FTMI Class of 2023

BIGGA and Jacobsen have selected the following BIGGA members to participate in the Future Turf Managers Initiative. 

FTMI is a potentially career-defining opportunity that encourages the development of skills that are vital as members progress into management positions. Find out more here.

If you're thinking about entering, read their stories and get a better understanding of what the selection panel are looking for - who knows, your name might be on this list next year!

FTMI Class of 2023

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Jack Ashall

Assistant Greenkeeper, Knowle Golf Club

In the next five years I aspire to be the head greenkeeper of a smaller-sized golf club or the deputy head greenkeeper at a reputable golf course. I intend to do so by maintaining a good level of education surrounding fine turf management and developing my skills as a team leader.

As an assistant greenkeeper, I was left in charge of a team for a week during COVID and had to quickly adapt to the role of team leader. I found it incredibly fulfilling to heave the team work with me and my schedule, employing my own managerial style and being rewarded with respect from the rest of the team. Given it was only a week, I still learnt that each colleague responded differently to a certain style of management and it was great to get a better understanding of the people I worked with.

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Will Barnes

Deputy Head Greenkeeper, The Berkshire Golf Club

In the next five years I will be a head greenkeeper at a Top 100 golf course in the UK&I. I hope to achieve this by working hard and taking the opportunities that are presented to me. I recently moved from Dorset to Surrey to help me advance my career. It wasn't an easy decision as it has meant lving apart from my wife and children while we look for accommodation.

Once my family and I settle into a new home and surroundings, I hope to return to my hobby of boxing. Boxing brings discipline and balance to my life and helps me become a better all-round person. When the stresses of life are too much, physical activity helps you become grounded. I also have a social media account dedicated to greenkeeping with photos and short videos I've taken over the last few years. I have just under 1,000 followers and I use it as a portfolio and to connect with other professionals in the industry.

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Kevin Butcher

First Assistant, Walton Heath Golf Club

My current work goal is to become a deputy head greenkeeper or course manager. To achieve this, I will develop my leadership skills by supporting and mentoring team members. I consider it vital to become familiar with the role of deputy greenkeeper and so I plan on taking increased responsibility to allow me the opportunity to experience different aspects of the role, which will help me identify areas to improve on. It is also important for me to stay abreast of current greenkeeping practice, through CPD and research.

To progress my career, I recognise there are areas for me to develop personally. While in my current role I have some experience of leading a team and I believe I would benefit from further experience of leading and managing a larger team. I would also like to further develop the ability to effectively manage conflict within a team. Another area I would like to develop is my communication skills.

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Dan Fisher

Deputy Course Manager, North Foreland Golf Club

My goal is to become a course manager and I hope to soon achieve this. I have been a deputy course manager for two years and am constantly learning and growing, not just as a greenkeeper but also as a person. Working closely with a course manager helps me work towards my goal as I'm involved in the overall running of the greenkeeping team.

I'm always looking to improve and make myself the best greenkeeper I can possible be. I'm constantly taking myself out of my comfort zone as much as I can as I feel this is one of the best ways to develop. Moving to Canterbury GC as deputy was fantastic for my personal development. I was managing a team at Canterbury for many years so navigating my way around this situation to keep morale high, but also push standards, was a different situation to anything I had previously encountered.

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Jack Hall

Assistant Greenkeeper, Northampton Golf Club

Over the next five years I plan to climb the greenkeeping industry management ladder by eventually achieving the role of course manager. My first objective is to progress to the position of first assistant and then deputy course manager. Achieving these two steps on the management ladder will give me the knowledge and experience to take on a course manager role. 

I plan to complete my Level 3, which gives the opportunity to apply for managerial positions. Following on from this, I plan to start my Level 5 qualification to further enhance my professional development. I plan to continue volunteering for various sports as this provides opportunities to work with different groups of people, which helps me develop as a person.

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Oliver Kirk

Deputy Course Manager, Bury St Edmunds Golf Club

Back in January I was promoted to deputy course manager. This position is a great change for me and I am not currently looking to move. However, in the next five years I would like to think that I will be a course manager. This may mean moving around the country, but I am happy to do so.

At the age of 25, I feel I am doing a huge amount of personal development and have recently finished my HNC and been promoted. In the next five years I will continue to go to seminars, BTME and golf days to network and learn from others in my industry.

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Stephen Mancini

Senior Greenkeeper, Prestwick Golf Club

My goal for the next five years is working towards being ready to take on a course manager's role. My aim is to achieve a deputy's role in the next two years, to give me more experience and enhance my managerial skills. Working closely with a well-experienced course manager such as my current one, Dave Edmondson, will give me the experience and skillset I need to prepare me to achieve my goal as a future turf manager.

I am CPD Approved and am 20 credits away from my next milestone. My aim is to continue reaching milestones by staying CPD active. I have already attended a managerial and positivity class at BTME and I feel it helped me improve my approach when having to confront a colleague about an issue.

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Christopher Naughton

Senior Greenkeeper, The Gleneagles Hotel

Within the next five years I intend to gain promotion at my current employer or move to obtain a posrt as a first assistant and then advance to deputy course manager. I hope to complete all the relevant training and qualifications that I am currently studying to help me progress in my career goals.

My current career highlight was attending a tournament support volunteer event at TPC San Antonio for the Valero Texas Open in 2022. Throughout the week I learned how to prepare the course for a PGA Tour event and the standards that are required by the PGA. I learned how to work as part of a major team and how to communicate and network with people from different countries. I have also learned different skills and techniques that I can use at my current workplace, along with different ideas for golf course presentation.

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George Nock

First Assistant, Enville Golf Club

I would like to move to the role of deputy course manager as I feel I'm nearly ready to make the next step. For me to be able to achieve this, I need to keep an eye on job adverts and see my line manager for any vacancies in the near future.

A career highlight for me was working at The Open last year as part of the support team, with it being extra special as it was the 150th and at St Andrews!

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Scott Patrick

Golf Course Supervisor/Mechanic, R&A Lethamhill Golf Club

In my current role, part of the job is to train four apprentices and this is something I find very rewarding and important in our profession. Anything I learn from FTMI regarding modern approaches to training will help me in future.

I would definitely say a career highlight has been returning to education. Throughout my HNC I have applied to be an R&A Scholar and have had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Askernish and see greenkeeping in a raw and sustainable form. I have also volunteered for the AIG Women's Open at Muirfield. I've also been successful in volunteering at the BMW PGA Championship through BIGGA. All these have given me the opportunity and confidence to network with others and be given an insight into how our profession works at either end of the scale and bring back ideas to my golf club.

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Aaron Peacock

First Assistant, Horsham Golf & Fitness

In the next five years I would like to take the step into a management role. My boss and I have spoken about this at length and we feel I would be suited to a management role in future. I feel as though I have a lot to give as a manager and my passion for the industry will stand out in my work. I would like to help a golf course improve its condition, taking it to a new level that will attract more golfers and help the business achieve its goals.

Stepping into a management role will help me become more confident in myself. With the support of people around me, I feel I can become a lot more confident, which will help with running a team. My goal is to act as a team leader during this learning period over the next couple of years to make myself more familiar with the role.

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Levi Pethick

Deputy Course Manager, Stoneham Golf Club

In the next five years I want to establish myself in my current position, having only been deputy for just over a year. I will be open to every learning and development opportunity that is available to me and will look to get myself in the best position to apply for a course manager's role if the opportunity presents itself. I will be looking to further my knowledge with podcasts, seminars and networking opportunities to continue my self-development.

Completing my Level 3 qualification led to me being endorsed by the college onto the Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award. I was fortunate enough to be selected for the finals and came runner-up to tough competition. This presented me with more networking, learning and friendship opportunities. I learnt that these opportunities don't come often and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations allows you to test yourself and grow personally and professionally.

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Samuel Richards

First Assistant, Sherborne Golf Club

I want to be able to develop my career by gaining roles with greater responsibility and opportunity to learn new skills. This will be thourgh a clear understanding of what the next position looks and feels like. I will need to identify what skills I need to leran and develop to enable an opportunity for promotion.

Communication is what holds it all together. Learning to develop and grow communication skills is going to be so important; both talking to the team and talking up the management chain is going to be crucial. Without good communication, there is confusion, doubt and concern. By having good communication, I can set out plans, support our team, inspire and demonstrate goals and objectives.

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Michael Sparke

Deputy Course Manager, King's Hill Golf Club

My aim in the next five years is to become a head greenkeeper or a course manager. I aim to achieve this by expanding my knowledge each day. Every day I ask the course manager questions about the job and how I can become more involved in the mangement side of the role. By asking these questions, it shows I am keen and willing to take on more responsibility so that when I gain the role, I hope the transition will be easier.

During my time as an ICL Scholar, a manager told me to get more involved and join Twitter. This has opened me up to become part of the wider community, learn from others and keep up to date with what is going on in the greenkeeping world. It has made me be more concise with my words when posting and I take more photos to appreciate the work I and the team have done. I believe this will help with my presentation skills and communication.

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Shane Stannard

Deputy Course Manager, Aldeburgh Golf Club

I have recently been promoted to deputy course manager at my current place of work. My goal for the next five years is to work closely alongside the course manager to learn new skills within sports turf management – such as budget, work programmes and staff management. Also, I need to gain more confidence in being able to lead a team if ever the course manager is absent.

I would like to enhance professional relationships within the workplace. Most of the time the team works well together, however there can be tensions as not every member of staff has the same approach to different jobs. I need to work on my communication a bit more to be able to have better professional relationships that will lead to a stronger team and will therefore see a higher quality of work on the course.

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Craig Swindells

Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Chipping Sodbury Golf Club

I would like to become a course manager and look after my own golf course. I feel I am passionate about greenkeeping and have lots of great ideas I can implement on my own course. To achieve this, I need to develop my skills in budget management and more office-based work and qualifications. I intend to do this by working more closely with my head greenkeeper and attending workshops and networking events.

I have many career highlights, from working at European Tour events and helping build the 2010 Ryder Cup course, however the highlight was a wildflower project I created at my current club. I raised funding and project managed the entire project. It was so well received that I have since writted articles on this and was even on the front cover of a greenkeeping magazine with an eight-page spread. I learnt a lot about myself and gained a lot of confidence goind forward. I've learnt to look more at sustainability and ecology on the golf course, which is now something I'm really interested in.

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Nicholas Thorley

Senior Assistant Greenkeeper, Saunton Golf Club

I am a senior greenkeeper at my current course and I regularly undertake the role of head greenkeeper when my supervisor is away and I very much enjoy it. I feel I have the confidence to move up to a head greenkeeper's position. This is my overall goal during the next five years, however I would personally like to do it sooner and when the right position becomes available. There are some managerial areas I need to work on and FTMI will massively help bridge some of those.

In the next five years I would like to further my professional development in different aspects. Firstly, I would continue to volunteer at various golfing tournamnets throughout the world. I feel it gives me an insight into different management strategies and builds friendships. To better my understanding of sand dune ecosystems, I feel it would be beneficial to volunteer some time to Natural England and learn about the plants and animals that live there and how to correctly manage them.

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James Walker

Greenkeeper, St Andrews Links Trust

I started as a greenkeeper at St Andrews Links in October 2022 after three and a half successful years as a supervisor at Gleneagles. Working at St Andrews has been a career goal for me since I first started greenkeeping in South Africa. My goal for the next five years is to take advantage of every opportunity that St Andrews provides. Any supervisor or deputy course manager position that becomes available I will apply for, as well as learning from the current management team. My career goal is to become a golf course manager or head greenkeeper.

Taking a demotion to join St Andrews was a very difficult devision to make as I want to be in management. I made the decision with the bigger picture in mind as it affords me a lot more time to focus on my studies and career opportunities like FTMI. If I could obtain a degree and further my development with opportunities in the next five years, I will be very happy and excited for what my future career holds.

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Jack Wellings

Senior Greenkeeper, JCB Golf and Country Club

My goal is to be promoted to deputy course manager at my current club (or at a different club of a similar level if the position does not become available). I will achieve this by learning from the current course manager and deputy, understanding how they work, why they work the way they do and what I would do in the role to improve the golf course, the greenkeeping team and generally help take everything to the next level.

A career highlight for me was taking ownership of the volunteer programme for the JCB Championship 2022 after being inspired by my experiences when volunteering in America. I took the lead in creating a volunteer pack and played a key role in the organisation of volunteers leading up to tournament week. I'm proud to say we hired two volunteers on a full-time contract because of their experiences when volunteering at JCB. They have gone on to become important members of the team. Through this I have learnt the importance of creating a positive working environment.

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Bradley White

Senior Greenkeeper, Wentworth Club

In the next five years my ambition is to be promoted to deputy head greenkeeper at Wentworth. I want to achieve this by carrying on my work to a high standard and also complete more qualifications, such as my HNC.

A career highlight for me was being selected for the BIGGA Delegation with Bernhard and Company in 2023. This was a great opportunity for me to learn from other people in the industry who are in a higher position than me and the chance to attend the GCSAA Conference, which was a great insight into the industry in America.



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