Golf Awareness Month: Meet Golf Course Manager David Jakeway
22 May

Golf Awareness Month was created to encourage people who may not think they would like golf to give it a try and benefit from all this sport has to offer. The best way to celebrate Golf Month is to get out and play some golf! If you’re someone who already plays golf, maybe try getting some friends or family members who have never tried to join you for a few hours on the course. And if you’ve never tried, it’s the perfect time to start!

About David Jakeway

David Jakeway our Golf Course Manager has been at Bryn Meadows Golf Hotel & Spa for 20 years.  He has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, and has worked as a Green Keeper in high profile golf clubs in the south Wales area. 

After leaving at school at 16, David attended Pencoed College on a full time City and Guilds course in Horticulture, which is the science and art of growing plants.  It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, soil management, garden design, construction, maintenance and arboriculture (the study of individual trees, shrubs, vines and woody plants).  David choose the course because he liked being outdoors and wanted to have a career where he could work outside.  Originally he considered being a farmer, but with few opportunities at the time he decided on Horticulture. 

After leaving college, David was accepted to attend the Lancashire College of Horticulture studying a National Certificate in Green Keeping and Sports Turf Management.  On completion of his degree he returned home to south Wales and started as an Assistant in Bargoed Golf Club.  From there he moved to Whitchurch Golf Club in Cardiff, and then to Newport Golf Club as a First Assistant Green Keeper.  At age 26 he joined the team here at Bryn Meadows as the Golf Course Manager.

About the Team

David manages a team of 3 green staff, who cover the 100 acres that surround the resort.  Members include Mark Lamorte our Head Greenkeeper who has also been at the resort for over 20 years, Gareth Rowlands and Jonathan Pask. 

Team Bryn Meadows; (l-r) Kevin Morgan, Andrew Phillips, Mark Lamorte and David Jakeway

Daily and Weekly Tasks

The team cut the greens 7 days a week during the summer, and once a week in the winter, which takes approximately 2 and a half hours a day.  The rough is done once a week and takes two full days.  Tees and fairways are also cut twice a week.  Bunkers are raked 5 days a week, tees are divoted twice a week and tee banks cut once a week.  Alongside the Championship Course, the First Swing Academy Course is also maintained.

The majority of the machinery used is John Deere, which was purchased on a package deal 3 years ago.  The machinery has an excellent reputation for reliability.  The equipment allows the team to get the desired finish, and to keep the course to its high standards.

Also, the Green Keeping team support the Maintenance Team with external projects which have recently included the build of the Fairway Suite and last year the extension to Winners Bar.  During the winter they helped with the ongoing renovations to bedrooms.

The team taking delivery of their new John Deere equipment in 2015

What are the differences between a Greenkeeper and a Groundsman?

A Groundskeeper or grounds keeping is the activity of tending an area of land for aesthetic or function purposes; typically in an institutional setting and includes mowing grass, trimming hedges, pulling weeds and planting flowers.  A Greenkeeper is a professional who maintains a golf course or country club’s ground.  The role includes setting of pins, marking hazards for regular and tournament play.  For a Greenkeeper it is more important to have experience and formal education.

Fun Facts

David has lots of interesting stories from his time maintaining the golf course.  One of his favourites was when a Rhea escaped from a local farm in 2012.  It was spotted by Mark initially, who thought he was seeing things.  As it was here for the weekend, the team often joke it was on a spa break!  Many of the golfers were feeding it their sandwiches before the RSPCA captured it and returned it to their owner.

More recently, whilst mowing the lawns, he saw someone trying to get their ball out of the pond on the 11th fairway and fall in.  He has even seen an electric trolley escape his owner; they gave chase but it still ended up in the water.

David is a keen runner, and in October took part in the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2 hours and 6 minutes for Childhood Eye Cancer - a charity very close to his heart after the support they gave his daughter.  He raised a whopping £760 from golf members and colleagues.  He also takes part annually in the Bryn Meadows Caerphilly 10k, completing the course in 47 minutes. 

Unbelievably, after all of this time, David still has a handicap of 28!  We think he needs to have some more golf lessons

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