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ICL integral to fairways recovery

ICL integral to fairways recovery

ICL integral to fairways recovery : Ian Cambridge, Course Manager at Saffron Walden Golf Club in Cambridge, has revealed how the correct advice, seed, and nutritional products from ICL have been integral in helping the fairways recover from drought.

The infamous drought of 2018 proved to be problematic for greenkeepers and course managers throughout the UK and Ian Cambridge was no exception.

ICL integral to fairways recovery

“Back in the summer of 2018, like most golf courses, we lost a high proportion of our grass sward on the fairways due to the drought,” he said. “We had overseeded in the spring of 2019 without great success and the fairways were quite poor through the early part of the season.”

Looking for a solution, Ian contacted ICL and Andrew Pledger (Technical Area Sales Manager) visited the East Anglian club. He and Ian walked around the course looking at the conditions and probed into the soil to see what could be done. It was at this point that Andrew suggested a programmed approach which centred around ICL’s recently launched Vitalnova Links bio-stimulant.

Vitalnova Links consists of a unique combination of concentrated seaweed extract Vitalnova SeaMax and the proven biostimulant Vitalnova Blade. In turn, the formulation brings together and accentuates the benefits of both products.

Vitalnova Links was combined with a wetting agent and 8kg of a water soluble 35-0-5 fertilizer.

Andrew also advised, that due to not having any irrigation capacity, Ian should not overseed again until the autumn. This time, however, Andrew recommended that Ian use a multi-blend mixture consisting of rye, fescue and SSMG (Smooth Stalk Meadow Grass).

“The grass species that we lost the most of was the fescue and we were unsure of what we should do,” said Ian. “However, Andrew explained that by using a blend of three different species we would be spreading our bets a bit more with any future drought.

“The nutritional and wetting agent programme had actually helped with some natural ingress of our existing sward. This helped lower the amount of seed that we needed to use in our overseeding that autumn and it was a great help with lowering the costs. The seed mix we chose was the ICL ProSelect 2 Tees/Fairways mix and we had great germination success.”

ProSelect 2 Tees/Fairways is proving to be an extremely popular choice with golf courses throughout the UK and beyond. The mixture is a blend of fine fescues and perennial ryegrass which creates a turf surface that can recover strongly from divoting.

The blend contains Traction smooth-stalked meadow grass and Torsion TRT perennial ryegrass to provide rhizomatous and Turf Repairing Tiller (TRT) growth for extra durability and recovery from divots. It is renowned for providing great colour, all-round disease tolerance and close mowing tolerance.

The new nutritional programme and seed were put to the test in 2020 when the drought inevitably returned.

“In the spring of 2020, the fairways were filling in very nicely, however, the conditions became very droughty once again,” said Ian. “The difference this time was that we were already on a wetting agent and nutritional programme, and yes the turf browned off but when the rain returned in August the sward came straight back.

“Our over-seeding requirements were reduced, we believe, due to the choice of the quality seed and the advice from Andrew on our nutritional programme.”

Please contact ICL on 01473 237100 or visit www.icl-sf.co.uk or www.icl-sf.ie if you are in Ireland.

For more news and insightful views, you can follow ICL on Twitter @ICL_Turf

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Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group appoints new chairperson

Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group appoints new chairperson: The Greenkeepers Training Committee (GTC) has announced the appointment of Les Howkins MG, golf course manager at The Richmond Golf Club in Surrey, as the new chairperson for greenkeeping for the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Employer Group.

The Level 2 Golf Greenkeeper Apprenticeship is undergoing a review by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) and Les will lead the Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group as it manages and responds to the review, ensuring the successes of the new Apprenticeships are built upon further.

Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group appoints new chairperson

Greenkeeping Trailblazer Group appoints new chairperson

Les has been involved with the Trailblazer Group since its inception in 2014 and is a huge advocate for greenkeeper training and education. Having held the post of chairperson of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) from 2015 to 2019 and through his role as golf course manager at one of the most prestigious clubs in the country, Les is ideally placed to build on the leadership of former chairperson David Croxton, who sadly passed away in 2020.

Les said: “I am excited to take on this role and following the challenging times every golf club has experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that golf courses continue to be maintained and managed by highly skilled professionals. The ongoing review of the apprenticeship will provide for this need and produce the next generation of golf course managers.”

Jim Croxton, BIGGA CEO and GTC board member, said: “Les has a proven track record of leading committees and boards in our sector which, coupled with his passion for education, makes him the ideal candidate to lead the Trailblazer group at this time. With the Level 2 apprenticeship having been such an outstanding success in England and with Levels 3 and 5 poised to do likewise, we are at an exciting time for greenkeeper training.”

Fiona Lyttle, Learning and Development executive (GTC), said: “We were saddened with the loss of David, who was instrumental as the first Trailblazer Chairman for Golf Greenkeeping. With his guidance and determination, the GTC was able to build an excellent Apprenticeship programme from Level 2 to Level 5.

“We were delighted and privileged to be able to appoint Les as the new Trailblazer chairperson. Being an active employer and advocate for greenkeeping education, the Trailblazer group and I are looking forward to working with Les to maintain the level of apprenticeships our employers have become accustomed to and to ensure they have quality golf facilities for their members to enjoy.”

The Greenkeeping Trailblazer Employer Group and Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme is supported by golf facilities and governing bodies including England Golf, The Richmond Golf Club, Frilford Heath Golf Club, Colne Valley Golf Club, Colne Valley Golf Club, Gaudet Luce Golf Club, Portmore Golf Centre, Trentham Golf Club and Worplesdon Golf Club.

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Greenkeeping tools taken

Greenkeeping tools taken: If you were in the Callan area earlier this week & noticed suspicious activity then gardai want to hear from you.

Read the full article from KCLR here

Greenkeeping tools taken

Greenkeeping tools taken

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Time to celebrate greenkeeping talent

Time to celebrate greenkeeping talent: If there’s ever been a time when the industry needed something to look forward to and a reason to applaud greenkeeping talent, 2021 is it. And the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is back and the way to do just that.

2020 was a tough year and there are undoubtedly so many greenkeepers who coped stoically in the face of furlough, put in the extra mile on a reduced team, used lockdown time to further their learning or just shined in adversity.

Time to celebrate greenkeeping talent

Time to celebrate greenkeeping talent

David Cole from award sponsor and Toro distributor Reesink Turfcare says: “Think back over the last year to which of your members of staff have demonstrated their mettle whether in the actual or virtual classroom or out on the course. Let’s make sure all of those young people are recognised with a nomination, give them a chance to look back on this time and remember it for something positive.

“It was hugely disappointing not to have a competition last year, but we’re determined the 32nd Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will be even more valued, and no one should miss out because of the unforeseen pandemic. Therefore, we’re welcoming new entries for 2021 who will join the entries from the postponed 2020 event.”

It’s important to remember that it’s not just the students who benefit from winning, their nominators do too. Not only do they receive an all-expenses paid trip abroad the following year, but the winners’ success is testament to the excellent support they receive from their employers and lecturers, who Reesink and Toro are also delighted to be able to recognise.

Entries are open now for both the main and young awards. All those who entered the 2020 competition will automatically be put forward for the 2021 awards. If someone is currently 21 and has their birthday before the next application stage, they can choose whether they would like to stay in the young group or move up to the main award.

David concludes: “For 31 years the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards have supported the brightest young professionals in the UK’s greenkeeping industry and never before has there been a cancelled event. We do not plan on that being two! If the regional stage usually in July has to be held virtually, not a problem, we’re all au fait enough with Zoom now! We are confident that the September Finals can happen in a positive and engaging format and, excitingly, at a new location, yet to be revealed.”

Both employers and lecturers can make nominations. Visit reesinkturfcare.co.uk/sgoty to find out how to make a nomination into the 2021 awards.

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Greenkeeping during a pandemic

Greenkeeping during a pandemic: As clubs continue to be shut in the UK while the coronavirus pandemic holds its grip over the world, one of the biggest concerns looking ahead is the shape our courses will be in when normality returns.

In the wake of the lockdown, the government confirmed greenkeepers could still attend work for “essential maintenance purposes”.

Greenkeeping during a pandemic

Greenkeeping during a pandemic

BIGGA and the R&A then set out a comprehensive plan on what that should look like.

But what is being done in practice?

Nairn Dunbar, in the North of Scotland, will co-host the Amateur Championship next year. We caught up with course manager Richard Johnstone to ask him how his team were working during the outbreak and how the coronavirus lockdown and aftermath would affect the Highland course…

What is essential maintenance looking like at Nairn Dunbar?

The health, well-being and safety of our staff, members and visitors is priority so, for now, all staff are on three weeks furlough.

We are lucky there is very little growth until mid-April in the North of Scotland and are happy with course conditions after completing a lot of work during our winter maintenance programme.

I have been in constant contact with my Club Manager and Management Committee to plan the next steps needed to implement essential maintenance, starting mid-April.

How will staffing numbers continue to be affected?

We recently had our Deputy Course Manager retire after 27 years working on the course.

An internal promotion is being carried out, giving the opportunity to one of our highly skilled assistant greenkeepers who have been excelling in their role and are ready for a new challenge.

Due to new financial restraints caused by Covid-19 we will be unable to take on anyone new, meaning we will be running with five staff through 2020 to look after our 135-acre site.

How will the course react to the new regime and how much time would you need to reinstate it when the restrictions come to an end?

Having missed out on three weeks of work, tasks will be prioritised to ensure the main surfaces are in the best possible condition given the resources available.

It will be tough but our hard-working team will do our best to ensure members and guests can continue to enjoy a first class experience.

Our enthusiastic members will also be offered the opportunity to volunteer alongside our team on the course, which will really help us complete smaller tasks through 2020.

We will also be working closely with the STRI and R&A as we look at best practice ahead of hosting The Amateur Championship, alongside Nairn GC, in 2021.

What measures will you need to take to ensure everyone stays safe?

Prior to the lockdown we had already put measures in place to make sure staff and members were as safe as possible by implementing practises such as different shift patterns to avoid similar start/finish and break times, machinery and surfaces wiped before and after use.

We also have a lone working policy in place to ensure safe working practices are followed at all times.

Golfers were asked to follow guidelines, such as 2m distancing between players, not to touch pins and hole cups were turned upside down to avoid contact with the pin.

All bins, water fountains, ball washers were stopped from use and rakes and ball scoops were removed from the course totally.

A lot of these measures will almost certainly still be in use when the course opens again until we can return to some sort of “normality”.

Being such a close-knit community club during this tough period has been a big advantage and we hope we can work through this together coming out the other side even stronger.

We do encourage, if financially possible, members and guests continue to support us and invest in the future of our 121-year-old club.

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The toughest greenkeeping challenges

The toughest greenkeeping challenges: Greenkeepers are often the unsung heroes of the golf industry. They start work early in the morning and are usually out of the way long before golfers tee up. Yet their responsibility to maintain the golf course means they’re in charge of the most important asset at any club.

Golf courses are prepared to a higher standard than ever before, despite economic pressures, the rise of year-round golf and the changing climate.

The toughest greenkeeping challenges

We teamed up with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and asked a selection of course managers from all over the UK, including an Open rota superintendent about what the toughest thing any greenkeeper has to do.

Some of their answers may surprise you…

Craig Boath, links superintendent, Carnoustie Golf Links, host of The Open in 2018

“Every golf course is different and they all have their own challenges. Here at Carnoustie, we are no different. Looking after the turf is one of the easiest things, but dealing with weather and the expectations of visitors and members can be pretty hard going. Everyone who visits, thinks they are an agronomist and has an opinion on how they think the course should be presented!

“While most of the members have good intentions, I would say a lot don’t understand why greenkeepers do certain things at certain times of the year. If they had their way, we would be doing all our work in December, so we’re not in the way of the golf during the rest of the year!

“As a greenkeeper you need to keep focused on what you are trying achieve and try to not listen too much to the golfer telling you how to run the course. We greenkeepers are never satisfied, but one thing is consistent: we are proud of what we can achieve.”

James Bledge, course manager, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, Kent, host of The Open in 1909 and 1920

“I’d say if we’re talking from the perspective of a greenkeeper, the toughest thing you face is pushing yourself to stand out from a competitive crowd in order to progress your career. With budgets becoming tighter in many clubs, the opportunity for investment in staff is reduced. The only solution is to take time out from your personal life to educate yourself. You even have to fund your own education, because when that job interview comes along, you really have to stand out.

“From a course managers perspective, there are loads of things we could talk about. One that’s really hit home for me recently is finding good kids that are willing to go through the apprenticeship scheme in order to train as a greenkeeper. Most run a mile when they see that the money is poor and that’s a shame, because they’re missing out on a really rewarding and fulfilling career.

“Another challenge is dealing with the expectations of members, especially in the light of the chemical bans that we’re seeing. This will be a huge topic of conversation for the next few years as greenkeepers adapt to work with the tools that are available to them.

“Additionally, membership fees at clubs are not rising in line with costs for materials and machinery. I know of golf clubs where the members expect the world but have zero understanding on how much it costs to run a course. I’d love to take my budget sheet to a smaller club and let the members know how much it really costs to maintain a championship course. If you want to pay less for your golf, you have to expect that the standard of the course will fall in line with that.”

Richie Stephens, course manager, Ringway Golf Club, Cheshire

“Undoubtedly, the toughest thing I’ve had to understand is the politics within golf clubs. With committee rotation and 500 bosses with 500 different points of view, it is hard to plan long term and develop consistent course plans, even with a course policy document in place.

“I’m lucky that I’ve got on well with all my course chairmen and it’s important for a course manager to have an understanding of what their members want from the course. To do that, you should find a small group of golfers, of varying abilities, who you can ask questions of. This means you can anticipate who might object to any changes.

“One thing I do is confirm all decisions and actions by email and then keep the email in a safe place, so I have a written record of every decision that is made.

“Having a course policy document and an ongoing course development plan – of at least three years – continually ratified, allows for some consistency for future planning. A course policy document can help stop the annual whims and changes of particular individuals, which often interrupts course development plans and can lead to inconsistencies in topdressing, greens renovations and aeration programmes, stuttering the improvement of surfaces.”

Jack Hetherington, course manager, Boldon Golf Club, Tyne and Wear

“The simple answer to this question is: manage expectations. I’m 32 years old and have worked in this industry for 14 years, including three as a course manager. I’ve recently moved to a new course and I feel that managing the expectations of myself, my team, the members, the committee, my family, friends and even peers is not only a very tough part of the job but also, I believe the key to successfully maintaining a good work, life and stress balance.

“I’m looking for 100% efficiency from the resources I have available; the members are looking for a high standard of golf all year around; the committee want the best golfing experience possible within budget; and my family and friends want work to stay at work and within contracted hours.

“I’ve tried in vain to prioritise the expectations that are put upon me, but now I just juggle them as best as I am able. Instead, I look at expectations as a stock investment in myself.

“For example, we recently hosted the autumn meeting of BIGGA’s North East Section. With adverse weather leading up to the event, I was left with 44 working hours to prepare the course, but 63 hours-worth of work to meet my own expectations of presentation. We drafted in greenkeepers from a local course, worked some overtime and fell a little short of the 63 hours, but still presented the course well.

“I believe my stock went up among my peers, club members and the committee, who were impressed by the course and my commitment, but it will have reduced among my friends and family who I neglected due to the long hours and among my team, who I asked to work longer hours.

“To ensure I stay married, maintain friendships and my team don’t start looking for new jobs, the team and I have to take some time away from work. This must be done in a manner that has minimal effect on the course, so any raised stock isn’t immediately damaged.

“The way I manage expectations dictates the type of course manager I am. Therefore, the ‘toughest thing I do’ is to identify how my actions affect different expectations and also execute actions to ensure I stay true to the type of course manager and person I want to be.”

Rob Clare, course manager, Brough Golf Club, East Yorkshire

“When asked the question ‘What is the toughest thing a greenkeeper has to do?’ a myriad of answers come to mind; we all have to deal with ever decreasing budgets, climate change, banning of chemicals and the general down turn in the demand for golf.

“We live in a society where people expect everything immediately and for minimal cost to themselves, where we can sometimes feel our instant needs outweigh the greater long term good. Society has a much shorter attention span and we are far more likely to give up on something we find challenging quickly. Technology has a lot to answer for, information is so abundantly available that any one thing can only grab seconds of our attention, if at all.

“So how does all this apply to greenkeeping? Our customers’ expectations have never been higher. Golf no longer has a season, with the improvement in waterproof clothing, drainage and course construction, the expectation is for 365 days of golf in pristine conditions, regardless of time of year, weather conditions, available resources or chemicals. Cheap winter golf breaks to the continent certainly don’t help our cause back home in the UK and only stand to further unrealistic expectations.

“How do we as greenkeepers deal with this problem? The obvious answer is by explaining the reality of course maintenance to members. But how do we do that? My answer would be by using every kind of resource you have at your disposal. This includes producing signs, notices, regular newsletters, daily answerphone messages, regular social media updates, uploading short videos and conducting open evenings.

“Lastly, we work in a service industry and being approachable and willing to make time for people, although sometimes time consuming, can be very constructive.

“Ultimately, despite all our best efforts, there will always be some that ignore our communications – perhaps they step over ropes, disregard GUR signs or don’t repair pitch marks – but we must show perseverance and continue to get our message across in every way we can.”

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New R&A Greenkeeping Scholar

New R&A Greenkeeping Scholar: A Carrickfergus student has become the first in Northern Ireland to be awarded an R&A Greenkeeping Scholarship. Callum Burnside is currently undertaking a two-year foundation degree in Horticulture (Sportsturf) at the Greenmount campus of the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE)

The R&A Greenkeeping Scholarship Programme was established in 2004 to help boost the careers of those undertaking higher level greenkeeping and sportsturf qualifications. CAFRE is the newest addition to the approved educational establishments participating in the programme, joining Scotland’s Rural College (Elmwood Campus) and Myerscough College in England.

New R&A Greenkeeping Scholar

Callum joins more than over 320 scholars worldwide across 30 different countries. He was previously awarded the Golf Union of Ireland cadetship in 2017. This involved mastering greenkeeping skills and achieving a work-based Level 2 Diploma in Greenkeeping while undertaking duties at the Greenmount’s Greenkeeping and Golfing Academy.

Wendy Cole, manager of Sustainability at the R&A, said: “Our rigorous application and interview process ensures that only the best candidates are chosen to be R&A Greenkeeping Scholars. Callum demonstrated his passion and commitment to the sportsturf industry admirably and I am delighted that he is our first Greenkeeping Scholar from CAFRE and indeed Northern Ireland.

“We hope to further develop our links with CAFRE moving forward and hopefully we will see more scholars being appointed.”

The R&A organises The Open, golf’s oldest major championship.

Paul Mooney, head of Horticulture at Greenmount, said: “With just months before The Open returns to Royal Portrush in July there has never been a better time to consider a career in greenkeeping.”

For more information about the scholarship programme see the Greenkeeping support section on: https://www.randa.org

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Jacobsen Support Greenkeeping Career

Jacobsen Support Greenkeeping Career: James Walker, a graduate of the African Turf Academy in Pretoria, South Africa, has praised Jacobsen for its commitment to education and helping to launch his greenkeeping career.

James graduated from the African Turf Academy, which is supported by Jacobsen and the R&A, in 2015.  James enjoyed success at the Academy based at the Silver Lakes Golf Estate and won the Student of the Year award in 2015.

Jacobsen Support Greenkeeping Career

Three years on, and James is now the assistant greenkeeper at JCB Golf & Country Club, the brand-new 18-hole golf course based at the construction equipment manufacturer’s headquarters in Staffordshire. The golf course is supplied by Textron Golf, which includes equipment and vehicles from Jacobsen, E-Z-GO, Cushman and Textron Fleet Management.

“It’s amazing that Jacobsen supported me throughout my education in South Africa, and now I am here at JCB which uses the equipment,” James said. “The African Turf Academy was the only one to offer an international qualification, which was run by Elmwood College, and Jacobsen was the only company willing to invest in education in the turf industry across South Africa. I must thank Jacobsen, the R&A and The African Turf Academy for all they have done for me in my career so far.”

The African Turf Academy offers an International Greenkeeping Qualification, a two-year full-time programme of study running in conjunction with the Tour Player Development Programme. On completion of the course, students receive an internationally recognised National Certificate in Greenkeeping from Elmwood College in St. Andrews, Scotland.

“I was introduced to Euan Grant at the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio this year,” James continued. “As the general manager at JCB Golf & Country Club, he was looking for greenkeepers to come and work at the new course. I was excited at the prospect; it sounded like an exciting project and something I was keen to be involved in.”

Jacobsen Support Greenkeeping Career

“James and I met at GIS in February 2018,” Euan grant explained. “As soon as we started to talk, I knew he was exactly the kind of person I wanted at the JCB course. He’s passionate about greenkeeping, extremely hardworking and down-to-earth and committed to his own professional development. I would also like to thank Jacobsen for giving people like James the opportunity to enter the turf maintenance profession and supporting the future of the industry.”

“I’m looking forward to my future here,” James concluded. “It’s a spectacular course with the best equipment and resources available, and whilst the climate is very different to South Africa, I’m adjusting well!”

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Greenkeeping Team Rewarded

Greenkeeping Team Rewarded: The greenkeeping team at Golf At Goodwood has realised its ambition of gaining the coveted Golf Environment Organisation certification for its commitment to sustainability across both the Park and Downs courses.

GEO Certified® is the symbol of great golf environments worldwide, showing a facility has met a credible standard in sustainability across six areas.

Greenkeeping Team Rewarded

To be eligible, the greenkeeping team had to submit an extensive application that evidenced work in nature, water, energy, supply chain, pollution control and community.

The team, led by sports turf and grounds general manager Phil Helmn, set out to achieve GEO certification knowing it would safeguard the environmental future of the courses and be of benefit to members, customers and the local community.

Independent verification led to the GEO concluding Golf At Goodwood should receive certification because of its “outstanding work to minimise impact on the environment through introduction of biomass heating, solar panels and enhanced monitoring on water consumption.

”It said: “The club has also undertaken numerous natural environment projects providing enhancements to habitat in line with the surveys and advice commissioned by the facility.”

The application took 12 months and involved the greenkeeping team working with different departments across the Goodwood Estate.

Russell Carr, deputy head greenkeeper on the Park course, was credited by Helmn as being the man to pull together the resources and information to submit the application to the GEO.

He said: “We’ve introduced a sustainability ethos into our thinking with regular team meetings and it has been great seeing each team member embrace it.”

Helmn was proud of the work his team had put in and said: “Work towards this certification started four and a half years ago.”

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Greenkeeping Award For Gregg Hood

Greenkeeping Award For Gregg Hood: Trainee greenkeeper Gregg Hood has been crowned SRUC Elmwood’s annual John Deere HNC Student of the Year, after making a career change in is early 40s. Greg won the award, sponsored by John Deere and Scottish turf dealer Double A, for a conscientious and enthusiastic approach to his programme of studies during the 2017/2018 academic year.

Born and bred in Glasgow, Gregg had a successful career as a qualified accountant and then a mortgage broker before making the jump into greenkeeping at the age of 42. “It was one of those life changing decisions that I just had to make,” he says. “I had thought for a couple of years that it was time for a change. I’ve always loved my golf, and thought it was a great environment to work in. I was also interested in how golf courses are put together, how they’re looked after and made to look so good.

Greenkeeping Award For Gregg Hood

“My partner Lisa was very supportive, so I finally left work in June 2017 and applied to the SRUC, having been in contact with Elmwood’s greenkeeping coordinator Mike Clark for a year or so before that. We agreed that the HNC in Golf Course Management would be the best entry level course for me, combined with volunteering on a golf course to get some practical experience.”

That golf course turned out to be St Andrews Links, where Gregg started volunteering two days a week from September 2017, about two weeks after starting the course. “It’s been fantastic, and course manager Kevin Muir and his team couldn’t have been more helpful. Everyone’s been very happy to give me the benefit of their time and knowledge, so it’s been an absolutely brilliant opportunity.

“Going in I was obviously a little apprehensive about my age, but both Mike and Kevin said if you show a good attitude and you’re there to learn, then as long as you can do the work and be a part of the team, there are no issues. I haven’t given it another thought since.

“I’ve never been part of anything like this before, certainly not in accountancy, where there’s always that element of competition, even when you’re working in a team. The only competition on a golf course is to improve your skills and make yourself a better greenkeeper. People at St Andrews Links and the college are really impressive, and all round I’ve found it to be a very encouraging environment to work in – I’m still very excited by it all.

“I’m now a BIGGA member and contracted at St Andrews Links until November 2018, and if a permanent position became available then I’d definitely apply. If not then I might try a warm weather grass course abroad over the winter months. Ultimately I would like to hone my skills and get more experience, including tournaments at other courses.”

Course tutor Paul Miller, who is based at SRUC’s Elmwood campus in Cupar, Fife, adds: “Gregg’s decision to change career was made after a great deal of research, preparation and consideration of all the implications. This thoroughness of preparation soon became evident in his course work, which he produced most conscientiously and to a very high standard right from day one – his commitment to making the most of the learning opportunity was impressive.

“Quickly realising that he would also need to build up his practical skills and his industry networking, Gregg volunteered to work at St Andrews Links, again demonstrating his enthusiasm and willingness to learn in that environment as well as in the classroom. He also applied for and was successful in gaining an R&A Greenkeeping Scholarship through SRUC.

“Having also secured a seasonal position on St Andrews Links, Gregg’s development continues apace. We all look forward to watching his growth in the industry and the contribution that he will make to greenkeeping as his career progresses.”

For more information, visit: www.JohnDeere.co.uk

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