Newport Golf Club's Rhys Norville wins Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year 2009 accolade

Rhys Norville, an assistant greenkeeper at Newport Golf Club in South Wales, has won the title of Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year 2009 and a trip to study turf management in the US.

Norville was the competition's youngest ever winner as well as the first Welsh recipient of the title. BIGGA organises the competition. Toro and its UK distributor Lely sponsor it.

The 21-year-old won the award after beating off competition from six fellow student greenkeepers at the national finals held at BIGGA House near York recently. Norville is a Coleg Gwent student who has just completed an NVQ Level 2 in Horticulture (Sports Turf) at the Usk college.

He said: "My heart was pounding when we were waiting for the winner to be announced. I certainly didn't expect my name to be read out as the standard of the finalists was so high — all the guys were great. I was in a state of disbelief when I won."

After attending a six-week residential turf management course at the University of Massachusetts in early 2010, Norville will also visit Toro's global headquarters in Minneapolis and the GCSAA Golf Industry Show & Conference in San Diego in February.

Runners-up were Benjamin Burrill, 24, an assistant greenkeeper at Ilkley Golf Club in Yorkshire and Askham Bryan College student; and Adam Wise, 24, an assistant greenkeeper at Richmond Golf Club in Surrey and Myerscough College student. Both win a trip to Harrogate Week in January.


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