0 Goldie oldie retains backer

Fineturf are refusing to let the grass grow under their feet as they look to build on the success of sponsoring the world's oldest professional golf tournament for a third successive year.

The Grantham-based company are backing the Midland PGA Professional Championship, first played for in 1897, to further increase their profile and put something back into the sport.

The Championship, one of six Midland PGA Order of Merit events, is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country with a list of illustrious winners including former Ryder Cup players Brian Waites and Peter Baker as well as current European Tour stars Steve Webster and Robert Rock and European Seniors Tour ace DJ Russell.

Ian Lyner of The Leicestershire is the current holder of the title after capturing it at De Vere Belton Woods last season, which will again stage the tournament qualifier on May 16 and the Championship final in mid-September.

The decision to back the event for a third year wasn't a tough one for Fineturf founder Simon Hutton, whose father Tim and brother Ben are both PGA professionals at the family-run Sudbrook Moor Golf Club, where his mother Judith is the secretary and his wife Fiona in clubhouse operations manager.

"This is a good opportunity to support the PGA and backing it for a third year was never a tough decision," said Hutton, who founded the business 13 years ago.

"I've done a lot of work at De Vere Belton Woods and when I was first approached to sponsor the event I saw it as a good opportunity to put something back

"De Vere Belton Woods have been good to us over the years, especially when we were starting up.

"It's worked well for us the last two years and we're hoping a third year will be even more successful."

Hutton, whose company works for high-profile customers including Manchester United, the Millennium Stadium and Lords and is an approved contractor to the Midland PGA, revealed that the sponsorship has raised their profile.

"It has given us increased access to the region's professionals and Midland golf as a whole and we hope to expand on that this year," he added.

"The pro-am has proved successful in reaching the pros and our customers."

As for the golf profession, Hutton was never one to follow his father and brother.

"Golf has always been at the heart of the family given my dad and brother are both PGA professionals," he said. "But I was never going to follow my dad into the profession as I was more interested in tractors and turf!

"I can play a social round but nothing too competitive. I worked at the family golf club on course maintenance and set up the business when I was 17 and focused on building it up. "My passion was the golf course itself and when we as a family built our own golf club I got involved and managed most of the construction and maintenance.

"Since then, I have continued to grow the business with a number of consultations with other golf clubs."

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