It is six and a half years since Pitchcare was launched. In that time we have seen a steady growth in membership and, by the time you read this, we could well have busted the 30,000 members mark. No small feat for an idea that was considered, at best, 'bonkers' back in 2001.
So, here we are in 2008, stronger than ever and now considered, by many, to be the 'voice of the industry'. How did we get here? Well, for starters, we gave the industry what it wanted - an online resource - plain and simple. At the time, other organisations could not, or would not, see the benefits the internet could offer and, it is fair to say, we have received our fair share of criticism along the way.
Quite why this should be I am not sure. Is it our success that rankles? Or is it that, nearly seven years later, they see it as a missed opportunity? Whatever the reasons Pitchcare is here to stay.
So much so that 2008 will see the launch of a new, easy to navigate, website with a number of new features.
We are indebted to our industry partners, sponsors and advertisers for making all this possible and to our online members for embracing the concept.
The launch of our hard copy magazine back in the summer of 2005 also opened the eyes of the industry to what was possible. We deliberately avoided the tired format of all other industry magazines that were, and still are, feeding off PR and exhibition previews and reviews. Pitchcare produces a magazine that is packed with articles written by groundsmen, greenkeepers and industry experts, as this very issue will testify.
Today, we still get criticised and misrepresented. Such quotes as "Pitchcare are aiming to become a membership organisation" or "Pitchcare don't know what they want to be" are clearly both inaccurate and ill informed.
If we don't know what we want to be then why have other media organisations attempted to clone our format? Both online and hard copy!! It was Oscar Wilde who said "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" so thanks, at least, for that.
It is the interaction on Pitchcare that has made it the success that it is, the opportunity to voice opinion and share advice and information with one's peers. Perhaps it is this independence that upsets a few small-minded people? The fear of criticism, whether just or unjust, appears to be a little too much for some to stomach.
My feelings (and I've said it before) are that a solid explanation tends to shut the critics up. Tell people how it's going, warts and all, and you get a response of understanding.
Pitchcare has, and will, continue to evolve, adding new sections for the members and raising awareness of the turfcare profession outside the Industry.
So, whether you want to shop, chat, post a question, answer a question, buy a piece of used machinery, find a new job, book a training course or read one of over 4,600 articles … 'vive la revolution'.
All the team at Pitchcare wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2008.