A positive start

Instead of talking about the weather, let’s reflect on two positive experiences which brightened the early part of the year for Ganton course manager Simon Olver

We can all get a bit too negative in the winter – there’s certainly been plenty to moan about – but let’s look at two positive experiences I’ve had in recent weeks to kick off 2024.

First, we headed over to Harrogate for the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME). Across the trade show and Continue to Learn programme, there’s a packed five days of positive engagement with the industry.

On the education side, it was great to hear from Chris Tritabaugh, golf course superintendent at Hazeltine. Chris discussed his work as well as the importance of data collection and analysis in great detail. It was interesting to hear how similar lots of his data collection is to ours. A good example is measuring the clippings from greens daily. We do this on two greens to analyse growth characteristics and work out how efficiently the plant is working, which then leads to a better understanding of what inputs are required. At Hazeltine, this is done daily on every green, leading to incredible levels of consistency.

The work BIGGA has done to develop the programme needs applauding – from the greenkeeping content through to management, business and mental health topics, and hearing from some of the best greenkeepers in the world.

The second part of BTME is the trade show. Technology is developing rapidly and it’s important to keep up to date. Robot mowing is improving, and I have little doubt we will be doing less driving in the future. Hybrid and fully electric equipment are also becoming increasingly important, and we’re already looking at installing solar panels on our building to efficiently charge machinery in the future. Drone technology, using tools developed for agriculture to analyse conditions and target areas more efficiently, will also be key in the future.

Away from BTME, I had the pleasure of welcoming 60 R&A scholars to Ganton. The programme, which three of our team are part of, connects greenkeepers around the globe and supports them through unrivalled learning opportunities. As well as discussing our work, we got to hear about the development of Golf It! in Glasgow. Created by The R&A, the multi-purpose golf community hub is unlike anything I’ve seen before – and the number of people visiting proves how good it is. It’s fantastic to see The R&A is also supporting the training of greenkeepers at the venue, offering an array of incredible opportunities.

Training like this is exactly what we need to inspire the next generation of greenkeepers and keep the positivity going.