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‘Mr SALTEX’ inducted into GMA Hall of Fame

‘Mr SALTEX’ inducted into GMA Hall of Fame: The Grounds Management Association (GMA) today announces that SALTEX Operations Director, Derek Walder, also known as ‘Mr SALTEX’, will be the third inductee into its industry Hall of Fame.

This latest honour, the most significant gesture of appreciation the GMA can award, follows Derek’s Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 and is being awarded to Derek as an acknowledgement of an illustrious career in the industry spanning more than half a century.

‘Mr SALTEX’ inducted into GMA Hall of Fame

‘Mr SALTEX’ inducted into GMA Hall of Fame

Derek’s career has seen him involved in many corners of the groundscare sector, including 26 years as the grounds manager at Wimbledon Football Club’s training site during a legendary period in the club’s history which involved working alongside the notorious group of Wimbledon players known as the ‘Crazy Gang’.

Derek first got involved in SALTEX operations in 1970 as one of many members dedicating their own time in order to ensure SALTEX was a success. His time involved in SALTEX has seen him deal with many important moments in the show’s history, like when the show moved from outdoor venues to an indoor one and, most recently, the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring the safety of visitors at this year’s show. This year, marks his 40th delivery of the annual trade exhibition.

His induction into the GMA’s Hall of Fame means that Derek is just the third inductee, joining legendary grounds managers, the late Eddie Seaward MBE, former Head Groundsman at the All-England Lawn Tennis Club and Steve Braddock, Head of Grounds Management at the Arsenal Football Club training centre. His award represents the many crucial roles being played behind the scenes that keep the sector, and its events, running.

GMA CEO, Geoff Webb, commenting on Derek’s latest honour, says:

“Our Hall of Fame recognises outstanding contributions to the industry and Derek’s achievements go far beyond turf management by bringing together the groundscare sector successfully under one roof year on year. Derek has shown unswerving dedication to the success of SALTEX, and this award is richly deserved.”

On receiving his honour, Hall of Fame inductee, Derek Walder, says:

“There’s no ‘i’ in ‘team’; I am surrounded by a great bunch of people who consistently commit 100 per cent to the show. I’ve been delivering SALTEX for a long time, but at the end of the day we’ve got a good team and that’s what makes it a success.”

An in-depth feature on Derek, and his journey in grounds management which led to his induction into the Grounds Management Association Hall of Fame, was published in the Winter 2021 edition of the GMA’s member magazine, Grounds Management, a preview of which you can read by clicking here.

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Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate

Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate: A unique new docuseries telling the remarkable story of one woman’s mission to turnaround a rundown golf club and make it a friendly, accessible and inclusive community venue is now streaming on syngentagolf.com

In a first for the golf industry, the fly-on-the-wall documentary, Changing the Business of Golf, follows former Ladies European Tour professional Fame Tate as she breaks with tradition and aims to transform the course and customer experience at Stanedge Golf Club, Derbyshire.

Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate

Changing the Business of Golf with Fame Tate

In the first episode, Fame recalls the life-changing decision to acquire the golf course and how she is turning the club into an open, friendly venue at the heart of her local community.

Meanwhile, as the team prepares for a new season, they are faced with the prospect of preparing the golf course for reopening without their head greenkeeper.

“If you’d said to me one day you’ll own a golf club, I’d have probably sat there are laughed,” says Fame, whose playing career was cut short by injury. “My vision from day one was to break away from the traditional golf club model. It’s about making a place that’s welcoming, affordable, accessible, inclusive.”

Working closely with her greenkeeping team – and revealing how she rolled up her sleeves to get stuck in to groundwork – Fame is investing in a major course upgrade to improve playing conditions.

The series documents day-to-day happenings, including course management work led by head greenkeeper Christian ‘CJ’ Johnson.

“It was a tough task for Fame and everybody involved to get the course back to where it was,” says CJ. “But since then we have really tried to improve it as a team and get it moving forwards.”

Just one year after acquiring the club, Fame faced the potentially catastrophic challenge of the Covid pandemic and enforced lockdown, forcing her and the team to call on their inner reserves of strength and resilience to keep the business afloat.

Will she realise her vision and succeed? The series will follow Fame and her team as she reopens Stanedge Golf Club and takes on the business of golf.

Watch the first episode now on Syngenta Golf: https://www.syngentagolf.com/changing-business-golf

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