While elite PGA Tour members were putting the lights out on TPC Kuala Lumpur’s West Course, dozens of Malaysia’s golf course superintendents were being versed in the art of speeding up their putting surfaces.
Underlining their continued thirst for knowledge, more than 50 golf course managers, course superintendents, club managers, greenkeepers and mechanics representing some 25 clubs attended the fourth Golf Course Superintendents Association of Malaysia (GCSAM) and Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) Turfgrass Management Seminar.
Organised under the auspices of the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA), the seminar and field day at the award-winning TPC Kuala Lumpur endorsed the findings of a recently released survey which highlighted that course conditioning is the prime consideration of golfing tourists.
Keynote speakers at the Sime Darby Convention Centre were Brian Distel, Golf Course Superintendent at Thai Country Club, and Yulius Widodo, Superintendent at Indonesia’s Royale Jakarta Golf Club – two of the region’s most experienced and respected golf course superintendents.
Distel set the ball rolling with a presentation entitled Maximising Efficiency in Your Golf Course Maintenance Department.
He was followed by Widodo, who focused on paspalum, addressing the issue of maintaining fairways and greens as well as explaining how to increase speeds on the putting surfaces.
Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Coming just days after the findings of the joint Asian Golf Industry Federation and Golfasian survey were revealed, the seminar served to confirm the key role that golf course superintendents and greenkeepers play in the success of a golf club.
“Our thanks to Brian and Yulius for their invaluable insights. If we’re to succeed in improving the standard of course conditions in the region then it’s vital that knowledge is shared, enabling us to learn from each other.”
To conclude the seminar, Lynge presented an overview on the soon-to-be-launched Certificate in Greenkeeping.
Aimed at supporting a formal education programme for golf course maintenance in the region, the initiative is backed by The R&A, which as well as in Asia, governs the sport worldwide, outside the United States and Mexico.
The inaugural event will take place in Thailand in late October with Malaysia to follow at the end of November.
Lynge said: “Events such as the GCSAM and AGIF Turfgrass Management Seminar complement the imminent launch of the Certificate in Greenkeeping.
“We are grateful for the support we have received from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Malaysia, the Malaysian Golf Association, the staff and management at TPC Kuala Lumpur and all sponsors.”
The afternoon field day, staged on TPC Kuala Lumpur’s East Course, featured displays of the latest equipment from a variety of companies including Campey Turf Care Systems, Capillary Concrete, Centaur Asia Pacific, Foley United, John Deere and Toro.
Abas Ismail, the GCSAM’s President, said: “This year’s Malaysia Turfgrass Management Seminar clearly surpassed expectations – in terms of the excellent turnout, the quality of the presentations and the variety of equipment on display at the field day.
“As a national organisation, the GCSAM is committed to continuous education. Through our collaboration with the AGIF in staging seminars such as this, our course superintendents are provided with a wonderful opportunity to deepen their knowledge.”
Steven Thielke, TPC Kuala Lumpur’s Chief Executive Officer, said the club was pleased to play host to the AGIF’s fourth turfgrass educational seminar in Malaysia, in collaboration with the GCSAM and MGA.
He said: “The ultimate objective of this gathering is to result in an improvement in course conditions around the country. That can only be achieved by enhancing turfgrass manager knowledge and skills in golf course maintenance.
“With the continued support of the AGIF, the GCSAM and MGA, it must be the hope that the education seminar will grow bigger in the years ahead.”