New England Regional Turfgrass Conference & Show during an "Epic storm"

As some of you may know I sit on the board of a foundation in charge of putting on a conference and show in Providence RI every March. The NERTF  New England Regional Turfgrass Foundation was formed through the cooperation of the seven Golf Course Superintendent Associations within the New England Region, along with the New England Sports Turf Managers Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Lawn Care Professionals. By Combining their efforts, and interest in the Science of Turfgrass Management, the Foundation’s goal is to service all of the Turfgrass industry within the New England Region. Click on the link above for more information. In a nutshell we raise money to fund research projects that will improve turf conditions in NE. We had a conflict with the Golf Industry Show (The national golf course superintendents association's (GCSAA) conference and show) this year so we moved it to January. We had to do this a couple of years ago and it worked out OK. This year, not so much.

with the predictions of an "epic storm" for that night and the next day the city was emptying fast

The blizzard could not have come at a worse time in the show. I was planning on being there for the entire event starting with a seminar on Monday at 8 AM. Will and Chris assured me they could handle any storm that came and my wife said she would be fine alone, although Bert is a handful when I am not around, so I kept my plans. Let me tell you it was an adventure. The seminars on Monday went off without too much difficulty but with the predictions of an "epic storm" for that night and the next day the city was emptying fast. I enjoyed my seminar on drainage and learned a lot. I had made plans to have lunch with an old friend that I worked with before coming to Mink. We used to see each other at this show every year but he has been out of the golf business for many years now so it has been a few years since I have seen him. He happened to be there taking a class necessary to renew a Mass hydraulics license. I worked hard to get this class on our schedule. It was too late for me as I renewed in Dec but this was my reward. After lunch I sneaked my way into a special seminar for grass tennis courts set up by past president of the NERTF Mike Buras. Mike is in charge of the Longwood Cricket Club in Brookline, MA. Here is a link to Mike's BLOG This seminar is the only one of its kind in this country and I wanted to see what it was all about. The experience changed my life.

from my hotel room

Fascinating club with a lot of history

very busy cub

the End of Peter's talk

Neil doing his talk again on the big stage for the golf group

Peter speaking close to Lisa Golden because of her laryngitis and Neil as we had our 3 hour dinner

Londoner excited over the snow
The talks were fascinating. Neil Stubley, Head Groundsman of Wimbledon had a presentation dealing with the 40+ grass courts they manage. They do a process called fraze mowing where they mow off the top layer and then seed into this and start from scratch every year. Through research, funded by them, they have developed this program and they also evaluate rye grass cultivars to pick the best ones for The Championship. He said they change cultivars about every 4 years as the research and cultivars progress. The other speaker from London was Peter Craig, Grounds Manager from The Hurlingham Club. Peter was a finalist for the Wimbledon job against Neil and since he was not happy to have lost he really let him have it during his presentation. It was all in good fun but I thought to my self "man these two might be throwing punches before this is through". I expressed this to Peter at dinner and had him worried. He has a great sense of humor and his slide showed that where he talked about the perceptions they must overcome where people think a degree in "turf science" = mowing the grass and "golf course mgt." = mowing the grass a lot..." I certainly hope anyone reading this does not have those perceptions. Turns out we had several dinners and even a round of darts during the week. My partner in the darts was Manny deBettencourt from Farm Neck.

a degree in "turf science" = mowing the grass and "golf course mgt." = mowing the grass a lot..." 

The Londoners were so enamored with the snow since they get a dusting every now and again (which cripples the city) but never anything like what they were showing on the news. Another island connection for the week was Nathan Salmore who is on the staff with Lisa Golden at the Longwood Cricket Club. Nate used to be the guy in charge of the Field Club in Edgartown but did not care for island living so returned to LCC. It was great to hang out with the Tennis crowd and make a few new friends from across the pond. Dinner Tuesday took 3 hours and it was not a 7 course European affair. The hotels were short staffed and the kitchen was running out of food. We had a good laugh as the poor waitress came to the table twice to get someone to order something else. The company was exquisite so I did not notice the time. The boys brought the snow home with them as London received an inch of snow and Neil told me in an email it "took him 2.5 hrs to go 6 miles, we are useless over here". Peter has become a Facebook friend and will now force me to be more active there to keep in touch. By the numbers the show was a flop. By the experiences I had it was one of the best shows I have ever had.

No comments:

Post a Comment