A cut above: Warrick Henderson Wins VGA Greenkeeper of the Year Award

by Kalon Huett (BV Contributor)

When the Board of Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort (YMGCR) handed Warrick Henderson an opportunity five years ago, they were confident the experienced greenkeeper could help provide the club with the high quality greens to match its superb facilities, accommodation and surroundings. They were spot on. 

Henderson recently won the 2019 Victorian Greenkeepers Association (VGA) Greenkeeper of the Year Award. Those who work closely with him say it couldn’t have gone to a better bloke or a more deserving greenkeeper, but what did the recognition mean to the man himself?

“This award is a special achievement. A lot of effort has been made in the last five years, and the greens have come a long way. The award is recognition of the work to return the greens to the perfect playing surface that had previously existed at YMGCR,” says Henderson. “They are now widely recognised as the premier greens in the Ovens and Murray Region, and visitors to the Club are full of praise and envy. It’s a real art form to know when to groom or when to scarify. The more you mow the thicker and finer the greens become.”

Henderson started his greenkeeping apprenticeship at the age of 21 at Corowa Bowls Club. His training involved three years at TAFE and a year on the job with his mentor. “I have always loved the outdoors, and played and watched many sports including bowls. I became interested in the need for safe and good quality surfaces for those involved,” he says.  

These days Henderson cherishes every aspect of his role as a greenkeeper at YMGCR. “I like preparing and achieving a ‘slick’ green. Early starts in the morning do not bother me. I like being out there, doing my job, getting the surfaces the best they can be for the bowlers, and seeing them appreciate the consistency that can make their game better. I enjoy that responsibility,” he says.

The veteran greenkeeper has no intention of trimming his workload anytime soon. “I have enjoyed the last 31 years and I hope to be able to keep going for another 20 or more,” he says. “It’s not easy teaching others the art of greenkeeping. You need lots of patience and understanding with the conditions which are out of your control.”

Nominations for the VGA Greenkeeper of the Year Award award open around February each year on the Bowls Victoria website.