TERRY Wharton must be one of the longest serving greenkeepers in the golfing industry.

He is celebrating racking up 40 years at Haydock Park Golf Club.

The head greenkeeper, 61, from Burtonwood, started on April 2, 1980, as a young man looking to cut his teeth in the business.

Terry has built a vast knowledge of the terrain he has helped to maintain and then manage over the past four decades but has grown with the role at the 18-hole course at one of the oldest golf clubs in England dating back to 1877.

Stephen Nicholson, Haydock’s business manager, said: “Wow, 40 years. It’s a feat that’s rarely matched these days with more and more people opting to move from position to position to progress their careers.

“Terry’s loyalty has been at the heart of his longevity here. Alongside this what I am impressed with the most about Terry is his enthusiasm to continue to learn and develop.

“We’ve sent him down to Oxford to see how a different style of greenkeeping works, we’ve updated our systems so he now has a computer in his office, has access to Word, Excel and email while updating everything in the cloud along with an online planner in the form of Turfkeeper that tracks all shifts, financial planning of stock, seed, fertiliser applied etc.

“It’s great that Terry continues to push for more and we look forward to continuing to work together for the next 40 years! He is a credit to the club, his profession and his family.”Once this crisis is over we will no doubt have a proper celebration for Terry – in the meantime, thanks to him again for all that he does and keep up the great work.”

Terry, a member of the British and International Golf Greenkeeping Association (BIGGA), said: “The 40 years has gone quickly and I’ve been very fortunate to spend most of my working life in a beautiful landscape working with good greenkeepers and staff trying to raise the standards and the playability of our course.”

He even manages to squeeze in a round of golf himself twice a year!

While pointing out that ‘the members’ and their characters are the favourite part of his time at the club, he also explained some of the changes that have taken place.

“The early years saw limited machinery on the course with most surfaces cut with hand machines, except for fairways and rough that were cut with tractor and gang mowers,” he explained.

“The top-dressing facility of a self-contained hopper supersedes the tractor, trailer and wheelbarrow that in the early 1980s you’d be lucky to dress greens with 20 tonnes throughout the year.

“That’s against 120 tonnes delivered in a two-month period in the spring at the present time.”

He added: “We’ve had some real characters playing the game at Haydock Park, none more so than Jack Padoue, who was one of the ‘old guard’.

“On arrival at the club one Monday dinner Jack was met with builders in the men’s locker room.

“Jack looked surprised ‘how dare they work’ on the day he played, as he considered it may affect his preparation on setting up for his four ball.

“Jack’s four ball was run to military precision and woe betide anyone getting in Jack’s way!

“So, the builders were told by Jack what was expected from them. He wanted a ‘quick clean efficient job and by the way turn that radio off, don’t you realise you’re working at a private members’ golf club’.

“The builders came across Jack a few more times before they finished the work and were met with the same abruptness.

“Upon the builders completing the locker room Jack realised his key wouldn’t open his locker.

“On further inspection someone had accidentally spilled some super glue into the lock. We wondered who...?”