Jimmy Kidd, golf courses and estates director at the world-renowned resort complex declared the inaugural Gleneagles Turf Care Conference, sponsored by Textron Golf, Turf & Specialty Products, “a resounding success”.
Speaking to over 135 delegates at the conclusion of the three day conference he said, “The conference has surpassed all my expectations and, without fear of contradiction, I can say that it achieved all of its aims…and more. We had a diverse range of delegates from all parts of globe and it provided the ideal forum for them to expand their knowledge and understanding of the golf industry. The speakers, many of whom had travelled from across the world, were first rate and question time at the end of each session provided the opportunity for a lively debate on the various issues raised.”
The Provost of Perthshire, Mike O’Malley, officially opened the conference, saying that he was delighted that Gleneagles had been selected as the venue for the 2014 Ryder Cup. He praised Jimmy Kidd for his dedication and resolve to ensure that the conference went ahead before wishing everyone a successful three days.
Keynote speaker, Fred Green, the renowned golf course developer whose projects include Nantucket Golf Club, Eagle Springs in Colorado and more recently the new Queenwood Golf Club in London, expounded his philosophy on golf club development and the impact of modern technology on course design. He was particularly concerned with the advances in club and ball design, suggesting that a review would be necessary to ensure that all the major courses remain challenging to the top professionals.
This theme was continued later with course designer David McLay Kidd providing a fascinating insight into designing courses that are challenging for the professional, while remaining playable for the majority of golfing enthusiasts.
Further topics relating to other aspects of the design and management of a course were discussed including grass types, the use of seed or turf, the future of turf maintenance equipment, water sourcing and usage, and tournament preparation which included an interesting case study from Paul Latshaw on his regime for the 2001 Walker Cup.
Melvin Thomas, of Barrelfield Golf, looked at project finance and management structures, and George Sheils, consultant agronomist with PGA European Tour, spoke on the use of fertilisers and maintenance procedures. Various environmental issues including site planning, bio-diversity and wildlife management were discussed, before the final session on marketing, promoting the business and working with the media completed the conference.
Speakers, delegates and guests also had the opportunity to relax and enjoy a round of golf on one of the famous courses but the highlight of the social calendar was the Gala Dinner. Scottish hospitality was overflowing as the Gleneagles Pipe Band beat the retreat on the hotel lawn prior to the guests filing into the ballroom, bedecked in tartan, behind a lone piper for dinner. The haggis was then ceremonially piped into the hall and addressed in time-honoured fashion with a poem by Rabbie Burns.
Glynn Patrick, Sales Director at Textron concluded by saying, “Jimmy Kidd has been nurturing this idea for the past three years and it didn’t take us long to accept his request to support what has proved to an absolutely superb event. As principal sponsor we are delighted with its success. Through Jimmy’s vision and the efforts of everyone involved, this inaugural conference has achieved its goal by providing an international perspective on golf course management and providing a forum where best practice can be explored to the benefit of all the participants.”