Continue to Learn Conference 2022 - Monday

Main Auditorium & Queens Suite - Harrogate Convention Centre
9:00AM - 5:00PM, 21 Mar 2022

Day 1 of a 3 Day Continue to Learn Conference at BTME 2022 

Programme for Day 1

Plenary Session 1 - 9:15am

Plenary Session 1

Reimagining Princes - 10:30am

Reimagining Princes

This session will discuss the evolution of Princes Golf Club in Kent, from hosting the 1932 British Open and the devastation of the course when it was requisitioned by the army during World War II, to the planning and four phases of construction and maintenance that was involved to reimagine Princes to what it has become today.

Learning Outcomes:

  • History of Princes
  • Project planning
  • Four phases of construction
  • Maintenance

Presented by:

Sean McLean, Course Manager, Princes Golf Club

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Sean McLean

How you can help nature on your golf course - 10:30am

How you can help nature on your golf course

There are more than 3,000 golf courses across the UK contributing to over 126,000 ha of greenspace. This area, if well managed for nature, could make a huge contribution to nature’s recovery. (continued over)

This session will look at different areas of a golf course and how these areas could be managed to help support nature. From simple tips to food for thought for larger projects.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Areas of the golf course that can be managed to support nature
  • How the golf industry can have a positive impact on nature’s recovery in the UK

Presented by:

Dr Marie Athorn, Business Conservation Advisor to The R&A, RSPB

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Dr Marie Athorn

Business Conservation Advisor to The R&A RSPB

Dr Marie Athorn represents the partnership between the RSPB and The R&A. A partnership that will encourage and facilitate habitat creation and management for nature on golf courses.

Organic matter management - what’s new? - 11:45am

Organic matter management - what’s new?

Organic matter (OM) management is critical to provide firm and resilient fine turf surfaces. Conventional methods can be effective but are often quite disruptive to the playing surface. Many facilities are turning to alternative methods that are less disruptive, yet still manage organic matter to provide desirable surfaces.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the pros and cons of conventional management techniques
  • Discuss new methods for OM management
  • Review topdressing sand selection and highlight research findings
  • Discuss OM testing protocol and the variability within current practices

Presented by:

Paul Jacobs, Agronomist, USG

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Paul Jacobs

Agronomist USGA

Paul has been an agronomist with the USGA for 6 years and currently covers the south-central part of the country and was in the northeast for the last 5 years before his move to the southwest last November. In addition to consulting work, responsibilities include agronomic support at USGA championships, developing educational material and speaking at local and national conferences.   

Paul is originally from southeast Michigan and began playing golf at a very young age. His passion for playing golf led him to a career in turf management, which began in Michigan. Since then, he has also worked in the desert southwest at Tucson Country Club in Tucson, Ariz., Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y., and Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles, Calif.

Golf Course 2030 annual review - 11:45am

Golf Course 2030
annual review

This session will provide an overview of the progress made by The R&A’s Golf Course 2030 project over the past 12 months. Discussing engagement with stakeholders, communicating the research being undertaken and the next phase of Golf Course 2030 into Continental Europe.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Awareness of GC2030
  • Threat of climate change
  • Emphasis on greenkeeper profile and greenkeeping education provision
  • Sustainable management of golf courses
  • Sustainable water management
  • R&A Sustainable Golf focus

Presented by:

Arlette Anderson

Golf Course 2030 ‑ Green standards - 12:30pm

Golf Course 2030 ‑
Green standards

Golf greens are one of the key focusses of the golf course. How we view them, their performance and how they fit a concept of quality playing surfaces for a course is critical to success. Assessing how greens perform and what that means to an individual golf club is a vital step to evaluating maintenance programmes and strategic playing surface development plans.

This session will discuss what golf green quality means, how we can use this to help with refining playing surfaces and how we can communicate this concept to all the stakeholders involved in golf. It is an emotive subject and one that triggers many debates. This session aims to demystify this topic and put forward a way we can look at golf green quality as not only a concept, but a practical tool to help evolve how we think about and manage golf green surfaces.

Learning Outcomes:

  • What is golf green quality?
  • How can standards help?
  • How can we use the concept of golf green quality to refine and evolve playing surfaces?
  • How can we use standards and quality as a tools to help communicate more effectively to stakeholders?

Presented by:

Dr Christian Spring, Research Operations Manager, STRI Group

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Dr Christian Spring

After gaining his PhD investigating the structural effects of earthworms on soil, Christian joined STRI’s Research Team in 2005 as a soil scientist and for the past seven years has worked as a research manager.

Christian’ current role is as STRI’s research operation manager, whose role is to oversee the day-to-day operations of STRI’s UK Research Team.

Christian leads research into a wide variety of subject areas, including sports surface construction and drainage, turfgrass nutrition, sports turf management, use of wetting agents and pesticides, surface performance assessment and machinery testing.

Among his roles, Christian also leads STRI’s BASIS, FACTS and NMP courses. Christian is a passionate communicator of science and can regularly be found giving talks to turf managers at various industry events.

Turfgrass diseases ‑ attack and defend! - 1:30pm

Turfgrass diseases ‑ attack and defend!

This session will discuss how major disease-causing pathogens infect cool‑season turfgrasses and how infected turfgrasses respond with complex defence mechanisms. Discover how turf managers can prime their turfgrasses and enhance these defences, leading to reduced levels of disease.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Sources of infection and how pathogens infect turfgrasses
  • Which environmental conditions are conducive to different pathogens
  • Basics of turfgrass responses to infection
  • How turfgrass defence responses can be primed and enhanced

Presented by:

Dr John Dempsey, Turfgrass Pathologist, Independent Turfgrass Research

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Dr John Dempsey

Turfgrass Pathologist Independent Turfgrass Research

Dr John Dempsey has 40 years greenkeeping experience and was Superintendent of Ireland’s oldest golf course –The Royal Curragh from 1993 to 2019.
John has undertaken courses beginning with basic greenkeeping at the Botanic gardens in Dublin to a 1st class Honours Degree in Turfgrass science at Myerscough College in the UK. Completed a PhD during 2016 in Turfgrass pathology in the Centre for Research in Biosciences at the University of the West of England, Bristol.  
John has conducted independent research on turfgrass disease management for the past 15 years, covering extensively the subject Microdochium nivale infection of turfgrasses, turfgrass responses to pathogen challenge and the effect of phosphite treatments on disease suppression, turfgrass growth and quality.
Since 2019 John has headed Independent Turfgrass Research, current work is focusing primarily on biotic and abiotic stresses in turfgrass, turfgrass health, integrated disease control and enhancement of turfgrass defence responses.
John has presented the results of his research at numerous conferences and seminars in Ireland, UK, USA, France, Germany, Norway, Canada, Sweden, Czech Republic, Iceland and at GIS and BTME.

Creating a culture of trust - 1:30pm

Creating a culture of trust

Building trust in the workplace is a fundamental element to creating a successful team. This session will share the trust equation and delve into each sector to create a better understanding and appreciation for creating trust through effective communication whilst understanding the importance of self orientation and its impact on teams.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understanding the importance of trust
  • How to be credible
  • The importance of reliability
  • How intimacy impacts trust in the workplace
  • Understanding self orientation and its impact on your teams

Presented by

Craig Haldane, Golf Courses Manager, The Gleneagles Hotel

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Craig Haldane CMdip

Golf Courses Manager The Gleneagles Hotel

Craig is known as an innovative thinker who enjoys sharing his passion for turf and people. He has lead a variety of teams across the globe and is currently responsible for the agronomy team at The Gleneagles Hotel and Country Estate. He is a respected mentor who to this day puts his hand up when he needs help!

How big should your course budget be? Using industry data to help your planning - 2:45pm

How big should your course budget be? Using industry data to help your planning

How big is your annual course maintenance budget? How much is your club setting aside for renewing and replacing assets? How much should you allocate to new projects? Financial planning is critical so isn’t it time to have a fact‑based conversation about how big your budget should be?

This session will provide an unparalleled insight into how hundreds of golf courses allocate their resources, providing a perspective of what clubs of all sizes spend their money on around the club and course.

Learning Outcomes:

  • The most important aspects of financial planning
  • How hundreds of golf clubs allocate their resources to the course (and the rest of the club)
  • Compare your own budget to clubs just like yours
  • Put the key principles for operational and capital planning for your golf course into practice

Be ready to have a fact‑based conversation with your manager, treasurer or owner about how much resource you should have to manage your golf course

Presented by:

Kevin Fish, Contemporary Club Leadership

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Kevin Fish

Kevin has over 20 years of experience in the Club Industry.  A former Club Manager at the Glen Golf Club in North Berwick (1999-2008), Kevin was named the UK Golf Club Manager of the Year in 2004. He was in the first group of Europeans to be awarded the CCM (Certified Club Manager) qualification in 2008.  Kevin went on to work for the National Governing Body for golf in Scotland (SGU) for 7 years, leading a team providing support to hundreds of Scottish Golf clubs.

As the Chairman of the CMAE Education Policy Board Kevin was responsible for bringing Management Development Programme (MDP) education to club managers in Europe. He regularly tops the presenter charts at MDP events whilst sharing his knowledge of Club Governance, Business Planning, Committee Politics, Customer Service and Professional/Personal  Development, as well as addressing the annual CMAA World Conference of Club Management more than a dozen occasions.

In 2014 Kevin became the first European to be invited on to the CMAA Committee for Professional Development, the body that oversees the curriculum and qualifications for the club industry across the globe.

Managing greens with reduced fertiliser and irrigation - 2:45pm

Managing greens with reduced fertiliser and irrigation

This session will look at the basic principles of organic matter management, discussing how to improve the sustainability and quality of putting surfaces. The results are based on a trial set up at STRI in 2020 to investigate the potential to reduce current irrigation and fertiliser inputs to UK golf greens. Water and fertiliser input reductions were researched in combination with organic matter reductions to determine which of the two inputs affects organic matter accumulation most.

The research for this presentation has been enabled by the Golf Research Enterprise (GREEN), led by STRI in association with BIGGA, part of STRI’s commitment to supporting the industry.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Basic principles of organic matter management
  • Improving the sustainability and quality of putting surfaces
  • Trial outcomes for reducing irrigation and fertiliser inputs
  • The affects on organic matter accumulation

Presented by:

Dr Hui “Eric” Chen, Research Scientist, STRI Group

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Dr Hui Chen PhD

Research Scientist STRI

Hui ‘Eric’ Chen joined STRI’s Research Team in 2020 as a Research Manager with experience in designing and executing trials for a wide range of clients. Eric received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University followed by his Ph.D. from Rutgers University investigating wear tolerance and recuperative ability of red fescues. Eric was also involved in a variety of studies evaluating the effects of management practices on the performance of golf course putting surfaces. The findings of his research provide a sound basis for recommendations to help golf course managers optimise their management strategies.


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