R&A Sustainable Agronomy showcased at Europe’s premier greenkeeping conference

The R&A
01 Feb 24
3 mins

The R&A had a greater presence than ever at the annual BTME (BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition) and Continue to Learn Conference in Harrogate recently. 

The premier turf management exhibition in Europe is attended by many who are involved in golf course or sports turf management, with The R&A’s Sustainable Agronomy Service providing a wealth of expertise to all those in attendance.  “BTME and Continue to Learn bring the golf course management industry together, providing an opportunity to inform and inspire for the year ahead,” said Daniel Lightfoot, Director – Sustainable Golf at The R&A. “There is so much work being done by The R&A across agronomic support, research, education and championships to benefit golf.”

Industry professionals

The unique positioning that The R&A has within the industry was showcased through various outlets, with the event’s opening keynote breakfast session kicking the show off in style.  It saw the recounting of agronomic and greenkeeping stories of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool and the AIG Women’s Open at Walton Health in 2023 – with both the Claret Jug and the AIG Women’s Open trophy on display in front of a room full of eager industry professionals. The R&A Sustainable Agronomy Service team also provided education sessions as part of the Continue to Learn programme. The three sessions – case studies in sustainable golf course management; groundbreaking research into the climate impact of golf courses; and the opportunity for greenkeepers to ask questions of a panel of The R&A’s experts – were delivered to packed audiences. They provided practical guidance from expert agronomists, new scientific research from Golf Course 2030 and examples of golf courses working with the organisation to deliver more sustainable golf course management and secure the future of the game.

Golf Course 2030 | Projects

Golf Course 2030 produces thought leadership, practical publications and guidance and resources focused on the themes of Sustainable Agronomy, Resources, Biodiversity and Climate.


With partnerships in place with The Environmental Partnership, RSPB and Oleo Ecology, The R&A continues to show its commitment to providing the most comprehensive service for golf courses to develop with the environment at the forefront of decisions. “This event gives us the opportunity to showcase our collaboration in the industry – working with RSPB and Oleo Ecology on golf and nature, and with The Environment Partnership on the critical issue of sustainable water management, all to provide more knowledge and understanding of key subjects for golf course management,” added Gordon Howat, Senior Agronomist with The R&A’s Sustainable Agronomy Service. The market leaders from these partnerships were also in attendance on the stand – providing an opportune moment to meet the experts. Between sustainable agronomy, sustainable water management and how to consider nature in decision making, those who stopped by The R&A stand had the chance to enhance their understanding of how sustainability is affecting the industry.

Awards recognition

A number of exclusive pieces of greenkeeping heritage were also on display at the stand – all telling a story on how the earliest and most prominent ‘Keepers of the Green’ were critical to the game. Golf course maintenance has obviously evolved dramatically over the years and The R&A has a unique position to educate and support how to work towards a more sustainable future. The BIGGA Welcome Celebration saw the greenkeeping team behind the AIG Women’s Open in 2023 recognised for their extraordinary work – taking home the Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year. Supported by The R&A’s Sustainable Championship Agronomy team, this demonstrated the year-round work done by championship venues to deliver the finest sustainable playing surfaces to challenge the best golfers in the world. The closing day saw the celebration of sustainable golf with the Golf Environment Awards supported by The R&A. The awards, judged by the industry, brought together winners from Great Britain and Ireland and Europe across clubs, courses and individuals championing environmental stewardship. Lightfoot concluded, “We’re excited about the year ahead for The R&A’s Sustainable Golf strategy – there will be some exciting new projects and areas of support all with the aim to help the game to thrive in 50-years’ time.” To find out more about The R&A’s work in Sustainable Golf visit: