National Turfgrass Foundation Conference Southport 2004
By Laurence Gale MSc
The National Turfgrass Foundation (NTF) Conference is now widely recognised as a must attend event by many turfgrass industry professionals. The format of the the four day conference not only allows delegates to see and hear presentations by world acclaimed turfgrass professionals but also allows them to meet up and talk with these leading professionals and with one another.
This year there were more presentations with an increase in the number of workshops. These half and one day workshops were very well received. Restricting them to 25-30 delegates allowed a greater degree of informality and encouraged a better exchange of information.
One of the most sought after workshops was one about Poa annua - 'Everthing you wanted to know about it but were afraid to ask!' by Professors Al Turgeon (Pennsylvania State University) and Joseph M Vargas Jr. (Michigan State University).
The Tuesday morning's programme focused on water resource management and irrigation technologies, with guest speakers talking about accurate assessment of irrigations requirements, water regulations and legislation. The assessment of need will be essential for maintaining water extraction license agreements in the future.
Water usage will become a major issue in the coming years, and extensive legislation will control the use and application of water resources. Many golf and sports facilities will have to identify and quantify their water use requirements and prove how effective they have managed theses resources. Water extraction will be controlled and monitored by the Environment Agency.
Wednesday night saw the presentations of the BRITTIR AWARDS (British Turfgrass Industry Recognition).These collaborative awards supported by leading associations were in recognition of achievements and contributions to the betterment of the British Turfgrass Industry.
Martyn Jones of the NTF expressed his thanks all the participating associations for their involvement and support of the awards evening - IOG, NTF, TGA, BAGCC, BTLIA and BRTMA.
Winners and categories:
Author of the best technical article published between 1st October 2003 - 30th September 2004 - Doctor Terry Mabbett 'Safer Spraying' in The Groundsman.
Author of the best non-technical article published between 1st October 2003 - 30th September 2004 - Trevor Ledger 'Archer Field Golf Club' in Golf Course News International.
Innovation of the Year 1st October 2003 - 30th September 2004 - SISIS 'AER-AID'
Corporate Care Award - TORO
Celebrity of the Year - Bruce Cruse, ECB National Facilities Manager.
International Celebrity of the Year - Melvin B. Lucas, JR, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America.
Industry Lifetime Achievement Award - Robin Hulme. Awarded by the British Turfgrass Industry in recognition of dedication to the advancement of its aims through education, promotion and professionalism.
Industry Lifetime Achievement Award - Howard Swan. Awarded by the British Turfgrass Industry in recognition of dedication to the advancement of its aims through education, promotion and professionalism.
National Turfgrass Foundation Research Award 2004- Dr Steven Baker Head of Soils and Sports Science, STRI
On a personnel note I think it is very important for turf grass professionals to have the opportunity to share information, to keep up to date with the latest industry developments and, at the same time, to have the opportunity to make new contacts.
The wealth of knowledge and expertise shared during the conference is invaluable. Even after the conference proceedings had finished for the day, many delegates were still happy to discuss issues and share views about the industry in the hotel bar. To my delight, I was able to catch both Professor Al Turgeon and Joseph Vargas Jr in the bar one night, persuading them both to sign a copy of their new book ' Poa annua ' - a 'coup de grace' for me.
Martyn Jones was pleased with the attendance and expressed his thanks to all the conference sponsors and delegates for making the event such a success, with special thanks going to all the volunteer staff who provided their services free.
British Seed Houses Ltd
Campey Turfcare Systems