Rickmansworth Golf Club was the venue for the first ever Independent Greenkeepers Association (IGA) London Branch golf outing. Around 50 participants were present, ranging from course managers, assistant greenkeepers and apprentices to company representatives within the trade.
The golf itself was far from competitive, many of the participants were picking up a golf club for the very first time and as the more experienced golfers tested their skills on the slopes of "Tricky Ricky", many others concentrated on simply managing to hit the ball!
The IGA members present were keen to point out that the fundamental principle of the event was to get people from the trade together, to meet friends old and new and to build stronger links from club to club in the area.
As the sun beat down on the scenic Hertfordshire course, the golfers were kept well watered as Cliff Farmer from local Toro dealer Olivers, and Ian Pogson from turf machinery company Turfmech roamed the course on a buggy packed with refreshments.
As the last of the weary golfers made their way to the clubhouse, a waiting coach was ready to transport them to nearby Croxley, firstly for a quick stop off at a local village pub and then across the road to a nearby curry house for a sit down meal and a chance to relax after a hard day on the course.
Since the formation of the IGA in late 2006 there has been talk of hostility between the organisation and the established BIGGA group. With many BIGGA members and non members of both associations present there was not a hint of any such hostility at this event. The Course Manager of Rickmansworth Golf Club, Aaron Percival, a BIGGA member and part of the John O'Conners contracting service said "It was a pleasure to hold the first IGA London Branch golf day and I wish them all the best for the future."
London Brach committee member, and event organiser Keith Graham was delighted with the turnout. "It was worth the hard work organising to see young greenkeepers playing with course managers and all standards of golf getting on so well. The curry in the tandoori helped to make it a laid back and enjoyable day"
The IGA also expressed their thanks to the sponsors who helped to make the day a great success, the companies which supported the event were Grassform, Colliers, SJS, Turfmech, JCB, Soil Reliever and Olivers.
On the golf side of things, the winning team was
Scott Patrick - Pinner Hill
Paul Cooper - Bushey
Rob Hughes - Moor Park
Billy Merryman - Batchworth
The three "nearest to pin" challenges were won by
Rob Catlin, Seoul Nassau - 1st
Clarke Eaglesham, Sudbury - 5th
Chris Hill, Sudbury - 7th