The founder of Barnstaple’s Portmore Golf Park is to become the vice president of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA).

Colin Webber has accepted the nomination to become vice president, and will assume his role in January 2019, supporting West Derby greenkeeper Chris Sheehan, who will become president.

After the one-year term he will take on the presidency from January 2020.

Colin, 59, established Portmore in 1993, developing the venue into a 27-hole facility. In 2010, Portmore won the Overall Achievement of the Year at the Golf Environment Awards.

He overcame a stroke suffered in 2011 to continue to lead the business and be an active member of BIGGA’s Devon & Cornwall Section and the South West & South Wales Regional Board.

“It’s a huge honour,” said Colin.

“I keep thinking ‘are you sure you have got the right person?’ I am flattered that BIGGA would consider me for such an important national role.

“It is huge, I have never been asked to do anything like this, I’m not someone who likes to stand in the limelight.

“I had a phone call from [BIGGA chief executive officer] Jim Croxton saying I had been nominated for the role.

“Jim didn’t know it, but this was a few weeks after my dad, Frank, had died. It was very emotional time and the one person I wanted to tell was my dad.”

“Over the years I have been fortunate enough to build friendships with so many of the greats of greenkeeping, spending hours with the likes of Billy Mitchell, Jack McMillan, Richard Whyman, George Shiels and Jeff Mills, trying to build up a picture of how things used to be done, looking backward to go forward.

“I became involved and started volunteering with BIGGA because of the help so many guys had given me, especially the small group of lads who I worked together with to complete our City and Guilds almost 30 years ago.

“Their help was invaluable in building our business. I said I would repay my debt to the association, and since then I have worked hard to do that.”

Colin and his family established Portmore Golf Park from a 12-bay driving range after various pressures put his family farming business in jeopardy.

Over the following years came another 12 bays, a par-3 9-hole Hawtree-designed course, and then finally a further 18 that set Portmore up as a 27-hole venue.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “Colin’s story is an inspirational one, and one that proves there is little that can’t be achieved with determination and an eagerness to learn.

“The association is delighted that Colin has accepted the nomination to become vice president from January 2019 and I am certain that he will be a fantastic asset, lending his unique experience of the greenkeeping industry to the continued development of BIGGA as we strive to support and serve our members.”