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Meet Sandy Reid, New Director of Greenkeeping at St Andrews Links Scroll Down to Continue

Although St Andrews is one of the oldest golf courses in the world, it’s always evolving for the future. New Director of Greenkeeping, Sandy Reid, is part of that future — and his passion for that role was clear from the moment we met him at the U.S. Golf Industry Show (GIS) in San Diego, California, in February. Here are five things we learned about him from that interview.

1. His interest in greenkeeping started early.

As Reid explains in the video, what started as a summer holiday job turned into his life’s work. He completed his greenkeeping training at Elmwood College in Fife, and at the end of his time there, he wrote letters to about two dozen golf courses to inquire about a possible job.

“In the letter, I was telling about my background, how I was brought up in the country,” Reid explains. “My father was a gamekeeper — a deer stalker.” One of the letter recipients happened to be an avid outdoorsman and hunter who connected with Reid’s story, and the rest is history. “I think that part of the letter was what got me a full-time job,” he adds.

2. HIS PAST EXPERIENCE HELPED HIM FOR HIS NEW POSITION

A highly experienced greenkeeper, Reid comes to St Andrews from Carnoustie Golf Links. He joined the course in 1997, became Head Greenkeeper of the Championship Course in 2005, then became Links Superintendent in 2012.

“Carnoustie has more similarities to St Andrews than any other golf venue in the UK,” Reid says. “It not only has multiple courses, but also has a similar demographic of golfer — as well as different layers of governance and both being charitable trusts. The staff number may not be quite the same, but the demands are there. Carnoustie had a lot of tournaments as well, so I had a lot of experience that I hope stands me in good stead for St Andrews.”

3. He feels proud, not pressured.

We asked Reid how he handles the pressures and stresses of being the Director of Greenkeeping at the Home of Golf, and he responded that he doesn’t look at it differently than any other greenkeeping job.

“I know it's the Home of Golf, but I don't think that brings any stress to me; I'm really just proud to be the greenkeeper at St Andrews,” Reid says. “It’s pinnacle of my career, but it's not like I want to rest on my laurels. I want to help continue take St Andrews forward.”

For Reid, it’s a balance of respecting the old while embracing the new. “We want to be leading the way if we can, whether it be in turf management or new technologies,” he says. “But we also have to be aware of our place in the game of golf. We have to pay credit to the heritage of the game and make sure that we don't go against the values of greenkeeping, how it all started back hundreds of years ago.”

As he looks toward the future, Reid understands how much it means for players to come to St Andrews, and he wants to make sure that experience is a great one.

4. He’s building on a solid legacy.

Reid’s appointment follows the retirement of incumbent Gordon Moir, a 26-year veteran of St Andrews Links who began his tenure as Director of Greenkeeping in October 2000. We asked Reid how he plans to build on Moir’s legacy.

“I've known St Andrews for a good few years, and in Gordon's time in charge, the place has developed both the quality of the turf and the greens staff there,” Reid observes. “That means I'm going in there and I don't really have any easy wins. That’s the biggest compliment I can pay him. He's left the ship in a really good place for me.”

“There will no doubt be some ideas I'll want to kind of develop as time goes on — to support the staff the best we can, and make sure the turf's as good as it can be,” Reid adds. “We've got the Open Championship in 2021, so the eyes of the world are going to be on us.”

5. He’s committed to environmental stewardship.

St Andrews has a long history of caring for the land it’s situated on — not only for the turf itself, but also for the habitat it provides for wildlife. Watch the video for more about the course’s environmentally responsible practices.

The Toro Company is honored to continue its 17-year relationship with St Andrews Links as supplier of greenkeeping and irrigation equipment. In 2017, Toro became the Home of Golf’s first-ever greenkeeping partner, and we look forward to working with Sandy and his team in the future.

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