For the first time in the industry’s history, agronomists from around the world came together for a three day conference in April, to discuss a range of issues relating to golf course management and construction.
Sixty-two participants took part in an intensive programme, held at the Craiglands Hotel in Ilkley, which included visits to the trials ground at STRI in Bingley and Alwoodley Golf Club, Leeds, who kindly hosted a course walk which highlighted both agronomic and ecological aspects of the golf course.
The conference, organised by STRI, following discussions between Dr Gordon McKillop, STRI’s chief executive, and Jim Snow, national director for the USGA, was initially arranged as a joint meeting between STRI and USGA staff. As planning progressed, other interested parties from New Zealand, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Scotland, including Steve Isaac and Nick Parr representing the R&A, were invited.
A total of 22 sessions were covered over the three days. There were 16 joint presentations from STRI and USGA staff; 4 national roundups, which were given by Alex Glasgow, general manager of the New Zealand Sports Turf Institute, Maria Strandbery, Swedish Golf Federation, Paolo Groce, Italian Golf Federation and Julie Dionne, The Royal Canadian Golf Association, and a golf course environmental session from Jonathan Smith, who recently moved from the Scottish Golf Environment Group to become chief executive of The Committed to Green Foundation.
Four topics stood out from the rest and created lively discussion amongst all the delegates. These were bunker construction and sand choice; biological controls and chemical usage; golf courses in the environment and methods of golf green construction.