Pantheon of finest GKs

There are Halls of Fame for the great and good golfers and personalities of the game. BIGGA has awarded four Lifetime achievements that include Sir Michael Bonallack; their Scottish section give away Walter Woods shields. Should there not be a Pantheon of the Finest Greenkeepers, who arguably have been more important than any other profession in the creation of our golfing enjoyment.
pantheon of the finest greenkeepers, Why is there not?  Perhaps because it has been made such a controversial list to create. The radical difference between ‘chemical’ managing for weed grasses and ‘conservation’ managing for fine grasses defines the dichotomy in the two types of greenkeeping. Few in the golf industry would wish to be seen making choices when some ‘vested interests’ prefer to ignore the dichotomy and just call it ‘grass’.
Nevertheless, as a help in raising further the respect for greenkeepers in golfer’s minds, in FineGolf’s view it is well worthwhile promoting such a Pantheon if this list is based on those greenkeepers who have

“successfully managed fine grasses over a decent period of time and who have had the courage to create an environment for running-golf “.

The list obviously should include:  John Philp M.B.E. (Newmarket/St Andrews/ Carnoustie), Walter Woods B.E.M. (Hollinwell (Notts)/St Andrews), Billy Mitchell (Perranporth),  James King and David Coull (Luffness New), George Thompson (Goswick), Frank Arnold and Garth Grand (Rye), Malcolm Grand (Littlestone), Mark Broughton (Aldeburgh), Chris Whittle (St Annes Old Links/Muirfield/Royal Birkdale), John Muir (West Lancashire), Gordon Irvine (Mill Ride), Fintan Brennan (Portmarnock Hotel & Links), James” Shaig” Logan B.E.M.(Muirfield), Paul Seago (Brancaster/Gullane/Renaissance), Martin Gunn (Temple), Gary Johnson (Southerndown/Portmarnock), Alf Hindley (North Hants), Craig Gilholm (Muirfield/Royal Liverpool), Frank Smith (Cruden Bay), Chris Haspell (Denmark/Castle Stuart/Coul Links), Jonathan Wood (Enville, Aberdovey, Penn), Marcus Geddes (Royal Porthcawl), Ian Kinley (Royal Birkdale/Royal Porthcawl), Colin Irvine (Muirfield) and of course John Sutherland (Dornoch) and Old Tom Morris (Prestwick/St Andrews) to name just an initial few. Some have had big budgets, some small, and they all should be recognised for their professionalism in creating an environment for our enjoyment of  the running game.
It is a major research project to develop this list of prospective candidates/members and there are some very fine younger greenkeepers who are successfully managing fine grasses and the running-game across the GB&I.
FineGolf  in time will assemble the list and welcomes, further suggestions and additions to the  Pantheon of the Finest Greenkeepers. 

Reader Comments

On June 24th, 2019 Edward Rose said:

You can add Dominic Lewis to your list! In very short time he is already making huge strides, to everyone’s delight, in returning Royal Ashdown Forest to its true linksy heritage.
Dear Ted,
I must get down and join you for a game, it is ages since I came.
Lorne

On February 25th, 2020 Frederick gibbons said:

Martin Gunn. Temple Golf Club should in my opinion be one of the first added to the list of greenkeepers, sadly forgotten by most, as a leading light of sustainable golf. Fescue bent and the running game. Meadow rough devotee and a great teacher of all of these.
Dear Frederick, Martin gave a talk at the first FineGolf Running-Golf Day in 2013 and I must agree with you.

On February 27th, 2020 David Lenton said:

In the early days started by Old Tom Morris the greenkeeper was also the pro. How long did that go on for, and who were the key people during this period?
I also wonder if on many courses we could not revert.
Comments please

Dear David,
There were too many to mention but also at places like Dornoch the secretary John Sutherland was the greenkeeper, and to this day many greenkeepers, like the brilliant Mike Evans at Royal North Devon, become secretaries.
Best wishes, Lorne

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