NTF Conference welcomes collaboration

Martyn Jonesin Industry News

NTF Conference welcomes collaboration

The continuing success of the National Turfgrass Foundation Conference at Southport has led to a further expansion in the programme on offer this year. In line with its commitment to work closely with other like-minded associations and groups, it has welcomed a collaboration with the Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations, the Institute of Groundsmanship, the British Turf and Landscape Irrigation Association, the British Association of Golf Course Constructors, the Turfgrass Growers Association, and Cranfield University at Silsoe.


This year's 'In Pursuit of Excellence' Conference will again be held at the Southport Theatre and Floral Hall Complex, and will run from 29th November to 2nd December 2004 inclusive.

An additional element to this year's programme is the introduction of the 'Turfgrass Education Emporium', with a selection of one-day and half-day seminars, study groups, and MasterClasses designed to provide more specialist and detailed information. Experts in their field have been asked to cover a diverse range of topics. Some of the sessions concentrate on 'Turfgrass Identification and Species Adaptation', 'Bermudagrass Establishment and Management' and, in the company of two of the World's most revered agronomists Professor Joseph Vargas Jnr., and Professor 'Al' Turgeon, 'Poa annua - everything you wanted to know about it but were afraid to ask!'

Experts in soils and drainage from both sides of the Atlantic will be presenting a full-day MasterClass on soils and drainage, including fascinating demonstrations on water movement and retention in soils.

Have you ever considered the use of a microscope in diagnosing problems? Well, you have a chance of learning how to select and use one in a half-day, hands-on study group. There's also a full day on golf course architecture with the highly entertaining and down-to-earth Howard Swan design team. Developing an effective Health and Safety Policy is the theme of yet another half-day seminar. In this, attendees will have a chance to discuss and compare ways of presenting risk assessments, managing records, and communicating to their members and the public.

There is also a one-day symposium on 'Getting the Best from Natural Grass', run in conjunction with the Institute of Groundsmanship. As with all the other components of the event, highly respected speakers from a number of countries share their expertise and experiences. A College Campus Day is another new feature. Primarily designed for students on higher-level education programmes, it will supplement their formal studies and give them an opportunity to meet world-renowned agronomists and seasoned golf course managers.

Martyn Jones went on to say, "By listening to the wishes and wants of the participating associations we have tried to structure a conference programme that will best suite the current desires of turfgrass managers, whether responsible for the management of golf courses, sports grounds or landscape areas. At the NTF we only have three workers, who are all unpaid dedicated volunteers. The support and encouragement that they have received from the participating associations has meant a lot to them and they have worked even harder to produce a spectacular programme."

Louise Clegg, a full-time employee of British Seed Houses, is a co-founder of the NTF, and one of the behind-the-scenes volunteers. Louise says, "Doing so much in our spare time can be extremely demanding on occasions but it's our way of putting something back into education. The Conference itinerary, with its varied topics and a highly impressive line-up of speakers, is a major event in itself but the additional element of a Turfgrass Education Emporium will create one of the most comprehensive turfgrass education programmes ever staged in Europe. It is hard work but we try to make it fun."

And if previous years are anything to go by, this year's 'In Pursuit of Excellence' Conference and Turfgrass Education Emporium will be a lot of fun. But more importantly, it will provide delegates with a unique opportunity to further their knowledge and skills, share experiences, and discuss details with some of the most respected figures in the turfgrass industry.

For a Conference brochure or further details of the event contact Martyn Jones on Tel. +44 (0)1995 670675 or Louise Clegg on +44 (0)7879015921 or email NTFoundation@aol.com.

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