If there's ever been a time when the industry needed something to look forward to and a reason to applaud greenkeeping talent, 2021 is it. And the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is back and the way to do just that.
2019 winner Jason Norwood visiting The Toro Company headquarters in Minnesota as part of his prize for winning. Entries for the 2021 competition are now open
2020 was a tough year and there are undoubtedly so many greenkeepers who coped stoically in the face of furlough, put in the extra mile on a reduced team, used lockdown time to further their learning or just shined in adversity.
David Cole from award sponsor and Toro distributor Reesink Turfcare says: "Think back over the last year to which of your members of staff have demonstrated their mettle whether in the actual or virtual classroom or out on the course. Let's make sure all of those young people are recognised with a nomination, give them a chance to look back on this time and remember it for something positive.
"It was hugely disappointing not to have a competition last year, but we're determined the 32nd Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will be even more valued, and no one should miss out because of the unforeseen pandemic. Therefore, we're welcoming new entries for 2021 who will join the entries from the postponed 2020 event."
It's important to remember that it's not just the students who benefit from winning, their nominators do too. Not only do they receive an all-expenses paid trip abroad the following year, but the winner's success is testament to the excellent support they receive from their employers and lecturers, who Reesink and Toro are also delighted to be able to recognise.
Entries are open now for both the main and young awards. All those who entered the 2020 competition will automatically be put forward for the 2021 awards. If someone is currently 21 and has their birthday before the next application stage, they can choose whether they would like to stay in the young group or move up to the main award.
David concludes: "For 31 years the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards have supported the brightest young professionals in the UK's greenkeeping industry and never before has there been a cancelled event. We do not plan on that being two! If the regional stage usually in July has to be held virtually, not a problem, we're all au fait enough with Zoom now! We are confident that the September Finals can happen in a positive and engaging format and, excitingly, at a new location, yet to be revealed."
Both employers and lecturers can make nominations. Visit reesinkturfcare.co.uk/sgoty to find out how to make a nomination into the 2021 awards.