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GOLF: A labour of love for Came Down's Parker
6:00pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in Sport
HEAD greenkeeper Derek Parker, 58, has spent the last 25 years looking after Came Down, one of the leading downland courses in Dorset.
In 2011 Golf Monthly and Golf World listed Came Down as ‘One of Britain’s Hidden Gems’ but things were very different in 1988 when Parker started at the club as an assistant greenkeeper, having spent 10 years working for South Western Farmers around Dorchester, and five years as a gardener at the Police College, Chantmarle.
“There was an ancient open Nuffield tractor with a flatbed trailer behind carrying all the tools,” said Parker.
“All the banks were cut with flymos, and the team of four spent hours raking up the cuttings with hay rakes. There were also just two mowers with different settings for aprons and greens.
“The greenkeeping staff had very few qualifications – the head greenkeeper had done a two-week course on greenkeeping to equip him for the job and the clothing given to the team comprised a pair of gloves and a donkey jacket. How things have changed.”
Parker, who was promoted to head greenkeeper in 1996, now has a range of NVQs and City & Guilds qualifications, and both him and his staff are encouraged to continue and improve their education and qualifications with day release opportunities.
They are also issued with a variety of clothing, including a range of safety clothing, wet weather gear, boots, eye guards and ear guards etc.
The equipment the team uses includes fairway mowers, rough cutters, green mowers, apron mowers, and various kit for treating the greens to keep them in prime health and billiard table smoothness.
The course is in first-class condition, presenting players with inviting drives, and punishing but fair penalties for missing the fairways.
"I have a really good greenkeeping team, who help me to maintain this great golf course in first-class condition,” added Parker, who loves his outdoor job and would not change it for anything.
The club stalwart’s long service was marked with the presentation of a gold pocket watch, which he received from club captain Geoff Morris.
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