20 Sep 2018

Tale of two Dans as student greenkeepers claim prestigious Toro awards

We’re delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, and its Young Award category. 

After a two-day final at BIGGA HQ in York, Daniel Ashelby of The Wilmslow Golf Club was proclaimed the 30th winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award, and Danny Patten of Lee Park Golf Club the third winner of the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award.


Daniel, 25, a second-generation greenkeeper whose father was course manager at Gatley Golf Club, impressed the judges with his knowledge and passion for the profession. The presentation he delivered in front of the awards judges showed his dedication to greenkeeping and his eagerness to do well in his chosen career.

Daniel said: “I can’t believe I’ve won. There was a really strong line-up and I couldn’t tell right until the end who had won because everybody else was fantastic. I’m absolutely delighted and I’d like to thank Toro, Reesink Turfcare and BIGGA for everything they’ve done this week, it’s amazing.”

As part of his prize, Daniel wins a seven-week scholarship at the University of Massachusetts in the USA, as well as a trip to the GCSAA’s Golf Industry Show in San Diego and a trip to Toro’s headquarters in Minneapolis. 

The Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award is open to students under the age of 20 and as winner, Danny receives a two-week work placement at the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in France, as well as a trip to BTME in Harrogate.

Danny, 20, said: “I’m shocked to have won. I thought I had done a good course walk but wasn’t sure it would be enough. Then when they announced my name to say I had won it, was just the best feeling in the world. I’ve been greenkeeping for just over two years so to get this award is really promising for my career and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

David Cole, award judge and managing director of the award sponsor Reesink Turfcare, said: “Congratulations, not only to the winners and runners-up, but also to the whole group in reaching the final in what is a very competitive awards process. You are all a credit to yourselves and to your golf clubs.”

“Every year the challenge of selecting one winner from each category becomes greater and greater for the judges. This tells us that the future of greenkeeping is in safe hands by virtue of the commitment we see in front of us from students towards their career and personal education.”

David Cole, Reesink MD and award judge

The runner-up in the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was John Scurfield of Morpeth Golf Club, and the runner-up in the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award was Liam Pigden of Burnham and Berrow Golf Club. 

BIGGA head of member learning Stuart Green says: “To be crowned Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year isn’t just two days’ hard work; rather you must dedicate yourself to the greenkeeping profession every day of your working life and so both winners and everyone who made it to the finals should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton says the awards are made the most prestigious in the industry because of the commitment and dedication to the profession by those who have previously enjoyed success in them: “Daniel and Danny join an incredible roster of past winners throughout the awards’ prestigious 30-year history, each of whom has done their part in elevating standards in the greenkeeping profession to new heights. They are a real highlight of the greenkeeping calendar.”

Applications for the 31st Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards will open in February 2019.