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Clare: Greenkeeper is heading for a top golf course

08:08 25 May 2014

Ollie King, 17, tends to the greens at Clare Park Lake golf club

Ollie King, 17, tends to the greens at Clare Park Lake golf club

Archant

A west Suffolk teenager with a love of the outdoors has bagged his dream job tending to one of the world’s top golf courses.

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Ollie King is just days into his new role as a greenkeeper at Gleneagles, which will be graced later this summer by the likes of Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup.

It has been a remarkably swift rise for the 17-year-old from Long Melford, who had spent little more than a year learning his trade on the comparatively modest surroundings of the Clare Park Lake golf course as an apprentice.

“You can’t really compare it,” said Ollie yesterday. “Clare is so small – you can fit all of Clare’s holes into one of Gleneagles’ holes. It’s a totally different world here, it’s amazing. It’s definitely my dream job.”

Ollie’s journey to Scotland could not have seemed more distant for the former Ormiston Academy student, after he was made redundant from his first job – as an apprentice carpenter – after leaving school.

The lifelong golf fan then decided to try his luck by sending his CV to various golf clubs across the county – with Clare happy to take him on.

He added: “I’ve always liked working outside and doing jobs in the garden. Once I’d learned the basics in green keeping and all the techniques, it was straight in.”

Having maintained the course at Clare single-handedly, Ollie is now part of a 16-strong team tending to the various courses at Gleneagles, where he stays in staff accommodation at the hotel.

He has initially signed a six-month contract, which expires in October, although may be taken on for more work. However, his mentor at Clare Park Lake, Susan Moore, said he would be welcomed back in Suffolk.

She added: “I knew we had someone special: a young man with a good work ethic and very practical, and I can’t deny I wasn’t upset to lose him.

“But it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which he had to take, and when we watch the Ryder Cup this autumn I will feel that a little bit of us has helped it look as good as it undoubtedly will.”

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