Ground maintenance specialist Burleys, which has a Royal Warrant, beat off competition from none other than Rolls Royce to win the prize - for its maintenance of Crouch Bowling Club in East Sussex, which is used by top class players taking part in national competitions.
The ceremony, at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, was attended by 650 of the UK and Europe’s leading grounds care experts, as well as dignitaries from the governing bodies of sport and influential sports administrators.
It was hosted by talkSPORT radio presenter Mark Saggers, with comedian Milton Jones providing the entertainment.
Burleys looks after a range of sports grounds, including the Olympic rugby training pitches at Brighton University, tennis courts, cricket and football pitches, and other championship bowling greens.
Its team ensures the greens are maintained to high standards by regular mowing, spiking, fungicide applications, ditch cleaning and watering, as well as autumn and spring renovations involving deep scarification, grading and topping up with sand, plus applications of fertiliser, loam, iron and seeding.
The company makes a point of reducing thatch on the greens, to minimise the presence of leatherjackets and thus reduce the need for pesticides. Garlic-based products are included in the regime to deter worms and nematodes, it uses an eco-friendly weedkiller, Foamstream, and seaweed-based fertiliser. It also uses a revolutionary sports turf aerification machine, Air 2G2 to improve the soil.
Judging criteria included effective use of resources, budgetary control, presentation and housekeeping standards, as well as environmental considerations.
IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, says: “Having this year suffered extreme weather conditions, with the winter’s ‘Beast from the East’ through to this summer’s unprecedented record heatwave, the climate has tested groundsmen to their limits.
“This year’s awards had a fantastic array of nominees who have all achieved very high standards.”
Burleys contract manager Mark Tavener added: ”I am humbled by the dedication and hard work of my fine turf team led by Hadrian Lear. To gain this award was no mean task.
“Burleys have over 60 years of fine turf experience, maintaining some of the finest bowling clubs within East and West Sussex so to be nominated for the award by our Crouch Bowling club client and to make the finals and win was the icing on the cake!”
The green, owned by Seaford Town Council, has been in use since 1935 and its team play 70 games a year in national and county championships.
Burleys’ work has also been praised by bowling club secretary Pat Purser who said: “Since you took over the contract the green has improved every year. In spite of the heatwave our green has bowled superbly and has been envied by all the visiting clubs, as have the surrounding flower beds.”