Greenkeepers honoured as BIGGA hold annual awards
Some of Britain’s most talented greenkeepers were honoured as BIGGA held their annual awards.
Clubs were at the heart of a glittering ceremony and Lee Bishop, and the team at Burnham Beeches, won the Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year.
BIGGA presented the prizes during BTME 2017 at Harrogate, the largest turf management show in Europe.
Each year the awards recognise outstanding greenkeeping performances from association members, with entries received from courses all over the country.
Bishop’s team were recognised for their work preparing and maintaining the course during the English Senior Women’s Strokeplay last June.
Jim Croxton, BIGGA chief executive, said: “This is an unheralded venue, with a small team who overcame substantial weather problems.
“Despite this, the golf course was in fantastic condition and England Golf, who hosted the event, said that if they could take that greenkeeping team around the country with them, they would do.”
Bishop added: “I’m so proud of my team and I’m over the moon. It was a lot of hard work with such a small crew, but it was obviously worth it and I can’t be more proud of them.”
David Stewart, deputy head greenkeeper at Walmley, in Warwickshire, was named BIGGA Young Greenkeeper of the Year.
“2016 was an incredible year for David as he took on no less than four different roles at his club,” added Croxton.
“He took it all in his stride and alongside that he managed to get out, volunteering at tournaments and providing excellent support for the Young Greenkeepers’ Committee.
“David also worked extremely hard to provide participation opportunities for our younger members within the Central England region.”
A delighted Stewart added: “Going up on stage was so nerve wracking. I feel over the moon as there are so many up and coming good young greenkeepers. Just to be nominated was unbelievable and to actually win is incredible.
“To have this kind of recognition from your colleagues makes this a career defining moment.”
Coping with the thousands of cars that park on the fairways saw master greenkeeper David Langheim and his team at Wimbledon Park claim the BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year.
The course is inundated with vehicles when the world’s most famous tennis tournament takes place next door. Their work in recovering from that was acknowledged by the Sports Turf Research Institute.
Langheim said: “This is fantastic, it’s an amazing achievement by the team. The award goes to my team at Wimbledon Park for their hard work and their effort.
“I suppose I’m just the captain and it’s them that should be acknowledged. That award is for their hard work and dedication for many years.”
Croxton added: “The STRI research data collected at Wimbledon Park is second to none, which is an outstanding achievement given the annual impact of the course being turned into a car park each year for the Wimbledon tennis tournament.”
BIGGA Chairman Les Howkins, Course Manager at The Richmond in London, said: “Congratulations to all the worthy winners of this year’s BIGGA Awards. These talented greenkeepers have demonstrated outstanding commitment and ability, not just this year but throughout their careers, and so it is great that we have been able to honour them with these awards.
“All the finalists were fantastic and show how, at every level and across the country, there are passionate greenkeepers who are a credit to the association, the greenkeeping industry and to themselves.”