A day in the life: Richard Hollingworth

By Alistair January 14, 2022 08:34 Updated

The head greenkeeper at Rudding Park Golf Club in Yorkshire, which features two golf courses set in 300 acres of woodland, takes us through his average day.

What time do you arrive at the club?

Arrival time depends on the time of year – I arrive at 6:00am in the summer and 7:30am in the winter.

Can you describe your morning routine?

No morning is ever the same! I would love to go out and sit on a mower, preparing our golf course, but something always happens … which is part of the fun of not just being a golf course but a resort! My mornings can vary from constructing buildings, to forestry works and then working out how to enable our course to cope with 40,000 rounds of golf a year.

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

We currently have nine members on the greenkeeping team, with an additional two people for the maintenance of the holiday park and hotel grounds. It is very difficult to find qualified and experienced people currently it seems and with us being a resort – busy year-round – we will be looking for some additional staff to help us through next summer.

Do you share tasks?

We have always trained people to be able to do every single task.

How do you motivate your colleagues?

I will never ask anybody to do anything that I can’t or won’t do myself. I think it is important to take it upon yourself to pass your skills onto everybody within the team … try and do yourself out of a job!

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

Spring is my favourite season. Wildlife activity becomes frantic, trees start to bud and the daffodils come out. For me, these mark the start of the golf season!

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

I take great satisfaction in the golf course being presented in as good a condition as we can make it.

And what part of it gives you the least satisfaction?

Golfers abusing what we have created!

Have you attended any courses recently?

I recently attended the Turf Business Summit event which took place at The Belfry. This opened my eyes as to how people perhaps perceive our sector, and how we need to do everything we can to raise the profile of the industry in order to attract new people.

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

At the moment it has to be our new Redexim Verti-Drain 7416. Since we’ve taken delivery, there’s barely been a day go by that it hasn’t been out, aerating the greens, surrounds and weaker fairways as we prepare for winter.

Has a golfer ever deliberately directed a ball at you?

Most golfers do not know where the golf ball is going, haha!

How would you improve the greenkeeping industry?

Educating people is everything. Greenkeeping is such a technical and diverse job yet, unfortunately, it is still not recognised as a skilled profession.

What is your favourite machine and why?

For this question I’m going old school – the Toro GM3! This was the first experience I had of a triple greens mower which I used on my very first day in greenkeeping, at Sandmoor Golf Club, in 1987.

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

We have a number of lakes on the course and there has been an occasion where we had to undertake the rescue of a buggy from one of them, along with two drenched lady golfers!

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

We have a number of nesting kites on the course. The kites are fed with the pests that we control around the golf course.

Are you seeing any evidence of climate change?

Climate change is definitely an issue for everybody! We are seeing this most notably with drier summers and generally higher rainfall throughout the season.

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

If you haven’t learnt something every day, ask yourself why! In this industry, there is always so much to learn.

How do you spend your leisure time?

Taking a step back from work and enjoying life. In my spare time, I do enjoy a little bit of a building project.


By Alistair January 14, 2022 08:34 Updated

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