Leaving the great Bangkok food behind us, we headed to a quick trip to Vietnam. Immediately as we were heading to the hotel from the airport I realized that I liked this place. If OSHA could see the people driving around Vietnam on their scooters and motorcycles, I think they would easily overlook my lack of earplugs while operating my backpack blower.
On our first night, I was lucky enough to head out to an open market with Dr. Woods and some of his (and now my) friends to enjoy some local cuisine and some Saigon Beer. As Micah eluded to in the cartoon of our trip, I was hesitant to eat any ice on this trip, but that was thrown out the window during our first day in Singapore. I was relieved in the morning when I realized the ice in our beer didn’t have a negative effect.
The next day we headed to Twin Doves Golf Club where I had my opportunity to see a wall-to-wall Seashore paspalum (Platinum TE variety) golf course. While the course looked great from a distance, it was clear that the grass selection presented its own challenges. While Micah can talk more about this from his experience, it was evident that the grass was a pathologist’s dream and had several other issues like it’s inability to handle drought stress. We were only 3 countries into this trip and already I was getting an earful of why Seashore paspalum was not the right grass for the region and why other grasses like zoysia were a better choice.
From Vietnam, we headed to the Philippines where we spent the weekend enjoying the warm weather, recovering from jetlag and discussing lighting. Our stop in this region took us to Wack Wack Golf & Country Club where I had the opportunity to see my first ever zoysiagrass putting greens. I have to admit, they were among the best surfaces that we had seen on the trip and although I didn’t get a chance to roll any balls, they looked like they putted very well.
One negative (not really a negative, but one thing I wasn’t crazy about) was the Axonopus compressus (known as “cowgrass”, “carabao grass”, “carpet grass”, and others depending on what country you’re in) used in the fairways. While I appreciate the desire to use a native low-maintenance grass, there is no way this would be considered acceptable in the United States. Maybe that’s part of the problem with turfgrass management. Perhaps we need to be more concerned about the playability rather than the appearance, but I would argue that this fairway species lacks in both aspects.
Either way, this was another great visit with the superintendents in the region and I took a lot away from the experience. From here we headed to Hong Kong and Beijing where I finally got to see some cool-season turfgrasses.