Wednesday 15 March 2023

Bowls Greenkeeper of the Year Announced

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Graham Instone of Dunnington Bowls Club, York, has been crowned as the Bowls England Greenkeeper of the Year.

In the hotly-contested Greenkeeper of the Year category – sponsored by Dennis and SISIS – Graham took the honours, largely for his innovative roadshows, sharing his knowledge with local clubs.

He has been a member of his beloved Dunnington for over 40 years and has been looking after the green for the past 15 years. Graham, 80, and his right-hand man ‘Big’ Jim, 88, have a consistently busy schedule of fixtures and work hard throughout the year to keep the green in a superb condition. In fact, the impressive green has become the talk of the Yorkshire bowls community and it is for this reason that Graham decided to undertake a series of roadshows.

Graham visited various bowls clubs throughout Yorkshire to help other volunteer greenkeepers raise the standards of their greens. Following the roadshows, Graham continues to offer advice to most of the bowls clubs he visited.

The Greenkeeper of the Year Award received over 120 entries and Graham was one of five shortlisted finalists. Joined by family and friends, including ‘Big’ Jim, at the award ceremony, it was a moment that Graham will never forget.

“My name was called out; my picture went up on the screen and I was shell shocked. I can’t really put into words how I feel if I’m being honest. I normally get very emotional, so everyone was worried that I would get on stage to collect the award and cry. Fortunately, I kept it together!”

“It is the achievement of a lifetime, but this award just isn’t for me as an individual. It is for my team, for the club, and for my family.”

Award sponsors Dennis and SISIS have long supported the sport of bowls and are committed to educating greenkeepers and raising the standards of bowling greens. For over 20 years, they have been organising and hosting educational maintenance seminars throughout the country which are designed to ultimately help club greenkeepers and volunteers maintain their bowling greens.