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Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association hold its Annual Conference at the Club House of Pravets Golf Club

Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association hold its Annual Conference at the Club House of Pravets Golf Club

On 16th of November 2018 the Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association held its Annual Conference at the Club House of Pravets Golf Club. There were 40 people participating from 8 different countries which is a great success for our Association. The program was very diverse. There were many new members from golf courses and football pitches. Outfield demonstrations were taking place on the back of the biggest double green on the Balkans – 3200m2.

The conference started with the speech of the chairman of BGGA – introducing his own vision and ideas about the organisation and how it became a leading educational touchstone in the industry. Then the microphone was given to Dean Cleaver (Executive Officer FEGGA). It was very inspirational to listen for the future opportunities and for the willingness to develop the strong relationship among FEGGA and BGGA.

The next lecturer was Simeon Liljenberg (ESL Group, Sweden). It was a great honour to have him on our conference and share with our members and guest how one football pitch facility can be run on a highly professional level and make a profit. It was very interesting to know how so many events can be combined in literally no time between them – from football to race track to horse riding to concerts.
The word was given to James Whittick (Velvit Ltd., UK) after that. He introduced the fertiliser manufacture company to the Bulgarian market. The technology and the professional approach of its products were more than impressive.
The 19th hole was a real storm during the first coffee break. The guys were very excited and inspired from the seen so far. It was great pleasure to sit back and watch what was happening and BGGA team felt very satisfied and pleased of the organisation.

Straight after our members had the opportunity to see outside demonstration there was a presentation of Sjoerd Broos (Slectline, Holland). He introduced the high quality marking paint and gave us a great comparison why they are one of the best on the market.
Just before lunch we had the privilege to listen to Teodor Dentchev (Toro Company). Our main sponsor has always been part of the events and the support through the years has been huge. The know-how and the innovations in the machinery were more than welcomed from the guest and members. The future is always brighter with the sponsors as Toro and co-thinking people as Teodor.

Later in the afternoon we were honoured to listen the experienced Russian superintendent of Skolkovo Golf Club, Russia – Denis Koltykhov. He shared his knowledge and challenges that he has in his work place. Our members became very exited from what was presented and found a friend and good colleague in Denis`s face.
As a last speaker the Annual Conference presented Guy Stewart (Dennis and Sisis, UK). An outfield demonstration was made of a Dennis mower and a Sisis scarifier. The members and guests did not mind the cold weather and showed a great interest. Inside the presentation continued with some background and type of the products on the market. The best of it was the understanding of everyone that the variety of attachment units and tractor mounted units would be of high interest and well accepted in the turf industry in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Golf Greenkeepers Association set very high standards with the passing event. It was very well accepted and highly attended. The feedback was very positive and definitely encourages the board members to keep up the good work.

Yours sincerely,
Yavor Atanasov

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Meet the I-80, the Most Advanced Gear-Driven Rotor for  Sports Turf Applications

Meet the I-80, the Most Advanced Gear-Driven Rotor for Sports Turf Applications

Offering unparalleled levels of power, performance, and versatility, the all-new I-80 gear-driven rotor from Hunter Industries is the most technologically advanced commercial rotor on the market. Engineered for sports turf and large park applications, the I-80 is built with a robust, dirt-tolerant gear drive that offers the highest torque output of any rotor in the commercial sphere, and extends a radius range from 11.3 to 29.6 metres.

The I-80 features a wide range of highly efficient, dual-trajectory, wind-fighting nozzles for highly efficient performance in a range of applications. Exclusive to the commercial sector, the I-80 provides total top serviceability (TTS) via its integrated, surface-mounted snap-ring. This no-dig solution makes maintenance quick and easy, and is ideal for both professional and recreational venues alike.

In addition, the I-80 offers an advanced ProTech Turf Cup System — an industry first. Thanks to ProTech TC™ technology, living or synthetic turf is retained in a cup mounted to the top of the rotor and installed flush to the surrounding turf. The special retaining rings in the turf cup add surface area for increased root adhesion, helping to keep turf securely in place. The net result is an aesthetically pleasing installation that helps ensure safety during sports field play. The no-dig turf cup is also totally top serviceable and features no-tool quick-release removal, arc adjustments without riser removal, and a fully contained riser assembly that stays together when removed from the sprinkler body.

“The I-80 continues Hunter’s legacy of developing products on the forefront of irrigation technology,” said Rich Dunn, Product Marketing Manager. “There is nothing else like it available for commercial spaces.”

An optional rubber cover kit is available that is perfect for polo field applications. A riser-mounted version is available for turf or dust control in pastures, corrals, and sand arenas.

The I-80 is available now. Learn more at

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My Ryder Cup Experience – Paul Marley – Estonian Greenkeeper Association

My Ryder Cup Experience – Paul Marley – Estonian Greenkeeper Association

When I first applied to be part of the volunteer team at the 2018 Ryder Cup my only objective was to get an answer from Le Golf National. I knew that there would be hundreds, if not thousands of applications being sent to be part of the volunteer team and the only thing that I was certain of was that if I didn´t apply nobody would be coming to Estonia to offer me a position. So in the spring of 2017 I made my initial contact with Le Golf National about volunteering at the 2017 French Open with the long term goal of helping out at the Ryder Cup. Unfortunately for me, I was told no. But again, „no“ was an answer and at least I applied.

As luck would have it, in February of 2018 I saw that FEGGA, along with Capillary Concrete, had posted an opportunity to be part of ten greenkeepers that they would be sending to the Ryder Cup. Eventhough I had been turned down applying myself, there was no reason I couldn´t apply through FEGGA. I knew that they wanted to have as many countries represented as possible, so the only reason I had to be optimistic about my application was because I was the only person applying from Estonia. The greenkeepers from England and Germany, for example, had much stiffer competition.

The good news arrived on March 28, 2018…….“ After careful consideration of all the applicants, we are very pleased to offer you place with the FEGGA team of ten.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! I must have read that email at least twenty times, because I was sure I had missed something, or somebody was playing a practical joke. But I had actually been accepted to be part of the volunteer team at the 2018 Ryder Cup! Prior to the Ryder Cup I had no experience volunteering at any European Tour or PGA Tour events so I had no idea what to expect. I spoke with several friends who had volunteered at various tour events who shared insights with me and what I might be able to expect, but they all said that the Ryder Cup experience will be at a whole different level.

Entering the Le Golf National grounds for the first time, seeing that massive grandstand behind the first tee, and walking towards the maintenance house I knew that I was in for something special. Then getting acquainted with the maintenance facility was unbelievable, because there was equipment everywhere! I knew there were going to be upwards of 180 greenkeepers working this event, which means you need equipment for everybody, but I couldn´t imagine what so much equipment actually looked like in real life.

The first two days of Ryder Cup week were really special for one reason: no spectators on the course. During those days we were able to get familiar with the golf course, take A LOT of pictures in areas that we probably wouldn´t be able to access once spectators were out there, and get a bunch of finishing touches done on the golf course.

Once practice rounds and Celebrity Ryder Cup matches began we started to have a lot more down time during the day. Many of the team who had been there for the weeks, and months leading up to the Ryder Cup were taking well deserved naps in the staff area, but seeing as I was there for only a week I wanted to make the most of every opportunity. A friend of mine even joked that when a staff member from Le Golf National asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to help do something during the day, I had my hand up before I even knew what I was volunteering for! On Thursday and Friday I was able to match rake for both European and Team USA practice rounds. Being so close to the best players in the world and seeing how they practiced and executed their shots was something really special to see up close.

I was also fortunate enough to have my name pulled out of a hat to match rake on Saturday morning. Walking the golf course for over four hours with Ian Poulter, John Rahm, Jordan Speith and Justin Thomas was something I will never forget. Watching these four athletes go shot for shot was just incredible to watch from so close. The passion and emotions that these men showed was just amazing. It must be said though, my one disappointment from the week happened during this match- it ended on the 17th green. I was really hoping to be able to walk down the 18th fairway towards that giant grandstand and see and feel what it would be like to have thousands of people cheer the players on. A view like that would be something very few people get to experience. But if not being able to walk down the 18th is my only disappointment of the week, I would have to say it was a great week!

Sunday was an interesting day for me. The entire team had gelled into on cohesive unit, executed our plan to the best of our abilities, and we were the rock stars of the event. I had only been there for a week, and I would be lying if I said it wasn´t an emotional day for me- I couldn´t imagine what it was like for Alejandro Reyes and his staff who had been working for years towards this event. I hate to use a cliché to describe how I felt that day, but the best way to describe my feelings would be: I wasn´t sad that it was over, I was glad that it happened.

When hosting any kind of big tournament, whether it is a club championship, national championship or an international event, for me the most stressful time is the months and weeks leading up to the opening tee shot. There is so much work that needs to be and it always feels like you don´t have the time, equipment or man-power to get everything done. Once the tournament is under way, that is the fun part of the tournament. You are pretty much stuck with what you have done, and you are just cutting, and maintaining during the tournament. So going to the Ryder Cup, I got to take part of the most fun part of a tournament without having to do all the work in the lead-up.

During the morning course set-up I was moving bunker boards. By no means a very labour intensive job, but it was a job that I had not done previously. The evening set-ups we much more interesting. That is where I got to see just how much attention to detail you can put into a golf course when you have 180 greenkeepers, not 180 people, but 180 trained and qualified greenkeepers, working on a golf course. It was apparent that everyone had checked their egos at the door when one evening I was divoting fairways and the following evening picking up rubbish around the golf course with two head greenkeepers from two prestigious golf clubs in the UK.

Many of my club members back in Estonia have asked me what exactly did we do with 180 greenkeepers? Cut the grass with scissors? Yes, actually! Sprinkler heads and catch basins were all trimmed up by hand, as well as some bunker edges. On top of that, green surrounds and approaches were all cut using pedestrian mowers. During the entire week I did not see a single ride-on mower get closer to a greens complex then thirty meters.

At my club we do our bunkers a few times a week using a mechanical bunker rake and rarely do we worry about the shape of the bunker, and never once have we been concerned about the moisture levels. But at the Ryder Cup we were doing bunkers every day by hand, checking depths, firmness, moisture levels, and making sure not a single grain of sand was out of place. During my entire week at the Ryder Cup, the only “are you kidding me?” moment actually came while working in the bunkers. I knew that moisture levels in the bunkers were important but I had never seen, let alone heard, of wetting agents being used in bunkers to maintain proper moisture levels. That was something that I was not expecting.
What most volunteers seemed to enjoy during the week was not having to make any important decisions. When working at our home courses we are the ones who have all the pressure to make the right decisions, and are always questioning ourselves whether we made the right choice. During the week at Le Golf National that burden was taken off of us and all we had to do was follow instructions. Sure, most people got a couple phone calls during the week asking to help solve some crisis at home, but for the most part we got to enjoy the being a young greenkeeper again doing the jobs we rarely get to do. It was really nice change of pace to be able to rake bunkers, divot fairways and edge cartpaths.

The week I was able to spend at the 2018 Ryder Cup has been the highlight of my career so far. Being able to spend a week networking, and working alongside some of the best greenkeepers on the planet will be invaluable to my career. I still like to consider myself a young man, and I still have many more things that I would like to accomplish during the my greenkeeping career, but if the week I spent at the 2018 Ryder Cup stays in the top three highlights of my career I would think I´ve had a pretty good career.

There are a couple of people I would like to thank for making this opportunity possible. First and foremost, Dean Cleaver from FEGGA and Martin Sternberg from Capillary Concrete for selecting me to be part of their delegation. It was truly an honour and priviledge to represent our industry at the biggest show on turf. Also, I have to thank Alejandro Reyes and the entire staff from Le Golf National. From the very first day you were able to create a team atmosphere. There was no “Le Golf National Team” and “Volunteer Team.” We were all part of one big team working towards the same objective. What you guys were able to accomplish that week was something really special. Organizing 180 greenkeepers from all over the world to work as one team was something amazing to be a part of.

For anyone considering volunteering at any event: send in your application!! There will be plenty of other people applying for the same opportunities as you, but the only thing you can be sure of is if you don´t apply you will not be going.


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APG CONGRESS 2018 Set for Quinta Da Marinha Resort

APG CONGRESS 2018 Set for Quinta Da Marinha Resort

To register please use this link

To book accommodation at Quinta Da Marinha Resort using this link 

Please use the promotional password CONGRESSOAPG to obtain your discounted rate.















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Slovenian Greenkeepers Association Celebrate 20 years with a Education Programme of Excellence

Slovenian Greenkeepers Association Celebrate 20 years with a Education Programme of Excellence

20th DAYS OF EDUCATION  – 13th and 14th of November 2018 in AUSTRIA TREND HOTEL, Ljubljana

Download Programme of 20th Days of Education

Download Conference Registration form

Download Hotel booking form

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Meet the Ten Selected FEGGA Ryder Cup Volunteers in Partnership with Capillary Concrete

Meet the Ten Selected FEGGA Ryder Cup Volunteers in Partnership with Capillary Concrete





Introducing them from left to right:

Paul Marley, Assistant Head Greenkeeper – Estonian Golf and Country Club and representing the Estonian Greenkeepers Association “it’s just an honour to have been selected. But I hope to learn a great deal over the week about how to manage such a large group, what kinds of details can be looked after with such a large crew, and just how polished a golf course can really be. I also hope to make some good contacts within the industry”

Bernardo Almeida, Head Greenkeeper – West Cliffs / Praia D´el Rey Golf Club and representing the Portuguesse Greenkeepers Association “I’m Very proud to go to help, learn and exchange ideas in an Event so demanding and always Magnificent”

Ciarán Byrne, Assistant Head Greenkeeper – Old Conna Golf Club Bray and representing the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland “For me, this is a once in a lifetime experience to contribute too, and learn from the best in the industry. To see how a golf course is managed and set up for the biggest golfing event in the world will be something that will stay with me forever and will help me going forward with my career”

Hector Forcen, Golf Course Superintendent – Golf Club Payerne and representing the Swiss Greenkeepers Association “Unbeatable scenery to meet with old friends and participate in the preparation of one of the best sport events in the planet with a crew of passionate turf professionals from around the world”

Jiří Lahodný, Head Greenkeeper – Prosper Golf Resort Čeladná and representing the Czech Greenkeepers Association “The Ryder Cup experience will have, with no doubt, a huge impact on my professional life, because I will be part of the greenkeeping team made up from some of the best people in our industry, preparing a golf course on the highest possible level for the best players in the world”

Matija Pipan, Golf Course Superintendent – Golf & Country Club Castello di Spessa and representing the Slovenian and Italian Greenkeepers Association “I have great expectations from this magnificent experience. I am very curious about how the whole team will succeed in preparing the course for such an important event. It is incredible the energy that every single person will invest in this tournament in order to make it perfect. I am really looking forward to be part of this fantastic team that will contribute to make this event unforgettable”

Chloe Gallagher, Assistant Greenkeeper – Gulf Harbour Country Club and representing the British & International Greenkeepers Association “I am so excited to be apart of this incredible tournament! This tournament is massive to any greenkeeper and to be apart of it is simply a dream come true. Sunday can not come quick enough and I can’t wait to be there, inside the ropes at Le Golf National”

Frank Czarnietzki, Head Greenkeeper – Golf Club Maria Bildhausen and representing the German Greenkeepers Association “It’s a great honour for me to be part of this.
I’m looking forward to share my passion with more then 160 colleagues”

Mads Andersen, Course Manager – Søllerød Golf Club and representing the Danish Greenkeepers Association “I’m honoured to be selected as a Greenkeeper to the 2018 Ryder Cup. Thank you Martin Stenberg and FEGGA for giving me an unforgettable experience and the opportunity to meet some of the best in our business from around the world”

Abel Marius Pascariu, Assistant Greenkeeper – Golf Club Wien and member of the Austrian Greenkeepers Association “This is my first practical training in a foreign country. Before I have never been involved in the Ryder Cup. I am delighted to be a member of the volunteer group and happy to take place in such a great event”


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Inside the ropes at the Ryder Cup

Inside the ropes at the Ryder Cup

Along with the World Cup, Super Bowl and Olympics, golf’s Ryder Cup is one of the greatest team events in all of sport.

It has seen many epic battles, such as 1991’s War on the Shore and the 2012 Miracle of Medinah, that are etched in our memories. Whether you are rooting for the US or Europe, or simply want to admire the world’s best golfers competing in a rare team format, the 2018 event at Le Golf National in Paris, France, will be one of the most eagerly-anticipated sports events of the year.
But in addition to the competition itself, the Ryder Cup also provides a wonderful opportunity for those of us in the golf industry to transfer skills and knowledge with counterparts from around the world.

Representatives from all aspects of the golf industry, from golf design to maintenance and operations, and from all over the globe, will be converging in one place, where one of the world’s great golf courses will be showcased at its very best.
In my travels to golf courses around the world for bunker renovations projects, I feel fortunate to have met so many different people, each of whom has fascinating experience and a huge passion for the sport.

Take Andy Johnston for example, the general manager and director of agronomy of Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore, the host course for the SMBC Singapore Open, co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour and won in January this year by Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia.

Andy joined Sentosa having originally worked for the club while with Gene Bates Golf Design. With a multi-disciplinary background covering agronomy, architecture and management, he has a wealth of expertise. For me, as a native of Northern Europe, learning from Andy’s experiences of the Asian market has been invaluable.

I am always grateful for the opportunity to learn from experts at the golf clubs we visit. I started my working life as a greenkeeper, and at that time would have given anything to find a way to tap into the knowledge of people like Andy, all over the world.

Reflecting on my career journey and experiences like these led me to want to find a way to enable more people to benefit from the expertise of others throughout the golf industry. And that has now culminated in the development of the 2018 Ryder Cup Greenkeeper Experience Program.

Working with FEGGA, the umbrella body for greenkeeping associations in Europe, and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the initiative will see 20 selected greenkeepers spending the Ryder Cup week experiencing how a world-class golf course is set up for one of the sport’s biggest events.

We had over 750 applicants and the 20 greenkeepers selected are representing the USA, Canada and ten European countries including the Czech Republic and Estonia.
They will join Alejandro Reyes, the golf course manager at Le Golf National, and his team in the run-up to the tournament.

It’s a unique opportunity to work alongside peers from different regions, then take what they have learnt back to their home clubs.

Already the impact has been very positive. I recently received a letter from the superintendent at a club where one of the assistants had been selected. He told me how delighted he was for his team member, and what an impact it will have on the whole club.

I look forward to reporting back on the initiative and planning more in future.

Martin Sternberg, CGCS, is the founder and inventor of Capillary Concrete, a Class A PGA professional and was Europe’s first GCSAA Certified Golf Course Superintendent.

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Jacobsen Tournament Support at Ryder Cup

Jacobsen Tournament Support at Ryder Cup

Jacobsen® turf equipment is an Official Supplier of Tthe 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National and is providing tournament support to the greenkeeping team during the competition. Technical staff from the Ransomes Jacobsen facility in Ipswich, U.K. will assist staff based at Ransomes Jacobsen France (RJF) in Toulouse throughout the competition.

Jacobsen turf equipment is designed and manufactured by Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.

In 2016, Le Golf National signed a five-year preferred supplier agreement with Ransomes Jacobsen. The prestigious golf course, which belongs to the French Federation of Golf, has demonstrated its confidence in Ransomes Jacobsen France, which has supplied equipment to the facility since 2010.

In addition to the course’s regular fleet of Jacobsen equipment, an additional 31 pieces of equipment have been delivered to support Tthe Ryder Cup. The additional machinery consists of 12 Eclipse 2 greens mowers, three SLF-1880 fairway mowers, three AR-3 rotary mowers, two Jacobsen Trucksters, four Smithco Lite rollers and 11 mower caddies.

Alejandro Reyes, Golf and Courses and Estate Manager at Le Golf National, said of theof the support provided by Jacobsen and RJF:
“Le Golf National has been in partnership with Jacobsen since 2011. The quality of machinery, the back-up support, and the product innovation are just some of the reasons we choose Jacobsen. Together, we have created a world-class golf course that will host The 2018 Ryder Cup, and the Olympics in 2024.

“We are excited to use Jacobsen equipment during The Ryder Cup. I am confident that it will assist us in making the Albatros course absolutely spectacular for such a huge event. The HNA Open de France went very well, and we are making sure that we maintain high standards all the way through until the Ryder Cup in September.”

Since opening in 1990, Le Golf National has hosted the Open de France 25 times. It consists of three courses: the Albatros, an18-hole championship course, on which The Ryder Cup will be played; the Eagle, a second 18-hole course; and the Oiselet, a 9-hole course.

Alejandro Reyes’ 5 top tips for preparing to host a major tournament
Alejandro is the golf courses and estate manager at Le Golf National in Paris, host of the 2018 Ryder Cup.

1. Predict the unpredictable
Spend time thinking about what could go wrong, and try to come up with ways to prevent those things from occurring. You must always plan for every eventuality!

2. Volunteer programme
Make sure that you have a good volunteer programme. Ensure that you are going to provide a unique experience for the volunteers and make sure they are well fed and happy throughout the tournament!

3. Orientation Day
Make sure your volunteers check out the holes they will be assigned and get a good feel for the course. It is also important to run through the machinery, if they are unfamiliar with it, and ask them if they are happy with the job they have been assigned- if not, be flexible enough to change things up.

4. Communication
It is crucial to have good communication with the tournament director, the agronomy side of the organisation, and any other associations or official bodies involved in the event. Be open and honest to make sure everyone is on the same page.

5. Education
Bring in some industry experts to deliver some seminars which will provide confidence and education to the volunteers during the tournament.

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Q&A with… Alejandro Reyes  Golf Courses and Estate Manager, Le Golf National-  venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup.

Q&A with… Alejandro Reyes Golf Courses and Estate Manager, Le Golf National- venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup.

What is the biggest compliment you have had about the venue? I don’t know if it is the biggest compliment, but I remember one during the 2014 French Open. Sky Sports were talking about long putting on the first green, and the commentator said, “these greens are as pure as they can be.” I saw this and took a video of it with my mobile phone, which I still have to this day. I was very proud of that comment!

What will be the most rewarding thing for you regarding hosting the Ryder Cup? I’m looking forward to Sunday afternoon of the Ryder Cup, once the last putt has been made. Everyone will be happy with the set-up and hopefully we will have a good week. The main thing is that our staff, the organisation and the players are all happy and proud of the job that we have done- that will be the most rewarding thing.

How do you cope with the pressures of hosting such a prestigious event? At this point in time, I don’t have too much pressure. As I always say, I sleep very well; I don’t get under pressure easily. Any pressure I do have is usually not to do with the tournament, so I just try to enjoy every moment here with the team.

What helped you make the decision to pick Jacobsen over the other big names? Service, tournament support and the security that we already had with Jacobsen. This course was Jacobsen since 2011, and when we were doing the bidding process for the Ryder Cup in 2015, security and trust were the biggest factors. We receive fantastic tournament support from Jacobsen every year for the French Open, and that’s what we wanted for the Ryder Cup. We were just delighted with the quality of the mowers, and we trust in them to produce top quality surfaces. For us, it was an easy choice.

What is your favourite Jacobsen machine and why? My personal favourite is the Eclipse 2 greens mower, the 122 model. We use 15-blade cutting units, and I really like the groomer attachment. We are also able to easily adjust the frequency of cut with just one button, and the reliability is fantastic- great mower.  I am also a big fan of the Jacobsen fairway mowers. We are going to have the new SLF530 lightweight fairway mowers for the Ryder Cup; I am impressed with what I have seen so far and the team is looking forward to mowing with them this summer.

What has been your career’s biggest challenge before you came to le golf national? Without a doubt, it was when I was 25 years old. I got my first golf course superintendent position at a Jack Nicklaus signature course in the south of Spain. I had a lot of education, but it was a huge challenge. It’s hard when you are so young and you have to make your own decisions for the first time, that was a lot of pressure! Managing a team for the first time was difficult as well, it’s very easy to make mistakes when you lack experience of management, but it was a great learning curve and it made me a better person for it.

Are you keeping the blanket cut or going back to the diamond cut on the fairways for the Ryder Cup? We are going to cut the fairways all one way. It will probably be tee to green.

10 Quick-fire Questions

1. What’s your golfing handicap? I’m not a great golfer. It’s 21. I wish I could play at that standard, but I don’t practice enough. It’s officially 21, though!

2. What annoys you most? Unprofessional people

3. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? At Le Golf National! With a few months to go until the Ryder Cup, why would I want to be anywhere else?!

4. If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time? I would love to complete the certification programme of the GCSAA. It’s something that is on my to-do list. I told myself I would do it one year before the Ryder Cup, in 2017, but I just didn’t have time. I’d also like to re-read all my turf books, there are plenty of them!

5. Do you have any hidden talents? I don’t think so! But who knows, maybe we’ll find out soon…

6. What job would you be terrible at? Working with kids. When they are running around and screaming… it’s not for me. I am somebody that needs to keep control and that’s difficult with kids.

7. What skill would you like to master? I would love to be a pro-golfer. To even have a handicap of a single number would be amazing.

8. What motivates you? I use my role as a leader of a team to motivate myself. Sometimes during tournaments, you are very tired and there are lots of long hours, but I think of the team at the course and everyone smiling and proud of the job they are doing. So that really gives me motivation when I need it most.

9. Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? When I took this job, someone said to me, “Alejandro, work every day like it is your last day working.” This meaning to give maximum effort every single day. This really stuck with me.

10. Most admired sports person? Rafael Nadal. His character, his power, everything about him- I really admire him.

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Tale of two Dans as student greenkeepers claim prestigious Toro awards

Tale of two Dans as student greenkeepers claim prestigious Toro awards

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association is proud to announce that Daniel Ashelby of Wilmslow Golf Club has been proclaimed the 30th winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award.

At the same time, Danny Patten of Lee Park Golf Club, became the third winner of the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award.

Daniel, 25, joins a proud tradition of former awards winners that stretches back to Mark Proctor, who won the very first hosting of the award in 1989 while a student greenkeeper at Portal Golf Club in Cheshire.

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is a nationwide contest hosted by greenkeepers’ association BIGGA and sponsored by turfcare machinery and irrigation manufacturer Toro alongside its official UK distributor Reesink Turfcare.

Each year, a selection of the best student greenkeepers, selected from regional interviews hosted across the country, descend upon BIGGA House at Aldwark Manor in York for the two-day finals of the event, where they complete a variety of tasks.

A second-generation greenkeeper, whose father was course manager at Gatley Golf Club, Daniel impressed the judges with his knowledge and passion for the profession. The presentation he delivered in front of the awards judges showed his dedication to greenkeeping and his eagerness to do well in his chosen career.

Daniel said: “I can’t believe I’ve won it to be honest. There was a really strong line-up and I couldn’t tell right until the end who had won because everybody else was fantastic. I’m absolutely delighted and I’d like to thank Toro, Reesink Turfcare and BIGGA for everything they’ve done this week, it’s amazing.”

As part of his prize, Daniel 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 Diego and a trip to Toro’s headquarters in Minneapolis.

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award is open to students under the age of 20 and as winner, Danny receives a two-week work placement at the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in France, as well as a trip to BTME in Harrogate.

Danny, 20, said: “I’m shocked to have won. I thought I had done a good course walk but wasn’t sure it would be enough. Then when they announced my name to say I had won it was just the best feeling in the world. I’ve been greenkeeping for just over two years so to get this award is really promising for my career and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

BIGGA Head of Member Learning Stuart Green said: “Congratulations to Daniel and Danny, who showed outstanding passion and commitment, both during the finals of the awards and at every stage of the competition, to be crowned worthy winners of this year’s awards.

“To be crowned Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year isn’t just two days’ hard work; rather you must dedicate yourself to the greenkeeping profession every day of your working life and so both winners and everyone who made it to the finals should be incredibly proud of their achievements.

“Each year the finals of the competition get harder to judge, which gives me confidence that the future of the industry is in very safe hands.”

The runner-up in the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was John Scurfield of Morpeth Golf Club.

The runner-up in the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was Liam Pigden of Burnham & Berrow Golf Club.

David Cole, managing director of Reesink Turfcare and award judge, said: “Every year the challenge of selecting one winner from each category becomes greater and greater for the judges. This tells us that the greenkeeping baton is being passed to safe hands by virtue of the commitment we see in front of us from students towards their career and personal education.

“Congratulations, not only to the winners and runners-up, but also to the whole group in reaching the final in what is a very competitive awards competition. You are all a credit to yourselves and to your golf courses.”

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “We call the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards the most prestigious in the industry, but they are only made so by the commitment and dedication to the greenkeeping profession shown by those who have previously enjoyed success in the awards.

“Daniel and Danny join an incredible roster of past winners throughout the awards’ prestigious history, each of whom has done their part in elevating standards in the greenkeeping profession to new heights.

“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 31st Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will open in February 2019.

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