A MORISSET Golf and Country Club greenkeeper will travel to the USA where he could get the chance to work at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Daniel Hendrie, 21, of Wyee, will make the journey in June next year as part of his prize for winning the 2018 Australian Golf Course Superintendents’ Association Graduate of the Year award.
Mr Hendrie, a TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri sports turf management student, received the award at the finale of the Australasian Turfgrass Conference in New Zealand.
He said it was the award that every graduate wanted to win.
“This award is the very top level graduate award in the sports turf industry. To be honest, I was speechless when they announced I had won,” he said.
“It’s such a life-changing moment, and new career avenues have already opened up for me.”
Mr Hendrie completed a three-year apprenticeship at Toronto Golf and Country Club last year.
In November, he accepted an offer from Morisset Golf and Country Club to become course superintendent Nathan Reynolds’ second in charge.
It was a meteoric rise for a new graduate to be appointed to a role that normally goes to a greenkeeper with years of experience on the job.
But Mr Reynolds had done his homework.
“I hired Daniel as a fresh young man straight out of TAFE NSW – it’s unusual to go straight from apprentice to second in charge, but he came with high recommendations, and ticked all the boxes,” Mr Reynolds said.
“Experience goes a long way, but his freshness, ‘get up and go’, good character, and up-to-date industry knowledge is a great asset to our club.”
Mr Hendrie said nominees for the national award were judged on academic results at TAFE, as well as their ambitions, skills, personality, and experiences.
“They wanted the right person for the role, so we had to give 20-minute presentations, and then I answered questions for half an hour,” he said.
Mr Hendrie commended TAFE and his teachers.
“I studied my Certificate III in Sports Turf Management at TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri with other students from across the state,” he said.
“TAFE NSW Kurri Kurri has excellent facilities, with a bowling green, tennis court, volleyball court, cricket pitch and oval, and two golf courses, and quality machinery in near-perfect condition. It was a great hands-on learning experience.”
As part of the award, Mr Hendrie will travel to the US on a fully-funded six-month educational sabbatical.
There he will visit the factory of the irrigation and landscaping machinery company, Toro.
“I’ll be going on their turf professionals tour – where they take some of the top superintendents from Australia on a series of seminars, to golf course tours, and for product demonstrations,” Mr Hendrie said.
“Then we have the option to possibly do a week of work experience at Muirfield, the Jack Nicklaus course.”
So, is there one tip that Mr Hendrie could offer to help local home gardeners to get their lawns looking more like a fairway at Morisset Golf and Country Club?
“To keep it simple, I’ll say water appropriately,” he said.
“In summer, you want regular irrigation for your lawn. But in winter you’ve got to back it off a bit.”