Toro, Reesink Turfcare and the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), 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 work alongside turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and distributor Reesink Turfcare to celebrate the next generation of talented and dedicated greenkeepers.
A record 54 nominees from across the United Kingdom were put forward by educators, course managers and head greenkeepers and other mentors. From those candidates, a final 12 have been chosen to contest the grand finals this September.
For the first time, the finals of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year will take place at Goodwood, the historic sporting venue located in West Sussex. The awards event will take place a week before the estate hosts Goodwood Revival, the famous weekend of classic racing. Goodwood is also home to the Downs Course, described by Justin Rose as a “truly inspirational” place to play golf.
September’s event will be the 33rd staging of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards and just the sixth time the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, open to greenkeepers aged 21 or under, will take place. To be eligible to take part, candidates must be registered on a qualifying greenkeeping qualification and must be nominated by their course manager or college tutor.
The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:
Andrew Bate, Hesketh Golf Club
Tom Bromfield, Trentham Golf Club
James Gaskell, Ripon City Golf Club
Abi Laker, Frilford Heath Golf Club
Andrew Ritchie, St Andrews Links
John Thornton, Hellidon Lakes Golf and Country Club
The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists are:
Jake Beech, Newcastle-under-Lyme Golf Club
Alfie Brookes, Gathurst Golf Club
Luke Charnley, Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Peter Pattenden, Carden Park Golf Club
James Stratford, Broome Manor Golf Club
Freddie Williams, Dudsbury Golf Club
More information about the finalists is available here.
The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive: enrolment in the 10-week University of Massachusetts Winter Turf School; a two-week expenses-paid placement at Adare Manor, venue of The 2027 Ryder Cup; an all expenses paid trip to the GCSAA Conference and Show in Florida; and a visit to Toro Corporate HQ, R&D Centre and Equipment Operations in Wisconsin.
The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive: a two-week work placement at Vidauban Golf Club in France; a five-night trip to Continue to Learn at BTME including four days of education; and a gift voucher for Toro Training.
The runners-up and endorsers of the winners will also receive various prizes.
BIGGA Learning and Development Executive Deb Burnett said: “Each year the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards gain a little more prestige, as previous finalists go on to achieve wonderful things in their careers. I’m delighted that more student greenkeepers than ever before participated in the nomination process and all should be proud of how they performed during the regional interview stage.
“The 12 finalists are very worthy of their spot and I can’t wait to watch them overcome the challenges we set for them at glorious Goodwood this autumn. My thanks go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their continued support of this wonderful initiative.”
Picture Caption: Rhian Barton and Matt Milligan won the awards in 2021