Final year graduate student Simon Dexter from Grantham in Lincolnshire has won the 2015 SRUC Elmwood Student of the Year Award, which was sponsored by John Deere for the first time this year
Simon was judged the college's best overall HND Golf Course Management student and was presented with his award certificate by Sandy Armit of local John Deere dealer The Double A Trading Company Ltd, on the college campus at Cupar in north-east Fife. SRUC Elmwood is renowned for its leading golf training and education programmes, and boasts a number of famous graduates including Gordon McKie, course manager of The Old Course at nearby St Andrews as well as Gordon Moir, director of greenkeeping and Kevin Muir, course manager of the Eden Course.
Simon, who is an R&A Greenkeeping Scholar and a member of BIGGA, won gift vouchers to the value of £300 for golf supplies from The Old Course shop at St Andrews Links, where he worked in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as a seasonal greenkeeper, working under course managers Gordon McKie and Kevin Muir.
After working for a grounds maintenance company and as a trainee groundsman at a private school in his early 20s, Simon gained a Level 2 Sports Science qualification at Myerscough College. He then began his greenkeeping education on the Ohio State Programme in the US in 2012/2013, studying cool and warm season grass species and learning about all aspects of turf science.
"After leaving school I just fell in love with working with turf," he says. "I then wanted to seek out a fresh challenge, so the Ohio State Programme was an exciting opportunity for me to progress my education and learn new skills.
"I'm now planning to return to Myerscough to take a BSc Hons degree course starting in September, and then possibly do a Masters degree on some aspect of the environment, biodiversity and sustainability. I believe there will be some interesting opportunities relating to golf courses in this area in the future."
The college's judging panel praised Simon Dexter for his excellent standard of work submitted in all units and motivation to learn as much as he could about his chosen career, and put this into practice. The award citation added: "Simon has a great passion to progress in the industry, which came out in all his efforts, and displayed a very professional image at such a young age. He stood out as a learner who gained so much more in terms of education and personal development in his time with us."
For more information, visit www.deere.co.uk.