After a couple of visits in 2023 to see what’s going on here, Midlands Golfer were delighted to see the team at Dudley Golf Club scoop the Greenkeeping Project of the Year award, sponsored by Origin Amenity Solutions at January’s annual BTME (BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition) in Harrogate.

Leading a team of just three, Stewart Marshall has brought the community spirited Black Country golf club back from the brink by using innovative and often cost-free sustainable solutions. From being on the verge of closure prior to the pandemic, the team has transformed Dudley with little or no budget into a thriving venue, just in time for the club’s 130th anniversary.

Examples of development work have included:

  • Asking for unwanted wooden planks from a local timber yard for the construction of bridges and reusing old materials to create flower beds and pathways.
  • Engaging with local schools to enhance and promote the ecological offering of the site.
  • Hosting fun social events in the clubhouse to raise money for equipment.

Stewart and his team who are just himself, Tony Salt and Darren Povey have shown what can be achieved through innovative thinking and greenkeeping expertise, highlighting the key role greenkeepers play in the success of any golf club.

“Winning this award has made me personally feel like I belong in the greenkeeping world a bit. Since I started 20 months ago, I’ve never really felt my title was earned nor respected by some people. After winning now, I feel the clubs faith in me has been proven right and that the skill set I brought to the role alongside the skills I’ve learnt in the process has really made people take note.”

The boost the win has had on the club as a whole is immeasurable. Everyone at the club has always felt inferior to other more high-profile clubs, and this has helped show our members what can be achieved when everyone pulls in the same direction.”

The local and regional press have learnt of the success and have really made us a story in the area which we are hoping can really boost the fortunes of the club moving forward. Finally my hope is that all clubs out there who are facing struggles can see what we have achieved and can take hope that better times are only around the corner so long as they stay positive and keep grinding, this award is for all of them.”

The image at the top shows Stewart (C) receiving the ward with Dudley GC General Manager Robert Woodhall (L) and awards sponsor Origin Amenity Solutions’ Andy Russell (R)