Six achieve Master Greenkeeper designation

A record number of turf professionals — four from the U.S. — have earned the Master Greenkeeper certificate.


Golf course
Photo by Montana Pritchard

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has announced that a record number of members have achieved the Master Greenkeeper certificate following examinations in April.

The six BIGGA members have joined the ranks of course managers, head greenkeepers and superintendents who can count themselves among the most highly qualified and respected individuals within the industry.

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.

The BIGGA members who recently achieved Master Greenkeeper status are:

Bob Vaughey, CGCS
Rolling Hills Country Club
Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.

Sam Evans
Fulwell Golf Club
United Kingdom

Rob Clare
Brough Golf Club
United Kingdom

David McGregor
Westwood Country Club
Vienna, Va.

Matthew Gourlay, CGCS
Colbert Hills Golf Course
Manhattan, Kan.

Andrew Sprunt
Florissant Golf Club
Florissant, Mo.

In earning the MG certificate, Sprunt became just the 80th Master Greenkeeper.

For Matthew Gourlay, CGCS, golf is a family business. 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,” says Gourlay. “But it wasn’t until attending BTME (BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition) for the first time in 2016 and watching a mentor, Matt Wharton, CGCS, MG, being recognized that I made it a goal of mine. I attended that show with Tony Girardi, CGCS, MG, and we both walked away with a huge appreciation of the rigorous standards needed to achieve this designation. 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. 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.”

Sam Evans, course manager at Fulwell Golf Club in the U.K., has achieved the accreditation at just 30 years old. An active member of BIGGA, Evans has participated in two Open volunteer support teams, the Future Turf Managers Initiative, the TPC Sawgrass volunteer program and the BIGGA delegation for the Golf Industry Show.

“I wanted to do the Master Greenkeeper certificate as I believe there is always a next level to aspire to and push yourself to,” Evans says. “I have been brought up to aim high, and, to me, the Master Greenkeeper certificate is an unrivaled pinnacle of professional status, which I still cannot believe I have achieved. I am over the moon to be awarded this, and it is another example of how hard work really does pay off.”

Get more information about the Master Greenkeeper certificate.