Ransomes Jacobsen's distributor for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, held a two-day education event at Kuneticka Hora Golf Resort, 120 kilometres east of Prague in the Pardubice region.
The event attracted over 140 invited customers from the Czech Republic and neighbouring Slovakia, who were there for the education programme sponsored by Jacobsen and to see a range of products from the many turf management franchises that ITTEC represent.
The first day began in the impressive conference suite at the resort, with Managing Director Pavel Hrdina introducing his team and then speaking about the new products that will be introduced into the two countries next year. He was followed by Dr Thom Nikolai of Michigan State University, who was flown in from the USA by Jacobsen to speak to the assembled club and course managers.
His presentation focussed on greens maintenance and the cutting and rolling trials that he had performed over the past 20 years. Pavel Hrdina acted as interpreter, successfully translating some of the light-hearted anecdotes that are a feature of a Nikolai presentation. At the conclusion of the talk, there were numerous questions from the delegates, who obviously fully appreciated the relevance of the topics covered.
After lunch the delegates were split into four groups and rotated around four stations, set up around the front of the clubhouse and the putting green. Station 1 featured a display of Jacobsen greens mowing equipment including a presentation by Nigel Church of Ransomes Jacobsen's Cutting Edge Training division, who demonstrated the recently introduced Bi-directional groomer and brush system.
Station 2 was hosted by Rain Bird with Michal Cermák showing and demonstrating some of their latest irrigation systems, sprinkler heads and associated controllers. Station 3 featured a display of the turf maintenance equipment offered by ITTEC including Cushman utility vehicles, Turfco topdressers and overseeders, E-Z-GO golf cars and Smithco bunker rakes and rollers. It was also an opportunity to introduce the new Jacobsen Truckster XD heavy duty utility vehicle and the Jacobsen MP Series batwing rotary mower.
The final station was hosted by Paul Wilcox, European Sales Manager for Bernhard Grinders. He had set up an impressive display of his company's grinding products on the covered patio area adjacent to the clubhouse. Following an audio visual presentation, again interpreted by Pavel Hrdina, he was able to demonstrate the benefits of the Express Dual cylinder grinder, the Anglemaster bottom blade unit and the Rapid Facer.
In the evening, the Club's catering staff provided an excellent dinner with a selection of traditional hot and cold food and Czech wines. Course Manager Michal Voights is the lead singer in a heavy rock band, Hard Mok. To the delight of the guests he and his band gave an astonishing performance of hard rock Czech-style to close the first day.
The second day was devoted to a golf competition and with over 90 competitors it demanded a shotgun start. Split into three categories by handicaps - 0-18, 19-36 and over 36, the event was won by Jakub Danko from Golf Club Liberec in the north of the Czech Republic with a gross score of 76. The highlight of the competition was a hole-in-one by Leo Baca from Golf Club Velke Karlovice on the 158 metre 4th hole.
Prior to his departure back to the USA, Dr Nikolai commented, "This has been a rewarding and enlightening experience. First of all, Pavel did a tremendous job, both listening and interpreting for myself and Paul Wilcox for six solid hours. Image the concentration that takes!"
"I was so impressed with the hunger for education among the audience and their interest in the material in my presentation. Although I finished just before the break for lunch, I fielded numerous one-to-one questions about golf course maintenance; in fact right through the day until Hard Mok took the stage late in the evening.
"I can't thank Jacobsen enough for the opportunity to educate and learn from turf comrades in the Czech Republic. I would also like to thank Pavel and the ITTEC team for putting on such an interactive and educational celebration centred round golf course maintenance. It certainly exceeded expectations."
More information on the product offering can be found at www.ransomesjacobsen.com.