FEGGA are delighted to announce the six people that have been chosen for the 2023 FEGGA Greenkeeper Scholarship programme for 2023.
Gillies Parmentier is currently working a as Greenkeeper / Sustainability Manager at Rinkven golf club in Belgium. This is a great opportunity for Gillies to advance his knowledge and experience in the early stages of his career. Besides this main goal, this scholarship will provide him with a range of other sustainability projects, these include the installation of PV panels, the development of a circular water use plan, carbon footprint reduction and wastewater management.
Luis Miguel Bustamante has recently been studying on the programme Master of Greenkeeping in the University of Malaga (EADE). This followed a change of career from studying law. Luis was working as a Caddy Master at the Real Club De Golf De las Palmas. During that time, he became interested in greenkeeping and was given the opportunity to work on the golf course, this led to him going to University to study greenkeeping. Real Club De Golf De las Palmas have now given him time away to come on the FEGGA programme as they feel it will enhance his future greenkeeping career.
Rocio Alvear has just recently completed her greenkeeper qualification in Spain, through an internship that she was offered. She is now wanted to build on this qualification through further development of her practical skills. The FEGGA scholarship will fit perfectly in building on her recent experiences, with her career development mixing practical and theory at one of Europe’s leading golf destinations.
Drazen Surbek was employed as a seasonal greenkeeper last year at Kristianstad’s and through this was able to see first-hand the experience that our 2022 students were having. This was certainly something that he wanted to pursue and applied as soon as the opportunity arose. He now has more greenkeeper experience working at numerous clubs during the winter period and ready to know make the most of this career changing opportunity.
Nils Nilsson is the first Swedish Greenkeeper to take up a place on the programme, which is great to see. Nils comes with good greenkeeper experience and there is no doubt that this will fully enhance this experience to the next level and leading to many career possibilities in the future.
Kristian Kouhia is already an experienced greenkeeper coming from Finland. Hi was encouraged to apply for the Scholarship programme by Mikko Hallo, a student on the programme last year from Finland. Kristian has recently been working aa a Greenkeeper at Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, in Ireland. This opportunity will build further on his development and enable him to take major career steps following this next six months on the FEGGA programme.
4turf® – prepare for the drought to come
As droughts are becoming more common, greenkeepers need to start future-proofing their golf courses. Deep-rooting, drought-tolerant turf grasses such as 4turf® (turf tetraploid perennial ryegrass) may be one of the solutions. 4turf® stays green and playable with less need for irrigation during long, dry periods.
DLF have undertaken research at the RadiMax state-of-the-art root-screening facility, where plants below- and above-ground tolerance were tested. The results show that 4turf® outperform diploid perennial ryegrasses when it comes to drought-tolerance. 4turf® has deeper roots and a better visual appearance even when plants were starved of water.
The importance of roots
With climate change we are facing two types of stress that will have detrimental impacts on turf growth. Where most plants or trees form new shoots at the top of the plant, grasses develop new shoots very close to the roots. It suggests that roots play an important and unique role for grasses and it is a mechanism that helps the grass survive several kinds of stress.
Under drought, soil always dries out from the top. As drought progresses down the soil, the first line of defense the plant will embark on, is its deep root mass, which allows it to continue taking up water and nutrients. While this mechanism does not enable the grass to economize with its water supply, it does allow the grass to prepare itself for even worse conditions. Once drought has progressed below rooting depth, the grass will need to rely on other defense mechanisms.
Spring and summer drought
We do talk about two types of drought, spring drought and summer drought. Spring drought is a phenomenon that occurs with increasing frequency in the northern countries of Europe. Summer drought is typically a phenomenon in southern Europe but there are increased cases of summer drought in northern Europe.
Spring drought is characterized by the fact that despite lack of precipitation, there is still water deep in the soil. Therefore, grass varieties that quickly develop larger root systems in the spring are better able to survive this type of drought.
In a summer drought, all water is used up throughout the soil profile. In this situation most grasses will go into hibernation. Closure of stomatal cells, through which the plant normally “breathes CO2 in and O2 out”, will immediately shut down transpiration – and with that – also any further growth. Some species also have thicker leaves and/or wax layer that will help them save further water. Shutting down transpiration on a sunny day, however, does not come without a penalty: The photosynthetic machinery will still be bombarded with photons from the sun but now without cooling. The result is leaf wilting and – if prolonged – plant death.
In the RadiMax screening facility, plants can be characterized both with respect to root profile and above-ground tolerance. The perennial ryegrass varieties that have been selected though this intensive drought regime and proven to have the highest root mass in deeper soil layers are 4turf® varieties. The results show that tetraploid perennial ryegrasses outperform diploid perennial ryegrasses for drought-tolerance. At RadiMax we saw how deep their roots reached, and how green the turf remained when the plants were starved of water.
The secret is in the springtime speed with which 4turf® varieties quickly develop their strong roots. Compared to diploid perennial ryegrasses, 4turf® has a quicker root growth and development of a larger root mass in the upper layer of the soil, and it has a higher above-ground drought-tolerance. This makes 4turf® the clear winners when it comes to drought. 4turf®’s ability to quickly develop strong roots and establish a larger root mass in the spring is the best protection against a spring drought. Later in the season, their above-ground drought-tolerance combined with their exceptional root mass gives outstanding tolerance to a summer drought. Trials conducted in France and the Czech Republic confirm that, after a summer drought, 4turf® plots look greener than those of diploid perennial ryegrasses. With irrigation costs rising significantly in 2022 and with the real risk of outright irrigation bans being a genuine fear for many, making the change to DLF 4turf® perennial ryegrass has never made more sense !
4turf® for golf courses
Prolonged periods of severe drought also bring the specter of drinking water being banned for the irrigation of golf courses. With many greenkeepers looking to alternative water sources like reclaimed or recycled brown water, salt tolerance becomes a bigger factor. DLF have been screening all turf cultivars for salt tolerance for many years as we saw restricted water supplies becoming a greater issue. In testing, 4turf® cultivars are proven to have a higher tolerance to salt compared to diploid perennial ryegrass, making them the perfect future proof solution on fairways and tees for modern sustainable turf managers.
By choosing 4turf® for your golf course, you also get the highest disease-resistance and the quick establishment of 4turf® will keep out weeds.
Don’t forget the management The final step in preparing for a drought is to choose the right management. Avoid cutting the grass too short. Longer leaves will prevent cell damage in shaded leaves and will also ensure that photosynthetic products can still feed the roots, which will keep them alive for when rain returns. Reducing cutting during drought will not only help your turf, its also going to reduce your mowing costs and your carbon footprint.
Remember that sustainable solutions don’t have to mean poor quality, on top of their environmental credentials the latest 4turf® cultivars from DLF like Fabian are now fine, dense and have excellent wear tolerance so you no longer have to sacrifice quality to deliver a sustainable product. Making the switch to 4Turf means that come the next drought the once thing you won’t be sweating over is your turf.
BIGGA appoints dedicated workforce and recruitment project manager as association seeks to promote the greenkeeping profession to a wide audience
The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has appointed an experienced project manager to oversee the implementation of the innovative First Green initiative and to create an online resource centre that will showcase careers in greenkeeping to a wide audience.
Jennifer Bledge has spent over a decade working in information governance roles within education. She is a former parent governor of Sandwich Infant School and is a qualified teacher. Jennifer also has experience of developing relationships with various stakeholders across education, which will prove vital as BIGGA seeks to engage with other organisations to successfully implement its outreach programme.
At BTME 2023 in January, BIGGA announced it would be adopting the Golf Course Superintendent Association of America’s (GCSAA) successful First Green initiative. First Green transforms golf courses into STEM classrooms and Jennifer will oversee the development of a UK-specific toolkit that will aid in the roll out of this scheme.
She will also lead in the development of a digital careers in greenkeeping resource centre that is aimed at school leavers, graduates, second careers and golfers. Supporting this, she will liaise with ex-military and public services careers services, the National Careers Service, various charities and universities with related degree courses.
Jennifer has an existing understanding of the greenkeeping industry as her husband James Bledge is Royal Liverpool Golf Club’s course manager and is preparing to host The Open in July this year.
BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “The appointment of a workforce recruitment project manager for BIGGA stands to be one of the most important strategic decisions the association has made in some time. It represents a fundamental shift in how we approach the challenges our industry faces and I hope gives confidence to our members that we are aware of the various issues relating to staff welfare, recruitment and retention and are addressing these head on.
“Jennifer was the outstanding candidate for this role and given her decades of experience working within education, I am thrilled she has joined the team. I look forward to sharing updates about the various projects she will be working on in the coming years with our members and the wider golfing public. There is a long way to go, but with the appointment of a talented project manager in Jennifer, I am confident we have taken a vital first step.”
Rain Bird announces exclusive distributor in Sweden
Rain Bird has appointed KSAB Utemiljö AB. as its exclusive golf distribution partner for Sweden.
KSAB first opened in the early 1980’s in Västerås, providing a range of golf equipment products and services to golf courses, sports fields, landscapes, parks and gardens across Scandinavia. In 2011 KSAB became a Rain Bird customer and began supplying irrigation products and services.
Anders Stålberg, irrigation sales manager at KSAB Utemiljö comments, “We have an expert management team which includes engineers, mechanics, and former golf course managers. With over 150 years’ combined experience in this region, the knowledge and outstanding customer service that our sales and technical teams deliver set us apart. We are honoured to be appointed as an exclusive distributor, entrusted with the Rain Bird brand and given the opportunity to take Rain Bird presence in the Swedish golf market to the next level.”
Jimmy Sandison, Regional Golf Sales Manager Rain Bird for the UK, Ireland, Iceland & Scandinavia adds,
“Rain Bird and KSAB have had a successful partnership for many years. As KSAB distribute the majority of our products, they were the obvious choice for meeting Rain Bird’s objective for sole golf distribution in Sweden. The Scandinavian market is tremendously important to Rain Bird so providing assurance for continuity of support and development long term was paramount and we trust KSAB to deliver that.
We see markets adapting worldwide as the demand for knowledge and education about water management and sound irrigation practices grows, and Scandinavia is no exception. With KSAB, fully committed to supporting our contracting and industry partners in Sweden with product knowledge and experience, we are in an excellent position to support this demand, providing technologies and education as part of out our commitment for the ‘Intelligent Use of Water’. I am excited for Rain Bird, for the industry and for the future of golf in Sweden.”
John Deere to open its doors to the talent of tomorrow
John Deere will hold an open day at its Apprentice Training Centre this May in a bid to recruit the next generation of technicians to work across its agriculture, turf and parts business.
The company’s revered and respected apprenticeship programme has been running for more than 30 years, helping more than 1,200 apprentices qualify through on-the-job practical learning alongside classroom studies.
The John Deere Training Centre at Upper Saxondale, near Nottingham, opened last year, providing state-of-the-art facilities where apprentices complete their two or three-year course while simultaneously working within the John Deere dealership network.
“It’s a really exciting time to be part of the agricultural and turfcare industries,” says Allan Cochran, John Deere Branch Training Manager.
“It’s a highly technical and innovative sector, which means our apprentices get to work with some of the most advanced pieces of kit in the world.
“It’s not just servicing and fixing tractors. If you want to earn while you learn and be part of a huge, global brand with a reputation for ground-breaking innovations, then a John Deere apprenticeship could be the perfect start to your career.”
John Deere and the scheme’s training provider, ProVQ, will provide a tour of the training centre on Wednesday 3 May and Thursday 4 May, offering those interested in becoming apprentices the chance to meet the instructors, see the facilities, learn about the John Deere brand, and hear how their careers can grow with the world’s largest manufacturer of agricultural and groundscare equipment.
Sessions will last up to two hours and will outline what John Deere can offer a prospective apprentice, the journey through the Ag Tech, Turf Tech or Parts Tech programmes, plus the John Deere career path once certified.
“This is a unique opportunity to view the learning facilities on offer and talk to those who know all about the programmes,” says Mr Cochran.
The three John Deere apprenticeship programmes include Ag Tech – focusing on agricultural machinery, Turf Tech – focusing on professional turf equipment, and Parts Tech – focusing on parts service and support.
The events are free to attend but you must pre-book a session as places are limited.
To book visit: jdapprenticeships.eventbrite.co.uk
Culterra and local Golf course DGCC are working together on CO2-compensation.
Last week Culterra and Drentsche Golf & Country Club started with planting the Culterra – DGCC Forest. Consisting out of 325 freshly planted trees, such as birches, poplars, oaks, beeches and maples. Culterra is quality market leader in the production of organic fertilizer. With the start of this forest, Culterra is compensation a first part of their carbon footprint and will continue in the near future with more forests.
Culterra and DGCC are working close together with this forest, and are looking for future projects to help each other. Leon Fock (CEO Culterra); “This local initiative is very useful for all parties and of course for the nature. The golf course uses Culterra products over the past couple of years, with excellent results. They’ve asked me if Culterra could think of a solution in their forest (where they had to cut a lot of trees). We were already looking for a good and local cooperation to compensate our carbon footprint and found this a great idea.”
The first trees were planted and in the upcoming days the first Culterra – DGCC Forest will be finished. Culterra is compensating the carbon footprint for the production of organic fertilizers.
FEGGA brings organisations together to tackle some of the major Challenges facing the industry currently
The Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Associations (FEGGA) recently held their annual conference in Portugal on the 21st to the 23rd of February 2023. Due to popular demand the participants once again converged at the Hotel Quinta da Marinha Resort in beautiful Cascais just outside of Lisbon.
A strong group of delegates from FEGGA’s 21 membership Countries of European greenkeeper associations came together with Patrons and industry partners to hear, share, and talk about some of the toughest challenges the European Golf Industry faces: post pandemic labour shortages and the proposed EU regulation on the use of pesticides.
The first morning kicked off with the now familiar speed dating networking session where greenkeeper association delegates and patrons networked in small sessions over a 2-hour session. This was a great way for everyone to get to know each other and mutually share information and general thoughts about industry trends and challenges.
It was now time to head down to Cascais Marina for lunch, and why travel by bus, when it can be done by bicycles, yes, all 70 delegates taking a fun bicycle ride around the neighborhood and coastline before lunch at a local seafood restaurant by the Cascais harbour. Although cycling is not an everyday mean of transport for most of the participants everyone remained safe and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Although good data exists in European golf on players participation coupled with the economic impact, little is known about the labour force and the impact golf has on the environment. FEGGA’s Chairman Joel Nunes of Portugal presented together with Professor Joaquim Contreiras of the University of Algarve on their result from a greenkeeper survey made in Portugal during 2022. Portugal is experiencing serious issues with labour shortages and one very clear conclusion was that the base salary for greenkeeper assistants was so low, that it simply didn’t made golf an attractive job. I think this is certainly not just a trend in Portugal, but many Countries can draw comparisons. What is evident though, is that data makes it much more real and much easier to communicate the message with real facts.
Following a day packed with networking and some really major challenges facing our industry, it was now time for the FEGGA members to come together for their AGM. With this, FEGGA are delighted to welcome three new Board Members, these being; Yavor Atanasov (Bulgaria), Haukur Jonsson (Iceland), and Duncan Bruce (Norway).
An early 8:30 start was made on the second day with the Education session led by Koert Donkers. Kelli Jerome was really helpful getting the schedule back on track. Kelli of GEO presented on Europe’s BMP´s. Her worries on the amount of attendees was unfounded, because at 8:30 the conference room was packed and ready to learn all about the GEO developments and how they promote and make visual Best Management Practices all around Europe.
Aquatrols “Fairway Foundation” presented a great insight into the opportunities that are available through this global initiative, followed by Rhett Evans of the GCSAA who provided an update of how the now global thank a Greenkeeper” day went in 2022 and how we will continue to improve it for the 2023 campaign.
Bianca Mignon Pronk and Pepe Jimeno Fernandez was next, presentating on their FEGGA Scholarship adventures and projects at Kristianstad Golf course in Sweden. In their introduction the session leader Koer Donkers reminded everybody how special he thought it was that FEGGA has been supporting students from all over Europe for over 20 more years now. He himself was a FEGGA student at the Ryder cup 2001 at the Belfry already for Bevan Tattersall. Bevan is now again inviting students over to his golf course in Sweden for the 2023 FEGGA programme. They gave an excellent presentation on their projects showed how much they have learned at Kristianstad and how they had grown as a person during this scholarship. A scholarship that resulted for Bianca a new job at Kristianstad. Pepe who showed us a really impressive CO2 meter programme which had developed during his scholarship is now working as a Head groundman at Malaga CF.
Maria Viking, Mathia Damberg and Par Forsman (Husqvarna AB) Presented about their latest developments on Robotics. Their presentation; Robotics and how they can enhance the future of Golf Course Management. Underlining that the world of golf is changing Erwan Lecocq Course Manager at Winston Golf Club, Germany presented in a very interesting and jaw dropping presentation on how he works with 40+ robots at his golf course Winston Golf. His presentation was called Robotics How they have benefitted my Golf Course Management Programme. After the break Martin Nilsson introduced Lara Arias. Lara is the Golf Course Superintendent and Agronomist at Marco Simone Golf course in Italy. In her presentation called The Development of Marco Simone into a Ryder Cup venue, she took the delegates through all the challenges they are facing in creating a top facility which can hold the Ryder Cup. Every single part of the golf facility gets renewed and improved to host the biggest golf team event in the world even the roads leading up to the golf course have been widened for all the spectators, trucks, media etc.
The final session of this year’s conference dealt with a very serious challenge facing the industry, the proposed EU regulation on a ban of the use of pesticides in 2024. Multiple speakers addressed this issue which first came to the attention of the whole industry last summer. Niels Dokkuma, normally with the Dutch Golf Federation, but now working and representing the European Golf Association on this case, Simon Elsworth from Syngenta, Rhett Evans from the GCSAA, Bárbara Oliveira from the Portuguese environmental Agency, Eugenio Rezola and Frank Schäfer representing the Spanish and German Greenkeepers Association respectively all gave their insights on how they perceive the regulation will affect the golf industry and what reasonable outcome could come out of the negotiations with the EU. The proposed ban of pesticides or something pretty close makes for a worry time for greenkeepers and the wider industry and the impact it could have. There is no doubt that more and better coordinated turfgrass research, a continued development of education of greenkeepers, serious data collection and better communication to golfers are all very much needed.
In concluding FEGGA would like to thank its Key Main sponsors John Deere, Husqvarna and Toro for their loyal Support, along with all its Member Associations, Patrons and Partners. Some 48 organisations were represented at the Conference, which really enabled serious discussions and debates from every aspect of the Turf industry.
Next FEGGA conference is scheduled for March 2024 in Madrid, Spain.
2023 FEGGA Greenkeeping Scholarship Programme Hosted by Kristianstad’s Golf Club, Sweden
Introduction to the Programme
One major aspect of FEGGA’s work is providing opportunities for aspiring Greenkeepers to help develop and advance their careers. This opportunity at Kristianstad’s Golf Club provides a unique opportunity combining valuable work experience within a very experienced team led by Bevan Tattersall, coupled with an educational programme touching all aspects of Turf Management. FEGGA are delighted to partner Kristianstad’s Golf Club in making this exciting programme available to aspiring Greenkeepers throughout Europe.
Are you looking to take that next step? Download the brochure and take a look at this career changing opportunity. 2023 Excellence in Greenkeeping Programme Brochure 2023