A greenkeeper from St Andrews has fulfilled his lifelong ambition of working on the hallowed grounds of Augusta National during Masters week.
Gavin Neill, who is deputy course manager on the New and Jubilee Courses at St Andrews Links, is tasked the job of maintaining Augusta’s famed immaculate condition.
This is the first time Gavin has visited Augusta, and as everyone who has been there attests, it always surpasses expectations.
“My first impressions of the course were that it was just picture perfect, a place of perfection,” said the 31 year-old from Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
“It has been a very overwhelming experience when I have been working in and around Amen Corner surrounded by its deep history and the azaleas in full bloom.”
Gavin’s typical morning includes switching grass clippings and repairing divots on the fairways. In the afternoon he looks after the 4th green, which often needs sand splash and leaves blown off it.
It is an impressive rise for the man who started his greenkeeping career at Tain Golf Club in Ross-shire, but hardly surprising.
Gavin was part of the Links team that prepared the Old Course for the 2005 and 2010 Opens, and said both tournaments shared high standards. But there is one slight difference.
“The attention to detail is raised to the highest level here at The Masters which makes it unbelievably special.”
He added: “Augusta National is renowned for being one of, if not the, most exclusive golf clubs in the world and it has been fascinating to see policies such as the performance of the greens, including their speed and other indicators which are kept top secret at all times,” said Gavin.
Fresh from his Masters experience, Gavin will return to the Links and his daily duties of ensuring the New and Jubilee Courses are in great condition throughout the 2013 season.