Top award 'a thrill'

GERRINGONG Golf Club course superintendent Brad Huender has been recognised for his work on the picturesque course, taking out the NSW Golf Association's Outstanding Achievement Award.

Mr Huender claimed the title against fierce competition from high profile clubs including Bankstown, Beverly Park and Cumberland.

"It was a real thrill for me, particularly when you consider that we are a 'team' of just three here, compared with the number of employees some of these other clubs have," Mr Huender said.

"Really, part of the award should go to Louie Sullivan, who has just become a qualified greenkeeper, and our apprentice Caleb Williamson.

"I have worked here as superintendent for 10 years now and absolutely love it - there probably isn't a better place to come to work of a morning, with views like we have here.

Mr Huender said the major challenge over the past few years was changin the greens from couch grass to bent grass.

"Couch would be dormant for up to eight months a year and would go brown, making the greens look much more like sand greens, which didn't attract visitors, but now the course looks amazing all year around," he said.

"I reckon it is a ten-fold improvement in how the course looks and plays."

The criteria for the award was stringent. The superintendent was recognised for his accomplishments in developing the course in light of budgetary constraints, his ability to overcome obstacles and as someone who has challenged and positively changed organisational structures.

He also had to demonstrate bold and pioneering course practices, show unwavering dedication to succeed and show how his work helped improve the golfing experience offered by the course.

"One of the really good things on the course is that we are one of the very few clubs around where social players can get on the course on Saturdays," he said.

"At other clubs Saturday is all about competitions for their members, but we manage to work around that and it has meant a huge increase in the number of players on the course, which is what we are all about."

He said the fact that the club has also won two Apprentice of the Year awards over the past few years was very pleasing. Dave Sutherland was the first and Louie Sutherland won last year.

"I would also like to pay tribute to the man who has been my right hand, Dick Bowen, who has been volunteer course mower at the club for 22 years and has recently retired - he will be missed," he said.

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