0 NTF Conference a great success

New conference to help Industry?

The National Turfgrass Foundation Conference 2002

By Dave Saltman

The man behind the new Foundation, Martyn Jones, got proceedings under way for the conference at Southport last week.

Martyn has worked in the Industry for many, many years, he was head of turf science at Myerscough College from 1975 until May this year when he became the co-founder trustee along with Louise Clegg of the National Turfgrass Foundation.

He has acted as an independent agronomist working for clients all over the world and the database of contacts that he has built through his time in the Industry is impressive.

The NTF was formed for a number of reasons, but primarily to put a structured Education and Research program in place. The main objectives are:

1. To raise money for research stations using the rich resources of University Departments in the UK and abroad.

2. To encourage turf managers to conduct research in the work place.

3. To offer advanced education opportunities for Groundsmen and Greenkeepers through conferences and workshops.

4. To provide the funding for study tours to Europe and the USA.

He has always felt, like many, that there is a huge gap between the scientists and the practitioners and with the aid of the NTC is devising the blue print to provide quality of content coupled with simplicity in presentation.

I spent four days at the conference myself and found that the scientists and professors, who had flown in from all corners of the globe were extremely approachable and willing to partake in discussion, particularly over a pint or two in the evenings.

The line up of experts was arguably the largest and most distinguished array ever assembled to speak under one roof, covering a multitude of subjects. In fact the only saddening point was the distinct lack of Groundsmen and Greenkeepers present.

Maybe people found it was one conference too many?

Whatever the reasons it was a shame, because of all the conferences attended this year in my capacity as a journalist, this stood head and shoulders above all others- it was indeed the mother of shared information.

If next years conference is half as good, it should be the only conference worth book marking in your diary.

It is worth noting too that there were nearly thirty professors and scientists delivering research results on subjects from moss control and plant growth regulators to the construction of sports surfaces and environmental management.

The entire event was well co-ordinated and the speakers limited to forty five minute windows, a realistic time to make and explain all the valid points, without opportunity to ramble.

I hope that Pitchcare will be able to bring you much of their content that was discussed during the four days at Southport's Theatre and Floral Hall Complex. There was a lot to digest, but the speakers were accomplished in their delivery, making it easy to understand.

I spoke to Eddie Seaward and he said, "many of these speakers have already caused me to remember a number of problems that have cropped up at one time or another during my working life and I will certainly be going back to South West London with the aim of researching further, five or six issues that have been raised. It has been a mind expanding exercise".

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