GOLDEN GREENS: Graeme Brown (centre) with his award alongside (left to right) Simon Cooper, Phil Boughton, Ian Lauder and Mike Darlington.
GOLDEN GREENS: Graeme Brown (centre) with his award alongside (left to right) Simon Cooper, Phil Boughton, Ian Lauder and Mike Darlington. Don Freeman

There's nothing Brown about Graeme's greens

LAWN BOWLS: Yamba Bowling and Recreation Club greenkeeper Graeme Brown has long been known for the best greens around and his hard work was rewarded last week when he was handed the 2019 NSW Greenkeeper of the Year award.

Brown has been with the club since 2008 and was nominated by Yamba Bowling Club Bowls Coordinator Don Freeman for his immense efforts over the last ten years.

"Graeme truly deserves recognition for his work, dedication and commitment over an extended period,” Freeman said.

Brown is well known for keeping a perfect surface according to Freeman and many others in the community.

"Graeme is recognised as the 'go to man' for greenkeeping issues across the Clarence River District and the broader Northern Rivers Region. Visitors to the Yamba Bowling and Recreation Club regularly comment on the outstanding quality of the grass cover and the consistency and reliability of the playing surface,” he said.

While Freeman hailed Brown for taking Yamba to the pinnacle of greens in the region, he is also praised him on his personality and resolve at the club.

"Even through stressful and demanding times, Graeme can still be heard laughing and encouraging others. He always tries to stay calm, upbeat, look for positive outcomes or compromises in difficult circumstances, and focuses on the good,” he said.

Brown travelled to the awards ceremony without a clue that he may have been considered to take out the award and was pleasntly surprised after a kind gesture from the club.

"I didn't think I had a chance really, I thought Duncan in Ballina was going to get it and I went down to Sydney thinking I was just there to make up the numbers, when they called my name it still didn't register,” Brown laughed.

"When I turned around to give my winning speech I saw all my family up the back, my wife, kids, the in-laws and my mum and dad were all there. The club actually flew my wife them down to be there which was pretty special.”

"It's humbling to be recognised that way among my peers, I was just completely taken aback by it all.”

Brown first got into the idea of gardening through Burke's Backyard as a kid and turned to greenkeeping when looking for work experience back in his younger days.

"I did some as an electrician and a plumber and I was looking for my next one not knowing what to do and the lady across the road at the time, her husband was the president of Ashbury Bowling Club so she asked the greenkeeper if I could do a week with him and I loved it,” he said.