California Dreaming for the BIGGA Delegation

In previous years the party has travelled to Vancouver and the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association Conference and Show and since then to Orlando and Atlanta, for the GCSAA Conference and Show.

So far 30 BIGGA members have benefited from the opportunity to attend the Conferences and Shows and meet greenkeepers from around the world. The 10 greenkeepers who will visit San Diego have a similar opportunity.

The group comprises those who took the trouble to fill in the entry form which appeared with the September issue of the magazine and then progressed through the two stage process - the initial written element in which questions were asked about themselves, BIGGA and what they felt they would achieve from being a part of the delegation. Those who were selected from this stage were then interviewed at either BIGGA HOUSE or a Heathrow hotel.

The interview panel for both comprised BIGGA Past Chairman, Richard Barker; David Haskell-Craig MG, Course Manager at Maidenhead Golf Club, and Sam McLean, Sales and Marketing Director of Bernhard & Co.

Much store is made of the information gleaned by the Delegation being spread and widely as possible and the 10 will be expected to give talks at Club, Section and possibly Region level when they return.

Bernhard & Co are to be congratulated for their commitment to the delegation, without which this valuable opportunity for BIGGA members would not exist.

Stephen Bernhard comments...
We are delighted to be taking our fourth Bernhard-sponsored delegation overseas to attend the GCSAA Conference and Show in San Diego, California, next month.

The growing number who apply hoping to be selected for these trips, not to mention the quality of entrant, reflects well on how the opportunity to take part in the delegation is viewed by the BIGGA membership. I am sure that the 10 greenkeepers selected will each take as much from the trip as is possible.

The information exchange which will inevitably take place between the delegates and the Superintendents they meet during the trip, together with an exposure to a different way of life, will be extremely useful to everyone, in the weeks, months and years following their return.

We are extremely fortunate to have a wonderful relationship with the GCSAA and their members and staff are generous in their support of the BIGGA delegation. This, again, adds to the experience and we thank everyone involved for their hospitality.

The 10, who for the second time include an overseas member - on this occasion from Switzerland - will be encouraged to spread the word when they return and give talks to their own golf clubs, BIGGA Section and Region. That way what is learned during the trip can be spread more widely. Each delegate will have extensive homework to do before leaving for California but it will be rewarding and fulfilling as he develops long term relationships with his fellow delegates and other and like-minded colleagues in the States.

I am proud to be part of the enthusiastic team at Bernhard and Company who sponsor the group to San Diego and I hope everyone enjoys a fun filled and informative trip.

Delegation Members

Name: Peter Cross
Designation: Deputy Head Greenkeeper
Club: Woolton GC
Age: 29

Peter is looking forward to the opportunity to mix with greenkeepers from different backgrounds and share and discuss education and greenkeeping practices. He is hoping, then, to pass on his knowledge to his work colleagues and the wider BIGGA membership.

Name: Leslie Howkins
Designation: Head Greenkeeper
Club: Cleethorpes GC
Age: 30

Leslie feels the benefits he will derive from the trip are almost impossible to calculate but is sure they will last for many years to come. He is particularly looking forward to meeting people from the USA and Canada and learning about course management in different parts of the world.

Name: Sid Arrowsmith MG
Designation: Course Manager
Club: Frilford Heath GC
Age: 50

Sid is keen to speak with Superintendents and exchange views on course management with them. He has never attended the GCSAA Conference and Show and he feels it will give him a good insight into how the industry in America is run compared with the UK.

Name: Brian Boyle
Designation: Deputy Head Greenkeeper
Club: County Sligo GC
Age: 26

Brian is looking to the trip to broaden his horizons on all greenkeeping issues. Having been out of college for five years he feels the next five years are critical in forming sound principals in greenkeeping and management. He is keen to discuss these matters with American counterparts.

Name: Warren Bevan
Designation: Course Manager
Club: Stockport GC
Age: 29

Warren is constantly looking at new innovative ideas to help his greenkeeping team prepare their course and he is sure that the GCSAA Seminars will help him to pick up new ideas. He is also looking forward to spending time with like-minded greenkeepers.

Name: Steven Tierney
Designation: Superintendent
Club: Golfpark Nuolen AG
Age: 37

Despite living and working in Switzerland since 1986 Steven has not missed a single BTME and is well aware of the benefits of networking with other greenkeepers. He is hoping to track down some American Superintendents who work in mountainous regions to discuss common issues.

Name: Philip Cooper
Designation: Head Groundsman/Greenkeeper
Club: Milton Abbey School
Age: 38

Philip feels that it must be everyone’s dream to be selected for the trip and he is getting a tremendous buzz from the thought of meeting some of the top greenkeepers and seeing some of the world’s top courses. It all adds up to giving him a in-depth insight into the whole greenkeeping industry.

Name: Will Bowden
Designation: Deputy Course Manager
Club: The Hertfordshire GC
Age: 26

Will is determined to make the very most from the trip and gain as much information and knowledge as possible. He is relishing the opportunity to meet both British and American greenkeepers. A keen part-time journalist, photographer and artist Will will be the delegation’s magazine correspondent.

Name: Paul Jenkins
Designation: Course Manager
Club: Westridge Golf Centre, Isle of Wight
Age: 44

Paul hopes to return with as many ideas and procedures as possible then incorporate them into his own regimes. As a BIGGA Board of Management member he is also hoping to return with useful information which might assist the running of BIGGA.

Name: Terry Farkins
Designation: Course Manager
Club: Dartmouth G&CC
Age: 39

Terry is looking at gaining a much deeper technical knowledge, being able to discuss theories used in America and learning more about season grasses and their problems. He is sure the opportunity to increase his own confidence and make him a better Course Manager.