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Annual awards winners announced at BIGGA Welcome Celebration

10.29am 24th January 2018 - People

The BIGGA Awards took place last night at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Textron Golf.

The Welcome Celebration saw the greenkeeping teams at The Wentworth Club and Deeside Golf Club honoured, while the ‘most north-westerly’ greenkeeper in mainland Britain, Alistair Morrison, also received an award.

Deeside bounces back from flooding devastation with BIGGA Awards success; BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year sponsored by Baroness

The Deeside greenkeeping team with Adam Butler from Baroness

The greenkeeping team at Deeside Golf Club in Aberdeenshire is celebrating after being crowned BIGGA Awards winners at BTME 2018.

Led by Course Manager Neil McLoughlin (41), the greenkeeping team were announced as the winner of the BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year Award sponsored by Baroness, at a ceremony held in the Harrogate Convention Centre’s Royal Hall.

When Storm Frank hit Aberdeenshire the day before New Year’s Eve in 2015, it caused the River Dee to reach record levels, three times covering the course in a thick layer of silt and debris.

In the aftermath, the team was able to get 10 holes reopened after just 77 days and the clean-up saw over six tonnes of grass seed laid down, 10,000m2 of turf laid and all 98 bunkers rebuilt, using 3,000 tonnes of sand for topdressing and bunkers.

During 2017 the hard work continued, with the silt layer impeding drainage. Over 400m of drainage was installed and a programme of scarification and topdressing helped break down the silt layer further.

The Deeside team was presented with the award by television presenter and #ThisGirlGolfs ambassador Naga Munchetty at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Textron Golf. The awards ceremony is one of the highlights of BTME 2018, the premier turf management exhibition in Europe.

Neil said: “It’s a real honour to win this award. Storm Frank came in and devastated the whole Dee Valley and the golf course ended up in a hell of a state. “We do flood quite a lot, but generally we call them clean floods.”

BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton said: “Of the golf clubs who were hit hard by the devastation that Storm Frank wrought in December 2015, it was perhaps Deeside who were hit hardest of all.

“For greenkeepers who dedicate their lives to maintaining a relatively small patch of land, the damage must have been heartbreaking. It is therefore to Neil and his team’s immense credit that they were able to pick themselves up and restore the course to its former glory.

“I cannot praise the greenkeeping team highly enough for the work they have done to get Deeside back on its feet. They are truly an inspiration to greenkeepers all over the country and they are worthy recipients of this year’s BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year Award sponsored by Baroness.”

The other finalists for the BIGGA Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year Award sponsored by Baroness were Andrew Brougham, head greenkeeper of Astbury Golf Club, and Stuart Imeson, course manager at Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club.

Wentworth greenkeeping team receives BIGGA Award after “spectacular” West Course overhaul; Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year sponsored by Rigby Taylor

The Wentworth greenkeeping team with Chris Clark, chairman of Rigby Taylor

The greenkeeping team at The Wentworth Club in Virginia Water has been recognised for its incredible performance in preparing the course for the BMW PGA Championship 2017 with the BIGGA Championship Performance of the Year Award sponsored by Rigby Taylor.

The redesign of Wentworth’s famous West Course was conducted by European Tour Golf Design, with the support of Ryder Cup captains Paul McGinley and Thomas Bjorn and the Ernie Els Design group. But it was Director of Estates and Golf Courses Kenny Mackay and his team who were responsible for ensuring the changes were implemented ahead of the BMW PGA Championship in May 2017.

All 18 greens were stripped of the old turf and re-seeded with a new creeping bent, while four greens – on the eighth, 11th, 14th and 16th holes – were completely rebuilt. A sub-air system was also installed on all the greens, while new drainage and irrigation was introduced.

Furthermore, all the bunkers were redesigned and reconstructed, with 29 completely removed from play.

European Tour Chief Executive Keith Pelley said: “The greens are spectacular and aesthetically the golf course is considerably stronger. Stephen Gallacher was walking by and he said, ‘The golf course has significantly improved. It’s just absolutely fantastic and the greens are great’.”

Kenny accepted the award at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Textron Golf, held in the Harrogate Convention Centre’s Royal Hall. The awards ceremony is one of the highlights of BTME 2018, the premier turf management exhibition in Europe.

Kenny said: “It’s a very close-knit team. The big challenge we’ve seen is preparing the greens from tournament.

“When the new owners came in we knew we had a plan together. There was a lot of work behind the scenes and all that research came off. It’s two years in the making to get to here.”

BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: “This was nothing short of a superhuman effort by the team at The Wentworth Club, who worked non-stop from the moment the 2016 BMW PGA Championship ended until the 2017 event began to ensure the course matched up to the incredible standards required when hosting the European Tour’s flagship championship.

“Well done to Kenny and to all his team on this spectacular achievement, and on being crowned winners of the Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year at BTME 2018.

“Congratulations also to the Dundonald Links and Moor Allerton teams, who were both worthy finalists after hosting exceptional tournaments during 2017. All are a credit to BIGGA and the greenkeeping industry as a whole.”

Mainland Britain’s “most north-westerly” greenkeeper rewarded with BIGGA Award at annual celebration; BIGGA Young Greenkeeper of the Year sponsored by Textron Golf

Young Greenkeeper of the Year Alastair Morrison with Andre Andrade of Textron Golf

Talented young greenkeeper Alistair Morrison is celebrating after winning a BIGGA Award at BTME 2018.

Alistair (25) is head greenkeeper at Durness Golf Club and was announced as the winner of the BIGGA Young Greenkeeper of the Year Award sponsored by Textron Golf at an awards ceremony held this evening.

Alistair began his career as an apprentice at Brora, before moving back to his hometown club at Durness. As the only member of the greenkeeping team at the most north-westerly course on mainland Britain, the role requires a huge amount of dedication and commitment to personal development and the development of the course.

During his three years at Brora, Alistair volunteered at three European Tour events, including the European Masters in Switzerland.

Alistair’s award was announced by television presenter and #ThisGirlGolfs ambassador Naga Munchetty at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Textron Golf. He was presented with his award by Andre Andrade, director of international sales at Textron Golf. The awards ceremony is one of the highlights of BTME 2018, the premier turf management exhibition in Europe.

Alistair said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have won, I certainly never expected this! I’m from a small village of around 300 people, we rely mainly on tourists, and I do have a good relationship with my club. As a small community you get to know everyone at the club, as they’re all friends, family, neighbours, and I’m delighted to have been able to represent them on such a massive scale.”

BIGGA Chief Executive Jim Croxton said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to recognise the efforts of Alistair, who has achieved professional and personal development despite the challenges faced of preparing a course in tough economic time. The fact Alistair is able to prepare a thriving course for his golfers, despite working on his own and in such a remote location, is no mean feat and he is an inspiration to us all.”

The other finalists of the award were Angus Roberts of Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Club and Carl Sharp of Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club.

Jim added: “Congratulations must also go to Angus and Carl who did incredibly well to reach the finals of the awards. With such outstanding candidates, it’s great to see that the future of greenkeeping is in safe hands.”

BTME 2018 runs until Thursday 25 January and features more than 150 exhibitors from all aspects of the turf management industry. Each year more than 4,500 greenkeepers, trade members, club managers and other representatives of the golfing industry come together to network and share news of the latest education and innovation.

Visit http://btme.org.uk

       

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