Thursday, 31 May 2012

25 years ago...


May 31st 1987... I left school... school was out... forever...

I was still 15 and stepped out into the big world...where has all the time gone?...

I have to admit to not really enjoying High School, except History and Geography, which i still have an interest in...
I enjoyed metal work and making things, but due to the teacher i had in 3rd/4th year i became disruptive in his class and by the winter and spring of 1987 i wasn't at school much, but skiving off and helping the gamekeeper on Gosford estate were we grew up - getting paid as a `beater` for pheasant shoots... that and riding BMX...

Apologies to Mum for all the upset and endless trips to see the School Principle about me...
Thanks Dad for showing me nature and what is on our doorstep here in East Lothian, and the value of things that do not involve money. What you have taught me you won`t find written in a book...

Learning does not stop at school, if anything you learn more as you get older, but wiser? Mmmm...

I have little regrets, move forward and remember the good times behind you...
I have school friends no longer here, gone before they reached 40...
You have one life and you must make the most of it...

I have been working in Greenkeeping for 25 years now...
Wonder how many acres of grass i have mowed?...


Not to mention being up so early, seeing some of the amazing sunrises and views here on the east coast...




After being a caddie during high school holidays (and some school days! ) i was so proud (and lucky) to get a summer staff job with Gullane Golf Club which led to an apprenticeship.

I am still proud to be a time served apprentice (remember apprenticeships?) Links Greenkeeper.
Serving my time and then working 10 years at Gullane Golf Course here in East Lothian, one of the most famous  Links Golf Courses in Scotland, and in the world. Here on our east coast is where the game originated.

Those caddie wages and tips paid for some lovely exotic BMX bicycles and then those early apprentice greenkeeper wages were spent on mountain bikes and motorbikes, and girlfriends -:)...

At 21 and a time served Links greenkeeper we earned pretty good money. As good as friends who were plumbers, electricians and joiners. We had cars, motorbikes, MTBs, and money for going out at the weekend and mortgages and still managed to save a bit...
The late 1980s and early 90s was the golden age of Golf and the money rolled in from foreign visitors...
Half a dozen `Dodds of Troon` coaches would daily drop off tourists at Gullane who had come to play on the world famous golf course where the game has been played for over 180 years...

Concorde flying over Gullane No1 7th Tee on the eve of the 1987 Open Championship at Muirfield was something i stll think about when up there, as it circled Muirfield and Gullane the noise i will never forget...Gullane No 1 was the final qualifying course for the event and it was an experience to be involved and witness the event, the crowds and miles of cars coming into Gullane.

There is a saying in our trade `Golf is an art, Greenkeeping is a science`
When i moved job to another course 15 years ago then took over as Head Greenkeeper 8 years ago i quickly learned how much is involved in keeping 18 round circles of grass growing at 3- 5mm open for golf all year round while having 10,000+ footprints tramp them every year...
It is indeed a science...
In the last 25 years i have seen such a differance in how the job is done. We have the best equipment now in machinery, fertilisers, irrigation, outdoor clothing, health and safety, and the help of agronomists, always there to offer advice...

So you have to wonder why Famous Golf Courses worth several million pounds, pay people if lucky an average wage to look after them?... people with experiance and valued skills...
And sadly that is the case for many Head Greenkeepers who constantly have to fight tooth and nail
for improvements in their lively hood, and for their staff, and  Golf Course, be it a small or famous course...
It is changed days sadly for many in my profession...

"Do what makes you happy and not what it earns you..." was a saying i was once told and it is so true, but we all need to earn enough to get by with a bit in the bank...

When i fell ill last November and had loss of balance and double vision for 3 weeks i was all over the place and then once recovered a month later i went for a MRI scan.
A month later in March i was back for the results. When told of the MRI diagnosis was a CIS .
What i was told has not really shocked me at all - as i feel fine and as far as i am concerned nothing is wrong with me until something does go wrong - and i do not plan on not being well...
Time will tell... but if anything it has given me the motovation to do something new with my life and make something of it.

In the meantime i am now on 2 weeks summer holidays on Friday and plan to enjoy myself...see you soon...

Life is Good... -:)


17 comments:

  1. Keep well and best of luck with your new venture. I will follow its progress with interest.

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  2. Really good post CK. I wish you all the best for your future path in life. It seems right that it involves fatbikes.
    I am home until 14th June, if you are anywhere near during your holidays, give me a shout & we can meet up. I will PM you my e-mail address on MTBR.

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  3. Thanks you two!, MM only heading up to Ft William for the DH WC 4 days, looks like be busy with guiding days!

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  4. Great post. Onwards and upwards

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  5. Good blog mate , will catch you soon .

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  6. Cracker of a post CK.

    'Learning doesn't stop when you leave school'?

    Mate - in so many ways it doesn't really start when you're AT school!

    I wish you all the very best for the new venture buddy.

    Let's have a pint to celebrate soon.

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  7. bloody good decision Bruce !

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  8. I'm very proud of you, little bro. Isn't it strange, the paths that life leads us along? It will be 25 years ago next month that I left Uni for the first time! Maybe I need to write a reflective piece too! Lovely bit of writing - it moved me to tears (damn!)... xx

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  9. Hay up Beuce Chris hear A good move I'll be booking once your up and running but till then I'll see ya in FB next week mate

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  10. Opps ment Bruce :-/

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  11. WOW! Congrats Bruce. Yes, do what you love; I've been hearing a lot of that lately as I'm investigating a job change too. Best of luck to FatBike Tours.

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  12. Best of luck with the new business venture, I'm sure with some good marketing it'll be very successful. With regard to your MRI scan result I think you meant they'd found a cyst - I enjoy your blog but it'd be an easier read if you spell-checked your updates before posting. Richard.

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  13. Spell check with blogger does not really work for UK Richard as it is US,Was not a cyst found in MRI but Demyelination...

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  14. Good luck and all the best in your new venture. You live in a beautiful part of the world, and with your knowledge of the area and its history your customers will get the best. I rode a part of it on the Coast and Castles ride, so have seen a small part of it, and you will be able to show them so much more. Its a brave thing to go into business. Cheers, Dave

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  15. Hope to meet you on our FatBike Tours in the future Dave!

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