The greenkeeping team at Harleyford Golf Club in Buckinghamshire has been recognised for its incredible performance in preparing the course for The Matchroom Sport Championship at a major industry awards ceremony.
The greenkeeping team at Harleyford was announced on Tuesday (22 January) as winners of the BIGGA Awards 2019 Championship Performance of the Year sponsored by Rigby Taylor just five years after the club was declared bankrupt.
Course Manager Craig Earnshaw and members of the Harleyford team accepted the award at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration hosted by Jacobsen, taking place on the opening day of the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
Harleyford, which is the home course of European Tour star Tyrell Hatton, has a team of six greenkeepers whose office is 1.5 miles from the golf course – meaning a 15-minute drive from the maintenance facility to the first tee.
The team has not only been commended for its incredible work in preparing the course to a standard worthy of hosting a professional tournament, but the staging of the event didn’t go without incident.
When stormy conditions and heavy rain on the eve of the tournament completely washed out the club’s bunkers, the team worked through the night to replace the sand, with even Craig’s fiancée, Tracy Forth, being enlisted to cut rough and blow fairways.
The tireless efforts of the team paid off and Harleyford has been chosen to again host the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Matchroom Sport Championship once again in 2019.
Craig said: “This is mad, I can’t believe it to be honest. When you look at who I was up against, I am really just a little short for words. I didn’t think we would win. The guys on my team were amazing and they’re a real credit to the golf club.”
BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “I’m delighted that the team at Harleyford was nominated for this award as they are a fantastic example of what can be achieved with a talented and determined team led by an exceptional course manager, as Harleyford has in Craig Earnshaw. For the club to bounce back from bankruptcy to the hosting of the PGA EuroPro Tour is quite remarkable and to then overcome the stormy conditions that plagued the build-up to the tournament is exceptional. Congratulations to everyone at the club and good luck for 2019!
“Congratulations also to the Gullane Golf Club and Carolina Golf Club teams, who were both worthy finalists after hosting exceptional tournaments during 2018. All are a credit to BIGGA and the greenkeeping industry as a whole.”
Rigby Taylor www.rigbytaylor.com
Harleyford Golf Club www.harleyfordgolf.co.uk
Pictured top: Harleyford greenkeeping team with Stephen Alderton, marketing manager at Top Green and Chris Clarke, executive chairman of Rigby Taylor