A day in the life: Keith Burgon

Alistair
By Alistair March 14, 2022 10:49

The head greenkeeper at Eyemouth Golf Club, an 18-hole cliff-top links that provides spectacular views over the East Berwickshire coastline, takes us through his average day.

What time do you arrive at the club?

I arrive at the golf club at 5:30am in the summer for a 6:00am start, and 7:00am for a 7:30am start during the winter.

Can you describe your morning routine?

I’ll open up the clubhouse and locker rooms, then proceed to check weather and tee sheets for the day. We’ll then have a cup of tea and give the lads their jobs.

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

We have three greenkeepers in total, myself and another work full-time and alongside us we have a part-time greenkeeper, who works three days per week.

Do you share tasks?

Yes, with having a small team it is important that everyone can carry out all tasks on the course.

How do you motivate your colleagues?

We are all golfers and play at the club so it’s easy to motivate the team – they all want to see the course in as great condition as possible.

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

Spring. It’s nice to see the course transforming from the winter, starting to see some definition and growth.

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

It’s great to hear positive comments from members and visitors about the course. This provides a great boost for the team, when they know their work is being noticed and appreciated.

And what part of it gives you the least satisfaction?

Unrepaired pitch marks! When the team put the effort into getting the greens running as true as possible and then the golfers don’t repair their pitch marks, it’s so frustrating.

 

Have you attended any courses recently?

Not recently due to the Covid restrictions, but hopefully this year we will get to do a chainsaw course.

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

Most frequently used would be our Toro 3250s – these are used to cut greens, tees and approaches and are out almost every day.

Recently, we purchased a Redexim Multi-Seeder 1200, which has transformed the task of overseeding from a three-man job, into an operation completed in one pass. Delivering important fescue into some of our most exposed greens quickly and efficiently has made this machine very popular!

How would you improve the greenkeeping industry?

Improve training opportunities and try to encourage more youngsters into the industry. The industry loses a lot of staff because of poor pay, and clubs need to realise that it’s greens staff that keep their business going. We really need to find a way to up the pay, to prevent these good workers leaving.

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

We have three ponds on our course but, luckily, we have not had to rescue anyone from them… yet!

Has a golfer ever deliberately directed a ball at you?

Yes I am sure there have been a few members who have tried, but they won’t admit to it…!

What is your favourite machine and why?

My favourite piece of equipment is the Redexim Verti-Drain 7316, which gives us a chance to aerate our greens with very little disruption. It is easy to attach and drop off from the tractor and you get a great selection of tines for it.

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

We have hares and a few deer on the course, but the most unusual are the two terrapins we have in one of our ponds. I think a member of the public put them in there about three years ago and they are still going strong now. To support wildlife, we have a few bird boxes up and have just started to create a few habitat areas throughout the course.

Are you seeing any evidence of climate change?

The winters are a lot milder than they used to be, which means we are having to cut greens a lot more often than we used to.

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

My advice would be to get as much experience as possible. There are a lot of volunteering opportunities to go and work at tournaments and see how other clubs works, which is fantastic, along with events like BTME with seminars that are great to do if you can.

How do you spend your leisure time?

I play golf at least three times per week and have a season ticket for Glasgow Warriors rugby union team.

 

Alistair
By Alistair March 14, 2022 10:49

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