Constantly striving for improvement in the job he loves, Ryan Gall, Senior Greenkeeper at Loch Lomond Golf Club, talks about what drives him to maintain the highest standards – no matter what the weather throws at him


AS Ryan Gall walks round the pristine course at Loch Lomond Golf Club he sometimes has to pinch himself as he takes in the views and breathes in the Scottish air. “I really do love my job,” he says.

“When I left school, I wanted to be a farmer like my dad,” he explains. “We lived across the road from Loch Lomond Golf Club on the Luss Estate and I was convinced that I wouldn’t want to do anything else but when I got the chance to work at the Club for the 2012 season, I knew my future was in greenkeeping, not farming.”

Before long, Ryan started an apprenticeship in Sports Turf Management at Elmwood College in Fife – the only college in Scotland to boast its own 18-hole golf course and clubhouse. Now, as a Senior Greenkeeper, he is a key member of the team. 

“There is a lot of pressure to ensure that the course meets and exceeds the high standards our Members expect,” he says.

“However, we can only achieve that through great teamwork and I can honestly say that in the Golf Course Estates Department we all pull together, work hard but also really enjoy what we do – even in the wet and windy weather conditions we often get in the west of Scotland.”

The Herald:

Senior Greenkeeper at Loch Lomond Golf Club, Ryan Gall, has always had a keen interest in the sport


Ryan, who has a keen interest in golf and “plays a wee bit”, points to aspects of modern greenkeeping that make it such an interesting career. “We’re not just riding around the course on mowers,” he says. 

“Turf maintenance can be quite technical and we’re also involved in drainage installation during the winter months, for example.

“At Loch Lomond we are also looking at the impact of climate change on the course and how we respond to that as well as protecting the land and conserving energy – it’s a really responsible job that requires a lot of planning.

“We’ve recently completed quite a major reconstruction of the course to ensure that we are providing a world-class experience for our Members and their guests and it was great to be involved in something like that – most greenkeepers will never have an opportunity to be part of such a big project.”

For Ryan, it is important to keep learning. “Greenkeeping techniques are constantly evolving and we need to keep on top of that,” he stresses, explaining how he has broadened his experience by volunteering at major golf events including the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship here in Scotland and the PGA Championship at Wentworth.
In the USA, he has worked at the TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois, which has hosted the PGA TOUR’s John Deere Classic since 2000, and also at TPS San Antonio in Texas. 

“If you are keen to learn and have a good attitude, the management team at Loch Lomond will support you,” says Ryan.

“The Club has been happy to support me because they know it is beneficial for my personal progression but also for Loch Lomond – I am bringing back fresh ideas that can help us take greenkeeping to the next level.”
Back firmly on the ground at Loch Lomond, Ryan extols the virtues of working outdoors. 

“I’ve been working outside all my working life so it’s what I’m used to and while some people might initially struggle with such an early start – it’s 5.30am during the summer – it’s great to see the course come to life and you also see some amazing sunrises,” he points out. 

The team will meet, have coffee and plan for the day, allocating jobs then getting everything done. 

“It’s very satisfying and usually I’m the most senior member in my team so I enjoy guiding and helping my colleagues – it’s good to pass on your own experience. 

“We finish at 2.20pm so the job also offers a wonderful work-life balance too.”

Everything in the Gardens at Loch Lomond Golf Club is rosy for Will Bradley, who first joined the team in 1999 and has worked his way up to his current position of Gardens Manager

LEAVING school at 16, Will Bradley was unsure about what he wanted to do – but ended up at college on a course, where he learned trades like construction and bricklaying. It was only when he started a job as a landscape gardener that he found his true calling, enjoying that role for seven years before successfully applying for a job at Loch Lomond Golf Club.

“I took a real shine to gardening and became really interested in horticulture, learning about propagation and seeding and also how to identify plants,” explains Will. “I just found it fascinating and it was great to be able to experiment in polytunnels and greenhouses. I was learning all the time and just loved it.”

The Herald:

Above, Gardens Manager, Will Bradley, joined Loch Lomond Golf Club in 1999


Now Gardens Manager at the exclusive private Members’ club, Will has taken his love of gardening to the next level. “In my early days I was working all over the estate, ensuring that we protect our woodlands and native grasses,” he says. “The Club invested in me and I was able to train to become an arborist so I can identify species of trees, cultivate and manage woodlands, and also spot any disease early.

“Our goal is to leave a legacy so that those who follow us can enjoy the trees, plants and grounds here on the estate 100 years from now.”

Will attributes the Head Gardener he worked with in his early days at the Club for setting him on his steady career progression journey. “People need to be nurtured in the same way as plants and trees,” he adds.

Meanwhile, the role of the Gardens team is also to create the best experience possible for Members and guests. “We find that Members take a keen interest in what we do and often visit us to ask questions and find out what we’re growing and why,” he explains.

“We have Members from the far south of England where the climate is very different and the soil, too, so we have a lot of good conversations about what’s new or different since they last visited us. However, we are bringing plants from around the world to our Victorian glasshouse and it’s amazing what we can grow now.

“Members can visit the glasshouse where we have a notice board that displays what we are growing and also information about the history of the Walled Garden, glasshouse and the Club.

Growing seasonal produce for the Club’s kitchens is also a big part of the team’s job and this means working closely with the chefs. “They tell us what produce they would like so while there will always be essentials like onions, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, herbs 
and so on, we’ll try to grow different things too. 

“We do a vegetable harvest every Thursday and it’s satisfying knowing that produce we have grown will be on the menus and used in creative ways.”

In response to the growing number of weddings at Loch Lomond Golf Club, Will and his team will be installing a rose arch in the Walled Garden this year. “We also grow thornless roses so it’s about always thinking one step ahead,” says Will. “We have a laburnum arch too.”

What sort of person would Will like to see join the seasonal garden team at the Club this year?

“Attitude goes a long way,” says Will. “You can be a gardener for 50 years and still not know everything so we’re looking for people who are prepared to learn and develop their skill set, have a good work ethic, and appreciate how unique the Loch Lomond grounds and gardens are.”

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