Greenkeeping scholarship for Holy Trinity Woodburn student

Friday February 15th 2019

Jason Podris, College Advisory Group and head greenkeeper at Fortwilliam GC, Wendy Coles R&A; Holy Trinity Woodburn parishioner Callum Burnside, R&A Scholar and Paul Mooney head of Horticulture, CAFRE.

A parishioner of Holy Trinity Parish Church, Woodburn, Carrickfergus, has become the first student in Northern Ireland to be awarded an R&A Greenkeeping Scholarship.

Callum Burnside, who is also a leader in the parish Boys’ Brigade, is currently doing a two-year foundation degree in Horticulture (Sportsturf) at the Greenmount campus of the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

The R&A Greenkeeping Scholarship Programme was established in 2004 to help boost the careers of those undertaking higher level greenkeeping and sportsturf qualifications. CAFRE is the newest addition to the approved educational establishments participating in the programme, joining Scotland’s Rural College (Elmwood Campus) and Myerscough College in England.

Callum joins more than over 320 scholars worldwide across 30 different countries.

He was previously awarded the Golf Union of Ireland cadetship in 2017. This involved mastering greenkeeping skills and achieving a work-based Level 2 Diploma in Greenkeeping while undertaking duties at the Greenmount’s Greenkeeping and Golfing Academy. 

Wendy Cole, manager of Sustainability at the R&A, which organises The Open, golf’s oldest major championship, said: “Our rigorous application and interview process ensures that only the best candidates are chosen to be R&A Greenkeeping Scholars.

“Callum demonstrated his passion and commitment to the sportsturf industry admirably and I am delighted that he is our first Greenkeeping Scholar from CAFRE and indeed Northern Ireland.

“We hope to further develop our links with CAFRE moving forward and hopefully we will see more scholars being appointed.”

Paul Mooney, head of Horticulture at Greenmount, said: “With just months before The Open returns to Royal Portrush in July there has never been a better time to consider a career in greenkeeping.”

The 148th Open will be played at Royal Portrush from 14 to 21 July 2019. 

For more information about The R&A Greenkeeping Scholarship programme please visit the Greenkeeping support section on

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