With the appointment of Professor Dr. Bernd R. Leinauer as Extraordinary Professor of Turfgrass Ecology at Wageningen University is an important step in the development towards sustainable management and construction of sports fields.
Wageningen University has searched worldwide for a suitable candidate who meets the strict criteria in the field of education and research. It was not easy. It is therefore extraordinary that Professor Leinauer has found it willing and suitable to fulfill this exceptional function in Europe.
Sustainability and quality of play play a major role in the management of golf courses and other natural grass sports pitches. This includes the pressure on water use and fertilizers, as well as the intended ban on the use of chemical plant protection products. The focus in the ecological system is on healthy soil and a healthy plant. This problem requires a long-term approach. Only then can high-quality, sustainable construction, renovation and maintenance methods be successfully achieved.
With the collaboration of Professor Dr. Ir. Paul Struik, head of the Center for Crop Systems Analysis chair group, and Professor Dr. A few years ago, Coen Ritsema, head of the Soil Physics and Land Management chair group, drafted a teaching assignment for the Turfgrass of Ecology chair. This explicitly focuses on the relationship between soil and water and plants, which guarantees the structural cooperation between the two chair groups. And that is unique.
The Turfgrass Research Foundation played an important role in the entire process. This foundation, in which the Royal Dutch Golf Federation, the Dutch Association of Golf Accommodations and the Dutch Greenkeepers Association are represented, aims to finance the extraordinary chair, to help position it and to facilitate it. A Turfgrass Research Advisory Board has been established to initiate and define research projects, in which Wageningen UR, experts from the field, industry as well as the Scandinavian Turfgrass Environment and Research Foundation (STERF) and the renowned Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) from the UK are established. are represented.
“Science is the indispensable link for what we cannot yet explain but want to understand. An enormous step has been taken in this regard with the arrival of the chair. It will be clear that we are very pleased with the arrival of Prof. dr. Dr Leinauer, said Pieter Aalders, former chairman of the Turfgrass Research Foundation.
Prof. Dr. Leinauer has been a professor of Turfgrass Sciences at New Mexico State University at the Plant Sciences Department in the US since 2000 and will also hold the position of Extraordinary Professor of Turfgrass Ecology at Wageningen University & Research from 2017. He comes from the German state of Bavaria and graduated as an MSc from Hohenheim University in 1990. In 1997 he also obtained his PhD there with the thesis “Irrigation Effects on Water Use, Drought Stress Tolerance, and Recuperative Ability of Several Turfgrasses”.
For most of his workable life, Leinhauer has conducted research in the United States, especially on golf courses. This knowledge, experience and networks at various universities in the USA are of great value for his position as professor by special appointment in Wageningen.
I am looking forward to taking on the challenge of this position and working with a team of fine researchers and pratitioners to develop management strategies aimed at providing high quality turf areas without the help of pesticides. (quote Leinauer)
Leinauer attaches great importance to practical orientation in the field of research and education. He is also a member of many professional organizations, such as Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Deutsche Rasen Gesellschaft, Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Greenkeeperverband Deutschland, Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and the United States Golf Association ( USGA). He has also been a board member of the European Turfgrass Society (ETS) since 2016.
In terms of content, the extraordinary professor will mainly focus on the sustainable design, management and maintenance of sports turf pitches and golf courses. He will also focus on the field of ecology, (eco) physiology, agronomy and phytopathology of sports grass.