With the appointment of Professor Bernd 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.
‘Science is the essential link between things we cannot explain but want to understand. With the arrival of the Chair, a significant step in this direction has been taken. It will be clear to one and all that we are extremely pleased with the arrival of Professor Leinauer, says Pieter Aalders, Chairman of the Dutch Turfgrass Research Foundation.
Professor Leinauer has worked as Professor of Turfgrass Sciences in the Plant Sciences Department at New Mexico State University (USA) since 2000 and will also work as part-time Professor of Turfgrass Ecology by Special Appointment at Wageningen University & Research starting in 2017. He originally comes from the German Federal State of Bavaria and received his MSc  and Ph.D from the  Hohenheim University. His doctorate research focused on ‘Irrigation Effects on Water  Use, Drought Stress Tolerance, and Recuperative Ability of Several Turfgrasses’ in 1997.
A major part of Professor Leinhauer’s working life has been spent on research in the United States, especially on golf courses. This knowledge, experience and networking at various US universities are very valuable for his work as a Professor by Special Appointment at Wageningen University.
‘I am looking forward to taking on the challenge of this position and working with a team of fine researchers and practioners to develop management strategies aimedat providing high quality turf areas without the help of pesticides (quote Leinauer).
Leinauer attaches great value to practice-based orientation in research and education. He is also a member of several professional turfgrass organisations such as the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), the Deutsche Rasen Gesellschaft, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), the Greenkeeperverband Deutschland, the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) and the United States Golf Association (USGA). In 2016, he also joined the Board of Directors of the European Turfgrass Society (ETS).
In terms of content, the Professor by Special Appointment will focus mainly on the sustainable design, management and maintenance of turfgrass sports fields and golf courses. In addition, he will also focus on the domains of ecology, (eco) physiology, agronomy and phytopathology of sports turf.

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