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Brent Downs becomes BIGGA’s 90th Master Greenkeeper

Brent Downs becomes BIGGA’s 90th Master Greenkeeper: Otter Creek director of agronomy Brent Downs has become the 90th Master Greenkeeper since the certification’s inception in 1990.

In doing so, Brent, 43, is just the 36th person to possess both Master Greenkeeper and Certified Golf Course Superintendent classifications, two of the highest accolades available to experienced golf greenkeepers on either side of the Atlantic.

Brent Downs becomes BIGGA’s 90th Master Greenkeeper

Brent Downs becomes BIGGA’s 90th Master Greenkeeper

Of the moment he was told he had been successful in achieving Master Greenkeeper status, Brent said: “It was amazing and there were a lot of different emotions. I know the journey to get there and a lot of people have walked it before me, so it was equal parts shock and gratitude. The elation, thankfulness and introspection came later.”

Although a resident of Indiana in the Midwest United States, Brent attributes much of his success to experiences gained during spells in Australia and the United Kingdom. Having interned at Loch Lomond Golf Club in 2007, Brent has become the fourth Master Greenkeeper to be associated with the Argyll & Bute course, following in the footsteps of Ken Siems, David Cole and Janne Lehto.

“Not a whole lot of people get the opportunity to intern in Scotland and Australia at the beginning of my career,” said Brent. That just changed my perspective and my worldview so much. It was the first time I ever heard about Master Greenkeeper, because even though there are only 90 of us, four of them are in some way tied to Loch Lomond Golf Club – Ken Siems and David Cole, who were my bosses at the time, and now Janne Lehto and me are Master Greenkeepers 89 and 90.”

After word of Brent’s achievement was circulated to his fellow Master Greenkeepers, he was flooded by congratulations.

“I’m proud of the part I played in this, but you don’t ever accomplish anything like this on your own,” said Brent. “It takes a village and I’m grateful for the Master Greenkeepers that mentored me, coached me and calmed down – they just kept encouraging me to stay with it.

“The minute Deb [Burnett, BIGGA Learning and Development Manager] sent out that email, I don’t think I’ve ever received so many congratulations. It was at that moment I realised what a community or family Master Greenkeeper is.”

To qualify for the Master Greenkeeper Certificate, a candidate must have at least 10 years’ experience working as a greenkeeper including three years as a course manager, head greenkeeper or superintendent. Certification includes the completion of a rigorous assessment programme that covers all aspects of golf course management.

Master Greenkeeper is a mark of distinction and is highly respected in the golf industry, signifying the holder has achieved the highest level of professional expertise with a commitment to maintaining the highest standards of golf course management.

You can find out more about Master Greenkeeper on the BIGGA website, www.bigga.org.uk

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