The winners of the inaugural awards for golf greenkeeping excellence have been announced at the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) annual Industry Awards, in partnership with British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA).
In a prestigious awards ceremony at Milton Keynes’ stadiummk attended by more than 400 of the UK’s and Europe’s leading groundscare experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators, the winners of the three golf categories were:
The IOG annual Industry Awards, in partnership with BIGGA, recognise leadership, innovation and outstanding achievement across every aspect of groundscare – from grassroots pitches to professional stadia from both the professional and volunteer sector. The awards also celebrate the quality standards of groundscare achieved in public and private sports venues, and highlighted the progress of young/student grounds professionals as well as entrants’ innovative developments. This year, for the first time, three golf greenkeeping categories have been added.
Stuart Imeson contested the BASF/Sherriff Amenity Young Greenkeeper of the Year award with Ben Evans from Altrincham Golf Club.
Stuart became head greenkeeper at Dunstanburgh Castle, a links course on the North East coast situated on National Trust land, aged 18. Managing a small and equally youthful greenkeeping team on a tight budget, he implemented an ambitious and progressive action plan to ensure excellent surfaces all year round.
Ian Kinley and team at Royal Porthcawl were ahead of Scott Fenwick, Steve Chappell and the Gleneagles Ryder Cup team for the Baroness Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year award.
In January and February this year, Royal Porthcawl Golf Club on the South Wales coast was so badly affected by flooding that at the height of the bad weather the first three holes were under 10ft of water. This was just a few months prior to the British Senior Open, yet the team pulled together and the tournament took place as scheduled to praise from organisers and competitors alike.
Edward Ainsworth contested the Ransomes Jacobsen Greenkeeping Achievement of the Year award with Rhys Butler from Royal St David’s Golf Club.
Edward is leading the way in environmentally sustainable course management, promoting diverse wildlife through creating several new wildflower areas. This has helped encourage a huge variety of species on to the site. As a qualified beekeeper, he has established hives on the course and trained other course managers in this area.
Commenting that all Industry Award categories featured such a high standard of winners, IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “We are particularly pleased that this year BIGGA has worked with us to promote excellence in greenkeeping, to mirror the high standards of groundsmanship that the IOG Industry Awards have showcased for the past six years. All award winners demonstrate the skill and dedication of the teams and individuals who – week in, week out in all weathers – make such a vital contribution to sport.”
The IOG is the leading membership organisation for everyone involved in the management of sports pitches, landscape and amenity facilities.
BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton added: “BIGGA was thrilled to be invited by the IOG to be part of the Awards evening. The opportunity to celebrate greenkeeping achievements is always welcome and to do so at such an august occasion was a huge plus.
“The three winners in the BIGGA categories demonstrated great skill, huge passion and extraordinary commitment to providing excellent surfaces for golfers of all levels.
“The range of facilities nominated also vividly showed the incredibly diverse nature of the greenkeeping industry. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees in all the categories.”
2014 IOG Awards www.iogawards.com