Oaklands student crowned Toro Greenkeeper of the Year
Kevin O'Neill fought off strong competition to win the prestigious title of Toro Greenkeeper of the Year 2014 in the competition's 25th anniversary year.
LONDON — Oaklands student, Kevin O’Neill has been named Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year 2014 just days before he heads to Gleneagles, Scotland to join other greenkeeping volunteers at the Ryder Cup.
Proud Kevin, Deputy Head Greenkeeper at Muswell Hill Golf Club in North London, pipped runners-up Tom Freeman from Kingsdown Golf Club and Wesley Lenihan from Ealing Golf Club.
Kevin will head to America next year for a six-week study course at the University of Massachusetts and will also visit the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, Texas all courtesy of Toro. He will also get the chance to explore Toro’s Californian base. This year’s final had a celebratory air as a special event was held to mark 25 years of the competition.
The greenkeeper, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, said: “I’m very proud, I put a lot of work into this! The final was an amazing experience. I don’t think there was much between the six of us.
“When you look at the names of the previous winners and the careers they’ve gone on to have it’s brought home to me how important this competition is, it’s the highlight of my career so far. I can’t wait to head to America and before that I’m very excited to be heading to Gleneagles.”
Kevin began his greenkeeping career at Gleneagles before spells as a groundsman at Charlton Athletic and Barnet football clubs. He joined Muswell Hill in 2008, and this week will head back to Scotland as he joins the rest of the greenkeeper volunteers for the Ryder Cup.
Matt Plested, Course Manager at Muswell Hill, said: “Kevin’s the best greenkeeper I’ve ever worked with, he’s so dedicated and professional. I’m so pleased that he will now get the opportunity to study in America because he deserves it. When he called me to tell me he’d won I felt like a proud parent on X Factor!”
Tom and Wesley will attend Continue to Learn at BTME 2015 courtesy of Toro, all finalists will be given free BIGGA membership for a year and they have also all been awarded a place on the Turf Managers’ Conference at BTME 2015.
The procedure for the final was refreshed this year to include a discussion panel, a multiple choice test, an essay question and a presentation by the candidates prior to interview.
Kevin is part of the college employer GK liaison group and plays key role in running the BIGGA London region.