With two or three days of education in the books, the pace of BTME turned to receptions and special dinners. Tuesday evening was BIGGAs Welcome Reception in historic Royal Hall. A capacity crowd pushed attendees to the upper reaches of the balcony for the first time.
The event was hosted by BBC Morning Show personality Naga Munchetty. Her passion for golf was combined with typical British wit which kept the audience both engaged and laughing. While some industry award events become bogged do
Tuesday represented the first chance to visit the trade show at BTME. Booths (called "stands" in the local vernacular) are generally smaller at this show than at GIS. As you'd expect, the major mower manufacturers have larger stands in order to display multiple pieces of equipment, but still small by US standards.
In addition to a number of European suppliers there were a few American companies. The group was delighted to catch up with Phil and Gloria Cowen from VinylGuard. They were jumpsta
After a full day of education at the Queens Suite in the Harrogate Conference Center, the TurfNet group met for dinner and drinks at an Italian restaurant near our apartments.
Being five hours ahead of the US can make it challenging to watch American football. The second game (Vikings/Eagles) started at nearly midnight. A bar called The Den served as TurfNet Viewing HQ as it did last year. Penn State's Mike Fidanza and other Americans in town for BTME also found their way to The Den.
Everyone arrived back from the Manchester City match Saturday night and most took in a great tribute band at The Cavern Club as our final activity in Liverpool. Our minibus arrived at 6:00AM for our two and a half hour trip from Liverpool to Harrogate, where BIGGA's Continue to Learn education series awaited us.
Our package with BIGGA included 13 hours of paid education for each attendee, much of which was scheduled between Sunday and Tuesday, when the many free sessions kick in. The BI
Saturday was sure to be another busy day for us in Liverpool. A handful of guys went to historic Liverpool Football Club's stadium in nearby Anfield. Grounds Manager David Roberts was returning from the STMA conference in Texas so he had his assistant Dave McCulloch show them around. Their team was preparing for an Under 18s Cup Match/Championship so our TurfNet members got to see game day preparations first hand.
Todd Fyffe of Westmoreland CC on the Liverpool FC pitch.
When you're in
We had one last stop to make in Southport before heading to Liverpool for the evening. I learned about the British Lawnmower Museum while watching The Open Championship last summer. David Feherty did a segment on the museum, and curator Brian Ragan was excited to have a group of professional course managers over for a visit.
Curator Brian Ragan has been collecting lawnmowers since he was nine years old. Before going to the museum itself he invited us to their warehouse to see some older
Since we were already in Southport it made sense to accept Peter McVicar's invitation to learn more about his current renovations at Hesketh Golf Club nearby. After a short drive we were on Cockle Dicks Lane, the road leading to Hesketh Golf Club.
Despite blustery weather, there were plenty of members playing the golf course, many of whom we met in their historic clubhouse. Peter had us in for lunch and a presentation on the design changes to the club's 17th hole. The hole
Friday was our first opportunity to have everyone together on the trip. Since we were to spend the weekend in Liverpool prior to traveling to Harrogate, we visited Royal Birkdale Golf Club in nearby Southport. Royal Birkdale has held more Championship and International events since World War II than any other course in the world.
The weather included lots of wind, some rain and hail but we pressed on with a tour of their facilities and course courtesy of host Course Manager Chris Whittl
Sean Tully and I both arrived into London's Heathrow Airport on Wednesday. Knowing that our arrival was the extent of our time in London, we found a taxi company that arranged "Heathrow Layover" tours of Windsor. For slightly more money than our taxi fare to our hotel, they picked us up, dropped us in Windsor, stored our luggage and agreed to "collect us" again when we were finished touring the area.
Located on the River Thames just west of London, Windsor is home to Windsor Castle, a reside
After the success of the 2017 TurfNet BTME Education trip, we have embarked on another trip to the BIGGA conference in the UK. This time we have fourteen members (up from five last year) spending the week in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England. Many have said the chance to hear entirely new presentations and a different mix of speakers are their primary motivation to join us on the trip. The camaraderie both within and outside of TurfNet are added bonuses.
As with most TurfNet overseas trips, we l