The Slovenian Greenkeepers Association is now already well known in our industry, not because they are one of the smallest associations in FEGGA, but because of the good work they are engaging in and because of their educational conference they operate every year.
This year it was already 18th in a row, held in the great location of Bled in Slovenia on 15th and 16th November. Bled is not just famous because of their delicious crème cake which you can enjoy beside the magical lake, but also because of the island with a church situated in the middle of the lake guarded by a wonderful castle nearby.
Great program with excellent speakers attracted 70 participants from 9 different countries to attend their conference. Among the participants there were also two new association chairman’s, chairman of Austrian Greenkeepers Association Andreas Leutgeb and Tomasz Klimza chairman of the Polish Greenkeepers Association. Also Present, were the chairman of the Hungarian greenkeepers Association Gyorgy Major, a big group of greenkeepers from Czech Republic lead by Kamil Pečenka (vice chairman of FEGGA), there were participants from Italy, Croatia, Romania and even a greenkeeper from Spain, not forgetting that almost all of the Slovenian golf courses signed at least one of their greenkeepers to the two-day event.
All together 9 speakers did an excellent job, coming from the United States despite their busy schedules. Dr. Pat Vittum from the University of Massachusetts, her specialty is turf entomology and she explained to us all about insects to which our golf courses are becoming more vulnerable and explained many of the cultural strategies to reduce them. Tom Malehorn, representing Aquatrols talked to us about water management and why soil surfactants are important in reducing diseases and usage of water on golf courses. Matt Shaffer director of golf course operations on the amazing golf course Merion talked about preparations they used for the US Open in 2013 and about the major changes that were made when he started to work at Merion. With us was also Brian Palmer from Shoreacres golf course in Chicago, from United Kingdom Paul Worster a FEGGA board member and golf course manager at Minchinhampton. Paul Worster gave an interesting presentation about bunkers and how much money is spent in maintaining them, and he showed us many good examples where we can save money. From Austria came Barry B. Britton who is working as an agronomist at Engelmann Turf Management and also Stephan Breisach, owner of Turf Handels. The last two speakers of the conference where Toni Vitaljič from Croatia, reprenting the company Vitalis Crop Care and also Tomaž Ščavničar representing the company Refarmo in Slovenia.
The Conference ended with a sightseeing tour of the oldest and biggest golf course in Slovenia, golf course Bled, constructed in 1937. Golf course Bled was in the year 2014 placed ranked 49 in the top 100 golf courses in Europe by the Golf Word Magazine, and is currently being reconstructed and this amazing project will be finished in spring 2017.
The Slovenian Greenkeepers Association again showed that the size of the Country, the quantity of members in the Association and quantity of golf courses are not important in making for a great international educational conference. If you can manage to combine working closely with other Associations, have support of good partners and members, support coming from friends in Slovenia and abroad, have passion and dedication for our industry you can produce a great event. For the ones who couldn’t be present this year, The Slovenian Greenkeepers Association promised they will work hard to make the conference even better for all attending next year!
Chairman Slovenian Greenkeepers Association
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