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Dollar Spot Expedition to Southeast Asia

Route through SE Asia
Dalat Palace Golf Club
Last week, I travelled throughout Southeast Asia with Dr. Micah Woods, international blogger and Director of the Asian Turfgrass Center, and Mr. Matee Suntisawasdi, Marketing Director for Procrop T&O. We went on an Indiana Jones-style expedition that included four countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Philippines) and over 50 hours in the air. We found dollar spot in every country and collected isolates from many different grasses, including creeping bentgrass, velvet bentgrass, bermudagrass, seashore paspalum, zoysiagrass, and carpetgrass, just to name a few.

I want to thank everyone that made this trip possible by hosting us at their facilities. I owe a particular debt of gratitude to Dr. Woods, Mr. Matee, and Dr. Beth Baikan, who did the vast majority of the planning. The samples we collected will undoubtedly teach us a lot about this important turf pathogen.

Some highlights of the trip included:

Roger Jones making sand at Twin Doves
Kasetsart University, Bangkok, Thailand. This university is forming a team of scientists to work on turf. We met with agronomists, plant pathologists, and nematologists that are interested in turf, discussed some potential collaborative projects, and toured their brand new lab facilities.

Dalat Palace Golf Club, Dalat, Vietnam. A resort course and luxury hotel in the mountain town of Dalat with ‘SR1020’ creeping bentgrass greens. But the highlight of the day was when the assistant general manager, Mr. Ahn, took us out for goat prepared 5 different ways and a case or two of Heinekin beer.

Mount Kinabalu Golf Club
Twin Doves Golf Club, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. A brand new golf course on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City planted wall-to-wall with ‘Platinum’ seashore paspalum. Roger Jones, the Director of Grounds, showed us the procedure he developed to produce sand that meets USGA specs from a local river sand.

Camp John Hay Golf Club
Mount Kinabalu Golf Club, Malaysia. Dr. Baikan, a fellow Rutgers graduate and environmental scientist in Malaysia, greeted us at the airport and accompanied us to this location tucked in the side of Mount Kinabalu at 5,000 ft above sea level. The course only gets 900 rounds a year due to nearly constant rainfall. The cool, wet, misty climate was perfect for dollar spot and we saw the disease on nearly every grass species on the property!

Camp John Hay Golf Club, Philippines. Originally built as a resort the US military, this course was redesigned by Jack Nicklaus in 1998 and is now a popular tourist destination. Because they were restricted in the number of trees that they were allowed to remove during construction, they constantly struggle with shade problems. It was interesting to see their experiments with different grasses and management strategies to overcome this hurdle.

Manila Golf Club
Manila Golf Club, Philippines. This immaculate seashore paspalum golf course is an oasis in the middle of the booming metropolis of Manila.

Manila American Cemetery, Philippines. Right next door to Manila Golf Club, this is the final resting place for over 17,000 American soldiers that were killed in the Pacific Theater during World War II. We were lucky enough to get a personal tour from the facility manager, Bert Caloud, who is an encyclopedia of World War II history. I really admire the work that they do there to honor the memory of those who gave their lives for this country.

Manila American Cemetery
Khao Yai, Thailand. On the last day of the trip, we took some time to relax, go on an elephant ride, and get ready for Super Bowl XLV!
Khao Yai

One response to “Dollar Spot Expedition to Southeast Asia”

Mary Anne Ramos said...

Woah! the places mentioned was a breath of fresh air and glad it was clean. I would also like to recommend one of my fave golf club here in the Philippines.

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