Happy new year to you all!
I’m not sure if everyone enjoyed the delights of the flurry of snow we had late on in December, but I am sure it affected some groundsmen up and down the country - especially those trying to get matches played.
With the vaccine now being rolled out, let’s hope we can begin see some decline of this terrible pandemic and have some sort of normality return sometime soon. However, soon could be well into mid-summer based on the current high Covid cases.
It is certainly going to test our patience and resolve at the beginning of 2021 and likely result in another lockdown for the whole country.
As for sport, spare a thought for the professional groundsmen who will be getting on with the difficult job of preparing pitches for matches during the months of January and February.
Greenkeepers will also be busy trying to keep their courses open and playable during this spell of wet weather. Reducing traffic damage is always a priority at this time of the year. Many clubs ban the use of trolleys and golf carts, unless they have a decent pathway or road system running through their course. Planned winter works will be a priority, with ditch cleaning, bunker refurbishment and tree work some of the jobs that get done at this time of the year.
I was hoping to start getting out and about during this new year, however these new restrictions have curtailed the opportunity for the time being. There are so many people I want to visit and feature in TurfPro. However, I do have some machinery demos planned during the months of January and February.
We should have all made some new year’s resolutions. January is a good time to plan and prepare your annual work requirements. Quite often new budgets are set in January, so it is clearly a good time to start putting things in place.
As far as industry shows go, BIGGA have announced the dates of its temporary replacement show. The Festival of Turf is planned as a two-day event that will take place in the predominantly outdoor setting of the Warwickshire Event Centre on 8 & 9 June 2021. Read more here.
The GMA’s SALTEX show meanwhile has already been moved from it’s planned spring dates back to its regular November slot.
It will be interesting to see if either of these shows do in fact go ahead, with so many unanswered questions surrounding the pandemic. Will we still be in a tier system, or lockdown for example? It is going to take a few months for the vaccine to take effect and there are no definite guarantees that these shows will be able to go ahead as planned.
Whist on the subject of sport governing organisations, most will likely have taken an economic hit in 2020. It will be interesting to see how they come out of this pandemic, what impact it will have on their funding streams for sport and how it will have an effect on grass roots sports?
I read with interest on the Turfcare blog website there has been a lot of talk about funding for sport and in particular some comments made about the GMA membership and services it provides. It has unquestionably been difficult times for both of our notable membership organisations, BIGGA and the GMA.
I do find it difficult to comprehend though, that in total both organisations have less than 10,000 paid members when in reality we probably have in excess of 50,000 plus working grounds professionals, amateurs and volunteers in this country.
The question we need to be asking is why are more people are not signing up to both of these organisations? It would be interesting to hear our readers thoughts. You can email me at Laurence@turfpro.co.uk
A full sporting calendar
As for 2021, it is definitely going to be busy year come what may, especially with so many sporting events cancelled last year and many being rescheduled for this year.
Major sporting events taking place in 2021 include football’s European Championship, the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and golf’s Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup. Also, the Rugby League World Cup is being held in England, the British & Irish Lions rugby union team tour South Africa and for women’s rugby union there’s a World Cup in New Zealand.
Other sporting highlights to look forward to in 2021 include the four tennis grand slams, men and women’s golf majors and the Six Nations international rugby union championship.