Master Greenkeeper 83: Matthew Aplin

21 June 2021 Feature Article

In June 2021, Matthew Aplin of Goring & Streatley Golf Club in Oxfordshire became the 83rd BIGGA member to achieve the Master Greenkeeper certification.

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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.


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Karl Hansell
BIGGA | Head of Marketing and Communications

Karl has been head of communications for BIGGA since March 2016. His duties include editing the monthly Greenkeeper International magazine, in addition to other communications activities for the association.


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