With the appointment of Professor Bernhard R. Leinauer as Professor for Turfgrass Ecology by Special Appointment at the University of Wageningen (NL), a significant step was taken in the development towards sustainable management and establishment of sports fields.
Wageningen University has searched worldwide for a suitable candidate who would meet the strict requirements in the fields of education and research. This was not easy. It is therefore wonderful that Professor Leinauer is both eminently capable and also willing to fill this exceptional position in Europe.
In the management of golf courses and other turfgrass sports fields sustainability and playing quality are major factors. Important elements are the pressure on the use of water and fertiliser as well as the impending prohibition of the use of plant protection chemicals. The focus of all this in the ecological system is on healthy soil and healthy plants. Problems in this domain require a long-term approach. Only then can we successfully realise high-quality and sustainable development, renovation and maintenance methods.
The mandate of a Turfgrass of Ecology Chair was drawn up several years ago with the collaboration of Professor Paul Struik, Head of the Chair Group for the Centre for Crop Systems Analysis (CSA) and Professor Coen Ritsema, Head of the Chair Group for Soil Physics and Land Management. This mandate expressly and uniquely puts the relationship of soil-water-plant in a central position thereby guaranteeing the structural collaboration between both Chair Groups.
The Dutch Turfgrass Research Foundation (DTRF) plays an important role in this entire process. The object of the Foundation, which includes representatives of the Royal Dutch Golf Federation (NGF), the Dutch Association of Golf Courses (NVG), and the Dutch Green keepers Association (NGA) is to provide funding as well as to position and facilitate the Chair. In order to instigate and define specific research projects, a Turfgrass Research Advisory Board was established. Experts with practical experience, the Wageningen University and the business community, as well as the Scandinavian Turfgrass Environment and Research Foundation (STERF) and the renowned Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) from the UK are represented.