The first in a series of 7 GTC-R&A workshops to promote the Sustainable Golf Course programme and Benchmarking Service took place courtesy of Wilmslow Golf Club on Friday 29 May.
The aim of the workshops is to ensure the GTC Approved Centre's turf staff integrate into all training courses the principles and practices of the sustainable golf course programme and understand how the R&A Benchmarking Service is designed to assist golf clubs throughout the world.
David Golding, GTC's Education Director, Steve Isaac, The R&A's Director - Golf Course Management and Steve Oultram, the Course Manager at Wilmslow Golf Club led the discussions with representatives from GTC Approved Colleges in the northwest of England and a number of local Course Managers who, with their employers, have been applying relevant programmes of practical greenkeeping skills.
David Golding stated, "the day exceeded our expectations as there was widespread support from all delegates to promote the sustainable golf course programme and, with the practical input from Course Managers, the staff employed by colleges delivering the various training courses and qualifications took on board every aspect of introducing a course policy, the importance of employer engagement and how a measured realistic programme has to be agreed and implemented".
Steve Isaac added, "The R&A is pleased to support the GTC's work to promote sustainable golf maintenance through its Approved Centres/Colleges network as it is in greenkeeper education where the whole of the sustainable golf course programme has to have a solid foundation."
Wilmslow Golf Club were among a vanguard of clubs in Britain to identify the need to introduce a policy of what their Course Manager, Steve Oultram, calls "practical, sensible greenkeeping" to address issues such as pesticide regulation and climate change that will have serious implications for course management. "The path can at times be bumpy," he explained, "but the benefits fro golfers are now there for all to see especially during the autumn to spring period. The greens are more consistent all the year round."
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