In this audio interview for TurfNet On Tour/TurfNet Radio live from the Irish Open, host Jon Kiger chats with Robert Hemphill, who represents the third of four generations of greenkeepers to be employed at Portstewart Golf Club, home of the 2017 Irish Open. Robert’s, father, uncle, grandfather and now son Jonathan all worked at Portstewart.
Robert discusses the Hemphill/Portstewart “family tree” and explains ways of maintaining the course that seem primitive by today’s standards. He shares his insights into the evolution of greenkeeping and even explains that rabbit trapping was a way to protect the course while providing food to families in the area and additional income for themselves.
"I was as happy as any man ever could be, working there… it was a pleasant, wonderful job.
"...the men spent the winter hand-weeding the greens. On Saturday morning we would go around with a wheelbarrow and collect the weeds, then roll the greens with a roller before the people came out."