Forty greenkeepers from the UK, Australia and New Zealand Graduate Jacobsen’s 2019 Future Turf Managers Initiative in the UK

Jade Costain Training & Education

Forty greenkeepers from the UK, Australia and New Zealand graduated Jacobsen's Future Turf Managers Initiative (FTMI) at the sixth event held at Jacobsen's European manufacturing base in Ipswich and fourth in Australia and New Zealand.

The FTMI graduates of 2019

The programmes have become an essential part of the greenkeeping education calendar and are run with the support of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association in the UK and the Australian Golf Course Superintendents Association, with over 40% of delegates becoming superintendents so far.

While there are many educational opportunities for greenkeepers to refine their skills, Jacobsen recognised a lack of information and practical knowledge available for those looking to take the next step in their career, be it becoming a superintendent, course manager or assistant.

This year, the 40 successful candidates were taken away from greenkeeping practices and given education on budgets, conflict resolution, interviewing and dealing with committees by subject experts across an intense but rewarding three days.

Course mentors play an essential part in the development of the delegates after the three days with many, including Mark Brooks from Riversdale Golf Club, Australia, learning from their experience and gaining key communication skills.

He said: "The FTMI provided a great insight into sharpening your skills for career development. The programme offered a great opportunity to network and build career-long friendships, as well as working closely with the mentors. The group discussion with the mentors was one of the highlights, speaking to them about past experiences with staff, committees and projects and how they overcame various obstacles. Another key take-home was the importance of being patient - opportunities will present themselves when you least expect them. The session I found great value in was looking at personality profiles - how different personalities may not match, but how to make the best out of the situation."

Eddie Campbell, from Sanford Springs Golf Club, England, added: "I've always wanted to better myself and I want to be the best greenkeeper that I can be. I think it's just a great initiative. I've seen a number of people who've done this and have gone on to be course managers and that's who I want to be and what I'm pushing for."

Over 150 greenkeepers applied to take part in the initiative from the UK, Australia and New Zealand between August and September 2018. These numbers are a testament to the global success of the programme and Jacobsen's Karen Proctor is looking forward to the bright future of the FTMI and its participants.

Jacobsen- FTMI 2019

"We looked at the education situation six years ago and realised that the industry had lots of different training for how to be a greenkeeper but none that taught you how to take that next step to become a superintendent," Karen explained. "We thought it was the perfect opportunity to give back to the industry and we've been able to do that with greenkeepers in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

"The 40 individuals now join an elite group of over 200 other graduates from around the world who have taken part in this unique and career changing initiative. This wouldn't be possible without the support of the mentors and our valued partners BIGGA and the AGCSA.

"After the three days the students go away looking absolutely exhausted but with our history of 40% so far actually becoming superintendents, we know that it's absolutely going to impact their future and be a huge positive in their careers."

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