BTME "best show for years" as exhibitors and visitors report buzzing atmosphere

BIGGA has reported a record-breaking Bigga Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) which energised the turf management industry with more than 8,500 international visitors packing into the Harrogate International Centre.

This year's BTME saw record attendance
This year's BTME saw record attendance

Tuesday saw 3,205 visitors stream in and this increased to 3,940 on Wednesday. The traditionally quiet Thursday attracted 1,606 visitors giving a hugely impressive total of 8,751 - a significant increase on previous years, according to organisers.

Rigby Taylor marketing director Richard Fry said: "This has been the best show for many years in terms of numbers and quality of visitors. We’ve had head greenkeepers, head groundsmen and contractors on our stand - real decision makers. The level of interest in our new products has been phenomenal.

"On Wednesday, for four hours, we just didn’t stop. The adrenaline was going and it was literally customer after customer. It was absolutely superb."

The buzzing halls were complemented by BIGGA’s thriving Continue to Learn education programme, which began on the Sunday prior to the exhibition and welcomed an all-time BTME record of 2,764 delegates to a varied range of seminars, workshops, conferences and presentations.

Assistant links superintendent at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club James Bledge said: "The education has been brilliant. The ‘Stepping up to Head Greenkeeper – The Realities’ presented by a current head greenkeeper was a real eye-opener and brought to life the areas I need to work on to further my career. Every year I take away even more from Continue to Learn, the whole set up is fantastic."

The programme proved so popular that BIGGA took the unprecedented step of repeating a seminar.

PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles presented his ‘Ryder Cup 2014 – The Journey Continues’ seminar twice in quick succession to meet demand.

The Turf Managers’ Conference was also a success with over 100 delegates attending a wide range of topical presentations and debates.

Course manager at Chippenham Golf Club Chris Seale became BIGGA’s new chairman, replacing Tony Smith who was made a life member of the Association.

Les Howkins MG, course manager at The Richmond Golf Club is the new vice chairman.

Searle said: "It’s been a fabulous week, and what a superb way to start the year. I’ve spoken to turf professionals from America, Australia and all across Europe as well as the UK which just shows the global appeal BTME has.

"There’s such a buzz in the halls, it’s the busiest show for many years and I’m so proud of what’s been achieved."

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