A Fine US Showing by WhickhamWhickham Golf Club put up a fine showing as the second British team to play in the John Deere World Golf Championship, in Arizona.
The team comprising Head Greenkeeper, Tony McLure; Club Professional, Andy Hall; Club Vice Captain, Bill Hopper; Competitions Secretary, Gary MacDonald and Roger Stewart of John Deere shot a respectable two round total of 115 leaving them halfway up the leader board in conditions most of the team hadnâ€™t faced before.
BIGGA National Chairman, George Brown, travelled to the Grayhawk Golf Club to support the team and also accept a cheque on behalf of the Association.
John Deere is committed to supporting professional greenkeeping associations worldwide and since the Team Championship started in 1987 the company has donated $270,000 to such associations.
â€œJohn Deere agreed to donate Â£25 for each UK team participating in local qualifying tournaments and while I was in Arizona I was presented with a cheque for nearly Â£10,000 as John Deereâ€™s contribution to BIGGAâ€˜s on-going professional development programme.
â€œThis money was used to support Biggaâ€™s Education Conference at Harrogate which allowed the maximum number of people to benefit from John Deereâ€™s generosity.â€Whickham Golf Club won the right to go to Arizona with a win in their dealerâ€™s local event and then with another superb performance at the National Final held at De Vere The Belfry last July.
â€œWe had a fabulous time and it was a fantastic experience. From the moment we got off the plane people couldnâ€™t have been friendlier or done any more for us,â€ said Tony, a +1 golfer.
â€œThe standard of the golf course we played was out of this world and totally beyond anything Iâ€™ve ever played before and Iâ€™ve been lucky enough to play some of the finest courses in Europe,â€ he explained.
And it wasnâ€™t just the competition courses that impressed Tony.
â€œWe owe a great deal to George Brown who organised another couple of games for us during the trip and these courses were great as well. George is a wonderful guy and he wouldnâ€™t even let us buy him a drink!â€
â€œIâ€™ve still got the $5 bill I won off him in what he said was the worst game of golf heâ€™d ever played. Heâ€™s signed it and Iâ€™m going to frame it,â€ said Tony, adding that they played golf every day, six rounds on four different courses.
â€œThanks to John Deere for making it possible and to George Brown for being such a great guy... and for that $5 bill.â€
The winners of the event were Oak Terrace GC for Illinois with a score of 105 but John Deere ensure that the event is not just about golf.
It is designed as an event to bring the major decision-makers from a golf club together on common ground to enable them to get to know each other better and each team comprised a member of the greenkeeping staff, a member of the pro staff, the Secretary and Captain or Chairman of Green.