Paul Hay is a stalwart of the Greenkeeping team, and is in charge of looking after our Championship Course, No.1 as well as deputising for Course Manager, Stewart Duff.
You’ve been with the Club for over 25 years now Paul, can you tell us how you came to work at Gullane?
I used to deliver papers to Stewart Duff’s house as a paperboy aged 15, and one day asked him if there were any Summer jobs at the Club. That Summer I raked the bunkers and enjoyed working on the courses so much school suggested I apply for the Youth Training Scheme, working at the Club. After that, I was offered a full-time Apprenticeship with the Club, so worked and attended college part-time.
You’re now Head Greenkeeper for Course No.1, can you tell us a bit about your career at the Club?
My Apprenticeship started in May 1994 on No.2, following that I progressed within the team to become Deputy Head on No.1 in 1999. After a re-structure of the Greenkeeping team in 2002, I became Head Greenkeeper for No.2 & No.3 and in 2005 when the team expanded, became Head Greenkeeper of No.2. Finally, I was promoted to my current role as Head Greenkeeper on No.1 in 2011.
How many staff make up the Greenkeeping Team for Course No.1?
Including myself there are 10 full time staff. In the Summer, I receive a hand from Bruce, the on-course Maintenance Technician, plus an additional seasonal Greenkeeper.
What does your role involve?
Each morning I set out jobs for the team and liaise with Stewart and the Head Greenkeepers for Courses No.2 and No.3 in case we need to borrow machinery from each other or share machines. I’m always looking at the course and making sure that it’s looking the best it can be, and in Stewart’s absence, take on Course Manager responsibilities, as well as dealing with anything else that may crop up.
Can you tell us a bit about the changes you’ve seen in your time working at the Club?
For me it must be how technology has changed the way we do our job now, the move away from hydraulic-driven machines to using greener diesel and more battery-operated machines, even using battery operated strimmers which cuts down on fuel use and noise pollution.
What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
It has to be the honour of being in charge of the course that held the 2015 Scottish Open and highlighting the course to the millions of people watching on TV.
Which is your favourite course and why?
It has to be No.1 as I have worked on it the most, but all three courses have their own qualities and all are superbly looked after.
What’s the best thing about working at Gullane Golf Club?
It has to be the staff who I work with every day. I also feel very lucky that the club invests in good quality machinery and facilities, making our work a lot easier.