Andrew Kerr (left) and Anthony Girardi, CGCS. Photos courtesy of BIGGA
Andrew Kerr, course manager at Surbiton Golf Club in London, and Anthony Girardi, CGCS, golf course superintendent at Rockrimmon Country Club in Stamford, Conn., have become just the 73rd and 74th recipients of the Master Greenkeeper certificate, a distinction given by the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA).
Recognized as a prestigious and highly sought-after greenkeeping industry award, Master Greenkeeper status is achieved through a three-stage process. To be eligible, BIGGA members must have worked in the industry for 10 years, with three years spent in a head greenkeeper, course manager or superintendent role.
Andrew Kerr, 39, was raised in County Antrim, Ireland, and comes from an agricultural background. He began his career working on golf courses in Northern Ireland before making the switch to England, finally settling in as the course manager at Surbiton.
“I feel the Master Greenkeeper qualification is important for the industry, as it highlights great work, knowledge and abilities in a small industry within a global scale,” Kerr says. “Each of the stages helped me push my own knowledge and develop excellent standards from a course and administration point of view, which I hope to continue to do now and in the future.”
Anthony (Tony) Girardi, 49, has been in the golf business for 29 years, beginning his career as an intern while attending the University of Rhode Island. He graduated in 1992 with a degree in environmental science and landed an assistant superintendent position at Woodway Country Club in Darien, Conn. After three years, he became the golf course superintendent at Rockrimmon Country Club, a position he has held for the past 24 years. Girardi is a 28-year member of GCSAA.
“I had always heard of the Master Greenkeeper program through the years, but it wasn’t until I attended BTME (BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition) in 2016 that I became more aware of the certificate and what it entailed,” Girardi says. “You are never too old to learn, and in a very short two-year period, I can safely say that I have learned a great deal about course management from my peers in the U.K. and Ireland. The Master Greenkeeper process is an invaluable experience that allows you to grow both personally and professionally.”
Adds Stuart Green, BIGGA’s head of member learning, “Our Master Greenkeeper certificate is now in its 28th year, and yet only 74 golf course managers and superintendents from all over the world have made the grade, highlighting what an incredible achievement this is. Master Greenkeeper is a learning experience, and I would recommend any golf course manager who aspires to the highest standards give it a go.”
Get more information on the Master Greenkeeper certificate.