Remembering when we had the ‘guts’ for the job?

Richard Murray in Training & Education

RichardMurray.JPGWhatever the politicians might say, or the general election might bring, 2010 should be a big learning curve for us all - and didn't we learn a lot about politicians in 2009!

Which brings me to this point, how much that controls what we do is in law, regulations or general guidelines laid down by bodies of people, for our best interest or the interest of relevant affected parties?

On top of all this, we then have monetary, labour and time constraints to contend with ... and, with the hassle we have had with the weather in recent months, there is an endless amount for us to contend with.

Also, we must not forget our need to survive, supporting our families to the best of our abilities with what seem to be limited personal resources, especially in the turfcare profession.

Profession is the right word to use for the dedicated professionals that work in our industry - yes you! You are all professional people at what you do, you understand what makes your area work to get the best results from what facilities you have to achieve your high standards of workmanship.

In the real world we don't tend to compartmentalise what we practically do, as we know that the weather can, within a day, alter the best laid plans, that our budgets we thought we had get reassigned to other areas, and that staff we relied upon move on for various reasons.

In a number of cases a new manager or committee decides what we, as professionals, should do in our work, altered by professionals from other areas of work who only play the game.

What do we do with all these circumstances with their myriad restrictions? We actually learn to adapt our experiences, with the knowledge we have gained, to make the situation work to give the best results.

I am lucky to have worked in the turfcare industry for the last forty years and, for all of those years, learning from people, courses or training material. One thing I have been able to learn is that, what we think we know today will certainly change in the short or long term.

To expand this point, look at chemical application. When I was an apprentice, I rolled nicotine coated shreds into golf ball size smoke bombs with my bare hands, then lit them in glasshouses to kill anything that moved, including you if you had to relight a ball that had gone out - still never smoked a cigarette! I wonder why?

I have applied powders to bowling greens, watered them in and then, the next day, shovelled up the worms that covered the green.

But, just to top both of those examples (hope your not eating), gone to the slaughterhouse and collected what had been removed from the cattles' guts, hand shovelled it on to the back of a pickup and then sat in the back of the vehicle with this xxxx material before spreading it on the parks flower borders as organic fertiliser! Bring back the good old days? I don't think so!

Years ago we started applying chemicals to seeds to kill off the bugs that eat the new growing plant. Recent research has shown that it might be this practice that gives us higher crop yields, but that it affects the immune system of bees, so they are now in decline. With this knowledge, do we change our practice or ignore it for the next generation to sort out?

Generally, I am glad to say that, in our industry, with our professional attitude, we learn, then do something about it in the right way, even if we have to go head to head with the politicians.

So, what will the future hold? That's up to me, you or us, collectively, not someone else. We can be heard and change the information, regulations and rules, without being militant. BE PROFESSIONAL.

Keep learning, keep training, keep gaining experience, and don't think what you know today is all you need to know for tomorrow.

Richard Murray
RWT Real World Training

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Training & education