Congratulations to David Cole, Director of Golf Course and Estates at Loch Lomond Golf Club, who has become BIGGA's 64th Master Greenkeeper.
David, who joined the historic parkland course in 1994, began studying for the prestigious qualification 18 months ago.
He said: "I feel the Master Greenkeeper certificate is not just an audit of your own professional career as a greenkeeper, but it is also an audit of your golf course, your policies and procedures, and your team.
"I applied for it for a number of reasons. I felt it was important for the Course Manager of a high profile Club, like Loch Lomond, to be qualified at the highest level.
This is one of the top accolades in the industry. I also wanted to push myself professionally and achieve it for my own personal satisfaction.
"I expected the process to be very challenging and it certainly didn't disappoint! It's difficult to study for the Master Greenkeeper final stage exams, as the questions are set by BIGGA and are random and change every year.
So when you sit down for the two final exams you have no idea what the subject will be. It is not just a test of your agronomic knowledge, it is a test of your overall wealth of experience and your management skills in today's modern world."
David began his greenkeeping career as an apprentice at Dumbarton Golf Club before joining Loch Lomond as First Assistant Greenkeeper in 1994. After spending 18 months travelling and working in America in 1997-98, he returned to Loch Lomond, became Assistant Superintendent in 1999 and progressed to Superintendent in 2003.
In 2008 he became Golf Course and Estates Manager after the departure of Ken Siems - who he was quick to praise as a huge influence on his career.
David added: "If it wasn't for Ken, I wouldn't be where I am today. He was my mentor and I owe him a lot, as I do to my work colleagues past and present, and other great turf professionals I've worked with and continue to network with at BTME and other events.
"I'm fortunate to enjoy the great support of the Club, Management, Members and the greenkeeping team at Loch Lomond. It is a fabulous progressive place to work. I'd also like to thank my beautiful and brilliant wife Veronica and my family for their continual support and encouragement throughout my whole career."
During his time at the club he has overseen substantial renovation works, through intense drainage installation across the golf course, the rebuild of all the putting greens to a USGA spec, selective sand capping and significant improvements on the course's 70+ bunkers, as well leading the club to many golf and environment accolades.
The course is regularly highly ranked as one of the 'Top 100' golf courses in the world and forms part of the stunning Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.