Standing (from left) course and grounds manager Peter Bradburn, deputy head groundsman Ben Hunter and Reesink Turfcare’s Trevor Chard watch first assistant Simon Bailey put the Toro Greensmaster 1600 through its paces on one of the ten grass tennis courts.
Constant evolution is what sees Roehampton Club remain one of the best multi-sports Clubs in the UK. Every year for the last three years, there has been a major development at this attractive Club in South West London. As it embarks on its next, which is a £3.5m investment on refurbishing its outdoor pool and adding new studios to the gym, one thing that remains the same is the club’s relationship with Toro machinery, recently confirmed again with the signing of yet another five-year exclusivity agreement.
Roehampton Club has a rich and illustrious history with its origins in polo and croquet rather than the four core sports of golf, tennis, squash and health and fitness it is known for today. Then as it is now though, Roehampton is at the heart of London sporting society.
The priority for course and grounds manager, Peter Bradburn, who heads up a team of 20 is to maintain the high standards on the golf course, tennis courts, croquet lawn and gardens. With its Toro fleet set to grow by up to 75 percent under the new agreement to include machines suitable for all three surfaces, the Club has once again chosen Toro, after conducting a thorough market testing exercise.
“I’ve been involved in the building of golf courses all around Europe,” Peter says. “And although the country – most recently Cyprus (Elea Estate Faldo design), Turkey (Maxx Royal Montgomerie design) and Italy (Palazzo Arzaga Nicklaus design) – changes, Toro has always been a constant. In fact, many projects I have worked on were intentionally undertaken because they involved working with Toro as you can rely on the quality of Toro’s equipment, aftercare and service.
“This agreement encompasses all the turf-based facilities we have here, the management of which requires a multi-disciplined approach”.
Included in the first order under the new agreement comes the Groundsmaster 4700-D and the Greensmaster 3250-D for the 18-hole parkland golf course, which in 2015 was accepted by the World of Leading Golf for the quality of the course. The reason behind choosing the GM4700-D is the greater width of cut it offers. Peter says: “We’ve changed how we manage the roughs by opting for a machine that can deliver a wide cut each time. This improves our timings working around the course, meaning we get things done more quickly.”
Improvements have also been made to the way the fairways are managed. Groomers have been added to the new GM3250-D, which Peter and the team have found enables a better quality of cut in damp conditions. “We can cut in all weathers using this machine”, he says. “And being able to get straight out on the course in the morning regardless of the dew, and start cutting, improves the day’s productivity.”
Being the course and grounds manager of a multi-sports venue involves, says Peter, “wearing many hats!” There are four croquet lawns at the club, all at international standard and reputed to be the best in the UK. Hosting the Croquet World Cup and International Open Championships each year and regular internal and external tournaments, it is essential all four lawns live up to expectations. Peter explains: “Cutting on the croquet lawns is low at 3mm to create a billiards table finish. The Toro Greensmaster 1600 pedestrian mowers fitted with 11-blades deliver a 3mm cut without losing the velvety finish our players like.”
For the 30 tennis courts, of which ten are grass, Peter has brought in Toro’s Greensmaster 1000 pedestrian mowers. “Tennis is a very different surface to manage to golf and croquet. A good, consistent bounce is required and to achieve that the courts must have a high clay content and the grass plant must be well established with a dense root mass to stabilise the ground similar to that used for the cricket field, otherwise the wear caused by play traffic would disintegrate the surface very quickly. The GM1000 mowers offer a precise but gentle cut, ideal for this surface.”
Rubbing shoulders with the other ‘greats’ in the area: The Hurlingham Club, Queens Club and the All England Lawn Tennis Club, Roehampton Club is set apart by being the only one to offer golf for its members. It is ranked one of the best sports clubs in the country and Peter and the club’s greenkeepers who skilfully maintain all grass surfaces with Toro machinery take great pride in that.
Following two days of stiff competition, Nick Machin and Angus Roberts were proclaimed as winners of the 2017 Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards this afternoon.
A selection of the best student greenkeepers in the country descended upon BIGGA HQ at Aldwark Manor in York for the 29th Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards.
Returning for its second year was the additional Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, open to students up to the age of 20.
The winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award 2017 is Nick Machin, 31, of Royal Cinque Ports.
Nick impressed the judging panel, comprised of representatives from the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association, Toro and Reesink Turfcare, due to his confidence and the depth of answer he was able to provide to the examination questions, despite such a short time in the industry.
Nick said: “I’m feeling absolutely unbelievable right now. To be honest I didn’t expect this, I just came here thinking I would give it my best shot and what would be, would be. So to end up winning, it is unbelievable.”
The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is a nationwide contest hosted by greenkeepers’ association BIGGA, sponsors turfcare machinery and irrigation manufacturers Toro, and its machinery distributor Reesink Turfcare.
As part of his prize, Nick wins a seven-week scholarship at the University of Massachusetts in the USA, as well as a trip to the GCSAA’s Golf Industry Show in San Antonio and a trip to Toro’s headquarters in Minneapolis.
Angus, 19, of Roxburghe, was crowned winner of the second Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award. The judges said that for someone so new to the industry, Angus showed incredible depth of knowledge and a great passion for the industry.
Angus said: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I can’t quite believe it. Hopefully this is just a stepping stone as there’s so much going on, I’m really excited about what the future holds.”
As part of his prize, Angus wins a two-week work placement at the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in France, as well as a trip to BTME in Harrogate.
BIGGA Head of Member Learning Stuart Green said: “Congratulations to Nick and Angus, who both showed incredible knowledge and passion for their chosen careers, which made them worthy winners of these prestigious awards.
“Today’s awards finals are the culmination of a huge amount of hard work, not just for the judging panel who have travelled the length of the country meeting many talented applicants, but also for those finalists have shown incredible dedication to get themselves to this stage.
“They should all be incredibly proud of their achievements, and through their efforts I am certain they will help elevate the greenkeeping industry to new levels of professionalism.”
The runner-up in the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was Levi Pethick, of Stoneham.
The runner-up in the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was Craig Woodman, of Bramshaw.
David Cole, managing director of Reesink Turfcare and award judge, said: “Toro and Reesink are proud to sponsor these prestigious awards for the 29th year in support of the education and training of today’s greenkeepers, and would like to congratulate Nick and Angus, and all those who won through to the national finals, for their achievement.”
BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “It is clear from the impressive roster of previous winners of the Toro Student Greenkeeper awards when I say that success in this competition can propel you to the very top of the profession. The award in itself isn’t what achieves this, rather to be crowned winner you have to show incredible dedication to your own education and development, and these are the attributes that open doors to the fantastic opportunities this unique career offers. The awards are recognition of this hard work and determination, and so I congratulate Nick, Angus and all the finalists and wish them the very best in their future careers.
“Our thanks once again go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their support in hosting these annual awards, which remain a real highlight of the greenkeeping calendar.”
Applications for the 30th anniversary of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will open in February 2018.
Last year’s winners Dan Waring and Jimmy Heritage
Anticipation builds ahead of next week’s Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards
A selection of the best student greenkeepers in the country are brushing up on their skills in anticipation of the finals of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards.
The awards are due to take place at BIGGA House, near York, on Monday and Tuesday, with the winners being announced on Tuesday afternoon.
You can follow the students’ progress during the finals on Twitter by following @BIGGALtd and using the hashtags #studentgreenkeeperaward and #youngstudentgreenkeeperaward.
Once again there will be two awards up for grabs: the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award and the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, returning for its second year.
The awards enable BIGGA, sponsors turf maintenance equipment and irrigation products manufacturer Toro and its distributor Reesink Turfcare to celebrate those talented student greenkeepers who are dedicating themselves to a career within the industry. Of the 19 previous winners of the award who remain members of BIGGA, 14 are head greenkeepers or course managers at venues around the country.
Jimmy Heritage, 25, won the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award in 2016. Since then he has been appointed deputy head greenkeeper at Maylands Golf Club in Essex, where he previously worked as a greenkeeper.
Jimmy said: “It’s been hectic and the six months after I won the award absolutely flew by. It’s made a big impact on me in terms of the experiences I have had and the confidence and self-belief that I have gained.
“I was definitely nervous in the buildup to the finals. But I wasn’t expecting to win and I just went there to enjoy the experience. I didn’t put any pressure on myself and when I spoke to the judges I was able to relax.
“To this year’s finalists I would say relax and arrange your thoughts in a sensible manner. Everyone wants to win, but even if you don’t it is still a massive achievement to get to the finals and you should all be incredibly proud.”
These 12 student greenkeepers, featured below, will contest the 29th Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year and 2nd Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year awards.
The Toro Student Greenkeeper finalists are:
Chloe Gallagher, Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club, Durham
Graham Hastie, Stoneham Golf Club, Southampton
Levi Pethick, Stoneham Golf Club, Southampton
Matthew Kitson, Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club, Richmond
Michael Budd, Westerham Golf Club, Kent
Nick Machin, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, Kent
The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper finalists are:
Angus Roberts, Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course, Scottish Borders
Joe Spadaccini, Scraptoft Golf Club, Leicester
Callum Done, Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Aberdeen
Christopher Clark, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, Kent
Craig Woodman, Bramshaw Golf Club, Hampshire
Matthew Bowles, Kings Hill Golf Club, Kent
The final will begin on Monday 11 September, where candidates will join an industry discussion group hosted by BIGGA Chairman Les Howkins.
The finalists of the two awards will then undertake a variety of tasks, culminating in the awards presentation, which will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 12 September.
The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive a seven-week all expenses paid scholarship, including a six-week residential turf management study course at the University of Massachusetts, a trip to the Golf Industry Show and a visit to the Toro factory.
The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year will receive a two-week all expenses paid work experience placement at Vidauban Golf Club in the South of France. They will also receive a trip to Continue to Learn at the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate next January and enjoy a five-night package that includes hotel, four days of education, travel and £125 expenses, plus a Toro training voucher.
The runners-up of each award will receive a training package for BTME 2018.