Part time student graduates with MSc
By Inga Wells
For the past 10 Years, Colin has been the Course Manager at the prestigious John O'Gaunt Golf Club based near Biggleswade. Having celebrated its 50th year in 1998, the Club is now firmly established as a premier 36-hole course, with two golf courses offering differing degrees of difficulty.
Reason for doing the MSc:
Despite being well-qualified and having many years experience, Colin felt that he needed to gain some real technical and scientific understanding of soil/plant/water relationships. He found the MSc was the only one of its kind that could provide that depth of knowledge.
How he found the course:
"I was very daunted at the start of each module. Each time we started a new subject, I thought there is no way I am going to understand this. But through reading, listening to the tutors, talking it over with fellow students, I surprised myself each time. The course is highly practical as well as theoretical and I really enjoyed the site visits; you learn a lot through listening to people like Eddie Seaward, Grounds Manager at Wimbledon and Alex Ferguson of Ipswich.
It took me three years to complete and I have spent a lot of personal time studying as well as having 6-8 week off to attend the modules, but it was a great experience and my new skills and knowledge have certainly impacted on how I manage the course."
What does the future hold?
"I thoroughly enjoy my job at the moment, but it is nice to know that if I wanted to change roles, I feel that I have the confidence, knowledge and ability to try for a new challenge and be in a reasonable position to get it.
I might think about teaching soil management to Greenkeepers so that they can gain a greater understanding of the basic scientific principles. I think it is really important for the industry that there is a more comprehensive understanding about how the soil/plant/water process works and why."
Would you recommend the Course?
"Definitely yes, especially to other Course Managers as it really provides a much deeper understanding of good soil management practices in all aspects. I never thought I would personally be able to participate at this kind of level having left school with very few qualifications - but although it took a great deal of work and a real commitment, I am really pleased that I kept at it and have now achieved the qualification. Especially as my thesis was examined by Professor Bill Adams from Aberystwyth University - who is recognised as a leading exponent in sports turf surfaces."