The best young greenkeepers in the country descended upon BIGGA HQ at Aldwark Manor in York as the 28th Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year awards took place.
For the first time ever, the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year award, open to students under the age of 20, complimented the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year award.
BIGGA Chief Executive Officer Jim Croxton said: "Every year the standard keeps getting better and better, and I don't envy the task of the judges, who had to choose between our fantastic finalists. I am so excited by the amount of talent on show in both awards as it gives me great confidence that the future of golf is in good hands. I am really grateful for our friends at Toro and Reesink for once again supporting these awards."
The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is a nationwide contest hosted by greenkeepers' association BIGGA, turfcare machinery manufacturers Toro, and machinery distributor Reesink Turfcare.
This year's winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper award was Jimmy Heritage, of Maylands Golf Club in Romford, Essex.
Jimmy impressed the judging panel, comprised of representatives from BIGGA, Toro and Reesink Turfcare, due to his passion and drive for the greenkeeping industry.
Jimmy said: "I was not expecting to win. When you come to the finals you are surrounded by people who are experts in their field and you certainly don't consider yourself the best of the bunch. It hasn't quite sunk in yet, but I am sure it will eventually."
As part of his prize, Jimmy won a seven-week scholarship at the University of Massachusetts in the USA, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to BIGGA's annual conference, the British Turf Management Exhibition in Harrogate.
Dan Waring of Ashbourne Golf Club near Derby was crowned the winner of the first-ever Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award. Dan impressed the judging panel with his humility, drawn from a singular desire to improve the gold course where he has been a member his entire life.
Dan said: "I can't believe I won, it was that close. It's still a bit of a shock and I don't think I have had chance to process it yet. That will probably happen next week, when I am mowing the greens, back at work."
As part of his prize, Dan will also win an all-expenses paid trip to BTME in Harrogate, as well as a two-week work placement at the prestigious Vidauban Golf Resort in France.
BIGGA Head of Member Learning Stuart Green said: "Congratulations to Jimmy and Dan, who has become the first ever Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year. The introduction of the new young award has been a revelation. We have seen some amazing candidates come through and I was blown away by their breadth of knowledge and passion for their roles.
The runner-up in the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was David Perdisatt of Naas Golf Club in County Kildare, Ireland.
The runner-up in the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was Vincent DeMarzo, of Wildernesse Golf Club in Kent.
The grand final of the Toro Student Greenkeeper Awards was held at BIGGA HQ on the grounds of Aldwark Manor, following a series of regional interviews throughout the summer.
The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year finalists were required to take part in a professional discussion, before an examination and essay were completed. A final interview was then held, before the judging panel made their decision.
The Toro Young Student Greenkeepers took part in an exam, before taking part in a course walk where they were quizzed on various aspects of the Aldwark course by Stuart Green and BIGGA Chairman Les Howkins MG. A discussion then took place, before the judging panel made their final decision.
Top image: Dan Waring (left) with Jimmy Heritage