DAVID Golding has been described as the unsung hero of greenkeeper education, but after being presented with the Outstanding Contribution Award sponsored by Baroness at the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME), that’s no longer the case.
Hosted by the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) on the opening evening of BTME, the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by Origin Amenity Solutions also saw wins for Abridge Golf Club in Essex and Strathaven Golf Club in South Lanarkshire.
In a career spanning more than 50 years, David drove educational opportunities for greenkeepers to new heights. Possessing a passion for education and desire to improve development opportunities for his peers in greenkeeping, David’s encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry helped lay foundations that continue to bear fruit to this day as proven with the recent establishment of the Level 5 greenkeeping apprenticeship and the continued development of the Level 2 and 3 qualifications.
He began his career as an apprentice greenkeeper at Buxton & High Peak Golf Club in his home town. He spent two years as an assistant greenkeeper at Camberley Heath Golf Club in Surrey before returning north, firstly to Dore & Totley Golf Club in Sheffield. Aged just 21, he then got his first head greenkeeper role, working with Trafford Borough Council in a position that over the following 16 years would see him take responsibility for two busy municipal golf courses – Altrincham and William Wroe.
Upon the formation of BIGGA in 1987, David was appointed the association’s first Northern regional administrator. In 1989 he became BIGGA’s first education officer and then in 1993 he became education director of the Greenkeepers Training Committee, a position he would hold until his retirement.
The BIGGA Welcome Celebration is held on the opening night of BTME, the hugely-influential trade show and education programme for golf greenkeepers, and sees members of BIGGA honoured for their achievements throughout the previous year.
St Annes Old Links Golf Club were finalists for the Championship Greenkeeping Performance Award, but lost out to Abridge Golf Club, Essex. While Astbury Golf Club were also finalists in the Greenkeeping Project Award, but they were pipped by Strathaven Golf Club, Lanarkshire.
BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “Congratulations to David Golding, a former colleague who I have long admired and who I was delighted we were able to recognise in this way. David was a crusader for the recognition of greenkeeper education standards and he was undoubtedly one of the most influential people in the history of the greenkeeping industry, in terms of bringing the professionalism of greenkeeper training forwards. At heart he was always a greenkeeper who believed that education was key to improving the profession for his fellow practitioners.”
Fiona Lyttle, Learning and Development Executive – The GTC, worked alongside David from 2000 until his retirement and said: “Working with David, you picked up his passion and dedication to make sure greenkeepers had the right training and education to enable them to further their careers and aim for the top. His work has been the bedrock of all that we do now and for him to be honoured in this way is fantastic and long overdue.”
You can view an in-depth look at the winning entries and all the other finalists on the BIGGA website.