Master Greenkeeper 83: Matthew Aplin
In June 2021, Matthew Aplin of Goring & Streatley Golf Club in Oxfordshire became the 83rd BIGGA member to achieve the Master Greenkeeper certification.
As a young lad football was always my passion and was a fanatical Spurs fan growing up, golf and cricket were my other passions and to be honest as lads we played any sport we could.
I have always been interested in golf and played from a young age, I spent many a summer holiday playing at my local course, Hadden Hill Golf Club in Didcot, Oxfordshire, and it was here I did three weeks' work experience as part of a sports diploma I had just started at the age of 17. From that moment I was hooked and knew greenkeeping was for me.
I applied for an apprentice position at Goring and Streatley golf club and was fortunate to get the job. It is the club I am still at 23 years later and have literally gone from boy to man, learning so much along the way,
The club has always supported me through education and this why I have remained loyal. My old boss Brian Valentine was an inspiration to me and taught me the fundamental principles of sound traditional greenkeeping. I studied at Berkshire College of Agriculture and gained my NVQ level 2 and 3. After completing my HNC and HND online at Elmwood in Scotland, I was promoted to course manager five years ago.
A few famous faces have played at Goring and Streatley in my time here including Jack Charlton, Pat Jennings, Kris Akabussi and Damon Hill.
Since becoming course manager I have had the pleasure of helping shape a very driven young team that looks to improve every aspect of the course presentation on a yearly basis. We have achieved the title of 59 Club Greenkeeper of the Year in our category three years running, which gives a sense of enormous pride and is a reflection of what a magnificent team I have around me.
Master Greenkeeper was something that intrigued me when I first heard about it over 20 years ago. I wanted to challenge myself and the team with what turned out to be a really good journey, with many ups and downs. The turning point came when I attended the sessions at BTME and really absorbed what was needed to achieve it, and thankfully it all came good in the end. I would recommend the process to anyone that wants to challenge themselves and learn a lot about themselves along the way.
Congratulations Matthew on becoming Master Greenkeeper number 83! More information about the Master Greenkeeper Certificate is available here.