In their own words: Jim Croxton

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu November 19, 2018 11:38

The CEO of Europe’s biggest greenkeeping association, BIGGA, explains that golfers, and especially members of golf club committees, will see benefits if they appreciate greenkeepers more

For golfers, November is traditionally a quiet time with the main season finished and, at most clubs, just the hardiest of souls venturing out. In truth, although we like to envision a climate where we can enjoy year-round golf, many people just don’t enjoy playing in poor weather.

For club managers and owners, these months will be spent working out budgets, sorting out marketing and planning for the future.

But what about greenkeepers? Well, increasingly the autumn / winter is the most important time of the year. Firstly there is the need to do the remedial work necessary to get the course back in order after the heavy traffic of the summer. With the hottest summer for decades only just past, there is a huge amount of overseeding and aeration work going on to repair surfaces that were victims of the heat and drought. In fact it is critical this work is done before the winter kicks in to ensure new grass seed germinates and progresses before temperatures drop.

Additionally, this is time to kick off winter projects, be they strategic things like bunker renovation or tee construction, to infrastructure improvements like upgrading irrigation systems. Work completed in autumn and early winter before the ground becomes too wet will pay dividends by the time the next playing season comes around.

But for greenkeepers, winter is also an opportunity for them to look at their own ambitions and aspirations. Do they hope to progress their careers and gain new skills, which will in turn improve their ability to prepare the golf course?

At BIGGA, we firmly believe that better-educated greenkeepers raise standards across the golf industry. For more than 30 years we’ve had the vision that greenkeeping is an exciting, dynamic career and that a cohort of highly-trained and professional greenkeepers will benefit the sport of golf.

And on the whole, we’ve enjoyed a large degree of success. Our annual exhibition, BTME, is held each year in Harrogate and attracts thousands of turf professionals and others working in the golf industry. The week features workshops and seminars discussing the latest turf management techniques, thought leadership and other tools the modern greenkeeper needs. Featuring agronomy, management, communication and finance alongside ecology and machinery maintenance, the breadth of education is vast and shows just what a complex job modern greenkeeping actually is.

Greenkeepers are undoubtedly working hard to better themselves and, as a consequence, improve the condition of the courses they manage.

 

Jim Croxton

The R&A, with its new Golf Course 2030 initiative, is demonstrating its commitment to improving the golf course management sector. The initiative is concerned with overcoming challenges presented by climate change, resource scarcity and regulatory pressures. All of these issues could be significant in influencing how golf courses are managed over the next decade and beyond.

We at BIGGA very much welcome this initiative and are working closely with The R&A on it.

The ambition is to ensure golf clubs understand the challenges ahead and prepare for them. For that to happen we need golf clubs to have a modern approach to governance that allows the professional workforce (including, but not limited to, the greenkeeping team) to make long-term plans and implement them with the backing of club owners and boards who stick to a strategic plan and invest for the future.

Too many clubs this year, presented with practically unprecedented climatic conditions, have failed to support the hard-working greenkeepers who have worked extraordinary hours to keep our greens and tees playable.

Perhaps the next great education revolution in the industry needs to be aimed at golfers, particularly those that aspire to committee roles in golf clubs?

For more information, visit www.bigga.org.uk

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu November 19, 2018 11:38
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1 Comment

  1. Andrew November 26, 12:26

    Jim
    I couldn’t agree more.

    Reply to this comment
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