Horticulture apprentice crowned greenkeeping champion

An Essex horticulture apprentice has been awarded the Toro Student Greenkeeper Award and a seven-week scholarship at the University of Massachusetts in the USA.

Heritage: "I was not expecting to win...it hasn't sunk in yet"

Jimmy Heritage an apprentice at Maylands Golf Club in Romford and is currently studying a Level 3 Work-based Diploma in Greenkeeping at Writtle University College in Esssex was named this year’s champion at a ceremony held at the British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) headquarters in York last week. 

The 24-year-old impressed the judging panel, comprised of representatives from BIGGA, Toro and Reesink Turfcare, with his knowledge, skills, passion and drive for the greenkeeping industry.

He said: "I was not expecting to win. When you come to the finals you are surrounded by people who are experts in their field and you certainly don’t consider yourself the best of the bunch. It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but I am sure it will eventually."

Course manager for horticultural apprenticeships at Writtle Nigel Beckford said of his student.

"I am very proud of Jimmy and it’s great to see him being recognised for his hard work. He has shown great passion, dedication and talent throughout his studies and at his workplace."

The Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards is a nationwide contest hosted by greenkeepers’ association BIGGA, turfcare machinery manufacturers Toro, and machinery distributor Reesink Turfcare.

The student award is much coveted for its prestige and also the prize, which includes a visit to the Golf Industry Show and Education Conference in Orlando, Florida and a trip to Toro’s headquarters in Minneapolis for Heritage and Beckford.

BIGGA chief executive officer Jim Croxton said: "Every year the standard keeps getting better and better, and I don’t envy the task of the judges, who had to choose between our fantastic finalists. I am so excited by the amount of talent on show as it gives me great confidence that the future of golf is in good hands. I am really grateful to our friends at Toro and Reesink for once again supporting these awards."

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