geysir Golf Club, designed by Roald.

Geysir GC with erupting Strokkur