Club’s greenkeepers earn top accolades

Dunstanburgh Castle's head greenkeeper Stuart Imeson won Young Greenkeeper of the Year and the team won Greens Team of Year.

Dunstanburgh Castle's head greenkeeper Stuart Imeson won Young Greenkeeper of the Year and the team won Greens Team of Year.

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Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club’s greenkeepers have been recognised nationally this month after winning two awards.

Head greenkeeper Stuart Imeson won Young Greenkeeper of the Year, while the team won Greens Team of Year.

Stuart took over the reins at the tender age of 18 and, now 23, works alongside his two staff, James Thorpe, 23, and Dan Wilkin, 18.

The club and course has had a season they will never forget, which started back in February when Stuart and James were selected to go down to work at the BMW PGA Championships at Wentworth.

They both came back full of ideas, but mainly full of enthusiasm after watching Rory Mcilroy win the European Tour’s flagship event.

The momentum didn’t stop there as owner Dr Peter Gilbert significantly invested in two key pieces of machinery.

Then in July, Stuart was off to work at the 143rd Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, which proved to be The Open all British fans wanted after Rory Mcilroy claimed the Claret Jug.

From then on Stuart and his team got their heads down and prepared Dunstanburgh to the highest standard possible with a few older members saying the course has never been in as good condition and it’s a credit to the three young men.

The IOG/BIGGA (Institute of Groundsmanship/ British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association) awards aren’t just judged on playing surfaces, but on the overall management of each site with all tools and budgets taken into consideration,

Of Stuart, the judges said: “His high quality of maintenance on a small and youthful greenkeeping team is amazing, he is making the most out of a tight budget and Stuart’s implemented an ambitious and progressive action plan to ensure excellent surfaces all year round.”

Stuart said: “It’s an honour to even be nominated for these awards, but to win both in one season proves we’re on the right track.

“The lads have fully supported my ridiculous action plan and without them and backing from owner Dr Peter Gilbert, we would not have had the success we had.”

Deputy James Thorpe added: “The drive and enthusiasm Stu has is second to none.

“I’ve caught the bug now and want to achieve further awards and travel the world in greenkeeping.”