With events taking place and online debates thriving, turf-care professionals are not shy about sharing ideas and information to help shape our industry.
Since we hosted our first Summit last October in Madrid, we have been interested to hear and report on various events taking place across the country and hear about blogs, vlogs, Twitter discussions and other social media activity that grounds-carers contribute to regularly.
The aim of the Turf Business Summit was always to encourage industry members to keep talking and organising gatherings throughout the year. Roger Moore, Sales & Marketing Manager at Dennis & SISIS, described the Summit’s value saying: “From start to finish the event was well managed, professional, informative and enjoyable. The mix of everything was spot on.”
Indeed, the Dennis & SISIS Groundcare and Seminar was a huge success when it took place on the 19th February in St Albans. As their annual seminars continue to grow in size and reputation, they are continually evolving, reacting to what matters to industry members. Following the event, as Twickenham head groundsman, Keith Kent, summed up the educational benefits of these events: “For me, it is all about the education. They have come along, enjoyed the day, picked up new ideas and met lots of people from a range of different sports.”
At Ipswich Town FC, Grounds Manager Ben Connell, organised an event earlier this year with groundsmen keen to hear about ITFC renovations, listen to presentations, learn more and take part in demos, as Ben explains: “Historically, there has been a lack of interest in groundsmen evenings in Suffolk but we have started to turn it around with increased attendance. We hosted an education and demonstration evening at the training ground and there was an opportunity for me to give a power point presentation on the ITFC renovations at a Suffolk FA. The organised meeting went down really well.”
On March 11th, at the prestigious Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich, Paul Larsen hosted a Links Club gathering, welcoming 80 Head Greenkeepers to tour the course and listen to presentations, discuss other Links courses and understand challenges other links courses face. The event was a great success and copportunity for greenkeepers to share ideas and information on pressing issues and managing climate change. Paul had attended the Turf Business Summit, describing how the experience had encouraged him to adapt and consider how he planned his own events back home: “The Turf Business Summit got me thinking about how we organised last year’s Links Club so I stole a few ideas! It made me realise that we really can learn a lot from the site visits and talks. With the Summit in mind, I decided that I would like to do something similar at St George’s but build on what we had done the year before. We wanted all links courses to attend so we could bounce ideas off everyone involved and see where this could take us.”
Social media is another sure-fire way the industry opens up discussions and shares information. Ben Connell is active online with his monthly blog (www.turfjournal.blogspot.co.uk) gaining increasing popularity, as he adds: “Locally, my monthly blog on the ITFC grounds team is getting more attention and interest with Suffolk non- league groundsmen and fans alike, which I hope will raise some interest in our industry.”
Such attention is going a long way to highlighting what the groundsmen in their area are up to as Ben agrees: “I’m pleased that we have had an increase in entries into the Suffolk Groundsman of the Year competition, which I hope is off the back of extra work being put in to raise the profile of groundsmanship.”
Another online enthusiast is James Bledge, Course Manager at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club in Kent (see our Profile on page 14). James is an avid blogger, vlogger and Twitter follower and since joining Royal Cinque Ports GC, his blog (royalcinqueports.wordpress.com) and Turf’s Up podcasts, covering golf and greenkeeping, have been a great contribution to the industry’s online chatter. A big believer in industry events too, documenting, discussing and sharing can make a real difference, as James says: “I’m a big believer of ‘each to their own’ or ‘horses for courses’ so more of a discussion rather than a debate is my thing!”
In the pipeline
Following the success of the 2018 Turf Business Summit, we will continue to build on the collaborative work that was achieved in Madrid and are planning our own UK Focus Group and a Question Time event ahead of our second Summit in Portugal this October. The first Focus Group will be held at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium on 14th May, so watch this space!