The British & International Golf Greenkeepers Association has revealed the 20 ambitious greenkeepers who will participate in the Future Turf Managers Initiative 2020.
FTMI graduates in 2019 working hard to complete a task
Each year Jacobsen, a Textron Specialised Vehicles brand, opens the doors of its headquarters in Ipswich to 20 BIGGA members who have earned a place on the groundbreaking course by demonstrating their commitment to the profession and eagerness to learn.
The course is intense and will push the greenkeepers out of their comfort zone, but in return they will gain access to high quality speakers and experienced mentors who will provide the candidates with a wide range of knowledge and skills that will prove invaluable as their careers progress.
Jacobsen is a leading supplier of high-quality turf equipment, utility vehicles, golf cars and tractors and the brand's machinery was used to prepare the course at the 2018 Ryder Cup, held at Le Golf National in Paris, in addition to other major sporting events across the globe.
FTMI began in the UK in 2013 and since then has expanded around the world, with similar schemes being introduced in Spain, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand.
The members of the "FTMI Class of 2020" are:
1. Gemma St John, first assistant, Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club
2. Richard Hitchman, deputy head greenkeeper, Burford Golf Club
3. Chris Gurton, first assistant, Bury St Edmunds Golf Club
4. James Hampson, deputy head greenkeeper, Llanymynech Golf Club
5. Jack Percival, deputy course manager, Chipstead Golf Club
6. Zoe Lee-Amies, greenkeeper, Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club
7. Peter Allam, deputy course manager, Gerrards Cross Golf Club
8. Charlie Simper, assistant course manager, Hampstead Golf Club
9. Aaron Winfield, groundsperson, Harrow School
10. Paul Blencowe, first assistant, Hindhead Golf Club
11. Jack Hawkes, assistant greenkeeper, Leamington and County Golf Club
12. Craig McEachen, deputy course manager, Murcar Links Golf Club
13. Ryan Angear, deputy course manager, Old Thorns Golf Club
14. Chris Low, deputy course manager, Olton Golf Club
15. Jake Boardman, deputy head greenkeeper, Roehampton Club
16. Craig Mackay, assistant greenkeeper, Royal Dornoch Golf Club
17. Matt Kitson, deputy course manager, Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club
18. Craig Potts, deputy course manager, Shirley Golf Club
19. David Byron, deputy head greenkeeper, Thorndon Park Golf Club
20. Erwan le Cocq, assistant superintendent, WINSTONgolf
Chris Low is deputy head greenkeeper at Olton Golf Club in Warwickshire and said: "As a deputy, I'm looking to further my career, but I'm so busy in my day-to-day job that I don't get chance to learn some of the other skills, such as speaking in public, interviewing or managing budgets. I'd researched FTMI online and it gives you all those additional tools that you need to become a course manager, so I am delighted to have been selected to take part next year."
Will Carr, Jacobsen UK sales director, said: "We are fully committed to supporting the golf industry at every level and are delighted to help with this investment in the industry's talent of the future."
Sami Strutt, head of member development at BIGGA, said: "We've all been at that point in our career where we are itching to take that step into a management role. But what does that actually mean and are you really prepared for the challenges that will come as the leader of a team, with responsibilities that will extend far beyond the golf course? FTMI was designed with that in mind, with the intention of giving ambitious BIGGA members who are on the cusp of management the skills and knowledge to achieve success in their careers."
"Each of these 20 BIGGA members has demonstrated a commitment to continuing professional development and we're delighted to welcome them into the ranks of FTMI graduates, who are now embarking upon careers in golf course management."
For a closer look at FTMI, check out this video on the BIGGA YouTube page: https://youtu.be/xbl8mjt1dUY