How do we attract the next generation to the greenkeeping profession?

4 June 2021 Feature Article

Can we spark an early interest in the world of greenkeeping for our children?

 

For the last couple of years, since becoming a BIGGA member and reading the magazines, there has been an obvious push for the need to protect the golf course environment and the greater outdoors for everyone’s benefit (especially generations to come).

Last year, when out on the mowers, I found myself asking the question of ‘How do we and how should we encourage future generations to do this job?” But I then carried on cutting and getting jobs completed.

Fast forward to the third lockdown, my second spell on furlough and my soon becoming a first‑time father. My imagination led me to the usual parental thoughts of my kids growing up and how they have a habit of questioning everything. I wondered how I would explain things to them when they asked “What does Daddy do at work?”

One possible answer, as I’m sure some greenkeepers already do with their children, is by taking them out on the course from time to time, perhaps during a weekend shift or even to actually play golf. This is great! But does it mean that we’re just giving an insight into greenkeeping and the literal talk of ‘birds and the bees’ solely for our children?

While on furlough and luckily not directly affected by COVID‑19 other than having too much time on my hands, I found myself asking the three questions of:

  1. How do we spark an interest in greenkeeping for children at a young age?
  2. How do we encourage future generations to consider the profession as a career?
  3. What actually does mummy or daddy do at work?

My answer to all of the above is a fun interactive children’s book (ICB).

Admittedly I’m a greenkeeper with an active imagination, but I know nothing about how to develop or publish a book and everything leans towards e‑learning and online learning nowadays.

The early idea being four picture books based on a team of greenkeepers across four typical British seasons. The short stories would show typical tasks and problems being overcome and focusing on the wildlife we all come across in reality with humour and simple information, dependent on the age range of the target audience.

To make it fun and interactive there could be problem‑solving mazes, colouring pictures of mowers and one idea that I really like is a sticker section where the children could ‘design their own golf hole’ by adding flowers, trees or course hazards to the fairway and green.

I’m sure we all grew up with farmyard, emergency or dinosaur books, by why couldn’t there be a series of books about what we do?

I know that as a kid I didn’t know or care what greenkeeping was until late in my teens when I started playing golf and understood the need to look after our wildlife.

If there was a book like this what do you fellow members think? Could you see your child or kids in general having their imaginations sparked into becoming mini greenkeepers?


Continue the conversation Join the conversation on Twitter using @BIGGALtd


Shaun was writing for Greenkeeper International and has won himself a £100 Continue to Learn voucher. He will also be entered into a draw to win £750 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Florida, when restrictions allow. If you'd like to get involved, email GI editor Karl Hansell on karl@bigga.co.uk


 

Author

Shaun Quinn
Colmworth Golf Club | Greenkeeper

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