Greenkeeper Diaries: Broadway

NCG chats to trainee Nick Gardener about the life of a greenkeeper…

Course: Broadway Golf Club
Name: Nick Gardener
Position: Trainee greenkeeper

You were a professional golfer. What brought you into greenkeeping?

I was looking for a job and I was considering going back to university to train as a teacher. I went to my club at the time and the professional said they were looking for an apprentice greenkeeper.

At first, I thought it would tide me over but I loved it. I loved the science behind it. You are not bound to a desk, or stuck in a building. I took up the apprenticeship and I have never looked back.

What’s the best part of the job?

It ties in with my lifestyle. I can get up in the morning and be done by 2 or 3pm. Then I can go and train for my race days. I race for an amateur cycling team, Cycle Studio Core Telecom RPC Team.

What don’t golfers understand about your role?

They don’t understand what we have to take into account [in preparing a course]. They don’t understand the science behind it or the processes we go through to design, build or maintain a course.

They think it all happens by magic. A lot of things have to be thought through. For example, how you care for your machinery can affect the grass. It is all hard work and takes a lot of skill.

What is involved in becoming a qualified greenkeeper?

I study at Myerscough College. It’s a further education course. A lot of the work is done practically and through video analysis. We actually use our phones now. It could just be a two minute video to upload.

We might be changing a hole, having a chat about it and talking about health and safety. There is theory behind it as well, disease for example, and you can carry through for a maximum of two years. I will finish by the end of this year.

If you could ask golfers to do one thing, what would it be?

It would probably be to respect greenkeepers and acknowledge their hard work. I could say repair pitchmarks but golfers don’t know the work that goes into the job and I’d like acknowledgement for staff and the work they do to get a course into great condition.

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