Luton Hoo greenkeeper Avon Bridges has flown to America after beating off stiff competition from around the country to win a top scholarship.
As winner of the Toro Student Greenkeeper Scholarship Award, Avon’s prize includes the eight-week trip to America to complete a residential turf management study course at the University of Massachusetts.
Avon, who is 27 and lives in Leighton Buzzard, joined Luton Hoo, Golf & Spa on the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire border last year after three years as deputy head greenkeeper and six years as assistant greenkeeper at Finchley Golf Club in Middlesex. He has been helping to oversee the development of the new course at Luton Hoo, which at just over 7,100 yards is one of the longest courses in the UK.
Each year there are around 3,500 students around the UK studying greenkeeping and tutors nominate one student from each course for the scholarship.
Avon, who recently completed the final stage of his NVQ qualification at Oaklands College in Hertfordshire, was selected for the preliminary rounds involving 10 students from eight regions around the country.
After successfully completing another series of interviews he was one of eight selected to go forward to the finals held at the headquarters of The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) in York.
Avon, who will also visit the Toro headquarters and a golf industry show during his trip, said: "It was very tough as you are asked questions in relation to your years of experience so the longer you have worked as a greenkeeper the harder the questions.
"When I was told I had won the scholarship it took a while to sink in, but I am absolutely delighted and it is a real accolade. It is a prestigious industry award and a former winner is now head greenkeeper at St Andrew’s in Scotland."