Tag Archive for: greenkeeping

Things learned by greenkeeping legend

Things learned by greenkeeping legend: Bob Farren’s roots in turf care run a lifetime deep. The son of a superintendent, Farren grew up around the trade in the 1960s, and in 1979, he entered it himself.

Read the full article from Golf.com here

Things learned by greenkeeping legend

Things learned by greenkeeping legend

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BIGGA Awards showcase greenkeeping at its finest

BIGGA Awards showcase greenkeeping at its finest: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) is delighted to reveal the finalists of the annual BIGGA Awards, with greenkeeping teams represented from across the golfing spectrum.

Each year BIGGA invites nominations from the golfing industry to recognise the achievements of its greenkeeping members, who play a vital role in the ongoing success of the sport.

BIGGA Awards showcase greenkeeping at its finest

BIGGA Awards showcase greenkeeping at its finest

The BIGGA Awards are divided into three categories, with the winners revealed at the BIGGA Celebration with Jacobsen. The event takes place on the opening evening of the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) in January 2024.

The BIGGA Awards recognise that high standards of quality and dedication are vital to the success of any golf course or championship. They reward the innovation of BIGGA members who are at the cutting edge of the profession and any BIGGA member within the UK, regardless of their golf facility’s size, age or reputation, can enter. The awards provide golf clubs with an opportunity to showcase their greenkeeping team’s talents and celebrate their achievements.

BIGGA Awards 2024 finalists

Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year sponsored by Bernhard and Company

This award recognises that the success of any tournament depends upon the expertise and dedication of the greenkeeping team. From the lowliest club championship through to golf’s professional tours – all are only made possible due to the work of greenkeepers who go above and beyond to present the finest playing surfaces possible.

The finalists in this category for 2024 are:

  • Paisley Golf Club, led by Course Manager Jonathan Caldwell, for hosting the Scottish Golf Men’s Area Team Championship Finals in September 2023
  • Portlethen Golf Club, led by Head Greenkeeper Neil Sadler, for hosting the Scottish Golf Boy’s Under 16 Open Championship in July 2023
  • Walton Heath Golf Club, led by Course Manager Michael Mann, for hosting US Open Golf Championship Final Qualifying in May 2023 and the AIG Women’s Open in August 2023.

Greenkeeping Project of the Year

This award recognises those greenkeeping teams who have undertaken a specific project, completed within the past year. However, projects can be long term and may include course construction, renovation or rebuild. They particularly award innovative thinking and commitment to the project by the home greenkeeping team.

The finalists in this category for 2024 are:

  • Basingstoke Golf Club, led by Course Manager Scott Roberts, for the redevelopment of the former Dummer Golf Club site and creation of a new golf course and associated facilities
  • Dudley Golf Club, led by Head Greenkeeper Stewart Marshall, for bringing the golf club back from the brink of closure and producing a thriving venue through a range of course improvement projects
  • Sandiway Golf Club, led by Course Manager Richard Sinker, for the ‘Project 1946’ redevelopment that is seeing the golf course revert to its original heathland characteristics

Outstanding Contribution of the Year

This award is presented to a BIGGA member or members who have made an outstanding contribution above and beyond their normal working life. This can be for charity, for the betterment of the greenkeeping profession or association or generally for society. The winner of this award will be revealed at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration at BTME 2024.

More information about each of the finalists can be found on the BTME website.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “It has become something of a BIGGA tradition that we sign off the year by revealing the finalists of our annual awards and I couldn’t be prouder of this year’s line-up. The performance of a greenkeeping team can massively impact the fortunes of a golf club and these six finalists all show instances of greenkeepers possessing the confidence and ability to take the lead and ensure their golf club’s ambitions are fulfilled.

“I wish them all the best for the awards and look forward to discovering the winners at the BIGGA Awards on the opening night of BTME 2024.”

Sponsorship opportunities are still available alongside these awards. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact BIGGA’s head of business development Lauren Frazer using lauren@bigga.co.uk.

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BIGGA reveals greenkeeping awards finalists

BIGGA reveals greenkeeping awards finalists: An innovative project to restore the historic links that hosted the first Open Championship, a club that hosted its first ever professional golf event and a team that battled Scottish snowfall to construct a new hole have been revealed as the finalists of the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association’s (BIGGA) Awards 2023.

Each year BIGGA invites nominations from across the golfing industry to recognise the achievements of its members, who play a vital role in the ongoing success of the sport.

BIGGA reveals greenkeeping awards finalists

BIGGA reveals greenkeeping awards finalists

The BIGGA Awards are divided into three categories, with the winners revealed at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration with Origin Amenity Solutions, taking place on the opening evening of the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) in January 2023.

BTME is the largest annual gathering of greenkeeping professionals outside America and is held at the Harrogate Convention Centre in North Yorkshire alongside the Continue to Learn education programme. Together the events are considered among the most influential in the golfing calendar given the professional development opportunities presented to golf greenkeepers, helping them produce fantastic playing surfaces at every level of the sport.

With incredible prizes up for grabs, the BIGGA Awards recognise that high standards of quality and dedication are vital to the success of any golf course or championship. They reward the innovation of BIGGA members who are at the cutting edge of the profession and any BIGGA member within the UK, regardless of their golf facility’s size, age or reputation, can enter. The awards provide golf clubs with an opportunity to showcase their greenkeeping team’s talents and celebrate their achievements.

Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year sponsored by Bernhard and Company

This award isn’t just restricted to those clubs who host majors or DP World Tour events. A team may have done incredible work to get the course fit for professional or amateur events, including national or important local championships.

The finalists in this category for 2023 are:

  • Abridge Golf Club in Essex for hosting the club’s first EuroPro Tour event, the PDC Championship, from 29 June to 1 July 2022
  • Minchinhampton Golf Club in Gloucestershire for hosting South West Week and Open Championship – Regional Qualifying in June 2022
  • St Annes Old Links for the hosting of Open Championship – Final Qualifying and The R&A’s Amateur Championship in June 2022

Greenkeeping Project of the Year sponsored by Sports Turf Data Solutions

This award recognises those greenkeeping teams who have undertaken a specific project, completed within the past year. However, projects can be long term and include course construction, renovation or rebuild – the possibilities are endless.

The finalists in this category for 2023 are:

  • Astbury Golf Club, led by Head Greenkeeper Andy Brougham, for their bunker renovation project
  • Prestwick Golf Club, led by Golf Course Superintendent David Edmondson, for the recreation of the original 12-hole Open layout used for the first Open Championship
  • Strathaven Golf Club, led by Head Greenkeeper Stephen Hunter, for the redesign and reshaping of two holes to fit in with safety concerns

Outstanding Contribution of the Year sponsored by Baroness

This award is presented to a BIGGA member or members who has made an outstanding contribution above and beyond their normal working life. This can be for charity, for the betterment of the greenkeeping profession or association or generally for society. The winner of this award will be revealed at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration at BTME 2023.

More information about each of the finalists can be found on the BTME website.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “Around Christmas each year I get the tremendous pleasure of revealing which of our incredible members have been selected as finalists of the BIGGA Awards, with the winners to be announced at our fantastic BIGGA Welcome Celebration at BTME. I never fail to be impressed by what our members are able to achieve, despite the sometimes immense challenges put in front of them. Whether it be a project to improve their facility or preparing for and delivering an important championship at their venue, their skill, talent and commitment knows no bounds.

“Congratulations to our finalists and thanks as always to our wonderful sponsors for supporting BIGGA members every step of the way.” 

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Appointment to Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group

Appointment to Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group: The Greenkeepers Training Committee (GTC) has revealed that Trentham Golf Club’s course manager, Ed Stant, has been appointed chairperson of the group that works to produce and administer formal educational opportunities for greenkeepers in the UK.

The appointment was made following The Richmond Golf Club Course Manager Les Howkins MG’s decision to step down as chairperson of the Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group following an incredibly-successful tenure.

Appointment to Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group

Appointment to Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group

Trailblazer groups are responsible for developing a new apprenticeship for an occupation and then revising the apprenticeship as needed. Since becoming chairperson in 2021, Les has steered the group expertly, navigating the collaboration with the Sports Turf Trailblazer Group to develop the Level 3 Advanced Sports Turf Technician apprenticeship, which was approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) in October 2022.

No sooner had the new Level 3 apprenticeship been approved than Les began leading the group to review the Level 2 Golf Greenkeeper apprenticeship. Great strides have been made so far and this work will continue under the leadership of Ed, who will step up from the vice chairperson role. Gavin Sowden, environment and health & safety officer at Woburn Golf Club, will become vice chairperson. Both will move into office at The GTC-BIGGA standardisation meeting for training providers, being held in Harrogate during BTME in January.

Les Howkins MG, outgoing chairperson of the Golf Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group, said: “After two years as the Trailblazer chairperson, I am pleased to announce that Ed Stant will be taking over as chairperson in January 2023. Ed has been an excellent deputy for several years and has proved to have a very strong understanding of the role and the apprenticeship scheme. I am sure Ed will fulfil the role with honour and pride and ensure the greenkeeping apprenticeships remain world leading and fit for purpose for many years to come.

“Stepping into the deputy role is Gavin Sowden. With the full support and backing of Woburn Golf Club, I have no doubt Gavin will form a strong partnership with Ed and together the greenkeeping apprenticeship will go from strength to strength.

“I have enjoyed my years as Trailblazer chairperson and I must thank The GTC’s Fiona Lyttle for all her hard work and dedication to the scheme. Without Fiona, none of what we have achieved would have been possible.”

Ed Stant said: “I am delighted to accept the position of Trailblazer chairperson, taking over from Les Howkins MG, who has done a fantastic job over the past few years. Apprenticeships are such a vital route into our profession and often the building blocks for many young people entering the world of greenkeeping. I hope I can do the position proud and offer BIGGA and The GTC the support and encouragement they need. Special thanks goes to Fiona Lyttle at The GTC, who works so tirelessly for greenkeeping.”

Gavin Sowden said: “It is an honour to accept this appointment and be involved with the Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group. Having been in the industry for over 30 years and working closely with numerous apprentices starting their working lives as greenkeepers, I understand the importance of ensuring we have the correct education programme in place for our future golf course greenkeepers and course managers.”

Fiona Lyttle, BIGGA learning & development executive (The GTC), said: “It has been a honour and a privilege to work with Les over the last few years. His wealth of knowledge and determination to ensure greenkeeping apprentices are at the forefront of greenkeeper education is second to none. He has taught me a lot and hopefully I can now impart some of that knowledge further to continue the work of the Trailblazer group.

“We are delighted to appoint Ed and Gavin as the new Trailblazer chairperson and vice chairperson respectively. Being active employers and advocates for greenkeeping education, the Trailblazer group and I are looking forward to working with them to maintain the level of apprenticeships our employers have become accustomed to and to ensure they have quality golf facilities for their members to enjoy.”

The Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group and Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme is supported by golf facilities and governing bodies including England Golf, BIGGA, The Richmond Golf Club, Trentham Golf Club, Woburn Golf Club, Frilford Heath Golf Club, Gaudet Luce Golf Club, Leyland Golf Club, Portmore Golf Park, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Sunningdale Golf Club, The London Golf Club.

For more information on the Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group, contact The GTC’s Fiona Lyttle on (01347) 838 640 or fiona@the-gtc.co.uk

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Updated standard for greenkeeping apprentices

Updated standard for greenkeeping apprentices: The Greenkeepers Training Committee (GTC) has released information about a new qualification that will provide golf greenkeepers and other sports turf apprentices with advanced knowledge as they work to produce exceptional playing surfaces from grassroots through to professional levels.

The Level 3 Advanced Sports Turf Technician apprenticeship has been approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) and is now available for delivery.

Updated standard for greenkeeping apprentices

Updated standard for greenkeeping apprentices

Sponsored by the Department of Education, IfATE is an employer-led organisation that supports employer groups in the development of world-leading apprenticeships and technical education systems. During 2020, IfATE undertook a review of apprenticeship standards within associated industries. The Advanced Golf Greenkeeper Apprenticeship had been approved for delivery in January 2020 but as a result of the review, the Greenkeeper Trailblazer and Sports Turf Trailblazer groups were approached by IfATE to develop a Level 3 Standard and End-point Assessment Plan (EPA) that could sit across both disciplines.

Trailblazer groups are responsible for developing a new apprenticeship for an occupation and then revise the apprenticeship as needed. Both groups understood it would be challenging to develop an apprenticeship that aligns comfortably across greenkeeping and the various other sports turf disciplines, but after many months of discussions between employers, training providers and IfATE, the Level 3 Advanced Sports Turf Technician apprenticeship has been produced and approved.

Improvements to the apprenticeship include more comprehensive assessment of knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs), which are undertaken through a written test, the creation of a project that must then be presented and a professional discussion and facility walk.

The Standard and End-point Assessment Plan can be accessed on the IfATE website.

Les Howkins MG is chairperson of the Golf Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group. He said: “It is great that we have been able to come together and work with the Sports Turf Trailblazer Group to develop a comprehensive Level 3 apprenticeship that we feel works across all disciplines within the sports turf sector and provides a career progression from the well-established Level 2. Following a lot of hard work alongside the Sports Turf group, we believe the Advanced Sports Turf Technician apprenticeship delivers what employers and apprentices in our sector need.”

Delivery director at IfATE, Robert Nitsch, said: “We are pleased to announce that the Advanced Sports Turf Technician Level 3 apprenticeship has been approved for delivery. The Sports Turf and Golf Greenkeeping Trailblazer groups have worked together to develop a standard suitable for sports turf technicians across a wide range of settings. This apprenticeship will form part of a suite of sports turf and golf greenkeeping apprenticeships and will provide a progression route for those previously achieving Level 2 qualifications. The apprenticeship will become the recognised standard for all advanced sports turf technicians.”

The Advanced Golf Greenkeeper apprenticeship will continue to be offered until it is decommissioned in 2023. The latest start date for apprentices will be 31 August 2023. There is no impact on those already registered on that standard.

The following employers all contributed to the creation of the new standard, along with support from training providers and End-point Assessment Organisations: British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), Crosfields School, Edgbaston Stadium, England Golf, Frilford Heath Golf Club, the GTC, Gaudet Luce Golf Club, Grounds Management Association, Highfield Sports Ground, Leicester City FC Sports Turf Academy, Leyland Golf Club, Portmore Golf Centre, The Richmond Golf Club, Trentham Golf Club, Myerscough College, Kings School, Nottingham University, Oaklands College, Whitgift School.

For more information on the Advanced Sports Turf Apprenticeship, contact The GTC’s Fiona Lyttle on (01347) 838 640 or fiona@the-gtc.co.uk

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Future of greenkeeping in safe hands

Future of greenkeeping in safe hands: Toro, Reesink Turfcare and the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), have revealed the finalists of their prestigious annual awards, which seek to uncover the UK’s leading student greenkeepers.

Each year the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards enable BIGGA, the UK’s only membership association for golf greenkeepers, to work alongside turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and distributor Reesink Turfcare to celebrate the next generation of talented and dedicated greenkeepers.

Future of greenkeeping in safe hands

Future of greenkeeping in safe hands

A record 54 nominees from across the United Kingdom were put forward by educators, course managers and head greenkeepers and other mentors. From those candidates, a final 12 have been chosen to contest the grand finals this September.

For the first time, the finals of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year will take place at Goodwood, the historic sporting venue located in West Sussex. The awards event will take place a week before the estate hosts Goodwood Revival, the famous weekend of classic racing. Goodwood is also home to the Downs Course, described by Justin Rose as a “truly inspirational” place to play golf.

September’s event will be the 33rd staging of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards and just the sixth time the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, open to greenkeepers aged 21 or under, will take place. To be eligible to take part, candidates must be registered on a qualifying greenkeeping qualification and must be nominated by their course manager or college tutor.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  • Andrew Bate, Hesketh Golf Club
  • Tom Bromfield, Trentham Golf Club
  • James Gaskell, Ripon City Golf Club
  • Abi Laker, Frilford Heath Golf Club
  • Andrew Ritchie, St Andrews Links
  • John Thornton, Hellidon Lakes Golf and Country Club

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  • Jake Beech, Newcastle-under-Lyme Golf Club
  • Alfie Brookes, Gathurst Golf Club
  • Luke Charnley, Royal Liverpool Golf Club
  • Peter Pattenden, Carden Park Golf Club
  • James Stratford, Broome Manor Golf Club
  • Freddie Williams, Dudsbury Golf Club

More information about the finalists is available here.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive: enrolment in the 10-week University of Massachusetts Winter Turf School; a two-week expenses-paid placement at Adare Manor, venue of The 2027 Ryder Cup; an all expenses paid trip to the GCSAA Conference and Show in Florida; and a visit to Toro Corporate HQ, R&D Centre and Equipment Operations in Wisconsin.

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive: a two-week work placement at Vidauban Golf Club in France; a five-night trip to Continue to Learn at BTME including four days of education; and a gift voucher for Toro Training.

The runners-up and endorsers of the winners will also receive various prizes.

BIGGA Learning and Development Executive Deb Burnett said: “Each year the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards gain a little more prestige, as previous finalists go on to achieve wonderful things in their careers. I’m delighted that more student greenkeepers than ever before participated in the nomination process and all should be proud of how they performed during the regional interview stage.

“The 12 finalists are very worthy of their spot and I can’t wait to watch them overcome the challenges we set for them at glorious Goodwood this autumn. My thanks go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their continued support of this wonderful initiative.”

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Life after greenkeeping

Life after greenkeeping: Former Course Manager and BIGGA Chairman, Andy Campbell MG, offers advice for those who are considering a career change.

Once a Greenkeeper always a Greenkeeper: while this may be true in ‘sprit’, the current dearth in available talent in the industry would suggest in reality this is no longer the case.

Life after greenkeeping

Life after greenkeeping

The increasing difficulty many are having with regards to recruitment poses real and long term problems for many Clubs and as with most supply and demand situations, it will need a thorough re-think with likely increases in pay and improvement of working conditions hopefully being the end result.

So what are your plans should you find yourself thinking of leaving the Greenkeeping fraternity (and please note that this article is NOT a cry for you to do so!) either through circumstances beyond your control or as a pre-determined career move?

For many it comes as a great shock when “your time is up” and a mad scramble for alternative employment ensues. With the fast paced nature of life and volatility of employment we are all experiencing perhaps now is the time to plot out your future and assess your skill set, filling in the skill gap where necessary – if all goes well and you choose, or are allowed to, stay as a practising Greenkeeper these additional skills may serve you well in any case.

There are many occupations closely linked to Greenkeeping: Sales, advisory work, sub contracting services such as aeration etc, construction among those. They all have the major benefit of keeping you in contact with the Greenkeeping family which, for many, serves as a comfort.

For some, the progression may well be starting their own business: certainly not for the faint hearted, or those looking for an easy life. The majority of start ups do not survive more than five years according to statistics and real determination and a thick skin will be required by anyone not wishing to be one of those failures.

Let’s look at the common skills and attributes shared with Greenkeeping and starting your own business – this could be a business serving the Golf and Greenkeeping sector or not:

  • Enhanced communication skills
  • Good financial management
  • Determination
  • Energy
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Desire to keep on improving
  • Ability to solve complex problems
  • Ambition
  • Self-motivation.

All of these are what most successful Greenkeepers need in abundance and the superb education now offered by BIGGA, GCSAA and others can ensure that any skill deficits can be quickly strengthened.

A look around the exhibition halls at BTME in March would enforce the view that many Greenkeepers have chosen the trade or self employed routes. Trade companies have long recognised that the skills and empathy former greenkeepers have with their peers holds great advantages in securing sales and customer loyalty. For some making the jump to the “dark side” does not work out with many citing that they miss the element of fulfilment that Greenkeeping gives them.

Others, of course, thrive – being appreciated, rewarded and having more time, especially weekends, to yourself as well as being free of the debilitating weight of expectation unfairly placed on them by misinformed and ignorant Golf Club memberships. Perversely, starting your own business is more akin to the Golf Club environment certainly in the early stages of start up with long hours, low rewards and sometimes difficult clients – the major difference… YOU are in control.

In my case, the idea of being self-determined and free of corporate shackles had been brewing for a decade or more: I have had the simple guiding principle of five year planning for a large part of my career, sometimes the plan goes longer and sometimes shorter, but to think longer than five years to my mind is overly optimistic and borders on complacency. I am fond of two sayings passed on to me years ago – “What got you there won’t keep you there or get you to where you want to be”, and ”Don’t let inertia be your friend”.

Having a broad experience across Golf including Greenkeeping, General Management/Director of Golf roles, Sales and Association involvement I needed to find a way of utilising those experiences to create a business that linked each sector and which frankly leveraged a wide network of contacts to mutual gain. Now past the five year mark and having survived Covid personally, and as a business, this is what I now have and the second five year plan is now in motion, broadening the scope of the business and preparing it and me for life when the body won’t do what I want it to… in short, transitioning.

There you have it some 750 words in, perhaps the most important word, skill or attribute I believe you will need in today’s world: transitioning.

The ability to change course, react, adapt and move forward. What will give you this ability? Experience and skill set for sure because these bring confidence and self belief, key ingredients if you are to beat inertia.

Of course, there have been difficult times and lots of lows as well as highs, again just like most Greenkeepers’ average year – the pursuit of excellence sic success is a journey not a destination.

Anyone thinking that starting out on your own will lead to a land of immense wealth and luxury yachts is either in need of a good shake or is perhaps thinking of a business that will escape the attention of HMRC but may be of more interest to the local constabulary!

It is harder than ever today with excessive red tape, particularly if you are importing and exporting, high taxes, employment law etc to make huge returns, unless you have access to large bundles of cash with which to gamble. What you can create is something that will give you endless pleasure, grief, a sense of fulfilment and pride and a comfortable living… yes, a bit like managing a Golf Course except this is yours.

That brings me to one of the most dangerous traits exhibited by Course Managers (and I plead guilty) that the Golf Course is THEIRS – it isn’t and it won’t ever be. Change that notion or you will eventually perish and join the ranks of the bitter and disillusioned.

If you are thinking of a career change, whether through necessity or simply because you have hit a ceiling, then start planning now. I instinctively knew when the plan needed changing (well, most of the time, on occasion my employers knew before me, although in truth on each of those occasions I did know, but chose to ignore the signs – not clever) and had prepared well for the next stage. Sometimes that planning was as simple as having a day dream, momentary thought about what could be.

Those thoughts took me from comfy Cheshire to St Andrews to Northern Ireland and back to St Andrews effectively beating inertia, definitely giving my family a bumpy ride but also experiencing great people, places and moments.

When we sit back in later years, the phrase that it’s not the miles you travel but the stops you have on the way may well be most pertinent.

One of the key aspects of planning your route is to know what you have and know what you need.

Self-delusion will lead to failure. Be honest with yourself. I see too many people promoted into positions based on what they have achieved in their current role, but then are exposed because they are devoid of the skill and experience needed in the new role. It has certainly happened to me in my career but by good fortune I was blessed to be surrounded by good people and mentors that got me out of some pretty ugly situations.

Happily, every bad situation and one of these I endured for all of a five year plan, subsequently gave me the experience and stickability to survive thus far in business. Time is only ever wasted if you fail to learn from it and often it’s the bad experiences that prove most beneficial.

So, in conclusion, this is not a call for a mass exodus from Greenkeeping: It continues to be one of the most rewarding careers with a great, friendly and dedicated family of colleagues. More, it’s just a call to action to PLAN and not fall victim to circumstance.

Be in control, have your eyes open and extend and fortify that skill set. As you will see, the skill set is so transferable that the world truly is your oyster…GO FOR IT.

Free golf membership for greenkeeping help

Free golf membership for greenkeeping help: The owner of a private, nine-hole golf club in England is letting people play for free providing they pitch in with course maintenance.

Read the full article from Golf Magic here

Free golf membership for greenkeeping help

Free golf membership for greenkeeping help

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Is there a crisis in golf greenkeeping?

Is there a crisis in golf greenkeeping?: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has launched an industry-wide survey that will quantify information relating to a perceived ‘crisis’ within the greenkeeping and wider golfing sector.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that golf clubs are struggling to fill available vacancies, particularly in the greenkeeping department. Reasons generally put forward for this include the requirement to work anti-social hours, lack of appreciation and a relatively low entry salary. However, for those who do embark upon a career in greenkeeping, the positives are many.

Is there a crisis in golf greenkeeping?

Is there a crisis in golf greenkeeping?

This survey is crucial as it is vital the scale of the challenge is quantified, as well as the key drivers for the issues. Effective golf club staff are critical to the health and growth of the sport as they strongly influence the experience of golfers on a day-to-day basis.

As BIGGA seeks to fulfil its overarching ambition of creating a more positive working environment for the UK’s greenkeepers, BIGGA hopes the hard data from the survey will enable the association to positively guide the broader golf industry.

Head greenkeepers, course managers and other members of the turf management team at golf clubs are invited to complete the survey. Only one response is required per golf club. The survey can be completed online at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2VZ52PH

BIGGA has requested the support of partner organisations with regards this research and will publish the results in full when the periods for submissions has closed.

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “With the ongoing cost of living crisis at the forefront of our minds and the COVID-19 pandemic having caused many people to consider their priorities, the golf industry faces a very real challenge to engage sufficient staff at club level, to effectively deliver the sport to the nation’s five million regular golfers. Participation in the sport is booming at just the time that recruiting and retaining greenkeeping staff is at its most challenging. It is vital the golf industry – utilising real data – considers positive solutions to the ongoing labour issues.

“We encourage all our members to respond to this survey, which we believe will benefit all greenkeepers and golf club staff.”

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ICL integral to fairways recovery

ICL integral to fairways recovery

ICL integral to fairways recovery : Ian Cambridge, Course Manager at Saffron Walden Golf Club in Cambridge, has revealed how the correct advice, seed, and nutritional products from ICL have been integral in helping the fairways recover from drought.

The infamous drought of 2018 proved to be problematic for greenkeepers and course managers throughout the UK and Ian Cambridge was no exception.

ICL integral to fairways recovery

“Back in the summer of 2018, like most golf courses, we lost a high proportion of our grass sward on the fairways due to the drought,” he said. “We had overseeded in the spring of 2019 without great success and the fairways were quite poor through the early part of the season.”

Looking for a solution, Ian contacted ICL and Andrew Pledger (Technical Area Sales Manager) visited the East Anglian club. He and Ian walked around the course looking at the conditions and probed into the soil to see what could be done. It was at this point that Andrew suggested a programmed approach which centred around ICL’s recently launched Vitalnova Links bio-stimulant.

Vitalnova Links consists of a unique combination of concentrated seaweed extract Vitalnova SeaMax and the proven biostimulant Vitalnova Blade. In turn, the formulation brings together and accentuates the benefits of both products.

Vitalnova Links was combined with a wetting agent and 8kg of a water soluble 35-0-5 fertilizer.

Andrew also advised, that due to not having any irrigation capacity, Ian should not overseed again until the autumn. This time, however, Andrew recommended that Ian use a multi-blend mixture consisting of rye, fescue and SSMG (Smooth Stalk Meadow Grass).

“The grass species that we lost the most of was the fescue and we were unsure of what we should do,” said Ian. “However, Andrew explained that by using a blend of three different species we would be spreading our bets a bit more with any future drought.

“The nutritional and wetting agent programme had actually helped with some natural ingress of our existing sward. This helped lower the amount of seed that we needed to use in our overseeding that autumn and it was a great help with lowering the costs. The seed mix we chose was the ICL ProSelect 2 Tees/Fairways mix and we had great germination success.”

ProSelect 2 Tees/Fairways is proving to be an extremely popular choice with golf courses throughout the UK and beyond. The mixture is a blend of fine fescues and perennial ryegrass which creates a turf surface that can recover strongly from divoting.

The blend contains Traction smooth-stalked meadow grass and Torsion TRT perennial ryegrass to provide rhizomatous and Turf Repairing Tiller (TRT) growth for extra durability and recovery from divots. It is renowned for providing great colour, all-round disease tolerance and close mowing tolerance.

The new nutritional programme and seed were put to the test in 2020 when the drought inevitably returned.

“In the spring of 2020, the fairways were filling in very nicely, however, the conditions became very droughty once again,” said Ian. “The difference this time was that we were already on a wetting agent and nutritional programme, and yes the turf browned off but when the rain returned in August the sward came straight back.

“Our over-seeding requirements were reduced, we believe, due to the choice of the quality seed and the advice from Andrew on our nutritional programme.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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