GREENKEEPER Michael Davie – who set up a mental health support group to help his fellow professionals in the turf industry – has picked up the top award at the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association’s annual convention.
Davie, the course manager at Hazel Grove Golf Club, in Stockport, has tirelessly supported many BIGGA members and other greenkeepers, having overcome periods of depression in his own life.
In recognition of the incredible effort he has put in to supporting his fellow greenkeepers, Michael was awarded with the Outstanding Contribution of the Year Award, sponsored by Jacobsen.
After receiving the award, Michael Davie said: “I’m exceptionally humbled to receive this. It’s totally unexpected and really amazing.
“I’m retiring from greenkeeping in a few months and I hope the extra time that gives me will allow me to develop the mental health side of things.
“I’m looking into how I can try and help as many people as possible, so this is just the start!”
Michael established the ‘Greenkeepers mental health support group’ on Facebook so his peers could come together to support each other.
Michael also hosts a regular meet-up in Manchester, where greenkeepers discuss issues and provide a helping hand.
The UK’s best and brightest greenkeepers were recognised at a dazzling awards ceremony hosted by the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association at the opening night of BTME 2020.
BTME is the UK’s leading exhibition for those in the golf greenkeeping and sportsturf industries, with more than 5,000 BIGGA members, industry leaders and influencers expected through the doors of the Harrogate Convention Centre for the duration of the three-event.
The traditional curtain-raiser of the exhibition is the BIGGA Welcome Celebration, sponsored by Campey Turf Care Systems and hosted by television presenter Naga Munchetty.
A number of awards were handed out to BIGGA members who have done extraordinary things throughout their careers.
The Outstanding Contribution award is one of three BIGGA Awards given out to members during the event.
The other two are the Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year – sponsored by Rigby Taylor – and the Greenkeeping Project of the Year sponsored by Baroness and Kubota.
Grant Peters and the team at Parkstone Golf Club in Poole were winners of the Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year Award after successfully hosting the Ladies’ European Amateur Championship, in July, which was won by Berkhamsted’s Alice Hewson.
Also nominated in the same category were Craig Haldane’s Gleneagles team for the hosting the 2019 Solheim Cup, and Graham Brumpton and the team at Ipswich Golf Club, which staged the English Ladies’ Open Amateur Championship at Purdis Heath last summer.
The Greenkeeping Project of the Year Award was won by Darren Anderson MG and the team at Cheshire’s Bromborough Golf Club.
The team replaced a 46-year-old irrigation system, alongside rebuilding greenside bunkers. Completing the work in-house, it is estimated that the greenkeepers saved the club around £150,000.
Also nominated in the same category were Master Greenkeeper Andrew Kerr’s team at Surrey’s Surbiton Golf Club and Robert George’s team at Essex’s Thorndon Park Golf Club.
For the first time, a new set of prizes were introduced at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration.
The BIGGA Excellence in Communication Awards sponsored by Campey Turf Care Systems seek to recognise those BIGGA members who have embraced communication as a vital tool available to the modern greenkeeper.
Awards for the best use of social media and work in the community will be handed on the second day BTME on the Campey Turf Care stand, but at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration, the winner of the Innovation and Thought Leadership Award was unveiled.
The award is given to the BIGGA member who had written the most thought-provoking article for BIGGA’s monthly magazine, Greenkeeper International, with Ryun Holden, of Switzerland’s Golf Club Wylihof, claiming the inaugural prize for his feature discussing the importance of conveying a positive message from the greenkeeping team to golfers at their club.
Ryun received a £750 cash prize and all-expenses paid trip to Florida, where he will visit the Campey Air2g2 factory, Daytona International Speedway, TPC Sawgrass and TIAA Bank Field, the home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
BIGGA chief executive Jim Croxton said: “I take immense pride in the BIGGA Welcome Celebration as it is the opportunity for our association to recognise the unbelievable hard work and dedication that BIGGA members all over the world demonstrate every day of their working lives.
“As we saw once again through the story of Michael Davie, it can become all too easy to get caught up in all the negativity that surrounds the golf industry.
“Yet there are many passionate and hardworking greenkeepers who have dedicated their careers to ensuring this great industry has a strong and vibrant future.
“BIGGA is nothing if not a community where members can come together to support each other through the bad times and the good.
“Thank-you to all our sponsors and to everyone who came along to support this brilliant event.”