It's Raining Again

Not for the first time this year I am sitting writing this article while there is a torrential downpour outside. I don't know if it's my imagination but nowadays it doesn't just rain it pours and everywhere is flooded in a matter of minutes but at least it's giving me chance to reflect on the last month and two great occasions.

Back in the middle of August I attended the British Finals of the John Deere Team Classic at the Belfry. This day was eagerly awaited by the 20+ teams that had already qualified because, not only was this a chance to play the Brabazon course so near to the Ryder Cup but, a trip to the world finals in Scottsdale, Arizona was also at stake. So after a light lunch and a rules briefing battle commenced, but it was not until after the evening meal the result was announced.

While feeling a lot of disappointment for the runners up I was delighted that Ed McCabe and Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club will represent BIGGA in the World Finals. I know they will be great ambassadors.

I was also delighted to receive a cheque for £9,300, which John Deere presented to the Association as a result of £25 being donated to the Association for each team which entered. I hope this tournament will be run again next year as I can only see it growing in stature.

Well, after a few days back at work the bags were packed again and I was off to Saltex. As with an outdoor event the weather plays a major part and the three days which followed have been three of the best all year! The sun was out and the temperatures high.

It was great to meet up with many of you who I only see once or twice a year. As for our stand, well we had a good position just inside the entrance and throughout the week it was "buzzing" with enquiries regarding stand space at BTME and Clubhouse, membership renewals and many new members joining. It was also a great opportunity to visit many people and bring myself up to date with the new product launches. The highlight of the week being invited to be a stand judge and attend the Groundsman of the Year awards sponsored by the Football Association.

As for the staff who attended I would like to thank each and every one. They all worked extremely hard for us and were a credit to our Association.

With Saltex now well and truly in the past I am only too aware that our season is rapidly coming to an end and our attention must turn towards planning and finalising our budgets and winter programmes. Please remember to put some aside for your training needs.

Last month you received the Regional Training Courses brochure and in this issue is the programme for BTME. If there aren't any courses to suit you or your staff, speak to Ken or Sami and they will arrange one to suit. Education at all levels is most important especially if you are wanting to progress or just wanting a bigger salary.

As for the future, well one lucky student will soon be crowned Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year and ten days later we will also have a National Golf Champion, following the National Championship at Hillside and Hesketh Golf Clubs. If you are participating get out the clubs and start practising because there's plenty of bandits attending. On a serious note, I look forward to meeting you all in Southport on what promises to be a super two days where hopefully, we can share a pint and all those golfing stories on what could have been!

Richard Barker
National Chairman