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Myerscough student greenkeepers named on national award shortlists

Tuesday 20 Jun 2023

Four Myerscough College apprentices have been named on the shortlist for the 2023 Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year.


The annual event celebrates the best student greenkeepers in the country, and they now go through to the final in September. All of the Myerscough finalists are studying while working at golf clubs across the country.

They are:

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists:

Joe Garner, assistant greenkeeper at Wentworth Club (tutor Ben Freeman)

Shawn McBride, assistant greenkeeper at Hillside (tutor Tony Bailey)

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists:

Sam Norman, apprentice at Abbey Hill Golf Club (tutor Ben Freeman)

Caleb Overhill, apprentice at High Post Golf Club (tutor Nick Lush)

The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and co-founders and sponsors Toro and Reesink UK have revealed the finalists of their prestigious annual awards, which seek to uncover the UK’s leading student greenkeepers.

Each year the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards enable BIGGA, the UK’s only membership association for golf greenkeepers, to partner with turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and distributor Reesink UK and celebrate the next generation of talented and dedicated greenkeepers.

The first stage of the awards saw candidates undertake an interview in front of a panel of judges comprising representatives of BIGGA and Reesink UK, with 54 nominees being narrowed down to the final 12. The finalists will now vie for the titles of Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year and Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year at Carden Park in Cheshire on 4-6 September.

Nick Lush is sportsturf tutor at Myerscough College, said: “Caleb’s dedication to his college work has been exceptional.

‘’The greenkeeping industry is in safe hands when we have young learners like him coming through.”

BIGGA Learning and Development Executive Deb Burnett was on the judging panel for the regional interviews and said: “The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year initiative is in its 34th year and yet the awards continue to grow in stature with each passing instalment.

‘’As colleges, golf clubs, BIGGA, the Greenkeepers Training Committee and partners like Reesink UK collaborate to provide better and better learning opportunities for greenkeepers, we find that the standard of student greenkeepers across the UK continues to rise.

‘’That gives confidence that the future of the industry is in safe hands and we’re excited to welcome this year’s finalists to Carden Park in September for what stands to be another closely-contested competition. Congratulations to all the finalists!”

Meet the Myerscough finalists

Joe Garner - Assistant Greenkeeper, Wentworth Club

I was really happy to be selected in the finals for Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year. I think it's an amazing opportunity that everyone should go for and it's one of those things that if you don't ask, you don't get. I think these awards are really good as they give you recognition for hard work, so may the best student greenkeeper win!

Moving to Spain four years ago was a big step for me and demonstrates my willingness to take risks and explore new opportunities. It allowed me to experience a new culture and expand my horizons. Living in a different country was a great way to gain a new perspective on life and develop a greater appreciation for diversity. Additionally, moving to Spain also provided me with new opportunities for personal and professional growth and helped me develop new skills and confidence.

Working on Wentworth's West course gave me the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced professionals in the industry, allowing me to develop new skills and knowledge that can be applied to future roles. I believe learning at this level would provide me with a great foundation for my career, during which I would like to become a course manager. I believe working at a well-known and respected like Wentworth can establish your reputation within the industry, potentially leading to future job opportunities or networking connections.

A triumphant moment for me was when I led a team during the 2022 BMW PGA, which provided me with valuable leadership responsibilities and gave me the opportunity to meet other likeminded greenkeepers.

Shawn McBride - Assistant Greenkeeper, Hillside Golf Club.

During my six years as a greenkeeper, I have been very lucky in the courses I have worked at and some of the events I have worked or volunteered at. I was fortunate to start my career at Gleneagles and learned my skills there. During my time at Gleneagles I also did three tournaments, one of them being a volunteering opportunity.

I then managed to get a season abroad at Manly Golf Club before COVID hit. Once home, I had a little time off before heading to Wentworth and working at the BMW PGA.

After my time there, I came back home to Scotland and worked at Kilmacolm before getting an opportunity to move to Southport and work at the glorious Hillside, where I had previously volunteered for the British Masters in 2019. During my time here, so far I have learned so much under Chris Ball and also been handed a lot more chances to volunteer at tournaments. My ambition for my career is to one day be a course manager, but currently I want to continue working towards my Level 2, then Level 3, and learn more about how to manage my own team in future.

Sam Norman - Apprentice, Abbey Hill Golf Club

I'd just like to say that I'm honoured to have been selected for the finals of Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year. I'm very grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way to achieve this. It will be a pleasure to share this experience with up and coming, enthusiastic greenkeepers like myself.

I really enjoy throwing myself into gaining as much knowledge as possible to better myself, not only for me but also to help out the team I work within. With this in mind I applied to help out at The Open 202 and thankfully I was chosen as one of the two apprentices to be picked. I sense this as a great achievement for myself as I am the only apprentice in England to be selected and it is a great path to step upon to build my experience and knowledge.

Staying driven to make myself more knowledgeable, I have gained my PA1, PA2, PA6 and CS30 and CS31 licences, along with First Aid. My aspirations are to continue to develop my knowledge and understanding so I can ultimately reach my full potential and hopefully become a course manager. I am driven and appreciate that learning and hard work will help me achieve my goals.

Caleb Overhill - Apprentice, High Post Golf Club

I'm really excited and I'm really proud of the work that I've done. It's a great opportunity for greenkeepers to put themselves out there and test themselves and I'm really looking forward to it. Thank you very much!

High Post is one of the top 10 courses in Wiltshire. I'm very proud to have got the opportunity to work here and to be completing my apprenticeship here. My main achievements are my progression in my apprenticeship, I have been given a payrise earlier than planned as I have worked beyond expectations and have taken on more responsibility. I have acquired my PA1 and PA6 spraying qualifications and will be completing my PA2 and chainsaw licence in March 2023.

I have experience of competition golf as we held the England Golf Senior Women's Amateur Championship in May 2022. This involved different course set up and prep, split shift working hours and the highest of working standards.

I aspire to be a successful, hardworking greenkeeper and would like to work and volunteer at several courses around the world, gaining experience of different greenkeeping practices, environments and countries. My main aspiration is to be happy and satisfied with whatever I do as I believe this is what matters most.