Outstanding achievements of BIGGA members and supporters recognised at BTME

A turf educator known as the ‘grandfather of greenkeeper education’ and credited with helping establish training opportunities for those working on golf courses was recognised on the opening evening of the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME).

At the BIGGA Welcome Celebration with AMS Robotics, Dennis Mortram, 75, was awarded with the Outstanding Contribution of the Year Award sponsored by Bernhard and Company. Dennis is a former tutor at Reaseheath College in Cheshire and was one of the first to recognise that greenkeepers would require industry specific education if they were to elevate the profession and raise standards of golf course maintenance. He also played a key role in the establishment of the Master Greenkeeper certification.

BTME is the UK’s leading exhibition for those in the golf greenkeeping and sports turf
industries and is taking place in March for the first time in the trade show’s 33-year
history. The traditional curtain-raiser of the exhibition is the BIGGA Welcome
Celebration sponsored by AMS Robotics and hosted by television presenter Naga

At the event a number of other awards were handed out to BIGGA members who
have done extraordinary things throughout their careers or shown wonderful commitment to supporting the association and its members.

The team at Loch Lomond Golf Club was awarded the Greenkeeping Project of the
Year Award sponsored by Baroness. With almost 2 metres of rainfall each year, Loch Lomond is a challenging place to build a golf course. David Cole MG and his team have overseen a project that has been described as the largest golf course construction in UK golfing history. Using innovative techniques that included placing a sand cap across the entire course, the team rebuilt the entire golf course over a period of four winters. More information is available here.

The Championship Greenkeeping Performance of the Year Award sponsored by Origin Amenity Solutions was won by the team at Clevedon Golf Club following the hosting the Wright-Morgan Championship on the EuroPro Tour in 2021. The event was only Clevedon’s third professional event in its 130-year history but despite their relative inexperience and a modest operating budget, Course Manager Richard Ponsford and the team produced a golf course that was described by the EuroPro’s tournament director as by far the best presented venue of the year.

Also recognised at the BIGGA Welcome Celebration sponsored by AMS Robotics

  • The winners of the Excellence in Communications Awards with Campey
    Turfcare Systems were revealed to be John Rowbottom of Woolley Park Golf
    Club (New Media), John Milne of Garmouth & Kingston Golf Club (Outreach)
    and Shaun Cunningham of Prestonfield Golf Club (Innovation and Thought
  • Stuart Taylor, formerly course manager at Glasgow Golf Club, received Life
    Membership of BIGGA.
  • The Amenity Forum Sprayer Operator of the Year Award was given to Jason
    Garlick of JMG Amenity.
  • BIGGA’s latest Master Greenkeepers received their certificates. They were
    Matthew Aplin, Alan FitzGerald, Greg Fitzmaurice, Richard Johnstone and
    Paul Brett.
  • The audience watched a conversation with Bryn Roberts, deputy head
    greenkeeper at Padeswood & Buckley, who recently returned from delivering
    aid to the Ukrainian border.
  • Jonathan Wood of St Andrews Links and winner of the 2021 BIGGA
    Photographic Competition collected his prizes including a frame print of his
    winning image.

Dennis Mortram said: “I’m emotionally drained. What we did back then was as a team and I have so many people to thank, who are as deserving as me to be up on this stage. Thank you to everyone for this honour, it is amazing.”

David Cole MG, course manager at Loch Lomond Golf Club, said: “I must admit that I feel like the four years of the project have taken their toll on me so I got quite emotional when Naga announced us as the winners. I’m so proud of the team and I really wanted them to get recognition for what they achieved. I will be indebted to my team until the day I die because they were there 12 hours a day, seven days a week for four years in a row.”

Richard Ponsford, course manager at Clevedon Golf Club, said: “I couldn’t believe it. Ganton and West Lancs are amazing venues and I thought we were just there to make the numbers up. From the team that I have every day at Clevedon to the volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without any of them. For the players to say that the course is up there with the best is something special.”

BTME 2022 continues until Thursday 24 March 2022 at the Harrogate Convention
Centre. Registration is free and available at www.btme.org.uk