Nineteen delegates from golf clubs across the UK visited Ransomes Jacobsen's European headquarters for the third BIGGA Future Turf Managers' Initiative (FTMI), made possible by Jacobsen.
his three-day educational event, which took place from 24-26 March 2015, is aimed at up and coming greenkeepers who are focused on making the career leap to Head Greenkeeper or Course Manager. Focusing on personal and professional development, the FTMI uses the expertise of respected course managers, cross-industry training specialists and industry experts to mentor and educate the next generation of industry leaders.
Arriving at lunchtime on the first day, the group was welcomed by Rupert Price, Ransomes Jacobsen's Sales Director, before being split into groups and touring the manufacturing facilities. This was followed by a light-hearted golf competition on the company's three-hole golf course, the RJ National, which provided an opportunity for the delegates to interact with each other. The first day finished with a dinner at a local hotel where BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton officially welcomed the delegates and introduced the mentors and other members of the Ransomes Jacobsen/BIGGA team.
An intensive second day began with renowned Golf Consultant Eddie Bullock, former PGA Captain and now non-executive Director of Golf at Goodwood, delivering a class on what it takes to become an effective leader. Following lunch Lorna Sheldon, a respected personal communication and presentation skills trainer, provided valuable insights into writing a CV, preparing for an interview and the techniques required when in front of an interview panel. The delegates then returned to their hotel for dinner, after which, one of the mentors, Steve Chappell, Head Greenkeeper at the PGA Centenary Course in Gleneagles, gave a presentation on the benefits of volunteering opportunities at major tournaments.
The final day began with an intensive and highly informative interactive presentation by gWest's Course Manager Lee Strutt, which provided an introduction to the golf course maintenance budget, the use of Excel spreadsheets and how to sell the budget to stakeholders. The delegates were now beginning to realise that perhaps their days of sitting on maintenance equipment would be coming to an end, if they attained a managerial position!
An early lunch was required to accommodate the final speaker, Crystal Mathews, a member of Jacobsen's HR team, who had flown in from the USA to present to the delegates. Crystal's highly interactive presentation 'Crucial Conversations' provided an opportunity for the team to first identify the need for a crucial conversation and provided the tools they would require to conduct themselves when faced with awkward situations in their new managerial roles.
It was left to Will Carr, Ransomes Jacobsen's UK & Ireland Golf Sales Manager, to close the event where he thanked the delegates and the mentors for their time and contribution to what was agreed by all, a hugely successful and worthwhile three days of first-class education.
Commenting at the close, Fraser Jardine, First Assistant at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club said,
"What a superb three days; it was so intense, but we learned so much. It was a fantastic experience and learned so many new skills that I can apply to the workplace. Everyone got the chance to share ideas with each other and I met some great new contacts and friends along the way. It was a huge boost to my confidence and I would recommend it to anyone who is preparing to move up in their career ladder."
Matt Perks, Deputy Head Greenkeeper on the Old Course at Sunningdale Golf Club added,
"This FTMI event exceeded my expectations by a long way. It was a great three days and the hospitality, from start to finish, was excellent. All of us received priceless education and information that will be hugely beneficial in our careers."
"The FTMI is an incredibly valuable and inspiring learning experience for BIGGA members who are aspiring to become the next generation of Course Managers," said Sami Strutt Head of Member Development at BIGGA. "FTMI would not be possible without the continued support of our industry partner, Jacobsen, and our mentors, who all volunteered their time for this initiative. Having witnessed the interaction between the candidates, presenters and mentors, I can safely say that the future of greenkeeping is in safe hands. My thanks go to Jacobsen and all of the mentors, and my congratulations to the 19 candidates who we now recognise as 'FTMI Class of 2015'.