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Are You OnCourse? For better golf, better business and better future

Are You OnCourse? For better golf, better business and better future

Building on years of input and collaboration, and more recently months of trialling by golf facilities and management groups around the world, a brand-new version of OnCourse® is now available, bringing significant business benefits to golf facilities and helping golf improve its social and environmental reputation.
The widely-endorsed web-app is an innovative use of technology to provide a practical one-stop solution that helps courses easily assess and record their practices, find ideas and guidance for improvement, and then promote their value to nature, resources and community.

At the same time, OnCourse provides golf with a collective system to build an expansive library of shared examples and anonymous data – giving the sport a considerable new bank of evidence to strengthen golf’s image and influence.

New Value

People using the previous version of OnCourse will discover major improvements including an easier, faster interface and many new features to find and share ideas, track progress, store data and highlights, and create an annual report and webpages. And while still the pathway to take the optional step of becoming credibly certified by GEO, OnCourse has been transformed into a valuable tool providing business benefits every year for all types and sizes of facilities, all over the world.

GEO’s Richard Allison has been working with the clubs testing the new version “The feedback we have been getting most often is that it is much easier to use, it gives clubs peace of mind to know that they are ticking all the right boxes for sustainability, and that having everything together in one app makes life easier. We are really impressed and inspired by all the best practices and highlights we see coming through.”

Howard Craft, Club and Sustainability Manager at Burhill Golf and Leisure in England: “The new version is quick to use and represents great value for any course interested in finding efficiencies and getting more recognition for its work for the environment and community.”

Bjarni Hannesson, Course Manager at Golfklúbburrinn Keilir in Iceland: “OnCourse does a lot. Our team learned a huge amount through the self-assessments, data and document gathering, and the highlights shared by other clubs. It also gave us the story, confidence and the tools to tell our golfers and community more about what we are doing”.

With and for Golf

Over recent years, many industry bodies have supported the development of the credible and practical sustainability system for golf which includes OnCourse®, notably The R&A, European Tour, Ryder Cup Europe, Textron Golf, Toro Foundation, John Deere and Vidauban Foundation.

Now, with additional benefits provided, and after much consultation with clubs and industry leaders, an annual subscription will be introduced in 2018 to contribute to further development of the platform and other not-for-profit work to support and reward sustainability in golf. The regular subscription will be €300/£300/$350 and anyone registered before the end of 2017 will receive 25% off their 2018 subscription.

OnCourse has already been adopted by a growing number of national golf associations in recognition of the support the platform offers to member clubs, as well as the ability to more strongly and credibly represent the overall social and environmental contribution of the sport. As a result, in some countries such as Sweden and Portugal, OnCourse is being subsidised by the National Golf Federations, and in the Netherlands the transition to the upgraded version is being carefully supported in the coming months.

Speaking on behalf of the whole team at GEO, the international not-for-profit behind the development and management of OnCourse, Jonathan Smith said “We are really pleased to be able to invite golf club and course managers to find out more and get OnCourse. In addition to the direct benefits for your golf facility, your leadership in sustainability will connect with many others – making a meaningful contribution to golf’s image and reputation, as well as generating a significant positive impact in fostering nature, conserving resources and strengthening communities around the world.”

Find out more or get started at

Browse highlights from facilities around the world

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John Deere expands support for TPC Sawgrass volunteer team

John Deere expands support for TPC Sawgrass volunteer team

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association is proud to reveal the six members who have been invited to join the course preparation team at THE PLAYERS Championship in May.

Held each year at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, THE PLAYERS Championship is considered by many to be golf’s ‘fifth’ major and as such it presents an incredible opportunity for BIGGA members to gain a huge amount of experience, in a once-in-a-lifetime setting.

And for the first time this year, John Deere has expanded the programme, allowing a member from BIGGA’s International Region to join in.

The successful BIGGA members who have been selected to join the volunteer programme are:
Scottish Region – Paul Armour, course manager at Dunbar Golf Club
Northern Region – Joe Barnes, greenkeeper at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Central England Region – Nicholas Thorley, greenkeeper at Little Aston Golf Club.
South West and South Wales Region – Jamie Blake, head greenkeeper at Broadway Golf Club.
South East Region – Antony Kirwan, deputy course manager at Aldeburgh Golf Club
International – Craig Cameron, Golf Club St Leon Rot in Germany.

Each spring TPC Sawgrass is home to THE PLAYERS Championship, and next year’s event will take place from 8-13 May 2018.

The six BIGGA members will receive travel, accommodation, food and uniform as they join the team at the legendary venue for the entire duration of the competition, courtesy of BIGGA Partner John Deere.

In addition, John Deere also invites one member of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland to join the experience.

THE PLAYERS Championship is made possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of a volunteer course preparation force of over 90 volunteers from 14 different countries, who join the home greenkeeping team in getting the course in shape for this major event.

Following the final day’s play, before heading home, the greenkeepers will even get the opportunity to attempt to hit the 17th hole’s famous island green. In 2016 Richard Johnstone, course manager at Nairn Dunbar, was successful in his attempt and won the actual flag used during the tournament as a prize.

Each of the members underwent a rigorous application process, consisting of an online application, submission of a short video and an interview with BIGGA and John Deere representatives.

A spokesperson for TPC Sawgrass said: “At the end of the day, the volunteers make all the hard work of our tremendous staff really shine. They also get invaluable experience in preparing a course in exacting, television close-up standards, as well as the opportunity to network and learn.”

2015 delegate Michael Burgin, of Normanby Golf Club in Scunthorpe, said: “The easiest way to describe my whole TPC Sawgrass experience would be to say ‘truly amazing’. This was golf at its very best and I feel privileged to have been part of it. It was great to see so many people from all over the world, working together for one special event.”

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “I’m very excited about the opportunity we are able to offer six of our members each year with John Deere’s backing. The chance to join the greenkeeping team at one of golf’s most iconic venues is an outstanding member benefit and career development opportunity.”

In 2017, South Korean Si Woo Kim became the youngest winner in PLAYERS Championship history at the age of 21.

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EIGCA Students focus on their Main Design Project

EIGCA Students focus on their Main Design Project

The four students that started EIGCA’s Vocational Qualification in Golf Course Design in Belfast in the spring of 2016 attended their penultimate workshop earlier this month.

They were joined by Education Board Members, Alan Walker, Ken Moodie and Niall Glen, to visit the site of their Main Design Project which they will present in Bruges, Belgium at the start of the Annual Meeting in April 2018.

The workshop got under way with a presentation and critique session of their previously completed design project by marker and EIGCA Council Member Gary Johnston. The next day and a half was spent exploring and analysing the site that will be used for the Main Design Project.
The Main Design Project is the culmination of two years of workshops, online presentations, essays, design assignments and on-the-job experience and will involve the students producing a complete detailed design and tender package for an 18 hole golf course.

The students come from four countries across two continents and have varying golf and design related backgrounds and skill sets, from professional golf to civil engineering and landscape architecture, reflecting the diversity of golf course architecture in the 21st Century. Three of the four students are studying under the EIGCA Student Attachment Programme which provides placements at working design practices where students can gain practical experience from an EIGCA member to help and guide them through the programme.

For further information on studying for a vocational qualification in golf course design to become a golf course architect, contact Virginia Turner at or go to

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Ransomes to Showcase New TR320 and HM600 at SALTEX

Ransomes to Showcase New TR320 and HM600 at SALTEX

Ransomes, the Ipswich-based manufacturer of commercial mowing equipment, will be showcasing the brand new TR320 triplex cylinder mower. Ransomes will be exhibiting on stand H090 at SALTEX on 1st and 2nd November

The Ransomes TR320 is one of the lightest machines on the market, ensuring that surfaces are kept pristine. A combination of narrow transport width (1.64m (64.5”)), a 1.83m (72”) width of cut, superior slope capabilities and manoeuvrability, allows operators to safely negotiate the tightest of spaces and most challenging terrain. Designed and manufactured at Ransomes Jacobsen’s European headquarters in Ipswich, the TR320 is primarily targeted at the sportsturf and landscaping market, providing a quality maintenance solution for sports pitches, estates, and light municipal applications. You are invited to come along to stand H090 to see the latest innovation from Ransomes.

Also, debuting at SALTEX 2017 is the HM600. Built on the foundations of the Ransomes MP wide area mower platform, the HM600 builds upon this, providing users with the ability to run three heavy duty flail mowers with mulching technology from Müthing. With all mowers engaged, the 3.2m width of cut delivers exceptional productivity.  The fingertip control of individual units makes trimming around obstacles easy and brings new levels of versatility to flail mowing. Units fold up securely to transport easily between work areas and access confined sites.

Ransomes is proud to be sponsoring the SALTEX College Cup for the second time; introduced by the IOG as a brand-new national student-led sports-turf challenge that will take place on the first day of SALTEX 2017. It is an academic test of turf management knowledge for student competitors in teams of four who are enrolled at colleges throughout the UK on relevant courses of study.
As one of the groundcare industry’s major manufacturing companies, Ransomes will also be showcasing other municipal mowers plus Cushman utility vehicles, Iseki tractors and turf maintenance equipment from the Turfco and Ryan brands.


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Renewal Agreement Sees Roehampton Club Stay With Toro

Renewal Agreement Sees Roehampton Club Stay With Toro

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.

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BIGGA’s best student greenkeepers celebrate prestigious Toro awards success

BIGGA’s best student greenkeepers celebrate prestigious Toro awards success

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.

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Two awards and one massive chance to shine

Two awards and one massive chance to shine

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.

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Austrian Greenkeepers Association – Come and join us at our 2017 Annual Congress

Austrian Greenkeepers Association – Come and join us at our 2017 Annual Congress

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Konference day in Copenhagen – The Doctor and the Super

Konference day in Copenhagen – The Doctor and the Super

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