Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: It was billed as a tasty appetiser to one of the biggest weeks of the year for golf in Asia. And the second Golf Course Superintendents Association of Malaysia (GCSAM) and Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) Turfgrass Management Seminar did not disappoint.
Organised under the auspices of the Malaysian Golf Association, the two-day seminar at the award-winning TPC Kuala Lumpur attracted more than 60 golf course managers, course superintendents, club managers, greenkeepers and mechanics.
Just 36 hours after the seminar’s completion, TPC Kuala Lumpur was the centre of world golfing attention when the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic teed-off.
Now in its seventh year, the only PGA Tour event in Southeast Asia featured an elite 78-man field, spearhead by American Ryder Cup heroes Patrick Reed and Ryan Moore, European stalwart Sergio Garcia and Major champions Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott.
Next week it will be the turn of the ladies to grace the manicured fairways of the TPC Kuala Lumpur at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “October is an especially hectic period for TPC Kuala Lumpur with two major professional tournaments at the club. We thank them, therefore, for also fitting in the Turfgrass Management Seminar.
“There is clearly a desire among those in the industry to learn more about the latest in golf course development.
“We are grateful for the support and encouragement that has been received from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Malaysia, the Malaysian Golf Association, the staff and management at TPC Kuala Lumpur and all sponsors.”
Jack Cheong, the GCSAM’s President, said: “It has been the second collaboration we have had with the AGIF and we tried to put together a programme that is relevant to the conditions we face in Malaysia.
“It’s important for us to engage with local superintendents and to provide them with information for them to take back to their golf courses. It’s also been an opportunity not only for education but also for networking.
“This year we were especially pleased to have PGA Tour Agronomist Jay Sporl join our illustrious list of speakers.
“The GCSAM has been working together with the MGA towards the ultimate objective of improving the condition of golf courses throughout Malaysia and looks forward to strengthening ties with the AGIF going forward.”
Steven Thielke, the TPC Kuala Lumpur’s Chief Executive Officer, said the club was pleased to play host to the AGIF’s second turfgrass educational seminar in Malaysia, in collaboration with the GCSAM and MGA.
He said: “Education of our course superintendents in Malaysia and around Asia is crucial if we are to see an improvement in course conditions.
“We applaud the objective of the seminar to enhance turfgrass manager knowledge and skills in golf course maintenance.
“With the backing of the AGIF, the GCSAM and MGA there is every reason to believe that the education seminar will grow bigger in the years ahead.”
Jordan Fairweather, Group Director of Agronomy, Troon Golf, said: “The calibre of speakers and topics covered was excellent and exceeded my expectations for the event. We will definitely have more assistants and mechanics from our properties attending next year.”
The first day of the seminar focused on course superintendents with lectures being delivered on Effective Communications; Managing with Less Chemicals and Minimum Level for Sustainable Nutrition; Shade Management; Drainage and Major Tournament Course Set Up.
Among the high-quality speakers were:
- Bruce Williams, Principal of Bruce Williams Golf Consulting and former President of the GCSAA
- Carmen Magro, Vice President – Business Development/Chief Agronomist of Stevens Water Monitoring System and former Director of Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences’ Golf Course Turfgrass Management Programme
- Jack Cheong, Course Superintendent, Royal Selangor Golf Club
- Dr Andrew Mitchell, Head of Research – Agronomy, New Zealand Sports Turf Institute
- Jay Sporl, PGA Tour Agronomist
On the second day, it was a tri-partite alliance between the AGIF, GCSAM and Golf Course Managers Association of Malaysia (GCMAM).
The morning session saw a gathering of general managers, club managers and superintendents discussing topics relating to communications – between management and members, between general manager and superintendents and the role of the superintendent in management.
Joining Williams as a speaker was Andy Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Singapore’s Sentosa Golf Club, and the TPC Kuala Lumpur’s Steven Thielke.
Mohd Rom Bin Muslim, President of the Golf Course Managers Association of Malaysia, said: “The GCMAM was pleased to play a part in this conference. The quality of the speakers was truly world-class.
“We see it as just the first step in developing a long-term relationship with the Asian Golf Industry Federation, geared towards offering top-level education programmes to club general managers across Malaysia.”
A field day was staged on the afternoon of October 18 at which companies displayed and operated their latest golf course products.
Emphasising the AGIF’s aim to support the entire industry, the field day was open to members and non-members of the Federation.
Gold sponsors at the event were Jacobsen and Toro. Silver sponsors were Rain Bird, IHI Shibaura and Sustane.
The Malaysian Turfgrass Management Seminar was the fifth event in the AGIF series of Turfgrass Management Seminars and Field Days in 2016 following previous events in Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia.