Stars of grounds management line up for IoG conference

Grounds management experts from across the sporting spectrum are to hold one-to-one sessions with delegates at this year's Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG) national 'Turf Matters' conference.

Professionals from high-profile horseracing, cricket, football and rugby venues will be available at the event – held on 4 December at stadiummk. There will also be a question and answer session with professional cricket, football and rugby players on subject of the changing nature of playing surfaces.

A session on the importance of high-quality pitches will feature England rugby league captain Kevin Sinfield, Warwickshire CC cricketer Oliver Hannon-Dalby, former Cardiff Blues director of rugby and ex Welsh International Phil Davies, plus Simon Barker, assistant CEO of the Professional Footballers Association.

They will outline what players look for in a quality pitch and discuss, for example, whether different types of playing surface lead to changes in team selection and tactics.

Steve Chappell, head greenkeeper at Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary Courses will give a talk on Ryder Cup preparations and head groundsman at St George’s Park National Football Centre Alan Ferguson will speak about turf developments at the elite education and training facility.

Other sessions will be held by turf evangelist Jerad Minnick and chairman of The Parks Alliance Mark Camley who will talk about the role of sports turf management in public parks and green spaces.

Sessions will include:

  • How to deliver a world-class racecourse – involving clerks of the course Chris Stickels from Royal Ascot and William Derby from York Racecourse
  • The pressures of modern-day cricket turf management – with head groundsmen Stuart Kerrison from Essex County Cricket Club and Edgbaston’s Gary Barwell
  • Managing sports turf for school and community use  with Harrow School’s interim grounds manager Lee Marshallsay, Eton College’s grounds manager John Taylor and Charterhouse School’s head groundsman David Roberts.
  • Making the most of sports turf technology in multi-use stadia – with Twickenham’s head groundsman Keith Kent and Tony Stones, head groundsman at Wembley Stadium
  • How to increase sports participation on natural turf – featuring Stanley Park’s head groundsman, Pete Hussey and Adam Witchell, head groundsman at Beversbrook Sports Facility.

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