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From FEGGA: Development through education

[Artikkelin suomennos julkaistaan lähiaikoina.]

2019 seems to have passed in a flash, not sure if this is an age thing, or whether there has been so much happening that the weeks slipped into months and before we know it, its December!

One aspect of viewing Europe is seeing the education that National Greenkeeper Associations are now delivering. There is a real quality about the content and the delivery, and when I am now visiting golf clubs or watching tournaments on TV, the quality seems to be improving year on year, and the work of the Greenkeeping teams are being better recognised. Having said that, we still cannot become complacent, we need to maintain the focus in all areas of management. Golfers expectations have never been higher, and they will continue to do so, so we need to reflect this with professional knowledge to manage the course and people. For me it’s the people part, the communication that is an area that we need to apply more training too, to become better.

The job as a Superintendent/Course Manager has certainly become more demanding, and this has come through golfer expectation, coupled with the changing demands on course management through sustainable greenkeeping. These are not necessarily bad things, but the changing environment does place higher demands on the job. There is no doubt in my mind that Communication is the one part of education that is needed to deal with these demands. Too many wait until they get into a position of responsibility, and then think, right I now need that skill, and really its before you get into that position they should be gaining this skill and knowledge. For FEGGA, we have been working on some very new opportunities that will help and support greenkeepers and the wider profession given the rising challenges that face you as a greenkeeper of golf in general. What is interesting is that golf is really starting to take the role that the greenkeeping industry has, far more seriously.

In considering this, research come to mind. FEGGA has for some time pushed the need for more research, especially considering a real change in course maintenance, and more focus being applied to Sustainable Greenkeeping. New tools will be needed, and one valuable tool is research, and research that is meaningful in what it brings to how we can maintain our golf courses in the years ahead. In the beginning of 2018, the R&A launched the GolfCourse 2030 initiative. FEGGA have been working very closely with the R&A in developing the strategy of Golf Course 2030, which in turn is really going to be very beneficial to Golf and specially the greenkeeping profession, and its vital that we engage and play a serious role within the scope of this project. One important thing that has come out of this so far is that FEGGA and the R&A recently hosted a Workshop in Amsterdam to look at Research across Europe; the Workshop looked specifically at how Research could be improved and regionalised to make real-life and usable results readily available to greenkeepers and golf clubs. It is proposed to work towards producing two centres of Research for Central, and Southern Countries.

Group photo from the FEGGA/R&A Pioneering Research Workshop. Stefan Nilsson represented the Scandinavian Region.

Group photo from the FEGGA/R&A Pioneering Research Workshop. Stefan Nilsson represented the Scandinavian Region.

Over the years, FEGGA have been very well known for its commitment to providing scholarship opportunities to greenkeepers in helping their career developments. Finland have benefited greatly with a number of your greenkeepers coming through this system and helping them to benefit their career. With this in mind, we have been working towards the development of some new programmes. These will be offering good educational opportunities to greenkeepers at various stages of their career. One of these programmes is the Don Harradine Turf Experience Academy, formally the Don Harradine Memorial Trophy. FEGGA is working with existing and new FEGGA and Harradine Partners to launch this new event. This will be a week-long, hands on training experience for greenkeepers from FEGGA Countries featuring real-time education delivered in part by our Patrons and Partners. The project is nearly ready for launch so keep your eyes open for further information soon.

So, as we move into 2020, it’s the time to make some plans for yourself, why not set some targets regarding your career development. Make it the year to assess your education profile and your current weaknesses. Challenge yourself to make changes to improve your weaknesses enabling you to become more proficient within your job, it will also provide more security and confidence as a greenkeeper whatever your level.

Happy New Year…..

Dean Cleaver, FEGGA

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