Award for Harleyford Golf Club’s greenkeepers

By Alistair February 24, 2019 13:52 Updated

The greenkeeping team at Harleyford Golf Club in Buckinghamshire has been recognised for preparing the course for The Matchroom Sport Championship just five years after the club was declared bankrupt.

The team has won the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) Awards 2019 Championship Performance of the Year sponsored by Rigby Taylor.

Course manager Craig Earnshaw and members of the Harleyford team accepted the award at BTME in Harrogate.

Harleyford has a team of six greenkeepers whose office is 1.5 miles from the golf course – meaning a 15-minute drive from the maintenance facility to the first tee.

The team has not only been commended for its incredible work in preparing the course to a standard worthy of hosting a professional tournament, but the staging of the event didn’t go without incident.

When stormy conditions and heavy rain on the eve of the tournament completely washed out the club’s bunkers, the team worked through the night to replace the sand, with even Craig’s fiancée, Tracy Forth, being enlisted to cut rough and blow fairways.

The greenkeeping team at Harleyford Golf Club

The tireless efforts of the team paid off and Harleyford has been chosen to again host the PGA EuroPro Tour’s Matchroom Sport Championship once again in 2019.

Craig said: “This is mad, I can’t believe it to be honest. When you look at who I was up against [Gullane Golf Club and Carolina Golf Club], I am really just a little short for words. I didn’t think we would win. The guys on my team were amazing and they’re a real credit to the golf club.”

Jack Percival

At the same ceremony, Jack Percival, 24, of Chipstead Golf Club in Surrey, won the Outstanding Contribution of the Year sponsored by Jacobsen, in recognition of his selfless efforts in helping the homeless. Aged 17, Jack had found himself homeless for six months and in the years since has turned his life around and works hard to support those who sleep out on the streets.

Stuart Imeson

And Greenkeeping Project of the Year sponsored by Baroness went to Stuart Imeson, general manager and head greenkeeper at Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumbria, who has provided excellent educational opportunities for greenkeepers through his incredibly-successful ‘Bunker Camps’, which was a sell-out in 2018 as greenkeepers from across Europe came together to take part.

Elsewhere, BIGGA has reported excellent numbers following the annual exhibition. BTME welcomed 4,500 individual delegates into the halls of the Harrogate Convention Centre, with the 154 exhibitors showcasing their wares in a new, innovative layout that enabled greater opportunities for interaction with visitors.


By Alistair February 24, 2019 13:52 Updated

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