GARY Cook, the head greenkeeper at Enmore Park Golf Club, admits that he is a fortunate man, writes Richard Walsh.
MILESTONE: Enmore Park Golf Club marks Gary Cook's 25 years at the club. Pictured from left to right are: Phil Taylor, Paul Waplington, Gary Cook, Simon Rendle, Gwen Cavill, Rob Fear, Paul Martin
"I am lucky to be doing something that I always wanted to do and enjoy doing it as well, so I am very fortunate," he says.
Cook was born into a golfing family in Scotland, as he explained: "My father played golf and where we were living near Glasgow, I grew up next to a golf course.
"I started playing when I was seven or eight and enjoyed everything about it. "I just loved that environment and that's how it all came about."
So how does he come to find himself at Enmore?
"We were looking for a change of environment and so started looking, and the vacancy at Enmore Park came up. I was lucky enough to get it - and 26 years on I am still here, so it is all worked out pretty well for us. We settled in and love everything about the area. Somerset's a lovely county and has got such a lot to offer."
Under Cook's watch of more than a quarter of a century there have been a number of changes at Enmore.
"Since I have been here the course has developed and a lot of the trees have matured and are starting to make a difference," he said.
"The thing about the golf course is that it's ongoing and always developing, so never finished. There is always something to be done and something that you want to do - that's the beauty of what I'm lucky enough to be doing."
What had been the highlight of his time at Enmore?
"When I look back, I think that when we had the English Ladies here was the highlight because it gave us championship status - the first here and a great accolade for the club."
What difference had the coronavirus lockdown made to his job?
"I think the biggest difference is that we are maintaining the surfaces rather than preparing them. We are here to maintain Enmore as a golf course so that when it does re-open again it is still here. We are running with a smaller staff just to keep on top of the cutting."
"We are not allowed to start anything new; the only construction projects you can work on are those that were started before the lockdown."
When the lockdown is lifted and golf can re-commence, how long would it be before Enmore members could start to play again?
"We could open as a golf course within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead but, to get things back to where we would normally like to be, it will take us a couple of weeks. "I'm looking forward to getting the members back onto the golf course again and enjoying themselves."
Gary is a keen golfer himself, currently playing off a handicap of four, and he added: "That's the lowest that I have ever been but of course the challenge is always to try to get lower.
"We all want it to be lower and in my case it's not for lack of trying!"
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