Six R&A supported greenkeeping scholars have been in Scotland’s Western Isles to visit the restored Old Tom Morris course at Askernish.
Four Chinese students and one each from Germany and Spain headed to South Uist as part of their course to gain an understanding of what can be achieved without big budgets, chemicals or heavy machinery.
Field visits like this are an integral part of the R&A’s Greenkeeper Scholarship Programme, an initiative designed to introduce budding greenkeepers from all over the world to the concept of sustainable golf course maintenance and management.
“Supporting and encouraging enthusiastic young greenkeepers is every bit as important as developing young amateur golfers,” explained R&A director of golf course management Steve Isaac. “Today’s scholars will be the head greenkeepers and golf course superintendents of tomorrow who will ensure and safeguard the future of the game. It is important that we recognise and reflect this fact in our funding.”
The programme, to which the R&A has contributed nearly £150,000, was instituted in 2004. It has, as of now, contributed towards funding the higher education of 69 students from, among others, China, Hungary, Iceland, India, Nepal and Slovenia who have made the trip to the UK to study at both Myerscough College situated near Preston in Lancashire, and Elmwood College in Cupar, just ten miles from the R&A’s home in St Andrews.