Meet the Finalists - 2023
BIGGA and awards sponsors Toro and Reesink Turfcare selected the following BIGGA members as finalists for the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards.
If you're thinking about entering, read their stories and get a better understanding of what the judges are looking for - who knows, your name might be on this list next year!
Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year
Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Walton Heath Golf Club
Edoardo is a student at SRUC Elmwood.
I'm very honoured and proud to be chosen as a finalist for the Student Greenkeeper of the Year 2023. I can't wait for the final and to meet everyone and I wish everyone very good luck. I want to say thank you to the sponsors who organise such a massive opportunity for all of us. Thank you and see you soon!
I have an outgoing personality with a huge hunger for learning, as well as inspiring other people who have similar goals and interests to mine in life. I like to constantly push my limits and improve my skills in any field I am into. I consider myself hyperactive, therefore I am into several hobbies, including free climbing, running, golfing, motorbiking and surfing (when I can get to the coast). I am a marathon runner and raise funds for mental health charities.
I have been working in the turf industry for about a decade in three different countries (Italy, Australia and the UK). Being so passionate and enthusiastic about my job inspires me every day to strive towards my career goals.
Championship agronomy, ecology and sustainability have always been big interests throughout my career. I have participated as a volunteer worker in the preparation of several professional golf tournaments and in September I am due to participate in the preparation of the Ryder Cup 2023 at Marco Simone Golf Club. I have also worked as a part-time groundsman at Fulham FC Stadium and at Wembley Stadium.
Assistant Greenkeeper, Ganton Golf Club
Tyler is a student at Askham Bryan College.
I can't really put into words how I feel about reaching the final. It's such a great feeling, I was speechless, as I am now. I'm sure all the other finalists will probably say the same thing. Getting the phone call was a great feeling, a good sense of pride that I managed to get to the final, so I'm really looking forward to meeting all the other finalists. Thank you for selecting me!
My passion for greenkeeping started following my work experience at Fulford Golf Club and at that point I knew greenkeeping was for me. Initially I successfully achieved my Level 2 NVQ at Askham Bryan, which was a huge achievement for me due to my dyslexia. I then secured a full-time position at Pike Hills in York. Learning the fundamentals really made me hungry for more.
To progress my career, improve my knowledge and gain experience, after three years I moved to Delsjo in Sweden. I am hugely proud to hav ebeen part of the team that propelled the course into the top 10 clubs in Sweden.
I returned to Pike Hills, becoming deputy head and undertaking my Level 3 NVQ and I have recently been imployed by Ganton as an assistant greenkeeper, quickly being promoted to spray technician.
I thrive on being a tam player, while taking personal accountability in areas such as planning, stock taking, record keeping and health & safety. I am excited to hopefully be heading to the USA to enrol on the Ohio State Program next year, which will hopefully allow me to develop myself on every level and secure a senior management role on a world Top 100 golf course when I return to the UK.
Apprentice, Ashley Wood Golf Club
Craig is a student at Sparsholt College.
I'm both hugely delighted and honoured to be seleted for the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finals. I'm looking forward to the experience, meeting new faces and furthering my knowledge in the industry.
Doing my Level 2 is helping me gain the knowledge required to support my work and understand the technical knowledge and skills required to complete the job to a high standard. I have worked outdoors all my life, growing up in the countryside before working on a fish farm and landscaping before finding my passion in greenkeeping. I aspire to continue developing my skills at college and at my workplace, working myself up the ladder to, hopefully, a course manager's role in the future. To further support this I am very ambitious to continue my learning onto my Level 3 apprenticeship.
Since becoming a greenkeeper, I have found that I am really passionate about driving the course forwards with a particular interest in producing the best possible playing surfaces and looking back on a completed task and being proud about what we have achieved.
Assistant Greenkeeper, Hillside Golf Club
Shawn is a student at Myerscough College.
During my six years as a greenkepeer, I have been very lucky in the courses I have worked at and some of the events I have worked or volunteered at. I was fortunate to start my career at Gleneagles and learned my skills there. During my time at Gleneagles I also did three tournaments, one of them being a volunteering opportunity.
I then managed to get a season abroad at Manly Golf Club before COVID hit. Once home, I had a little time off before heading to Wentworth and working at the BMW PGA.
After my time there, I came back home to Scotland and worked at Kilmacolm before getting an opportunity to move to Southport and work at the glorious Hillside, where I had previously volunteered for the British Masters in 2019. During my time here, so far I have learned so much under Chris Ball and also been handed a lot more chances to volunteer at tournaments. My ambition for my career is to one day be a course manager, but currently I want to continue working towards my Level 2, then Level 3, and learn more about how to manage my own team in future.
Assistant Greenkeeper, Ormskirk Golf Club
Michael is a student at Oldham College.
I'm delighted to have made it to national finals and I'm looking forward to seeing you all in September - see you soon!
A career change at the age of 27 from Home Office/Immigration to greenkeeping remains one of my biggest achievements.
A trainee greenkeeper at Warrington, I completed my Level 2 certificate and was involved in the club achieving Environmental Golf Club of the Year. I also volunteered for the Women's Senior Amateur Open at Royal St Davids'.
As national finalist of the TORO Student Greenkeeper of the Year award in September 2021, I saw the greenkeeping talent within the industry, which gave me the hunger to continue to learn and go further. I became an ICL Scholar and understand the importance of education. This opportunity allowed me to develop my knowledge at BTME and network with fellow passionate greenkeepers. I've also recently graduated from the Future Turf Managers Initiative, which was an unbelieveable learning experience.
My long term plan over the next six to nine years is to complete my HND in golf greenkeeping and become a course manager.
Deputy course manager, Lees Hall Golf Club
I came into greenkeeping around six years ago with no previous experience. In the years since I have gained my chainsaw, spraying and first aid certificates, as well as my Level 2 at distinction grade. These helped me to move through the ranks at my golf club to my current role as deputy head greenkeeper.
I've loved where greenkeeping has taken me so far, from the lows of winter weather to the highs of working at The Open at Royal St George's. I wish to continue with my learning and networking and eventually want to become a head greenkeeper or course manager upon completion of my Level 3 training.
Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year
First Assistant, Farleigh Golf Club
Daniel is a student at Hadlow College.
I'm really excited to be nominated for the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award and I'd like to thank the sponsors – BIGGA, Toro and Reesink Turfcare – for this opportunity.
My experience includes leading and participating in various projects, such as new tee block construction, tee block re-levelling, new practice green construction, fairway drainage installation and a new lake installation.
To further enhance my skills and abilities, I have funded my chainsaw qualifications and completed my PA1 certificate. I am eager to continue my professional development by completing my PA2 and excavator qualifications, which will help me take on even more challenging projects in future. Additionally, I have attended various BIGGA events, such as the environmental talk at Sunningdale, the regional conference at Wentworth and the learning and development roadshow at Ingrebourne Links. I also read Greenkeeper International each month to keep informed on new developments and opportunities.
I am extremely passionate about the greenkeeping industry and dedicated to pursuing professional development. I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer at Foxhills during the PGA Cup 2022, which gave me invaluable insight into preparing a course to a tournament standard.
Apprentice, Thorndon Park Golf Club
Ben is a student at Berkshire College of Agriculture (Windsor Forest).
When Deb [Burnett] called me it was a whole mixture of emotions. I've never really gone for anything like this before, but I'm extremely excited and I'm grateful to have this opportunity. I just want to wish everyone in the final good luck and I'll see you all in September!
During my time at Thorndon Park I have gained lots of experience across all aspects of golf course maintenance. I've developed a lot as a person by my improved communication skills, building confidence in my ability and advancing my self-discipline and determination. My aspirations are to continue improving my skills in this industry and use my expertise to travel to other types of golf courses around the world and see how things are done differently in different climates and when faced with different challenges. I hope this will further my personal development and will be something I can look back on in the future as an adventurous and educational time.
Apprentice, Abbey Hill Golf Club
Sam is a student at Myerscough College.
I'd just like to say that I'm honoured to have been selected for the finals of Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year. I'm very grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way to achieve this. It will be a pleasure to share this experience with up and coming, enthusiastic greenkeepers like myself.
I really enjoy throwing myself into gaining as much knowledge as possible to better myself, not only for me but also to help out the team I work within. With this in mind I applied to help out at The Open 202 and thankfully I was chosen as one of the two apprentices to be picked. I sense this as a great achievement for myself as I am the only apprentice in England to be selected and it is a great path to step upon to build my experience and knowledge.
Staying driven to make myself more knowledgeable, I have gained my PA1, PA2, PA6 and CS30 and CS31 licences, along with First Aid. My aspirations are to continue to develop my knowledge and understanding so I can ultimately reach my full potential and hopefully become a course manager. I am driven and appreciate that learning and hard work will help me achieve my goals.
Apprentice, High Post Golf Club
Caleb is a student at Myerscough College.
I'm really excited and I'm really proud of the work that I've done. It's a great opportunity for greenkeepers to put themselves out there and test themselves and I'm really looking forward to it. Thank you very much!
High Post is one of the top 10 courses in Wiltshire. I'm very proud to have got the opportunity to work here and to be completing my apprenticeship here. My main achievements are my progression in my apprenticeship, I have been given a payrise earlier than planned as I have worked beyond expectations and have taken on more responsibility. I have acquired my PA1 and PA6 spraying qualifications and will be completing my PA2 and chainsaw licence in March 2023.
I have experience of competition golf as we held the England Golf Senior Women's Amateur Championship in May 2022. This involved different course set up and prep, split shift working hours and the highest of working standards.
I aspire to be a successful, hardworking greenkeeper and would like to work and volunteer at several courses around the world, gaining experience of different greenkeeping practices, environments and countries. My main aspiration is to be happy and satisfied with whatever I do as I believe this is what matters most.
Apprentice, Moortown Golf Club
Ben is a student at Askham Bryan College.
I'm over the moon to be in the finals of Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year. I'm looking forward to going down to Carden Park and meeting everyone in September.
I have been greenkeeping for two years now and in that time I have developed many skills. This includes many times setting up for large events and professional competitions. I aspite to complete my Level 2 to a distinction level, as well as volunteering at larger events and travelling to see how other courses are managed and what conditions they work in.
Apprentice at Weymouth Golf Club
Sam is a student at Bridgwater & Taunton College.
I'm excited to make the finals and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone at Carden Park in September!
I am working in my third year at Weymouth and enjoying the process of improving the course more than ever. Having played golf four the county and at national level, I feel I have good knowledge when it comes to the standards and fine details of presentation on a golf course. Alongside my developing agronomy knowledge, I feel this has given me a good base towards achieving great standards of ever-improving turf quality at Weymouth.
I am hopeful to complete my Level 2 greenkeeping diploma very soon to coincide with my spraying and abrasive wheel certificates that I have achieved. After this, I am seeking to achieve my aspiration of completing my Level 3 diploma, chainsaw certificates and completing a mounted sprayer course. Having these qualifications alongside the current practical skills I feel should stand me in good stead if I want to achieve greater things within the industry.
- Continue to Learn
- BIGGA Delegation sponsored by Bernhard and Company
- Funding for your future
- Future Turf Managers Initiative (FTMI)
- Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards
- Continuing Professional Development
- Master Greenkeeper Certificate
- Greenkeepers Training Committee
- Volunteering - How to get involved