The scenery and beautiful surroundings are a huge part of the golf experience. The Lee Valley course is a unique place to golf in Cork, as you are in a sense transported into serene, nearly magical surroundings. Portions of the course are intentionally styled to feel natural and untouched, offset by perfectly manicured greens.
There is something good for the soul about being out on the course, surrounded by gorgeous vistas and clusters of trees, listening to the birds sing – and not much else! As much as we’d love to credit Mother Nature alone, the truth is we have a secret behind it all – his name is James. James is our head Greenkeeper and works behind the scenes to create not only the most beautiful golf course imaginable but also the ideal playing conditions.
James has been a part of Lee Valley since the very beginning. When he first started at the course, Lee Valley was little more than a plowed field. He is as much a part of the Lee Valley Golf Course as the course itself.
James is a lover of the outdoors and this love spills over into his work. James studied horticulture, and during his studies did a project on golf courses that sparked a love of Greenkeeping. In his early days he was advised to go to Scotland if he was serious about furthering his career in Greenkeeping. And so he did. He went to Elmwood College in Fife and worked at Ladybank Golf Club. When he returned to Ireland, Lee Valley Golf Club was in the early stages of development. That was back in 1991, and he has been with us ever since!
His days start before many of us have gotten out of bed. He likes to be out before the golfers, cutting the greens and doing feeding programs – either liquid feeding or granular fertilizing – to keep the course at its prime. Rain or shine, the grass keeps growing, and you will find James out working.
He is as passionate about the greens as our Chef is about food. “Some people see it as just grass. I see it as a living plant. A lot goes into feeding programs, spraying programs – things that may not be realized.” He explains, unable to mask that certain spark in the eye that shines when somebody is speaking with raw passion, “My favourite time of the year is Autumn. The Autumnal colours in Lee Valley Golf Club are fantastic – and they only get better every year as the trees mature.”