More to Greenkeeping than cutting grass - David Rumbles' insight into the world of Greenkeeping
I was 13 years old, playing golf almost every day. Trying to improve as much as I could. I used to watch the professional golfers on the TV, I decided that’s what I wanted to do. Then one day I found out how far away I was and how much I would have to improve to get to their level.
What now? If I’m not good enough to be a professional golfer what will I do?
I knew the Greenkeeper on the golf course quite well and got chatting to him, I wanted to know more about what he does. He started chatting about all different types of things. Grass Species, moisture levels, fertilisers, chemicals, topdressing, organic matter, height of cut, diseases etc. etc.
I was fascinated. I thought he just cut grass! How wrong was I!
A few years later I enrolled at SRUC Elmwood to study NC Greenkeeping. While studying, in 2010 I received an R&A Scholarship for exceling in my studies. At the time I was the youngest person to have received the reward and it still benefits me to this day. I chose to study full time rather than distance learning because there were no vacancies at any golf courses in my area at the time.
After passing my NC I was put forward for a position as a Greenkeeper at Castle Stuart. I still remember when the Course Manager took me round the course the first time, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had played a lot of golf on many courses and I never even realised it was there!
College is great, you learn a lot about the grass plant and how to manage it, but you don’t get to do very much practical. This became clear to me when I started at Castle Stuart, but I soon got the hang of things. I went on to work there for 2 years before getting a position closer to home at Elgin Golf Club.
I have also been lucky enough to volunteer at several tour events from Nairn to South Africa. Most recently I was part of the greenkeeping team for the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.
Fast forward a few years I have just been appointed the Head Greenkeeper at Elgin Golf Club. We have a great team here at Elgin and we are focused on the upcoming season and future improvements to the course.
To anyone considering Greenkeeping as a career I would approach your local course and if you can, volunteer maybe one day per week, just to get a feel to see whether you like it or not. It’s quite a physical job with early morning starts but it is a very rewarding job that could take you anywhere in the world.
Golf is also one of the only sports that can play a part in being environmentally friendly. We have a variety of wildlife on our course and have introduced measures to encourage this to thrive.