Packed halls, exciting innovations and inspirational additions to BIGGA’s world-leading education programme made BTME 2020 an incredible success. Despite an unseasonably mild week keeping greenkeepers busy out on the course, 4,439 individual visitors made their way to the Harrogate Convention Centre for BIGGA’s annual exhibition.
One hundred and fifty-five turf industry companies packed into 4,880 square metres of exhibition space and showcased the latest technology and product developments, while more than 250 hours of education helped to prepare BIGGA members for what lies ahead in their careers and out on the course.
“It’s been a fantastic few days,” said BIGGA chief executive Jim Croxton. “Massive thanks to all the exhibitors for supporting it and all the visitors for coming and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody next year.”
This year’s show was marked by a whole host of inspirational new ideas. From the Green Room Podcast Live to the GEO’s Sustainability Zone and STRI’s live turf laboratory, there were more ways than ever before to interact and network with other attendees.
“Thank you to everyone who attended BTME 2020”, said BIGGA chairman Scott Reeves: ”It’s been a tremendous show and I look forward to seeing you all next year, from 19 to 21 January for BTME 2021.”
Preparations for BTME and Continue to Learn 2021 are already underway and BIGGA is inviting anyone who would like to speak at the education programme to submit a proposal. BIGGA members will then have the opportunity to vote for the education they would like to see through the Members’ Choice process. BTME 2020 highlights include:
BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Campey Turf Care Systems
The traditional curtain‑raiser of the exhibition is the BIGGA Welcome Celebration, sponsored by Campey Turf Care Systems and hosted by television presenter Naga Munchetty.
At the event, a number of awards were handed out to BIGGA members who have done extraordinary things throughout their careers, including one who provides support to those who encounter difficulties with mental health in their personal and professional lives.
Michael Davie, the course manager at Hazel Grove in Stockport, has tirelessly supported many BIGGA members and other greenkeepers. Having overcome periods of depression in his own life, Michael (59) established the “Greenkeepers mental health support group” on Facebook, where turf industry professionals from all over the country can come together to support each other. In addition to this, Michael also hosts a regular meet‑up in Manchester, where greenkeepers come together to discuss issues and provide a helping hand.
Find out more about the BIGGA Welcome Celebration here.
New Product Area
Each year of BTME brings the latest releases of technology in turfcare. For 2020, the show had a dedicated New Product Area in the Blue Zone, where companies were able to able to show attendees their most recent products.
Ernest Doe & Sons brought a lithium-powered utility vehicle, in a move away from lead acid towards a longer battery life and warranty and quicker charging times.
BTME was also used as a potential growth market for companies like Hydro App Systems, whose Finn T30 hydroseeder and Profile ProGanics topsoil replacements are already successful in drier, arid countries.
Companies participating in the New Product Area were: Pitchfix; Agrovista UK; Hunter Industries/KAR UK; Compo Expert; Velvit; Bionema; STIHL; Headland Amenity; GreenTek Solutions; TurfTrainer by HineCraft.
STIHL (pictured) was awarded the ‘Best New Product’ prize with more than a third of participants voting for the company’s BR 800 blower.
Voting for the New Product Award was done by visitors to the show using the BTME 2020 smartphone application.
BTME Early Bird 5K Run
BTME is renowned for its networking opportunities, which quite often go into the early hours. Early starts often aren’t on the menu, which is what made the commitment of more than 100 delegates and trade representatives (pictured top) who attended the BTME Early Bird 5K Run all the more special.
The run began at 6.30 am outside the main entrance to the Harrogate Convention Centre, with BIGGA staff being joined by members of the mental health charity CALM, the Campaign Against Living Miserably. For everyone who signed up to the run, Syngenta pledged to donate £10 towards the Greenkeepers Benevolent Fund.
Syngenta’s Dan Lightfoot MG said: “I think it was the best thing that we’ve ever done as an event at BTME. I thought that it might be tricky to host an early morning run in Harrogate during January, but if we could pull it off it would be amazing. It was brilliant and we even had six people come and walk the route just to raise money for charity, which they wouldn’t have done otherwise. That was amazing.”
The run raised more than £1,000 for BIGGA’s charity, which supports members who encounter difficulties in their personal lives.
Ben Davis, who organises a regular early bird run on the streets of Harrogate, said: “It was brilliant, absolutely amazing. We raised loads of cash for the charity, which is brilliant, and everybody really enjoyed it. We’re looking forward to hopefully coming back next year.”
BIGGA’s Jim Croxton called the success of the run “extraordinary”, adding: “We had the idea a few months ago and wondered if we might get a couple of dozen people to brave the Harrogate streets after a busy night and more than a hundred turned up, which was brilliant.”
BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards with Campey Turf Care Systems
A new addition to the BIGGA calendar came to an exciting conclusion at BTME as the first winners of the BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards were announced.
BIGGA teamed up with Campey Turf Care Systems to recognise the importance of communication for modern greenkeepers, with incredible prizes up for grabs.
First up was the prize for Innovation and Thought Leadership, handed out to the BIGGA member who had produced the most discussion‑provoking article for Greenkeeper International throughout 2019, with a £750 cash prize and an all‑expenses paid trip to Jacksonville, Florida up for grabs for the winner.
The winner was revealed to be Ryun Holden of Golfclub Wylihof in Switzerland.
Accepting his prize, Ryun said: “I’m incredibly proud. Obviously, being the first winner of the award is something special as it’s unique and one of those things that people can’t take away from you. I honestly didn’t expect to win, it’s a total surprise, and I’m very much looking forwards to the trip to Florida.”
You can read Ryun’s feature and all the other articles submitted by BIGGA members on the BIGGA website in the News and Features section.
Two other awards were also up for grabs and these were presented on the Campey Turf Care Systems Stand on Wednesday at BTME.
The winner of the New Media award was revealed to be Dale Housden, head greenkeeper at Drayton Park, while Banchory course manager Richard Mullen won the Outreach award.
Green Room Podcast Live Stage
Every month, 150 million listeners tune into podcasts worldwide. BTME members pulled on headphones to join that figure at the show’s innovative feature, the Green Room Podcast Live Stage.
Curtis Tyrrell, the director of agronomics at Desert Highlands and host of the Course Reports Podcast, was handed the microphone and took the stage alongside guests, leading discussions on topics such as The Open at Royal Portrush and chatting about the European Tour.
Curtis, who was course superintendent at Medinah when it hosted the Ryder Cup in 2012, said he hoped the live podcast event would be a good way to connect golf courses.
He added: “This is a perfect mechanism to bring personal stories and experiences out to more people. For younger people, podcasts are a common thing in their world and they are a great way to introduce the profession to them. Turfcare isn’t a common thing that most people think about for a career, so this is a way to let them know about it.”
Craig Haldane, golf courses manager at Gleneagles, joined for an episode to discuss The 2019 Solheim Cup. He said he believed the podcasts brought more life to BTME, adding: “When you’ve got a live event with an audience and a Q&A on stage, its brilliant. Curtis is a good presenter and he’s had a great career himself, so that means he really knows what he’s talking about. It’s always good to try something different.”