London, England: Jacobsen and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) have chosen a team of Future Turf Manager Initiative (FTMI) graduates to join the course maintenance team for next year’s Ryder Cup.
One delegate from each FTMI in the past five years has been selected to volunteer at the event, to be staged at Le Golf National in France. One more person is due to be chosen from the FTMI class of 2018.
Jacobsen and BIGGA have worked closely with Alejandro Reyes, Golf Courses and Estates Manager at Le Golf National, to provide this potentially career-defining opportunity for BIGGA members for the very first time.
Next year’s delegates were recently announced, and the 20 BIGGA members selected to take part will attend a three-day event (March 6-8) at the Ipswich headquarters of Jacobsen, an Executive Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Aimed at up-and-coming greenkeepers who want to make the leap to Course Manager, FTMI focuses on personal and professional development. The FTMI programme utilises the expertise of leading Course Managers, dynamic trainers and industry experts to mentor and educate the next generation of industry leaders.
In 2018, The Ryder Cup will be held in Continental Europe for only the second time in its history. Le Golf National will be hosting the biennial match on its spectacular L’Albatros course.
Reyes and his team of approximately 30 greenkeepers have completed extensive renovation work in the lead up to hosting the event. Renovation work has included a brand-new drainage system capable of draining 90 mm of surface water within three hours on all playable surfaces, fibre optics have been installed for on-course connectivity and many holes have been completely renovated.
During the Ryder Cup, which will take place from September 28-30, 180 members of staff, including 140 volunteers, will be manicuring the golf course to ensure that the playing surfaces are in pristine condition for the duration of the matches.
Situated around 20 miles south west of Paris, the course is one of the best in the world for spectators and is consistently ranked in Europe’s top-10 courses. Le Golf National has hosted the French Open every year, except for two years, since 1991.
Commenting on the unique volunteering opportunity, Andre Andrade, Director of International Golf Sales at Textron Golf, said: “We feel privileged to be able to offer FTMI delegates the experience of volunteering at the Ryder Cup. It is a huge event, and one I am sure they will remember for the rest of their lives.
“This opportunity is testament to the close working relationship that Jacobsen has with Le Golf National, and we thank the team there for allowing us to make this happen. Jacobsen is very proud to be an official supplier to the 2018 Ryder Cup, and we look forward to taking the lucky FTMI delegates with us to France next year.”
Jim Croxton, CEO of BIGGA, said: “It may only be six years old, but FTMI has already proven to be an incredible success, with many of the programme’s graduates going on to secure management roles, and the association is extremely grateful to Textron Golf for their continued investment in BIGGA members.
“I’d also like to thank Alejandro Reyes for enabling this incredible opportunity for six FTMI graduates. The 2018 Ryder Cup is sure to once again be a passionate, hard-fought competition. With an estimated 500 million viewers worldwide in 2016, the course will no doubt be under closer scrutiny than any other in history.
“I wish Alejandro the greatest success and I hope that our guys are able to help the home team achieve their goals in whatever way they can.”
The chosen BIGGA members are:
- Leigh Powell, Windlesham Golf Club (FTMI Class of 2013)
- Peter Moore, The Wentworth Club (FTMI Class of 2014)
- Gavin Neill, St Andrews Links Trust (FTMI Class of 2015)
- Richard Johnstone, Nairn Dunbar Golf Links (FTMI Class of 2016)
- Adrian McCullough, JCB (FTMI Class of 2017)