Deeside bounces back from flooding devastation with BIGGA Awards success

Deeside bounces back from flooding devastation with BIGGA Awards success

The greenkeeping team at Deeside Golf Club in Aberdeenshire is celebrating after being crowned BIGGA Awards winners at BTME 2018.

Led by Course Manager Neil McLoughlin (41), the greenkeeping team were announced as the winner of the BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year Award sponsored by Baroness, at a ceremony held this evening in the Harrogate Convention Centre’s Royal Hall.

When Storm Frank hit Aberdeenshire the day before New Year’s Eve in 2015, it caused the River Dee to reach record levels, three times covering the course in a thick layer of silt and debris.

In the aftermath, the team was able to get 10 holes reopened after just 77 days and the clean-up saw over six tonnes of grass seed laid down, 10,000m2 of turf laid and all 98 bunkers rebuilt, using 3,000 tonnes of sand for topdressing and bunkers.

During 2017 the hard work continued, with the silt layer impeding drainage. Over 400m of drainage was installed and a programme of scarification and topdressing helped break down the silt layer further.

The Deeside team was presented with the award by television presenter and #ThisGirlGolfs ambassador Naga Munchetty at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Textron Golf. The awards ceremony is one of the highlights of BTME 2018, the premier turf management exhibition in Europe.

Neil said: "It's a real honour to win this award. Storm Frank came in and devastated the whole Dee Valley and the golf course ended in a hell of a state.

"We do flood quite a lot, but generally we call them clean floods - the water comes in and goes out but that year the Dee rose to a record level and brought so much of the soil and everything else with it and deposited it on the golf course.

"Without these guys we wouldn't have got the golf course back open so quickly so hats off to all of them. It's been nice to bring all these guys down with me."

BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton said: “Of the golf clubs who were hit hard by the devastation that Storm Frank wrought in December 2015, it was perhaps Deeside who were hit hardest of all.

“For greenkeepers who dedicate their lives to maintaining a relatively small patch of land, the damage must have been heartbreaking. It is therefore to Neil and his team’s immense credit that they were able to pick themselves up and restore the course to its former glory.

“I cannot praise the greenkeeping team highly enough for the work they have done to get Deeside back on its feet. They are truly an inspiration to greenkeepers all over the country and they are worthy recipients of this year’s BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year Award sponsored by Baroness.”

The other finalists for the BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year Award sponsored by Baroness were Andrew Brougham, head greenkeeper of Astbury Golf Club, and Stuart Imeson, course manager at Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club.

Also celebrating awards success at BTME 2018 was The Wentworth Club and Alastair Morrison of Durness Golf Club.

BTME 2018 runs until Thursday 25 January and features more than 150 exhibitors from all aspects of the turf management industry. Each year more than 4,500 greenkeepers, trade members, club managers and other representatives of the golfing industry come together to network and share news of the latest education and innovation.

You can keep up-to-date with all the latest developments at BTME 2018 by following us on Twitter using @BIGGALtd and the hashtags #BTME2018, #ContinueToLearn and #GolfBIC