A day in the life: Antony Kirwan

By Alistair October 31, 2018 07:29 Updated

Antony is the course manager at Romford GC in Essex. The Open qualifying venue was designed by James Braid and lies just 18 miles from the centre of London.

What time do you arrive at the club?

I aim to arrive at 5:45am for a 6am start.

Can you describe your morning routine?

The first thing I do is grab a coffee and have a chat with the staff about plans for the day ahead. After this it’s either a course walk, or straight out to work.

How many people are there in your team and is it a fair number for your collective workload?

We currently run the course with a team of six greenkeepers and it’s a number that works, but more staff would also be a great help.

Do you share tasks?

Yes, I have put a routine in place so that all staff rotate around all the machinery, ensuring they’re not stuck on one machine all summer.

How do you motivate your colleagues?

For me it’s all about keeping them involved – we have monthly meetings, regular communication and they all get input with decision making.

Antony Kirwan

What’s your favourite season of the year and why?

My favourite is spring – as you come out of a cold, wet winter and you start to see the course take shape, ready for the season ahead.

What aspects / functions of your job gives you the greatest satisfaction?

Good comments from members and visitors alike are always nice to hear. Also, when we complete a project and then look back at it, you get a great sense of achievement.

And what part of it gives you the least satisfaction?

Comments that are thrown without any structure or purpose … complaining just for the sake of it.

Have you attended any courses recently?

I haven’t attended any courses recently, but I attend BTME in Harrogate every year to refresh myself on what’s out there and keep myself up to date with education.

What piece of equipment would you say is the most popular and frequently used by you and your team?

In summer, the most popular and frequently used pieces of machinery are our John Deere greens’ and tees’ mowers. We also have a Charterhouse 7521 Verti-Drain that’s in regular use through the autumn and winter months.

How would you improve the greenkeeping industry?

Improve the channels of communication between golfers and greenkeepers – there’s a level of understanding that isn’t there between us sometimes.

Has a golfer ever deliberately directed a ball at you?

I hope not!

Do you have a feeding programme for your fairways? How do you ensure your greens have good colour?

We don’t currently have a fertiliser programme in place but I’m hoping to have movement in next year’s budget to start one. At the moment we’re not too worried about colour, as long as the plant is healthy then it shows that our programme is meeting our requirements.

Have you ever had any mishaps with lakes on the course or had to undertake a rescue of a daft golfer?

Not personally, but during a previous position at Stoke-by-Nayland Golf Club one of the other guys on our team put a tractor in the lake!

What is the most interesting animal you have seen on your course and how do you do support wildlife?

At Romford we have three Egyptian geese which are nice to see. During my time at Aldeburgh GC, I used to see lots of different types of birds of prey and several barn owls around the course.

Are you seeing any evidence of climate change?

I’d say we’re definitely seeing more erratic weather patterns – hotter days and heavier thunderstorms.

What advice would you give to a young greenkeeper starting out today?

Volunteer and get yourself out there. Greenkeeping is a profession that can take you around the world – there’s not many jobs that can do that!

How do you spend your leisure time?

I get out on the course, but this time playing golf! I also spend a lot of my time with my two sons or socialising with my friends.


By Alistair October 31, 2018 07:29 Updated

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