The recent Agrovista Amenity Academy Roadshow, held at the stunning East Sussex National Golf Club, saw over 70 attendees soak up a memorable day of knowledge, networking, and wellbeing.
Greenkeepers and groundspersons ranging from course managers to apprentices, made their way to the East Sussex countryside to enhance their education on a variety of topics tailor-made for those working in the turf management sector.
Delegates were welcomed with breakfast rolls and breath-taking views across the finishing holes on both the East and West courses, before organiser and Amenity Specialist Andrew Norman introduced the day.
“Today we are focussing on wellbeing in turf, and it is relevant for absolutely everybody,” he said.
Without further ado, Danny Negus, Grounds Manager at Devonshire Park, took to the stage to discuss mental health.
“I thought it was received very well considering it is a very delicate and personal subject,” said Danny. “It gave me an opportunity to highlight some of the data that I collated last year which enabled me to emphasise the seriousness of wellbeing and mental health in this industry. We all need to realise there is not a stigma attached to this and we must look at moving forward in a positive way.”
After Danny’s presentation, the attendees were divided into three smaller groups to diversify the experience of the technical seminars which were to follow.
Alan Pierce from Aquatrols Europe was on hand to discuss the innovative plant technology behind the leading Redox range of nutritional products.
“Hopefully I have been able to provide some education around the Redox range but also to help them understand that while these tools aren’t a solution to some of the stresses they may be under, they can certainly help free up some head space to enable them to think about some of the bigger issues they might be facing,” he said.
Neil Pullen from Compo Expert offered his expertise on the different forms of slow-release fertilisers and explained in detail everything from how they are manufactured to how they are packaged.
Agrovista’s Karl Parry offered a glimpse into the online Agrovista Amenity Academy; introduced the latest trial data on BASF’s Attraxor plant growth regulator and also highlighted the benefits of PrecisionPro – an attachment for a granular spreader to make sure products are applied evenly and accurately. Delegates also had the opportunity to put PrecisionPro to the test once the seminar had concluded and it is safe to say that there was certainly some competition on display.
In between the seminars, lunch was served in the award winning two rosette restaurant, and the day concluded with drinks from the Ryder Bar & Terrace.
As the delegates continued to network and reflect, it was apparent that there was a certain feel-good factor associated with the day.
“As an apprentice I feel that there has been a lot of knowledge to gain and it has been really interesting,” said Anna Rose Smethurst from Holtye Golf Club. “It was good to find out more about the Agrovista Amenity Academy because it has been really helpful for my college work and for all the products I use. I’m taking a lot away with me.”
Josh Negus from Devonshire Park was another apprentice who benefited from attending: “The whole day has been a great wealth of information and the discussion on fertilisers was super informative,” he said.
Dean Franks from West Sussex Golf Club also found the day informative: “The PrecisionPro talk was a good eye-opener because calibration in terms of being the spray technician is really going to be helpful in my job role. I’ve learnt a lot about new products, and I’ve got some brochures to take away which I will be sure to revise.”
Networking was a key aspect of the day for Cuckfield Golf Centre’s Head Greenkeeper, Josh Clarke: “It has been great to meet other greenkeepers and chat about the industry and bounce ideas off one another. Networking is so important in this industry, but we rarely get together and speak.
“The online Agrovista Academy has been brilliant for us,” added Josh. “I’m always telling my team to use it so they can find out more about the products they are applying.”
Scott Litchfield, Course Manager at East Sussex National, was delighted to welcome so many peers to his place of work.
“We were very proud to host the day,” he said. “The majority of my team attended, and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Danny Negus’ seminar was absolutely superb. Mental health in this industry needs to be made more aware of – the more we talk about it the easier it becomes.”
Danny’s wellbeing seminar also struck a chord with Michael Sparke, Deputy Course Manager at Kings Hill Golf Club: “When you are out mowing on your own you can get lost in your own head. As we evolve as a society and anxiety and depression becomes more apparent, it is something that needs to be acknowledged more and improved upon.
“Finding out that so many of us are experiencing the same problems makes you realise you are not alone, and that we are all in this together.”
You can view a highlights video from the day by visiting https://youtu.be/oQ-LI46D7MY
For more information about Agrovista UK, visit www.agrovista.co.uk/amenity