17 Greenkeeper associations gathered in Zurich, along with many Patron Members and prominent European and global golf organisations.
Day one was held at the Syngenta European technical and research headquarters in Stein. The focus of the day was totally centred on all aspects of environmental golf course management. Excellent presentations were delivered by R&A, launching their On Course Tracker. Syngenta presented an introduction to their research facility, which followed with a full tour presented by their excellent scientists and research staff.
GEO have been a long standing partner of FEGGA from the beginning, and their participation this year was aimed at Sustainability – it’s about time (that greenkeepers got recognised for what they do). This was very apt, and really dealt with the realities of greenkeepers being the real initiators to most golf clubs in embarking on a road of environmental Management and becoming certified as a golf club.
Sterf, Presented on the Priorities for Sustainable Golf Course and Turfgrass Management, which received excellent feedback. Maria Strandberg of Sterf commented following the Conference that “I really enjoyed the FEGGA conference very much and the discussions with representatives from greenkeeper organisations outside the Nordic countries and the industry partners were very beneficial”. These series of presentations were complemented by three excellent Case Studies delivered by Greenkeepers coming from UK, Finland, and Denmark. All three demonstrated the expertise that lies within the Greenkeeper profession, and the great strides that have taken place over the last number of years. The day also showed the leadership of Fegga over the years and the role it has clearly played in scoping all aspects of environmental decision making and leading us to where we are today. There is so much more to do, but clearly much has been achieved in every aspect. Fegga reflected on this towards the end of the day, and talked about now setting new challenges for Fegga and its members, and this will be an area that the management board will be focusing on during the next months.
The day concluded with an excellent Panel Discussion, made up of industry representatives, which really challenged all organisations in their thinking and future decision making that clearly has a massive affect within our industry and also the game of golf.
Saturday was a very different set up to the day, with many varying subjects being tackled. These ranged from the importance of Tackling Successful Renovation, Presented in association with Campey Turfcare, Ransomes Jacobsen, and BIGGA presented together on their Future Turf Managers Initiative, clearly a great programme that will help potential Course Managers in the UK, and already now being looked at by other Countries. FEGGA will certainly be supporting and encouraging all associations to look at this initiative for their own memberships.
FEGGA and GCSAI presented on the pilot Roadshow that was held in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Both reported on the success of this event, with some 70 people attending. The content of the Roadshow was totally tailored to their specific needs, which clearly played a huge part in its success. More Roadshows are planned during the course of this year, all being tailored to each Country needs in serving their own members. This is a great way of FEGGA along with its Patron members working together to provide good technical education. It also provides a great opportunity to introduce local greenkeepers to share their own experiences that totally compliment the subjects covered during the day. Dublin clearly illustrated this with the energy that came from the day.
Toro presented on Meeting the demands of today’s Golf Course maintenance; whilst John Deere showed an insight into Engine Emissions – today and tomorrow. Both provided very good insights into precision turf management, and also a look at the challenges that companies are facing with new regulations on emissions both now and looking ahead.
The EGEU and the work it has been engaging in continue to grow, and David Golding presented on where we are today, and what the goals are during the next twelve months. Greenkeeper education plays a major role in the work of FEGGA, and sets the standard for professional recognition for all greenkeepers everywhere that golf is played. It’s therefore vital that we continue to drive this forward to enable these professional standards to continue to grow.
Group work has become a major ingredient of the FEGGA Conference, and has covered some very engaging subjects over the past few years, ranging from the existing economic situation and what measures collectively we can work on to help the situation, and also the affects it is having on the industry as a whole through to Growing the game of golf. This year the group work was run with open agenda, and only Greenkeeper Associations participated within specific groups, whilst the Patron members came together with FEGGA to have their own informal discussions. The results were very productive, and will help with FEGGA continuing to move forward in serving its members and continuing to work closely with its Patron Members.
FEGGA is very proud of its relationship with its Conference Patrons for the commitment they make in enabling FEGGA to bring all our Members Associations together and the benefits this has to them. Their support is considerable, and we thank Campey Turfcare, Ransomes Jacobsen, John Deere, Syngenta, and Toro for this valuable support.