2017 Claude Crockford winner - Peter Watts
Peter Watts from Muirfield Golf Club, pictured above with wife Karin and sister Lynne, was announced at the AGCSA President's Dinner as the 2017 Claude Crockford winner. Over the past 8 years Peter has diligently maintained and improved Muirfield Golf Course with a focus on sustainability and environmental best practice. While course aesthetics and playability are his main KPIs, he has embraced his responsibility to improve biodiversity and landscape management practices for the out of play areas and the surrounding bushland and greenspace. Peter, on commencing stewardship of the golf course initiated a general assessment of the Course including an overview of all maintenance practices, playing surfaces, a comprehensive audit of tree species; a survey of animal habitats and a review of the local Council vegetation map. Key areas of concern were identified as: the prevalence of introduced plant species and also the presence of invasive species in bushland areas; the loss of aquatic connectivity in the creek due to manmade diversions and interruptions to the natural creek line; the presence of rubble and other tipped material at various points on the course and the cumulative effects of some traditional course maintenance practices.
Peter has been instrumental in gaining grants and managing bush regeneration and rehabilitation of the interference to the waterway. In so doing there has been a significant improvement in the water quality and flow that feeds Rifle Range Creek which then runs into the Bidjigal Reserve and on into Parramatta River catchment.
The AGCSA Claude Crockford Environmental Award recognises golf course superintendents for their commitment to sustainable land management, long-term environmental planning, community involvement and overall environmental stewardship of their golf course.
The award, which is presented at the annual AGCSA Australian Turfgrass Conference, is named in honour of Claude Crockford who was superintendent at the world-renowned Royal Melbourne Golf Club between 1937 and 1975. While Royal Melbourne is famed for its greens, it was Crockford’s championing of golf course environmental management which he is most remembered for within the industry. That legacy continues today through the Claude Crockford Environmental Award.
In these times of heightened environmental awareness and regulation, the AGCSA Claude Crockford Environmental Award takes on great significance. With golf courses now under increasing public and legislative scrutiny, environmental management and responsibility has become a primary concern for the modern day superintendent.
This award has become one of the most sought after at the annual presentation ceremony and always attracts a highly competitive field of nominees. Winning the AGCSA Claude Crockford Environmental Award is something that the entire club can take pride in. Syngenta is the proud sponsor of this award.
Nominees for the AGCSA Claude Crockford Environmental Award must work within an organisation that employs a current AGCSA member. All valid nominations will be judged individually by members of the AGCSA Board with input from independent industry experts as required.
Selection criteria include the demonstration of a commitment to sustainable land management, long-term planning, community involvement and overall environmental stewardship of the golf course and its surrounding environment. Protection of indigenous plant and animal populations, restoration of habitat and a desire to protect sensitive areas are also highly regarded aspects of this award.