Ipswich, England: The fourth BIGGA Future Turf Managers’ Initiative [FTMI] took place with 21 delegates visiting Jacobsen’s European headquarters for three days of intensive training.
Aimed at up-and-coming greenkeepers who are intent on making the career leap to Head Greenkeeper or Course Manager, the FTMI focuses on personal and professional development and utilises the expertise of respected course managers, cross-industry training specialists and industry experts to mentor and educate the next generation of industry leaders.
On the first day, participants were welcomed by Alan Prickett, Managing Director at Ransomes Jacobsen, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
They were then split into groups and taken on a tour of the manufacturing facilities followed by a light-hearted golf competition on the company’s three-hole course, the RJ National.
At the opening evening dinner, BIGGA’s Sami Strutt officially welcomed delegates and introduced the mentors and host members of the Ransomes Jacobsen team.
Golf consultant Eddie Bullock, former PGA Captain and current non-executive Director of Golf at Goodwood, day two with a presentation on what it takes to become an effective leader. Breakout sessions with the mentors and delegates provided ample discussions on the points raised in the presentation.
After 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 role play sessions provided delegates with an opportunity to put their new learning into practice.
Following a break, 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 informative interactive presentation by Lee Strutt, Golf Course Manager at Royal Automobile Club in Surrey, which provided an introduction to the golf course maintenance budget, the use of Excel spreadsheets and how to sell the budget to stakeholders.
The mentors then took part in a humorous role play session, in which Matt Plested, Course Manager at Stoneham Golf Club, requested funds to purchase a soil temperature metre from a belligerent greens committee. His knowledge of the budget and persuasive arguments about the benefits that this new tool could bring to the club finally won the day!
Michael Astrop, the final educator, ensured that no one could relax as he launched into an energetic presentation on Crucial Conversations.
This interactive presentation 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.
Will Carr, Ransomes Jacobsen’s UK & Ireland Golf Sales Manager, handed out certificates to the delegates before closing the event.
Class of 2016 delegate Stuart Adams, of Haverfordwest Golf Club, said: “FTMI is without doubt the single most important turning point in my career. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, this has been the first opportunity to get a real feel for the leadership role. Not only was the whole process inspiring, it was also thought provoking and confidence building.
“The networking has created a group of friends for life. The mentors, apart from being professionals to aspire to, were also incredibly modest and had the patience to answer all the questions asked of them. They were a credit to our industry.”
Sami Strutt, Head of Member Development at BIGGA, said: “BIGGA is proud to play a key role in the development of its members through the Future Turf Managers Initiative, made possible by our industry partner, Jacobsen.
“The FTMI provides BIGGA members with the opportunity to immerse themselves in an intensive, inspiring and memorable learning experience. Engaging with colleagues with the same career aspirations reinforces that competition is fierce for management roles in the industry.
“Being part of the FTMI experience equips BIGGA members with the skills and knowledge for success. It has already shaped the careers of many of its graduates who are now Golf Course Managers.”
In total, more than 80 delegates have now graduated from the FTMI programme.