BTME 2019: What happened during BIGGA's largest-ever exhibition?
BIGGA Presidents Chris Kennedy (2018) and Chris Sheehan (2019)
Three spectacular days in Harrogate came to a close on Thursday, with BTME 2019 being hailed a success by exhibitors and visitors alike.
The significantly-altered layout provided an opportunity for completely new ways of engaging with visitors and exhibitors and as such there was a range of fun and interactive initiatives, including augmented reality from Syngenta and an opportunity to take a journey through a ‘turf canopy’ with Bayer.
BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “And just like that, BTME is over for another year. It’s been a vibrant, busy three days and I’m delighted to say that on the whole the changes we implemented for 2019 have paid off.
“There are some further opportunities for development, but I had so many conversations with visitors and exhibitors over the past three days about how bright and engaging the exhibition has been. We’re really pleased with the feedback we’ve received and you can rest assured that planning is already well underway for BTME 2020.”
On Tuesday, the opening day of the event, BIGGA had welcomed 3,400 people into the Harrogate Convention Centre, including exhibitors. This was followed by 3,967 visitors on Wednesday, including 1,609 new visitors, and a further 1,159, including 345 new visitors, on Thursday.
During the exhibition, BIGGA’s annual general meeting took place and witnessed a changing of the guard of sorts as Leyland Golf Club’s Course Manager Scott Reeves took over the role of association chairman from Les Howkins MG.
Chris Sheehan of West Derby GC became BIGGA President, with Colin Webber of Portmore becoming BIGGA Vice President.
Out in the exhibition halls, the thousands who attended BTME were greeted to product launches from John Deere – launching products on UK soil for the first time ever – and others such as Campey, Aqua Aid and many more.
Representatives from Action on Hearing Loss offered advice on the BIGGA stand
Darren Cuhiddy, Sundridge Park, was the winner of the Perennial and Rigby Taylor ‘Nearest the Pin’ competition, hitting his shot to within 18 inches at the simulated 2ndhole of Wentworth’s West Course, located in the Red Zone.
With his winning shot, Darren won two tickets to the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in September.
For Jack Hetherington, course manager at Alnwick Castle, taking part in Golf Course Construction Live was an entirely new experience, although he admitted to overestimating just how much work they’d be able to achieve.
“It’s been really good,” said Jack. “We had 40 to 50 people watching us at one point, which was really nerve-wracking to be honest. We were slowed down really because you’d spend 10 minutes putting in turf and then you’d be talking for half an hour so it wasn’t too hard work. It was perfect to be honest.”
Jack Hetherington and Stuart Imeson undertook Golf Course Construction Live
The winners of the first-ever BTME Stand Awards were announced. With the categories divided into small, medium and large, the winners were Lindum Turf, Aitkens and Baroness.
Lindum Turf also won Best New Products after showcasing their brand new perennial ryegrass Festival Plus.
Lindum Turf’s Roger Moore said: “It’s fantastic, we’ve been coming to BTME since day one. The Lindum brand is an old school brand and we have strong values and it’s brilliant that the customers recognise that.”
BIGGA Chairman Scott Reeves with Lindum Turf's and Roger Moore
The winner of the annual Acumen Clearwater BTME raffle was Peter Mellor, grounds manager at the Manchester Grammar School.
Another new initiative was the ’18 Holes of BTME’, with 18 stands around the exhibition taking part in the initiative. First prize in the competition was £1,000 and all you had to do was visit each of the 18 stands and get your scorecard stamped. The winner of the competition, drawn by Eco Bunker’s Richard Allen, was Steve Hirons of Kirtlington Golf.
Steve said: “I’m over the moon. We thought it was a wind-up to be honest. We thought it was one of our reps having a wind-up! But it’s absolutely fantastic. This has got everyone talking to each stand and we definitely picked up some new ideas from speaking to people that maybe we wouldn’t have otherwise, so it’s been really great.”
By sheer coincidence, the first runner’s-up prize of £400 was won by Steve’s colleague at Kirtlington, Garrett Edwards. In third place was Andrew Greenslade of AMG Golf Course Renovation and further was Richard Hitchman of Burford Golf Club.
Garrett Edwards and Steve Hirons of Kirtlington with Richard Allen of Ecobunker and BIGGA's Lauren Frazer