To be selected is a honour like no other and two previous winners of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards have been successful in gaining a place as a volunteer at the 150th Open at St Andrew’s in July.
The 2018 winner Daniel Ashelby from Reddish Vale Golf Club and last year’s winner Matthew Milligan from Rudding Park will help prepare the Old Course’s famous fairways for the international event at the home of golf.
When it comes to the opportunities that come with winning the decades old competition – and to shine a light on the fact that there is still time to make nominations into the 2022 event – we talk to Daniel Ashelby about what’s happened to him since being crowned champion four years ago.
“Since winning I’ve gone onto be head man at Hartford Golf Club in Cheshire and now I’m working at my dream club. Both roles have given me some absolutely fantastic experiences. At Hartford, during the pandemic, I was running the course by myself and that taught me to trust my instincts and put so much of what I’d learnt over the years into practice.”
Attending Massachusetts Winter School for Turf Managers as part of his prize for winning the Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award set off a passion for education and Daniel is now in his final year of his degree in golf course management.
With educational, international, all-expenses-paid prizes for the winners, runners up and nominators, there’s nothing to lose by nominating your best candidates into the 2022 competition.
And of course the future opportunities for the winners are endless, as Daniel says: “All the networking, learning experiences and personal development that transpire from winning the award have contributed greatly to me being in this position now.
“Being selected as a volunteer for The Open is literally a dream come true. Only those who have the right attitude, skills, ambition and qualifications succeed, and I do think winning the award had a role to play in this. There’s a correlation to the type of people I’ve met on the journey and the paths I’ve been put on that have led here. They go hand in hand.”
So what about those lecturers and employers who think they have a shining star in their midst? What would Daniel say to those those people who have the power to change one of their students or employees lives?
“Just do it. Putting that person’s name in the hat is the first step to opening up a world of possibilities and opportunities,” he says. “And if you’re thinking about nominating somone you’ve nominated before, do that too! Don’t let them feel knocked back if it didn’t work out the first time. Since then that person has grown up, evolved and has a better chance than ever before.”
Nominations into the 2022 Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards can be made now until 31 May online at BIGGA. This year’s finals will be held on 5-6 September.