As the soil and sand settles on BTME 2019, the Turf’s Up team each reflect on the experience it offered.
04:30 – alarm
05:30 – rummaging around cold sheds to find shovels and “half moons”
06:00 – Stu frantically trying to find Diet Coke for the journey
I was starting to get the feel for greenkeeping life well before we even arrived in Harrogate later that day.
As the non greenkeeper of the group, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from BTME. I’d visited the British Lawnmower Museum when at the Birkdale Open in 2017. How the hell could that ever be improved on?
Well, BTME was bigger. And the equipment was shinier. Though it lacked a “Lawnmowers of the Rich and Famous” section. 2-1 to BTME…
What struck me at BTME was the sense of networking and camaraderie that existed within the halls (and the jam packed pubs in the evenings). This was evidenced by the fact that I couldn’t get Stu and Jack anywhere without dozens of friends and associates from across the industry stopping them for a chat.
From a Turf’s Up perspective, our main goal at BTME was to record for our new series of podcasts. We were over the moon to sit down for a chat with some notable names from the worlds of greenkeeping and golf course design. We can’t wait to begin sharing them with people.
As we left BTME, the lads had undoubtedly taken away so much from their education sessions, exhibits and time spent with like minded professionals. Stu was even taking away an award. But what about me? What had I learnt from my time in Harrogate? As we made our way north, listening back to our podcast recordings in the car, the answer was clear…
Podcasts work better with beer.
I’ve spent countless years at BTME collecting freebies, networking in similar circles of friends and attending the excellent seminars. But last year, I felt I wanted something more.
In 2018, I used BTME to get outside of my comfort zone, and that meant giving my first presentation on behalf of the Young Greenkeepers Committee. This year, I wanted to push myself further – and roped Stu in too.
Volunteering to run “Construction Zone Live”, we had the task of building a revetted bunker and a USGA spec green within the exhibition halls. And with Turf’s Up, we wanted to record some podcasts and do some filming with the exhibitors. The former would help in meeting new contacts and the latter certainly landed myself and Stu firmly outside our comfort zones. Finally, it would be my first year attending BTME representing BIGGA as the Northern Regional Chairman.
Upon our arrival on Monday morning, it was clear, certainly in Stu’s eyes, that we had a lot of work ahead of us. 9 tonnes of materials and 2 pallets of turf. Our hopes of drinking into the early hours of each morning had been all but shattered…
Tuesday saw good progress on both construction projects, more so the revetted bunker which turned out to be of great interest to those walking the halls. Plenty of interaction from passersby meant a nice relaxed work rate, a pleasant change from the harsh working conditions of the Bunker Camp. The evening saw us suited and booted for the welcome ceremony and for Stu to collect his award.
On Wednesday, the finishing touches were added to the bunker first thing, before heading out to speak to the exhibitors on some of the stands. The green was finished just in time to watch Stu give his presentation at the links forum alongside Alan Patterson of Turnberry.
In all, this year’s BTME was a great success. We set ourselves busy schedules and just about managed to fulfil them. I feel I learnt a great deal during the week, and look forward to planning next year’s trip and the learning experiences I’ll aim to take from it.
BTME is the one week of the year that no one should miss. It is packed full of education, both as part of Continue To Learn and within the exhibition halls. It is the best opportunity to keep up to date on all the latest products and machinery available to us. And as the biggest gathering of turf professionals in Europe, it provides an excellent chance to network.
Just read this: BIGGA ARTICLE ON ME WINNING AN AWARD!
We would collectively like to acknowledge and thank BIGGA and all their staff for the help and support they gave Turf’s Up throughout the week at BTME.