In light of the recent announcement regarding the cancellation of the BTME show in Harrogate by the event’s organisers, the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association, I would like to share my thoughts on this announcement and what it’s likely to mean for our industry.
As with the GMA’s decision to cancel November’s SALTEX, the decision has of course been forced upon the organisers by the ongoing, unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic.
What I believe it means for our industry is a waiting game for the organisations. Both will be looking at when and how they can proceed with their well-supported trade shows. There are undoubtably question marks regarding where and what format their shows will have to adopt in the future.
I personally think we still a long way off from getting back to normality. I can’t see shows as we knew them taking place until there is a proven vaccine produced. This of course could mean we may also yet see the cancellation of the newly rearranged SALTEX, currently scheduled for March 2021 for the very same reasons.
It is testing times for both organisations. Their shows are important for them in terms of bringing in much needed funds to allow them to continue to provide all their services.
BIGGA’s respected education programme, Continue to Learn, will still take place during January 2021, albeit as an online event and with an altered timetable designed to reflect the new digital platform. A full programme of speakers will enable BIGGA members to access the education they have come to expect from their own homes or at their place of employment.
A sensible decision in my view. Their education programme has become a very successful component of Harrogate Week in recent years and can certainly hold its own as a standalone event.
I am intrigued, but not surprised, at their announcement to explore the possibilities of an outdoor event during the summer of 2021. I am sure many golf related businesses would welcome this outdoor event, especially if it can be shared annually around the country at some major golfing venues. It would enable visitors to see the vast array of golf course maintenance equipment in use.
The very fact it can be held in the summer, when golf maintenance regimes are in full swing (excuse the pun) offers the opportunity to see a vast array of golf maintenance equipment being demonstrated by both manufacturers and suppliers.
In fact, if held at a golf club, the hosting venue could benefit by the mere fact that the demonstration of machinery can be planned in such a way that the course essentially has a complete make over. Greens aerated, sanded, topdressed and even drained.
It would also be a real coup for any golf club or venue to hold this prestigious outdoor show. If it were staged at the likes of The Belfrey, Gleneagles, London Club etc or indeed at a less well-known golfing facility who had the appropriate facilities, it would be a feather in anyone’s cap.
I personally think this would be a good move it has all the ingredients of being a great traditional outdoor show. A festival of turf event could attract a plethora of new companies to attend such as conservationists, water management companies, tree surgeons and more. The golf course has such a variety of land management issues to address, it is an Aladdin’s cave waiting to be explored.
As for entertainment, there is no stopping where this could go. As an ex-event organiser myself, there is so much potential for this show to be held at a golf course especially when you could bolt on many additional attractions such as live bands, food tents, camping even? It could become the golfing Glastonbury!
I endorse Jim Croxton’s views that “BIGGA considers it important to host an annual event and BTME plays a vital role in the calendar year for the turf industry. BTME is an opportunity to come together to celebrate the achievements of the previous year, while building new contacts and looking forward to the future. We feel it is important to retain this community spirit where possible, especially considering the hardships we have all faced, and so we are exploring the possibility of hosting a safe and accessible alternative event in summer 2021. I’m excited about the possibilities presented by this and am confident our new ‘festival of turf’ will be as exciting and influential as ever.”
As for SALTEX in March, we will have to wait and see. However, if BIGGA do manage to deliver a summer outdoor event in 2021, where might that leave the GMA regarding their future shows in terms of venue and time of year?
I wait with bated breath and hope we can see a better picture of how these two annual shows can work in harmony for the good of our industry.