The latest group to earn the distinction that is held by only 80 professionals worldwide includes Matthew Gourlay, CGCS, Colbert Hills GC; David McGregor, Westwood CC; Andrew Sprunt, Florissant GC and Bob Vaughey, CGCS, Rolling Hills CC.
Four golf course superintendents from U.S. clubs were among a record number of members of The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) to achieve the Master Greenkeeper (MG) certificate following the latest round of examinations in April, reported GCMOnline.com
The U.S. Superintendents earning the Master Greenkeeper distinction, which has been attained by only 80 professionals in total, included:
- Matthew Gourlay, CGCS, Colbert Hills Golf Course, Manhattan, Kan.
- David McGregor, Westwood Country Club, Vienna, Va.
- Andrew Sprunt, Florissant (Mo.) Golf Club
- Bob Vaughey, CGCS, Rolling Hills Country Club, Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.
In addition, two Superintendents from properties in the United Kingdom—Sam Evans of Fulwell Golf Club and Rob Clare of Brough Golf Club—were part of the latest class of BIGGA members to join the ranks of course managers, head greenkeepers and superintendents who can count themselves among the most highly qualified and respected individuals within the industry, reported GCMOnline.com
First presented in 1991, the Master Greenkeeper certificate is awarded to BIGGA members who have reached the highest standards of greenkeeping and golf course management.
To be eligible, a BIGGA member must have spent at least 10 years working in greenkeeping, with a minimum of three in a head greenkeeper, course manager or superintendent role. They must also have been responsible for their current golf course or courses for a minimum of two years.
For Matthew Gourlay, CGCS, golf is a family business, GCMOnline.com reported. His grandfather emigrated to Canada from Scotland in 1948 and was a founding member of the Canadian Golf Superintendents Association. The family name is synonymous with the feathery golf balls that were popular in Scotland in the first half of the 19th century.
“I have always thought highly of the Master Greenkeeper certificate, having worked for Steve Cook, CGCS, MG [Director of Agronomy at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club],” says Gourlay. “But it wasn’t until attending the BTME [BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition] for the first time in 2016 and watching a mentor, Matt Wharton, CGCS, MG, [Superintendent of Carolina Golf Club, Charlotte, N.C.] being recognized that I made it a goal of mine.
“I attended that show with Tony Girardi, CGCS, MG [Superintendent of Rockrimmon Country Club in Pound Ridge, N.Y.], and we both walked away with a huge appreciation of the rigorous standards needed to achieve this designation,” Gourlay continued. “We both set forth with the goal of achieving the MG certificate, with Tony obtaining his last year.
“I just enjoy continuing to learn about the golf industry,” Gourlay told GCMOnline.com. “After achieving the MG certificate, I am asking myself, ‘What’s next?’, as I believe in setting goals. Goals help me achieve the highest potential; they make me stretch beyond my normal self and reach new heights.”