Once again, we headed over to another country for a quick stopover…this time in Hong Kong. The traveling had finally caught up with us and we went straight to bed and didn’t see any of the city life, but my first impression was one that has me wanting to go back soon.
Waking up bright and early, we headed to Clearwater Bay where I finally had the chance to see some diseases. The golf course superintendent Darry Koster gave us a quick tour of the property and explained his large patch management program, his installation of a reverse osmosis water treatment system, and talked about some other interesting issues he deals with. My only disappointment was that we didn’t get a chance to meet Christina Kim who was on sight for an event.
During the talk, Micah gave another rendition of his moving climatological maps where he uses observed sunshine hours and temperatures to talk about the grass-growing conditions in various parts of the world. The superintendents in the audience were on their game during the talk and kept asking a lot of great questions which allowed Micah more time to stay up and go through his models. I found the discussion to be one of the best talks that I’ve seen and the use of his graphs provides a lot of great insight into why certain warm season grasses work in certain areas (and why some may not be a great choice). I haven’t sat in many (actually none) GCSAA seminars related to warm-season grass management, but it’s not hard to see how all of the information found in the textbooks and written by professors in the United States may not actually be as helpful to those in Asia. This is a direct plug for those at GCSAA to take a look at getting talks like this on the books in San Diego! If you agree, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After our brief stopover in Hong Kong, we headed to Beijing where we had a full day of sightseeing prior to giving our seminar at Shadow Creek. This location was finally within my “wheel house” as I was standing in front of superintendents who were looking for more information on managing the cool season turfgrasses in their region. Although I don’t know the details of the climate throughout the entire year, I did notice that they were growing all the same grasses as we were including creeping bentgrass, perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and even a little tall fescue. For my talk at this spot, I included some information about summer patch management and advised against using Kentucky bluegrass widespread throughout their fairways (which is apparently a big push).
This reminded me of the evolution of species on golf course fairways in the mid-atlantic which went from Kentucky bluegrass (slammed by summer patch) to perennial ryegrass (slammed by gray leaf spot) to creeping bentgrass (affected by many diseases, although controllable). I’m not exactly sure what the best solution would be for them, but with their access to pesticides and their apparently large workforce, it seems to me that they could get a great playing surface from creeping bentgrass. The major concern would be the summer management of the species when the heavy rains set in during the heat.
On a final note, one of the big things that we hear about in the US as well as from anyone that has actually visited Beijing is the major problems with the pollution. While I am sure that this exists, I have to admit that we were fortunate to have PERFECT weather. The day we arrived had rained all day and the next day was met with heavy winds. The combination of the two apparently cleared out all the pollution for just long enough. Our “tour” day was met with beautiful sunny and clear skies.
Just for fun…check out how we got down from the Great Wall of China.