1 St Mellion Course manager plays BIGGA role in USA

The course manager at Crown Golf's prestigious St Mellion International Hotel, Golf & Country Club - currently undergoing a £2.5 million course improvement project - was part of a select group of British greenkeepers which attended the huge Golf Industry Show.

Now Mike Bush, who was selected to join the week-long visit to Orlando with the British International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA), is likely to use some of the new greenkeeping techniques he discovered at the show as part of St Mellion's major upgrade.

Mike, aged 32, from Saltash, near Plymouth, has worked at the Cornwall club for the past 11 years, maintaining high standards at the 32-hole golfing resort, which was home to the 1007 English Seniors Open.

He explained: "I'm a member of the Devon and Cornwall branch of BIGGA and saw the visit as an opportunity to discover new greenkeeping techniques, which I can bring back to benefit the two championship courses we have at St Mellion.

"Twenty-five candidates were interviewed but only 10 were selected and I was thrilled to be told I'd be joining the delegation."

The trip, which took place at the end of January and beginning of February, allowed delegates an insight into the greenkeeping secrets of some of the world's most exclusive golf clubs, as well as attending seminars on course maintenance.

They also helped enquiries at the BIGGA stand at Florida's huge Golf Industry Show, which was attended by more than 25,000 golf industry professionals and featured some 1,200 exhibitors over more than 298,000 ft2 of exhibition space.

Mike's 14-strong team at St Mellion are currently preparing for the 2009 English Open, which is set to return to the club after a 12-year break. Owners Crown Golf were last week given full planning permission for the £100m redevelopment of St Mellion, including housing, a hotel, clubhouse expansion and course revamp.

"We're spending millions of pounds on course improvements over the coming year, including the installation of a new irrigation system and re-levelling the tees," he added.

St Mellion International Hotel, Golf & Country Club is set among 450 acres of rolling Cornish countryside. The club has two championship golf courses and is regarded worldwide as one of the finest golf resorts in the United Kingdom. The Nicklaus Course officially opened in July 1988, and was the first golf course designed in the UK by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.

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