International golf tournaments and television viewing by millions of golfers worldwide has certainly raised the bar in terms of what the average golfer and private club members expect for putting green quality. The double-edged sword is that they now demand speed and good-looking turf colour. What they fail to realize is that most of the courses shown on TV are meticulously maintained for months in advance and usually have large budgets at hand to have the greens peak for the tournament week.

The most important decision in building and/or renovating greens in this modern era is of course which turf to select as the final playing surface. When looking at greens grass that will satisfy today’s members, we only have a few options to choose from. Here in the tropics, we know that bent grasses will not succeed, so the only viable options are the Bermuda grasses, Zoysia grasses or the latest Paspalum grasses.

On Thai Country Club’s greens, the only logical options were Bermuda grass and Paspalum. The latter being relatively new to the region and mostly successful on sites with poor water or soil quality, it became a close second to the newest variety of bermudagrass called TifEagle. Fortunately, this patented variety of TifEagle Bermuda has a six year successful track record in this region and has performed well year perennially. The greens speeds that have been achieved with TifEagle for important regional tournaments have been in excess of 12 feet, which was during the Volvo Masters of Asia at Bangkok Golf club in 2003, and over 11 feet for the Johnnie Walker Classic at Alpine Golf & Sports Club in 2000. During tournament time, you can also retain great color with minimal effort. This turf was made to be mowed low and stays tight and smooth for regular maintenance even before and after tournaments. The maintenance practices are not as difficult to perform as might be expected.

Since we have fully completed construction and renovation work on the greens at Thai Country Club, we are now in the most important phase which is maintenance preparation for our heavy rain season in Bangkok. Subsequently, when the cool northeasterly winds blow in during November we start our fine tuning programme for health, colour and green speeds for the upcoming golf season and the prestigious Volvo Masters of Asia tournament in early December.

With a little luck, a lot of skill and good weather, all will be in good order for television viewers, professional golfers and our important members for their golfing season. When keeping the tradition with the most sensitive area of golf course greens, it all breaks down to having good working KNOWLEDGE of what is being done; having CONTROL over your projects; and finally taking the RESPONSIBILITY to make it all go right


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