GCSAI Annual Conference

Alan Mahonin Golf

The Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim Co. Meath pulled out the stops to cater for the Annual GCSAI Conference which was held there last March. Over 260 delegates registered to attend the conference making it by far the biggest turnout for the Association's flagship event.

Many speakers came from far and near to give up their time passing valuable knowledge on turfgrass management. The topics covered were wide and varied.

Speakers included:

Fintan Brennan (Portmarnock Links),
Dr. Karl Danneberger (Ohio State University),
Joseph DiPaola (Syngenta Crop Science),
Simon Doyle (Troon Golf),
Alan Ferguson (Ipswich Town FC),
Richard Hayden (STRI),
Steve Isaac (R&A),
Todd Lowe (USGA Greens Section),
Trevor Myles (Pesticide Control Service)
Aidan O'Hara (Mount Juliet)

The banquet is always an opportunity for people to meet up and socialize. Having former Co. Meath football manager Sean Boylan as an after dinner speaker was the icing on the cake. Once the meal and speeches were over, it was back to the bar and the buying of many rounds as only the Irish do so well. Lets hope the EU Pesticide Directive does not put a ban on hazardous liquids used for the cure of thirst, exhaustion and other social ailments. Irish folk band Morning Dew provided suitable background music with solo contributions by some of the delegates.

The topic that attracted most attention was the much anticipated debate on sustainable golf versus reality golf. After the speakers gave their views, it was time for questions to come from the floor, but despite some interesting comments, the debate lacked some of the momentum which some had come to expect.

However, there was the view by some that annual meadow grass (poa annua) is here to stay and that working with it is a fact of life and course managers will have to learn how to manage it successfully. One delegate posed the question "Why do experts keep trying to fight poa and not accept it as part of the grass management programme?"


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