AGIF Members Share Views on Sustainable Turfgrass Management

Eric Lynge (far left) with Wendy Cole, Patsakorn Tirawan and Chris Gray.

Pattaya, Thailand: Asian Golf Industry Federation members shared the spotlight at the 2019 conference on Sustainable Turfgrass Management in Asia.

Held under the auspices of the Thai Golf Course Superintendents’ Association (TGCSA), the conference was part of a three-day gathering that also included an Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) Turfgrass Management Exposition.

The conference at Dusit Thani Pattaya Hotel was organised by the TGCSA and the Thailand Golf Association, with support from The R&A and the Sports Authority of Thailand.

Golf course superintendents and club managers from Thailand and around the region descended on the Central Thai beach resort where a series of high-profile speakers focused their attention on sustainable golf.

Among those who made presentations were Andy Johnston, Sentosa Golf Club General Manager and Director of Agronomy, Chris Gray, Director of Golf Course Maintenance at Singapore Island Country Club, and ‘Tony’ Patsakorn Tirawan, a 30-year veteran of golf course construction and maintenance around Asia who is now Course Superintendent at Singapore Island Country Club.

Sentosa Golf Club and the Singapore Island Country Club are both Golf Course Facility Members of the AGIF.

The seventh edition of the AGIF Turfgrass Management Exposition was hosted at Siam Country Club’s Plantation Course and showcased the very latest in golf course equipment and machinery.

Prior to that, Wendy Cole, Manager, Sustainability at The R&A, delivered a thought-provoking keynote address on ‘Sustainability and Golf’ during which she challenged delegates from around the region to embrace sustainable practices.

Cole said: “The R&A considers sustainability in and through golf to be the sport’s contribution to wider society and the effect the game has on nature and resources, delivered by enduring businesses which provide a positive sporting, environmental and social legacy for future generations.

“The R&A strongly advocates sustainability across the nature, communities and resources agenda. To be considered sustainable, the golf operation (be that a new development, existing facility or golf tournament) should protect nature, benefit communities and conserve resources.”

Following the AGIF Turfgrass Management Expo and a networking lunch, Johnston talked about Sustainable Practices at the award-winning Sentosa Golf Club.

Completing a busy opening day, Gray presented a case study on Golf Environment Organisation (GEO) Certification.

Cole again teed-off proceedings on day two with a general introduction entitled Golf Around the World.

Either side of a networking lunch were presentations from Patsakorn and Brian Curley, Principal at Schmidt-Curley Golf Design.

Curley then joined a panel discussion on Renovation and Sustainability, alongside SICC’s Gray, The R&A’s Cole, Dr Mike Richardson, from the Department of Horticulture at the University of Arkansas, and Ralph Kepple, Course Superintendent at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club, host to 18 PGA Tour Championships.

Gray, Kepple and Richardson returned for further final-day presentations.

Summing up the gathering, Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “The AGIF is a major supporter of sustainability and golf and is committed to ensuring the game is thriving for many decades to come.

“Issues such as land use, water, pesticides and pollution, climate, energy, waste and wildlife were all highlighted by our speakers. It is now incumbent on us all to redouble our efforts in regard to sustainability and golf.”

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