For ambitious greenkeepers, the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards can represent the culmination of years of hard work, and the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association is delighted to reveal the finalists of this prestigious and long-running competition.
These 12 student greenkeepers, featured below, will contest the 29th Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year and 2nd Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year awards in September.
The awards enable BIGGA, turf maintenance equipment manufacturer Toro and distributor Reesink Turfcare to celebrate those talented student greenkeepers who are dedicating themselves to a career within the industry.
Last year's winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year award was Jimmy Heritage, of Maylands in Essex. He said: "My life has been changed by the whole Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year process. I've met some incredible people, done some incredible things and gained a mass of knowledge and confidence along the way. There hasn't been a day since returning that I haven't used something I gained from it all."
The Toro Student Greenkeeper finalists are:
Chloe Gallagher, Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club, Durham
Graham Hastie, Stoneham Golf Club, Southampton
Levi Pethick, Stoneham Golf Club, Southampton
Matthew Kitson, Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club, Richmond
Michael Budd, Westerham Golf Club, Kent
Nick Machin, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, Kent
The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper finalists are:
Angus Roberts, Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course, Scottish Borders
Joe Spadaccini, Scraptoft Golf Club, Leicester
Callum Done, Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Aberdeen
Christopher Clark, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, Kent
Craig Woodman, Bramshaw Golf Club, Hampshire
Matthew Bowles, Kings Hill Golf Club, Kent
The final will begin on Monday 11 September, where candidates will join an industry discussion group hosted by BIGGA Chairman Les Howkins.
The finalists of the two awards will then undertake a variety of tasks, culminating in the awards presentation, which will take place on the afternoon of Tuesday 12 September.
The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner will receive an eight-week all expenses paid scholarship, including a six-week residential turf management study course at the University of Massachusetts, a trip to the Golf Industry Show and a visit to the Toro factory.
The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year, won last year by Dan Waring of Ashbourne, will receive a two-week all expenses paid work experience placement at the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in the South of France. They will also receive a trip to Continue to Learn at the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate next January and enjoy a five-night package that includes hotel, four days of education, travel and £125 expenses, plus a Toro training voucher.
The runners-up of each award will also receive a training package for BTME 2018.
BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: "There are many talented people joining our industry, choosing greenkeeping as a career and investing in education to do so. The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year process is a brilliant way of recognising the individuals who will shape this industry for years to come.
"Our thanks go to Toro and Reesink Turfcare for their ongoing support of what has long been a highlight of the greenkeeping calendar for BIGGA and its members."