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Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finals line-up

Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finals line-up: A former IT recruiter, a hotel doorman, a county cricketer and a heavy metal guitarist are just some of the finalists of the most prestigious awards event in the student greenkeeping calendar.

The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and co-founders and sponsors Toro and Reesink UK have revealed the line-up for the 2024 Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards. Now in its 35th year, the awards have helped unearth some of the brightest talents within the turf management industry and laid the foundations for decades of professional success.

Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finals line-up

Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finals line-up

Held at Oulton Hall in Leeds on 2-4 September, the finalists will compete in a series of challenges that are designed to test their technical knowledge and passion for the greenkeeping profession. Winners will then be crowned in the categories of Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year and Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year.

BIGGA Learning and Development Manager Deb Burnett said: “Whether joining the industry fresh from full-time education or opting to switch after a career elsewhere, our finalists are a diverse group, but they demonstrate the extraordinary talent that is present in today’s golf greenkeeping industry. The degree of knowledge they possess is testament to the quality of training they receive, both at work and with their training providers, and we’re looking forward to welcoming them all to the finals in Leeds in September for what stands to be an exciting couple of days.”

David Timms, National Accounts Manager at Reesink UK and Young award category judge, said: “We are very much looking forward to again welcoming this year’s finalists to the long list of student greenkeepers who have made it to this stage previously. The interviews this year were all of a high calibre and showcased how positive the future of the industry is. On behalf of everyone at Reesink UK and Toro, we wish all the finalists good look and will see them in September for the next part of their journey.”

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  1. Patrick Brown, greenkeeper at Wentworth Club and student at Berkshire College of Agriculture
  2. Jack Chapman, apprentice greenkeeper at The Grove and student at Capel Manor College
  3. Matt McCreadie, greenkeeper at Tadmarton Heath Golf Club and student at Myerscough College
  4. Jack Vowell, greenkeeper at Farrington Park Golf Club and student at Bridgwater & Taunton College
  5. Jack Wellings, greenkeeper at JCB Golf & Country Club and student at Myerscough College

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  1. Morgan Bowen, greenkeeper at Nevill Golf Club and student at North Kent College
  2. Alex Fox, apprentice greenkeeper at Woodhall Spa Golf Club and student at Bishop Burton College
  3. William Moore, apprentice greenkeeper at Kilworth Springs Golf Club and student at Myerscough College
  4. Daniel Parker, greenkeeper at Knighton Heath Golf Club and Sparsholt College
  5. Cameron Redden, apprentice greenkeeper at Strathmore Golf Centre and SRUC Elmwood College

To be eligible for the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year category, candidates must have been a greenkeeper for a minimum of 12 months and be studying towards the Level 2 Golf Greenkeeper or Level 3 Advanced Golf Greenkeeper qualifications.

To be eligible for the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year category, candidates must be aged 21 or under and studying towards the Level 2 award at the time of application.

More information about the finalists can be found on the BIGGA website, where you can also find information about the incredible prizes on offer for the awards winners and their endorsers and the runners-up in each category, including a 10-week placement on one of the industry’s most influential training courses.

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UK’s best student greenkeepers celebrated

UK’s best student greenkeepers celebrated: The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and sponsors Reesink Turfcare and Toro have revealed the winners of their annual awards competition, with the finals taking place this year in the surroundings of the Goodwood Estate in West Sussex.

During a sombre evening following news of the death of Her Majesty the Queen, the winners of this year’s awards were revealed. Throughout the day, the 12 candidates – selected from a record 54 nominees – had contested the grand finals of the Toro Student Greenkeeper Awards.

UK's best student greenkeepers celebrated

UK’s best student greenkeepers celebrated

Ripon City Golf Club Deputy Course Manager James Gaskell (30) was revealed as the 33rd winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award. James has been greenkeeping for five years, taking up the profession on a full-time basis after graduating from the University of Sunderland. A talented golfer playing to a 1.6 handicap, James said his experience of playing competitive golf compliments his greenkeeping knowledge and the awards judges were impressed by his considerable dedication to the sport and his chosen career.

The runner-up of the award is Andrew Ritchie of St Andrews Links Trust.

The 6th winner of the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was revealed to be Carden Park Golf Club greenkeeper Peter Pattenden (19). A talented rugby player, Peter has represented North Wales and Scottish Exiles, but it is in golf that he has chosen to pursue a career. Having been a greenkeeper for almost three years, Peter works at Carden Park in Cheshire where his father – also called Peter – is courses and estates manager.

The runner-up of the Young award is Luke Charnley of Royal Liverpool Golf Club.

With the awards split into two separate categories, candidates for the ‘main’ Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award completed a rigorous day of testing that included an exam, an essay question, grass and seed identification and a presentation on their career so far. Candidates for the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, who must be aged 21 and under when nominated, undertook an exam and then a hole walk with the awards judges that is intended to test the finalists’ knowledge in a real world setting.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was introduced in 1989, with an additional ‘Young’ category introduced in 2016. Previous winners and finalists have gone on to become some of the most influential characters in the greenkeeping industry, helping shape the sport of golf in the UK and further afield.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner receives: enrolment in the 10-week University of Massachusetts Winter Turf School; a two-week expenses-paid placement at Adare Manor, venue of The 2027 Ryder Cup; an all-expenses paid trip to the GCSAA Conference and Show in Florida; and a visit to Toro Corporate HQ, R&D Centre and Equipment Operations in Wisconsin.

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner receives: a two-week work placement at Vidauban Golf Club in France; a five-night trip to Continue to Learn at BTME; and a gift voucher for Toro Training.

The student award endorser receives a trip to the GCSAA in the USA and the young student endorser will receive a trip to Vidauban Golf Club. All finalists receive a year’s free membership with BIGGA.

BIGGA Learning and Development Executive Deb Burnett said: “Among the many activities BIGGA undertakes each year to assist the professional development of our members, the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards are almost certainly the most inspirational. For those feeling disillusioned about the challenges our industry faces in coming years, our 12 finalists provide all the reassurance you need to be convinced that greenkeeping and the sport of golf has a very bright future.

“My congratulations go to all our finalists, particularly our well-deserving winners and runners-up. Thanks must also go to Reesink Turfcare and Toro for their incredible support and to the Goodwood Estate for being such wonderful hosts.”

David Timms, national accounts manager for Reesink Turfcare, said: “After a record number of entries and a thorough two-week online interview process, it was a pleasure to welcome and meet the best talent in greenkeeping at Goodwood for the finals of the 2022 Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards. It was clear why these 12 finalists made it this far – a great achievement. Everyone shone and it was a close competition. The winners – James and Peter – are incredibly worthy and I look forward to seeing what they go on to achieve.”

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Entries open for Toro Student Greenkeeper Awards

Entries open for Toro Student Greenkeeper Awards: Entries open for the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award 2022 on 14 February.

A highlight in the greenkeeping calendar, the event provides the opportunity for the UK’s course managers and lecturers to recognise their brightest employees or students by nominating them for these prestigious industry awards.

Entries open for Toro Student Greenkeeper Awards

Entries open for Toro Student Greenkeeper Awards

The awards provide fantastic professional experiences including a regional interview with some of the industry’s key figures from award sponsor and Toro distributor Reesink Turfcare and event organiser, the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), while the networking opportunities just attending the finals provide are invaluable.

To win provides educational, international, all-expenses-paid prizes for the winners, runners-up and nominators including, for the first time, a work experience placement at Adare Manor, host of The 2027 Ryder Cup.

David Cole, managing director at Reesink, says: “Running for over three decades, the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award has the enviable reputation of creating a fantastic community for finalists, runners-up and winners. Regardless of winning, the event provides knowledge, experience and networking opportunites that are unlike anything else.

“To nominate a member of staff or student who has demonstrated their skill and talent in the actual or virtual classroom or out on the course gives them access to unmatched opportunities, which bring benefits to the club, college and candidate.”

This year the finals will be held in September at England’s greatest sporting estate, Goodwood in Surrey. For 33 years the awards have enabled BIGGA, the UK’s only membership association for golf greenkeepers, to work alongside turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and distributor Reesink to celebrate the next generation of talented and dedicated greenkeepers.

David continues: “Ours, Toro’s and BIGGA’s long-standing support of this educational award is constantly rewarded by the enthusiasm, career passion and commitment to personal development that we come across every year from all involved, and that is the significant element that sustains this long-standing, career-enhancing award.”

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “The Toro Student Greenkeeper Awards have provided the springboard to success for so many of our members over their 33-year history and the legacy of this competition has been its contribution to elevating standards of golf course presentation all over the United Kingdom.

“Not just the winners, but anyone who participates in the awards process gains a great understanding of the wider sports turf industry beyond the confines of their golf facility or education provider and so often that inspires them to return home and strive even harder for success. As always, we are tremendously grateful to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for facilitating this tremendous and career-defining opportunity for the talented and ambitious members of BIGGA.”

Entries open 14 February and close 31 May 2022 for both the main and young awards. Both employers and lecturers can make nominations.

Visit reesinkturfcare.co.uk/sgoty to find out how to make a nomination for the 2022 awards.

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Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists

Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists: After a year’s hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards are returning for 2021, with the search on to find the country’s best up-and-coming greenkeepers.

Each year the awards enable BIGGA, the UK’s only membership association for golf greenkeepers, to work alongside turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and distributor Reesink Turfcare to celebrate the next generation of talented and dedicated greenkeepers.

Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists

Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists

A record 49 nominees from across the United Kingdom participated in regional interviews. These candidates were nominated by their employers or colleague tutors and from those candidates a final 12 have been chosen to contest the grand final this September.

For the first time, the finals of the awards will take place at Celtic Manor Resort, providing an incredible backdrop to the event and giving the opportunity for the finalists to learn more and be inspired by the maintenance of the championship venue.

September’s event will be the 32nd staging of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards and just the fifth time the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, open to greenkeepers aged 21 or under, will take place. To be eligible to take part, candidates must be registered on a qualifying greenkeeping qualification and must be nominated by their course manager or college tutor.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  1. Leon Brant, assistant greenkeeper at Wexham Park Golf Club
  2. John Le Cappelain, apprentice greenkeeper at Royal Jersey Golf Club
  3. Daryn Curtis, greenkeeper at Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club
  4. Matthew McCreadie, greenkeeper at Daventry & District Golf Club
  5. Matthew Milligan, first assistant at Rudding Park Golf Club
  6. Michael Russell, greenkeeper and ecology manager at Preston Golf Club

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:

  1. Rhian Barton, apprentice greenkeeper at The Wisley Golf Club
  2. Greg Manson, apprentice greenkeeper at Mortonhall Golf Club
  3. Callum Marjoribanks, apprentice greenkeeper at Mortonhall Golf Club
  4. Ross McKie, apprentice greenkeeper at St Andrews Links
  5. Will Pallister, apprentice greenkeeper at Cleckheaton & District Golf Club
  6. Cameron Shanks, apprentice greenkeeper at Bothwell Castle Golf Club

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive an eight-week all expenses-paid scholarship to America when restrictions allow, including a six-week residential turf management study course at the University of Massachusetts, a trip to the Golf Industry Show in San Diego, California, and a visit to Toro manufacturing facilities.

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive a work experience placement at the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in southern France. They will also receive a trip to Continue to Learn at BTME and enjoy a five-night package that includes hotel, four days of education, travel and £125 expenses, plus a Toro training voucher.

Sami Strutt, head of learning & development at BIGGA, said: “I was delighted to learn that a record number of student greenkeepers had been nominated for this year’s award, especially after the challenges of the past year. For so many employers and tutors to recognise the commitment of the students, despite the difficulties we have all faced, is testament to what a wonderful industry we are working in. There can be no better introduction to the greenkeeping community than a nomination for these awards and, these 12 finalists should be incredibly proud of everything they have achieved thus far.

“Taking place in the grand setting of Celtic Manor Resort, this year’s finals will be unlike any other and I can’t wait to meet everyone this September for what stands to be a wonderful few days. My thanks go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their continued support and also thanks go to everyone who took part or nominated a candidate this year.”

David Cole, Reesink Turfcare managing director and award sponsor, said: “From the interviewing process to identify our finalists, we can take that the greenkeeping profession continues to be in bright and focused hands. Reesink Turfcare and Toro’s long support of this educational award is constantly rewarded by the enthusiasm, career passion and commitment to personal development that we come across every year. That is the significant element that sustains these long-standing, career-enhancing awards.”

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finals take place at Celtic Manor Resort on Monday 6 and Tuesday 7 September 2021.

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Miki Stengaard Petersen wins student award

Miki Stengaard Petersen wins student award: Miki Stengaard Petersen has been named the Campey Turf Care Systems and Havdrup Student of the Year 2019.

The award is presented by the Groundsman Association Denmark (GAD) and is given to the student that finishes the Danish Groundsmen’s school with the highest grade in the final exam. In the event of two students getting the same grade, the decision is made based on the overall highest grade.

Miki Stengaard Petersen wins student award

Miki Stengaard Petersen wins student award

Miki works for Skive IK, who are into their second season in the Danish First Division after topping the Second Division and winning promotion in 2018/19. The 26-year-old has worked for the Jutland based club since April 2016 and works alongside three others at the 10,000 capacity Skive Stadium.

As well as winning the title of Student of the Year, Miki was also given the opportunity to travel to Spain and spend a week working Paul Burgess and his staff at Real Madrid CF. Miki has since spent a week in Madrid, and the experience has been one that will stay with him for the rest of his career.

“I almost didn’t believe it at first,” Miki began. “I was so happy and super excited, I’ve never won anything before, so to win the award and be given the opportunity to work with Real Madrid was huge for me.

“It was simply amazing; it was the experience of a lifetime. Paul Burgess and his staff are all very talented, and I feel that I learnt a lot from them. I’m very thankful for the experience because I’ve seen how beautiful our line of work can be.”

GAD was founded in December 2011 and aims to bring those interested in maintaining football fields and similar areas together. In doing this, they hope to use education, professional networking and educational tours abroad to strengthen the professional environment for groundsmen.

This has already included a visit to England in 2019 organised by GAD and Campey Turf Care where thirty-eight groundsman from Denmark and Spain visited leading venues such as Arsenal’s London Colney training centre, Liverpool Football Club, Stoke City Football Club, Tottenham Hotspur’s Enfield Training Ground and the brand-new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium where head of playing surfaces and estates, Darren Baldwin, gave up his time to give the group a tour of the stunning new facility and answer questions from the groundsmen.

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Student greenkeeper awards postponed

Student greenkeeper awards postponed: Following consultation between awards organisers BIGGA and sponsors Toro and Reesink UK, the 2020 edition of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards has been postponed.

Applications for the prestigious awards had opened in March, but the escalation of the coronavirus pandemic means that it is no longer safe or practical for the contest to take place.

Student greenkeeper awards postponed

Student greenkeeper awards postponed

Barry Beckett, senior marketing manager at The Toro Company, said: “It is with the greatest regret that the 2020 competition is postponed. We know how disappointing this will be for those who have already entered or were planning on entering this year. However, our number one priority is the health and wellbeing of all those involved in the awards and with the uncertainty we currently face, we cannot proceed with the event.”

BIGGA, Toro and Reesink UK express their apologies to all those who have already entered, but with the competition deadline for entries fast approaching, a firm decision had to be made.

David Cole, managing director at Reesink UK, said: “These are unprecedented times and while we very much hope the situation in the UK will have improved drastically by the time the regional interviews were scheduled to take place, we have to react according to the Government’s advice that stands now, restricting all unnecessary travel and contact.

“For 31 years the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards have supported the brightest upcoming professionals in the UK’s greenkeeping industry. While this is a blow for everyone involved, as with so many events being postponed and cancelled, it is the right thing to do and means the 32nd Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will be even more valued.”

All those who have entered the 2020 competition will automatically be put forward for the 2021 awards. Nominees who are 21 and have their birthday before the next application stage can choose whether they would like to stay in the Young Student Greenkeeper category or move up to the main award.

Jim Croxton, chief executive of BIGGA, added: “Obviously, this is disappointing news for the competitors. However, the decision is absolutely appropriate in these unprecedented times and the safety of our members is always at the forefront of our thoughts. The Toro Student and Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards are one of the highlights of the year for the association, allowing our upcoming members the opportunity to showcase their talents.

“BIGGA’s Learning and Development team is available to discuss any questions from those who have applied or were thinking of applying regarding the awards, which we are confident will return for 2021.”

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Student greenkeeper an ‘inspiration’

Student greenkeeper an ‘inspiration’: Kyle McClung, who started his career on home turf at Wigtownshire County Golf Club but is now working at Glenbervie, has been named as the top student greenkeeper in Scotland.

The accolade is awarded by BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeeping Association) through the Harry Diamond Award in memory of an Ayrshire greenkeeping stalwart.

Student greenkeeper an ‘inspiration’

The award, which is sponsored by the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), is open to greenkeepers in Scotland who are studying for a qualification to help them progress in their career.

McClung, who lives in Alva, completed an NC in Greenkeeping at SRUC’s Elmwood campus before taking up a work placement at Turnberry, which led to the offer of a full-time position. He then moved to Gleneagles Hotel and completed an HNC in Golf Course Management via distance learning, graduating in July.

“Kyle fought off some really strong peers to win the award,” said programme leader Mike Clark, who nominated McClung, a decent player himself, for the award. “He is an inspiration to all of SRUC’s Greenkeeping and Golf students, demonstrating how the right attitude and application can lead to a successful career.”

McClung added: “It is an honour for me to receive this award and it’s a nice recognition for the hard work I have put into my studies over the years. Thanks to Mike and all of the lecturers at SRUC Elmwood for giving me the platform to further my studies and hopefully progress within the industry.”

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Promising Student Winner Announced

Promising Student Winner Announced: Award sponsors Toro and Reesink Turfcare, an official UK Toro distributor, are delighted to announce Matthew Skingle from Coventry City Training Ground as the winner of the Most Promising Student of the Year Award at the tenth annual Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) Awards on October 31.

Matthew, who was presented his award by Reesink’s Alastair Rowell, was recognised as an ambitious and passionate groundsman who has plans to use his award to encourage others, particularly younger people, into the industry.

Promising Student Winner Announced

Matthew, who has wanted to pursue a career in the industry since first getting a taste for groundskeeping at a young age, says: “The industry as it stands consists mostly of an older generation, which is great on one hand because they have a lot of experience we can learn from, but we need to ensure the industry has a future.”

“I’d love to inspire young people. I really benefitted from work experience in the industry through school and wouldn’t ever have considered a career as a groundsman without it. It gave me the chance to see what it was like. So, I think we should do more to get out there and show younger people what it’s really like.”

After a successful year studying at South Essex College while working at Coventry City, Matthew is now working full-time as a groundsman at the club. “It was great to do the course and expand on my knowledge,” he says. “I’ve learned a lot in this past year and I know I’m really lucky to be part of such a great team.”

Speaking of the awards, he said: “I was so shocked when I found out I’d won. I wasn’t expecting to be a finalist so even that was an honour in itself. The competition was tough, and the other finalist was really deserving as well, so I was chuffed to win. I’m really grateful that Toro sponsors the award as I believe this will give me a platform that will help my career.”

He continues: “In this industry if you work hard, you can get far and that’s what I intend to do. I’d like to be head groundsman at a stadium one day, or even a pitch advisor for IOG. The opportunities are limitless.”

Marketing manager at Reesink Turfcare, Holly Jones, says: “Encouraging and supporting young talent in the grounds industry is a hugely important undertaking for us and sponsoring this award demonstrates Toro’s long-term commitment to the development of the industry and our investment in the careers of young people. This is a wonderful achievement for Matthew, and we hope the award continues to encourage more young talent like himself. We will follow his career with great interest.”

The awards, which took place on the 31 October at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, recognise leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare. Attended by more than 650 of the UK and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, the ceremony highlights the progress of young, student grounds professionals.

But it’s not just winning the award which will set Matthew apart, his passion and determination to help promote the benefits of a career in the industry to his peers will undoubtedly do that too. And Reesink and Toro are proud, as ever, to play a part in giving Matthew a platform to do that through the sponsorship of such an important award for the future of the industry.

For more information, visit: reesinkturfcare.co.uk

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Duchy College Student Joins Vincent Tractors & Plant

Duchy College Student Joins Vincent Tractors & Plant: A Duchy College Rosewarne student has been awarded a scholarship with Fraddon based machinery dealership, Vincent Tractors & Plant.

This years’ recipient, Barnaby Hills has already started his work placement at the Cornwall and Devon Kubota franchise as part of his scholarship package as he works towards his Level 2 land-based engineering certificate at Duchy College.

Duchy College Student Joins Vincent Tractors & Plant

It is the third year in a row that Vincent Tractors & Plant have offered this scholarship to a Duchy College Rosewarne student as part of its ongoing commitment to encourage new entrants into the engineering industry.  Paul Vincent, Managing Director at Vincent Tractors & Plant recognised that there was a shortfall in engineers and provided the scholarship as a means of encouraging youngsters into the industry.

16 year old Barnaby said “I was really surprised and pleased to receive the scholarship.  It’s really interesting working on all the different machines.  The team at Vincents are great fun to work with and the staff at the college are really helpful“.

As part of the application process, candidates had to complete an application form, attend an interview and carry out work experience with the dealership.

Service Manager, Andrew Hoddinott said “Barnaby is the third recipient of the scholarship in partnership with Duchy College.  The other two recipients have both gone onto an apprenticeship within the company.  As a business we are keen to invest in the future and this scholarship is our way of encouraging new people into the industry.  We are training up local engineers to provide a good quality local service”.

Danny Sellors, Program Manager Land-Based Engineering at Duchy College, Rosewarne commented “Barnaby is settling in well to college life.  The last month he has had a lot of new experiences and is coping really well.  The health and safety unit is finished and we have moved onto engine technology, stripping down and assembling Perkins four and six cylinder Phaser Engines.  They are now learning about engine components, two and four stroke cycles, the differences between indirect and direct diesel engines, cooling and lubrication.  After half term the Level 2 students will be taking the first of three examinations, the health and safety exam”.

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Student Greenkeepers Win Toro Awards

Student Greenkeepers Win Toro Awards: The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association has announced that Daniel Ashelby from Wilmslow Golf Club has become the 30th winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, whilst Danny Patten of Lee Park Golf Club scooped the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award.

Daniel, 25, joins a proud tradition of former awards winners that stretches back to Mark Proctor, who won the very first hosting of the award in 1989 while a student greenkeeper at Portal Golf Club in Cheshire.

Student Greenkeepers Win Toro Awards

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is a nationwide contest hosted by greenkeepers’ association BIGGA and sponsored by turfcare machinery and irrigation manufacturer Toro alongside its official UK distributor Reesink Turfcare.

Each year, a selection of the best student greenkeepers, selected from regional interviews hosted across the country, descend upon BIGGA House at Aldwark Manor in York for the two-day finals of the event, where they complete a variety of tasks.

A second-generation greenkeeper, whose father was course manager at Gatley Golf Club, Daniel impressed the judges with his knowledge and passion for the profession. The presentation he delivered in front of the awards judges showed his dedication to greenkeeping and his eagerness to do well in his chosen career.

Daniel said: “I can’t believe I’ve won it to be honest. There was a really strong line-up and I couldn’t tell right until the end who had won because everybody else was fantastic. I’m absolutely delighted and I’d like to thank Toro, Reesink Turfcare and BIGGA for everything they’ve done this week, it’s amazing.”

As part of his prize, Daniel wins a seven-week scholarship at the University of Massachusetts in the USA, as well as a trip to the GCSAA’s Golf Industry Show in San Diego and a trip to Toro’s headquarters in Minneapolis.

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award is open to students under the age of 20 and as winner, Danny receives a two-week work placement at the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in France, as well as a trip to BTME in Harrogate.

Danny, 20, said: “I’m shocked to have won. I thought I had done a good course walk but wasn’t sure it would be enough. Then when they announced my name to say I had won it was just the best feeling in the world. I’ve been greenkeeping for just over two years so to get this award is really promising for my career and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

BIGGA Head of Member Learning Stuart Green said: “Congratulations to Daniel and Danny, who showed outstanding passion and commitment, both during the finals of the awards and at every stage of the competition, to be crowned worthy winners of this year’s awards.

“To be crowned Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year isn’t just two days’ hard work; rather you must dedicate yourself to the greenkeeping profession every day of your working life and so both winners and everyone who made it to the finals should be incredibly proud of their achievements.

“Each year the finals of the competition get harder to judge, which gives me confidence that the future of the industry is in very safe hands.”

The runner-up in the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was John Scurfield of Morpeth Golf Club.

The runner-up in the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was Liam Pigden of Burnham & Berrow Golf Club.

David Cole, managing director of Reesink Turfcare and award judge, said: “Every year the challenge of selecting one winner from each category becomes greater and greater for the judges. This tells us that the greenkeeping baton is being passed to safe hands by virtue of the commitment we see in front of us from students towards their career and personal education.

“Congratulations, not only to the winners and runners-up, but also to the whole group in reaching the final in what is a very competitive awards competition. You are all a credit to yourselves and to your golf courses.”

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “We call the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards the most prestigious in the industry, but they are only made so by the commitment and dedication to the greenkeeping profession shown by those who have previously enjoyed success in the awards.

“Daniel and Danny join an incredible roster of past winners throughout the awards’ prestigious history, each of whom has done their part in elevating standards in the greenkeeping profession to new heights.

“Our thanks once again go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their support in hosting these annual awards, which remain a real highlight of the greenkeeping calendar.”

Applications for the 31st Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will open in February 2019.

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