Trajectory of success thanks to Toro student awards

. minute read

There can be no doubt that Dan Patten is a role model for young greenkeepers in his shoes five short years ago. The 2018 Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award winner was made, at the incredibly impressive age of 23, course manager at Huyton and Prescot Golf Club in Merseyside.


Aged 25 now, Dan attributes his success to “not being afraid to ask lots of questions, taking every opportunity to learn, being confident to stand out and entering the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award”.


Let’s look at Dan’s steps to success. In 2018 Dan was assistant greenkeeper at Lee Park Golf Club. He was 20 years old and studying at Myerscough College. With the endorsement of his tutor, Dan applied to the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award – and won!


At the time of winning, Dan said: “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.”


The future, it turns out, has been one achievement after another. Subsequently, Dan was promoted to first assistant greenkeeper at Lee Park before making the move to Huyton and Prescot where he soon took on the head greenkeeper role on a temporary basis. That went so well that in April 2021 he became course manager at just 23.


So, how did winning the Toro Young Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award contribute to his successes? Dan says: “The awards are really well recognised in the industry and come with a certain level of achievement attached to them, even just for getting to the finals. Winning gave me a platform like no other and I was really determined to use that to my advantage.


“Going to the exclusive Vidauban Golf Club in France for a work placement as part of the prize for winning was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. There’s no club like it in the world and I learnt there what it’s like to greenkeep properly. I had two mentors who gave me so much time and confidence in my abilities.


“Also part of the prize was a trip to Continue to Learn at BTME and two days of education, and that just instilled in me the ethos to always be considering what else I can do to further improve my knowledge by going on different courses, attending events, and just getting out there and doing different things to make sure I’m always learning and bringing back new ways of doing things to my club.”


With entries now open for the 2023 Award what advice would Dan give those thinking about entrering or those endorsers who see talent in their students or employees? “Do it. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. It’s even free to apply. Give yourself the chance to get your head above the others and be noticed, I guarantee you won’t regret it.”


A highlight in the greenkeeping calendar, Toro’s Student Greenkeeper of the Year Awards provide the opportunity for the UK’s course managers and lecturers to recognise their brightest employees or students by nominating them for these prestigious industry awards. Winning provides educational, international, all-expenses-paid prizes for the winners, runners-up and nominators.