The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has led the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association to rethink how its members will access local and regional education in 2020, with the association launching a new initiative known as the National Regional Conference.
Dr Micah Woods
Traditionally BIGGA's five regions - Scotland and Northern Ireland, Northern, Central England, South West & South Wales and South East - host their own gatherings for BIGGA members to meet up and hear talks from some of the most influential people in the industry. However, restrictions on social gatherings and the fact many greenkeeping teams are stretched to the limit due to busier courses and reduced staffing means that these in-person events aren't able to take place through this autumn.
BIGGA has already announced its popular Continue to Learn education programme, usually held at BTME each January, will become an online event, and the regional conferences have now followed suit.
The National Regional Conference, so called because it will be accessible from anywhere, but will also retain some of the great features of a regional conference, will take place on 10 November 2020 from 10am to 1pm and registration has now opened on the BIGGA website.
The programme for speakers is:
Seven things I've learned about turf around the world
Presented by Dr Micah Woods, chief scientist, Asian Turfgrass Center
A fast-paced look at seven things that can be learnt from turf around the world:
- Choosing the right grass is really important
- The textbooks aren't always correct
- Where's the most difficult location to grow good grass?
- Greenkeepers must be expert irrigators
- Plant nutrition is easier than it's made out to be
- Could sand topdressing be overdone?
- The growth rate is more important than I thought
Simple steps to encourage wildlife on the golf course
Presented by Dr Marie Athorn, Business Conservation Advisor (R&A), RSPB
Golf courses can play an important part in the conservation of rare and protected species with fantastic green spaces that offer significant opportunities to provide desperately needed sanctuaries for wildlife. This session will help you to consider some simple low cost, low resource ideas that you could do on your golf course to make a difference.
From Lockdown to the Rose Ladies Series
With Callum Wark, golf course manager, JCB Country Club
When Justin Rose and his wife Kate announced the Rose Ladies Series, a one-off Ladies European Tour event, shortly after golf reopened following lockdown, the greenkeeping team at the JCB Country Club in Uttoxeter had their work cut out for them - to get the golf course in shape for a behind-closed-doors, COVID-19 safe, televised tournament - all with one month's notice!
Fitting drainage pipes at Loch Lomond
The renovation of Loch Lomond
Presented by David Cole MG, director of golf course and estates, Loch Lomond Golf Club
Since winter 2017/18 the team at Loch Lomond and golf construction contractors Golflink have been working on what is considered to be one of the biggest renovations in British golfing history. Taking place over three consecutive winters, in one of the wettest locations in the UK, 16 holes have been rebuilt, a new irrigation system installed, a full rebuild, extension and new forward tees added, bunkers rebuilt and the renewal of the drainage infrastructure. This was followed by a sand cap and re-grassing plan across the golf course. The final two holes are planned to be completed this winter (if COVID-19 restrictions allow).
2019 - Parkstone's busiest season on and off the course
Presented by Grant Peters, course manager, Parkstone Golf Club
To say that the Parkstone greenkeeping team had an exceptional 2019 might be a bit of an understatement. In this session you will hear about their experiences including the development of their new maintenance facility, delivering the Ladies European Amateur Championship and managing one of the busiest courses on the south coast.
Head to the What's On section of the BIGGA website and select BIGGA's National Regional Conference for more information and to book your spot.