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1.18am 16th October 2009 - People - This story was updated on Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Simon Taylor and friends - see below

Stewart Golf MD wins young businessperson award

Mark Stewart has been hailed as ‘Young Businessperson of The Year 2009’ at the 2009 Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo Business Awards.

“Whilst this award has been presented to me personally, I accept it on behalf of the whole team at Stewart Golf. I am very fortunate to be able to act as a figurehead for a great group of people who work tirelessly to make Stewart Golf a successful business,” he said.

“This award rounds of a great year for us. Despite the economic doom and gloom, Stewart Golf has increased our sales by 20%. A lot of my time is spent jetting around the world with the aim of significantly increasing our export business. This year alone I have spent time in Germany, Sweden, USA & Canada and I will shortly be travelling to Australia, France & Switzerland before the year is out.

Stewart Golf are also expanding their product range beyond golf trolleys. Mark added, “We are launching a new collection of stylish Stewart Golf branded products such as a waterproof stand bag and innovative rain cover. Another new direction for us is our new sub-brand called MODA by Stewart Golf, which makes a matching golf bag set aimed at the ladies market.”

IMG strengthens golf course management team to support growth

IMG Golf Course Management has strengthened the operations team with the appointment of Neil Coulson as Director of Operations, Golf Course Services. This new addition is to support the company’s expanding portfolio of golf properties under its management in Asia Pacific.

Neil Coulson

Neil will be responsible for providing pre-opening technical services and operations support for IMG’s management business. He has over 12 years experience in the golf industry and has done work at several award winning clubs in Asia, Middle East and Europe. Neil previously worked at one of the world’s leading hotel companies, General Hotel Management (GHM), managing high end golf courses in China (Fuchun Resort) and Malaysia (The Datai). Prior to joining IMG, Neil was Operations Director for one of Europe’s leading golf course management companies, PGA Golf Management/Braemar Golf Developments. Based in St. Andrews he provided pre-opening and operational expertise to a portfolio of leading golf resorts in Europe and the Middle East.

“Neil is a successful and proven operator with extensive international and Asian experience,” said Paul Burley, Vice President, IMG Golf Course Services. “His expertise will allow him to make an immediate contribution to IMG and our portfolio of world class facilities.”

The IMG Golf Course Management brand is recognized for providing high quality services to an elite portfolio of clubs around the world. Partnering with IMG ensures delivery of meticulous standards of operation and an unrivalled experience for members and guests.

IMG Golf Course Management has established a reputation for a personalized approach that is unique in the industry and its excellent course conditioning and innovative sales & marketing techniques continue to make IMG a market leader. IMG currently provides management services to over 20 golf properties worldwide including 9 in China.

New Director of Golf at Heythrop Park Resort

Stuart Gillett, former General Manager at Mill Ride Golf Club has been appointed Director of Golf at the prestigious new Heythrop Park Resort in Oxfordshire. The 35 year old Englishman has extensive experience working within the golf industry for some of the most exclusive golf clubs in the UK before he made the move to Oxfordshire to launch Heythrop Park in October 2009.

Stuart commented on his appointment:” I am delighted with the opportunities that lie ahead, we have a very discerning clientele and we want to continue to combine the traditional values of personal service with the enthusiasm that is required to run a championship property.

Stuart’s skill and knowledge of the industry is unprecedented, he earned a degree in Recreation and Leisure Management. After graduating, he joined the long-established Brannigans entertainment group as a Trainee Manager working his way up to General Manager. In 2002 he was appointed Executive General Manager for the group managing multiple sites.

He joined Edenbridge Golf & Country Club in Kent in 2004 as a Relief General Manager and was responsible for the day to day operation of the club.

In 2003 he joined the Meriski Group, the luxury ski resort company as Guest Services Manager, before making the move to Bearwood Lakes in Wokingham as the Deputy General Manager of this exclusive private members club.  By 2007 he had been appointed General Manager of Mill Ride Golf Club.

Stuart brings a wealth of experience in the golf and hospitality industry to his new role as Director of Golf at Heythrop Park Resort with an outstanding record in all aspects of Golf Operations, Food and Beverage and hospitality management.

Rhys Norville wins Toro Student Greenkeeper of The Year Award

Rhys Norville, an assistant greenkeeper at Newport Golf Club in South Wales, has won the title of Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year 2009. And with it, a dream trip of a lifetime to study turf management in America.

Now in its 21st year, Rhys made this year’s competition even more exciting by becoming both its youngest ever winner as well as the first Welsh recipient of the title.

The 21-year-old won the prestigious award after beating off stiff competition from six fellow student greenkeepers at the national finals held at BIGGA House near York recently. A Coleg Gwent student who has just completed an NVQ Level 2 in Horticulture (Sports Turf) at the Usk college, Rhys wowed the judges with his maturity and passion for greenkeeping.

“My heart was pounding when we were waiting for the winner to be announced,” Rhys says of the final stages of the competition, which is sponsored by turf machinery and irrigation systems manufacturer Toro and its UK distributor Lely UK, and organised by BIGGA. “I certainly didn’t expect my name to be read out as the standard of the finalists was so high – all the guys were great. I was in a state of disbelief when I won!”

Rhys, who has been a golf fan since the age of 16 and wanted to be a golf teaching pro before being bitten by the greenkeeping bug, has won an amazing, all-expenses-paid trip to the States as part of his prize. After attending a six-week residential turf management course at the University of Massachusetts in early 2010, he’ll also benefit from visits to The Toro Company’s global headquarters in Minneapolis and renowned GCSAA Golf Industry Show & Conference in San Diego in February.

“I’m looking forward to the trip and all the experiences that it will bring,” Rhys adds. “I’d like to thank BIGGA, Toro and Lely for all the work they did to organise the competition and I look forward to representing BIGGA as the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year over the next 12 months.”

The judging panel, including Lely’s Peter Mansfield, Bruce Jamieson, representing The Toro Company, and BIGGA’s Jeff Mills and Sami Collins, also selected two runners-up. Benjamin Burrill, 24, an assistant greenkeeper at Ilkley Golf Club in Yorkshire and Askham Bryan College student, and Adam Wise, 24, an assistant greenkeeper at Richmond Golf Club in Surrey and Myerscough College student, both win a trip to Harrogate Week in January.

Scott Drummond to represent St Mellion on PGA European Tour

St Mellion International Resort is pleased to announce that Scott Drummond, 2004 PGA Championship winner and former PGA European Tour Rookie of The Year, will represent the resort – which recently completed a £20 million refurbishment – on the PGA European Tour for the rest of the 2009 season.

The agreement, which started at the Mercedes-Benz Championship in September, means that Drummond will show the resort’s logo on his golf bag, and will wear St Mellion International logo clothing for the rest of the season.

Drummond will be also writing a weekly Tour Diary style blog on the St Mellion website, as will his caddy Kevin Jones.

The 35-year old professional golfer has career earnings of almost £1.5m since he broke through on the main PGA European Tour in 2004.

Plymouth-based Drummond practises regularly at the popular Cornwall golf resort. “St Mellion International Resort is a fantastic venue, with two great golf courses,” he said. “The newly-improved Nicklaus Signature Course is one of Europe’s toughest tests, and I think that it will set an excellent challenge for PGA European Tour golfers when The English Open is played here from 2011.

“St Mellion is in such a great location; it’s always a pleasure to come here, and I thoroughly enjoy using its superb facilities. I look forward to representing this great golf destination as its official Tour Professional, as I play around the world.”

Stephen Towers, Resort Director at St Mellion International Resort, said: “We’re excited to have Scott representing us on Tour. He is a popular figure at St Mellion when he comes to play here, and our members will be keenly following Scott’s progress on the PGA European Tour for the rest of the year.”

Simon Taylor’s lofty ambition

He may not be doing all of them, and he won’t have Julie Andrews with him, but Simon Taylor of British Seed Houses is off to climb the highest mountain in the Americas, and the highest mountain outside Asia. Cerro Aconcagua, made famous in the film Touching the Void, rises to 6,962 metres (22,841 ft) and is located in the Andes mountain range, in the Argentine province of Mendoza. please see picture above

For some obscure reason he’d rather be surrounded by 21,000-foot peaks with a formidable view of the Central Andes than standing on an exhibition stand at BTME 2010! “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do”, explained Simon, “and the timings just clashed.

Simon, and two friends from his local village of Swinderby, will be climbing in traditional expedition style using multiple camps en route. The approach involves 35 miles of colourful, spectacular, high desert scenery and allows adequate time to acclimatise to the low oxygen environment, and wait out any stormy weather they may encounter.

Simon says, “This climb will be very challenging because of the high altitude, cold temperatures, and strong winds.  Nothing but an excellent physical condition will do, coupled with basic mountaineering skills. In preparation, we have been training in the Glencoe region of Scotland which provides some pretty challenging conditions itself. Our goal is to get to the top and back down again, all in one piece.  And who knows, I may even stumble across an unknown grass species along the way!”

Simon is donating all money he raises from this climb to the Beaumond House Community Hospice, a registered charity that has been committed to providing supportive palliative care to patients and their families living in Newark and district, since 1987.

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