The South Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association (SAGCSA) honoured its leading practitioners recently as part of the SA Golf Industry Awards. The SAGCSA handed out two awards as part of the night, with The Grange Golf Club’s Rowan Daymond winning the SAGCSA Excellence in Turf Management Award and Thomas Burridge (formerly Kooyonga Golf Club) collecting the Graduate of the Year Award.
Rowan Daymond first started working at The Grange in 2009, rising through the ranks under the expert guidance of Richard James, and taking up the position of course superintendent in October 2017. In February 2019, The Grange hosted the Australian Women’s Open, a co-sanctioned event with the US based LPGA tour. This tournament was televised into millions of homes in Asia and the US, showcasing Adelaide as a world-class international golf destination and is estimated to have injected $20 million into the SA economy.
2018 was a dry year with only 220mm of rain. From December 2018 until the tournament in February 2019, only 2mm of rain fell. In response to the challenging climatic conditions, Rowan and his team modified turf nutrition and irrigation practices to ensure that the West Course was in prime condition for the main event whilst also preparing the East Course in tournament condition for the qualifying rounds.
Rowan’s team was also very busy in the months leading up to the event with ongoing course improvements including significant irrigation upgrades and drainage installations as well as the completion of a couch encroachment program around the greens.
In February 2019 Rowan led a team of 38 staff to deliver the courses in magnificent condition despite the very dry conditions. To add to the challenge, the East Course reverted to a car park for spectators after the qualifying rounds. Rowan and his team were able to return the East Course to members for play the week after the tournament and arguably the biggest cheer during the presentation ceremonies came when Rowan was introduced to the throng of spectators and volunteers surrounding the 18th green.
Rowan’s work ethic, organisational skills, turf management knowledge and leadership have been instrumental in the outstanding year-round presentation of the golf courses at The Grange and the hugely successful staging of the 2019 Women’s Australian Open.
Thomas Burridge didn’t move too far in taking up a traineeship at Kooyonga Golf Club, having grown up just around the corner from the club. As a young guy who loved looking after the front lawn, work experience and some casual work led to him being employed as trainee at Kooyonga Golf Club in 2016, following the path of older brother Jacob, who had also completed his traineeship at the club under previous superintendent Steven Newell.
Right from day one, Thomas demonstrated a passion for turf, always seeking to increase his knowledge and ability. He showed great dedication, freely giving his time and happy to be around and involved in whatever was going on, be it routine maintenance, renovations or course reconstruction activities. He was involved in the preparations and presentation of Kooyonga for the 2018 Women’s Australian Open, having volunteered at Royal Adelaide for the 2017 Women’s Open.
His thirst for improvement and knowledge has led him to move interstate to work at Peninsula Kingswood, somewhat ironically again following the well-worn path of brother Jacob, who made a similar move. Along with being able to immerse himself in the turf operations at one of the leading clubs on the Melbourne sandbelt, Thomas has taken the opportunity to commence further education to enhance his knowledge.
In addition to officially receiving the state award, Thomas earlier in the year was bestowed the ASTMA Graduate of the Year Award at the Brisbane conference, becoming the first representative from South Australia to win the coveted national award.
The ASTMA congratulates both Rowan and Thomas on their state awards.