21 FEGGA member Greenkeeper Associations gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria on 20th & 21st February for the 22nd Annual FEGGA Conference. This truly global, two-day conference, included the latest initiatives from the R&A, GEO, European Golf Club Owners Association, STERF, and the GCSAA – ably supported by Kajanni and Elmwood Colleges via video links. The focus of the Conference was very clearly aimed at linking Best Practice to Business to ensure European Greenkeeping helps Golf be sustainable, environmentally responsible, and profitable.
Golf in Bulgaria was at the opening of the agenda and Yavor Atanasov (Chairman of the Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association) opened the meeting with a clear description of the growth of the game in Bulgaria, and the aims and objectives of the B.G.G.A..
FEGGA launched several initiatives aimed at the Greenkeeper members of its Associations. These included the opportunities of a place on the Ryder Cup Support Team at Le Golf National; the opportunity of a study tour for an Association; and the opportunity of taking part in the Greenkeeper Experience Programmes in several different formats. Any Association or Association member who is interested in personal development is urged to contact his home Association who will make arrangements with FEGGA.
All this alongside the development of the FEGGA Statement of Responsible Golf Course Management which is making progress on two separate fronts.
• The process of being translated into all major European Languages, assisted by Edwin Roald of Iceland. FEGGA asks that all Associations now complete a translation.
• The introduction of a “Responsible Toolbox” and also the possibility of creating a future “Pinterest Board”. This will be an area where members can place and read practical greenkeeping information, and view case studies of successful, quantified greenkeeping projects such as composting, wild flower establishment, renovation of playing surfaces etc.. The Pin Board will also be a place for Association news and events, Partner news and events, and industry developments.
FEGGA also delivered information through a webinar about a Sterf supported research project “Susphos” that they are partners of. This was presented by Trygve Aamlid, professor at the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO). “Susphos” is focusing Sustainable phosphorus (P) fertilization on golf courses during 2017-20.
We are all working hard at trying to be more successful in how we deliver our social media, and in doing so we invited Emma Ballard from Medi8 to present her thoughts on this subject. Emma gave a real overview of the many tools that are available, and how best to use them. She also gave some very clear examples of what works and what doesn’t, and why.
In summary: Paul Worster said on behalf of the FEGGA Board that this was a major step forward for FEGGA in its stated objective of “Bringing people and Organisations together”.
The two days and nights included the FEGGA AGM where out-going Chairman Kamil Pecenka was thanked by the Czech Greenkeepers Association for his years in Office on the FEGGA Board which stretched to almost ten. This was wholly and unanimously endorsed by the Meeting. Incoming Chairman Paul Worster paid tribute to the FEGGA
Board and said that Kamil Pecenka was a giant among European Greenkeepers and had set a very high bar.
Proposals for the 2018 Board were elected by the meeting as good as unanimously; Chairman Paul Worster (UK); Vice-Chairman Joel Nunes (Portugal); established members Emmi Pietarila (Finland) and Darko Cecelja (Slovenia); Martin Nilsson (Denmark) was elected to the board; and Patron representative & advisor Erich Steiner of Steiner & Partners continued in this current position. This is a strong and representative Board which is looking forward to continuing the work of FEGGA.
Evening activities included watching a display of fire-eating and fire-dancing in the nearby Vitosha Mountains; and watching & taking part in traditional Bulgarian dance in a city restaurant following a guided tour of the city of Sofia. The Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association was thanked for assisting with the organisation of all the events, and for their extraordinary hospitality which was hugely appreciated.
Delegates returned home motivated and inspired and FEGGA received many messages of support looking forward not only to the 2019 FEGGA Conference, but also to 2020 when FEGGA will host the International Summit as part of its Conference.
FEGGA is very proud of its partnerships, and for this Conference, want to say a big thank you to John Deere Golf, Syngenta and The Toro Company.
FEGGA closes by urging participation in its offerings and activities which range from introducing the opportunity of receiving Webinars for top-quality education, to support for Associations, to development for individual greenkeepers of member countries.
Paul Worster has the final thought – if there is one word for all of us to focus on; it is “Communication”. Expect to be hearing more from FEGGA during 2018.
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