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Golf course management professionals were honoured at the 2024 National Turf Industry Awards

POSTED ON June 26, 2024 @ 11:43 am

ASTMA award winners (from left) Gary Beehag, Paul Gumbleton, Tom Tristram and Darren Wardle

The industry’s leading golf course management professionals were honoured at the 2024 National Turf Industry Awards hosted by the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA) last week in Brisbane

The awards were bestowed during a gala dinner attended by 320 people at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on the opening night of the 2024 Australian Sports Turf Management Conference, a joint event organised by the ASTMA and Golf Management Australia.

The ASTMA handed out seven awards across both the golf and sportsfields and grounds sectors, celebrating the achievements and successes of Australia’s sports turf management professionals over the past 12 months.

The four major golf awards and winners were:

  • ASTMA Excellence in Golf Course Management Award (sponsored by ASTMA Gold Partner Envu): Tom Tristram (superintendent, Secret Harbour Golf Links, WA)
  • ASTMA Claude Crockford Sustainability and Environment Award (sponsored by ASTMA Platinum Partner Syngenta): Paul Gumbleton (superintendent, Teven Valley Golf Course, NSW)
  • ASTMA Graduate of the Year – Golf (sponsored by ASTMA Platinum Partner Toro): Darren Wardle (Murray Downs G&CC/Royal Melbourne GC)
  • ASTMA Distinguished Service Award: Gary Beehag, NSW

EXCELLENCE – TOM TRISTRAM

Tristram was bestowed the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Western Australia’s (GCSAWA) Superintendent of the Year Award at the 2024 WA Golf Industry Awards in March which qualified him for the ASTMA award.

He beat home a strong field of course superintendent finalists for the national award. including Malcolm Harris (formerly of Northbridge GC, NSW), Glen Beauclerc (formerly of Oxley GC, Qld) and Tom Filtness (Kingston Beach GC, Tas).

Tristram began his career in the golf industry 10 years ago, with his hard work and dedication seeing

him achieve the role of superintendent at Secret Harbour at the age of 25.

In the three years since arriving at Secret Harbour, Tristram has shown his dedication to finding innovative approaches to maintaining the club’s 53ha of playing surfaces which weave their way through a major residential community.

Despite operating with a small maintenance budget, Tristram’s full scope mindset has seen the overall consistency and playability of the course significantly improve, while also focusing on major upgrades and renovations to improve its foundations for years to come.

CROCKFORD – PAUL GUMBLETON

In winning the ASTMA Claude Crockford Sustainability and Environment Award, Teven Valley becomes the third NSW golf club to win the golf industry’s highest environmental accolade over the past decade, following the likes of Eastlake Golf Club in 2021 and Muirfield Golf Club in 2017.

The Claude Crockford Award comes on the back of Gumbleton’s NSW Golf Course Superintendents Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award which he collected in 2022.

The nine-hole Teven Valley Golf Course, located in the hinterland of the Northern Rivers of NSW, is one of the more unique golfing establishments in Australia.

Residing across 11ha, it is a special parcel of land which boasts a golf course that continually demonstrates environmentally sustainable practices which have helped to establish Gumbleton as an industry leader.

GRADUATE – DARREN WARDLE

The ASTMA Graduate of the Year Award recognises the hard work and endeavour of the industry’s apprentices who have decided to pursue a career in golf course turf management.

Wardle earned the award ahead of his fellow finalists included Beschen Pou (Rockingham GC/The Links, Kennedy Bay, WA), Annabelle Southall (Royal Canberra GC, ACT), Brandon Vella (Campbelltown GC, NSW) and Sophie Warren (Glenelg GC, SA).

He began his golf course turf management career at the back end of 2020 after finishing a Bachelor of Design in Architecture. It was during that course he realised it wasn’t quite what he had in mind for a career, instead preferring a job working outdoors.

An apprenticeship became available at Murray Downs Golf and Country Club in Swan Hill, where he is originally from, and he jumped at the opportunity and hasn’t looked back.

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE – GARY BEEHAG, NSW

The ASTMA Distinguished Service Award was bestowed upon Sydney’s Gary Beehag.

The association’s highest honour, this award recognises an individual who has left an indelible mark on the Australian golf course and sports turf management profession over a long period of time.

Over the best part of 50 years, Beehag has carved an esteemed career across all facets of the golf and sports turf industry.

Holding formal qualifications in turfgrass management, horticulture and teaching, Beehag has held various positions since the 1970s and has brought a fastidious nature and inquisitive mind to all of them.

Whether as a teacher, researcher or consultant, Beehag has advised and assisted countless golf course superintendents and turf managers along the journey and played a major role in furthering the industry’s understanding of significant turfgrass pests and diseases.

Over the years, Beehag has spoken at countless regional, state, national and international turfgrass conferences throughout Australia and in the USA, New Zealand, Singapore and Scotland.

Although now semi-retired, Beehag is still very much actively involved in the industry, whether through conference presentations, penning articles and, in recent years, co-authoring a couple of excellent turfgrass pest and disease reference books with a number of turf industry luminaries from Australia and overseas.

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