Master Greenkeeper 80: Andrew Sprunt

29 May 2019 Feature Article

 

In May 2019, Andrew Sprunt of Florissant Golf Club in Missouri became the 80th BIGGA member to achieve the Master Greenkeeper certification.

I started my career in 1995, attending Easton and Cannington College. In 2001 I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Writtle University.

 

I have worked at multiple golf courses in the UK, such as Royal Norwich, De Vere Dunstan Hall, and The London Club. I did a grow-in at Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort in Cyprus, then headed to the United States as a global turfgrass intern with the Ohio State University.

 

I have been married to my wife, Elizabeth, since August 2004 and I have a 12-year-old son called Jamison. In our spare time we like to walk trails, bowl and my son is a very talented soccer player. He currently plays very high level select soccer over here and he represents the state of Missouri for Olympic development state soccer.

 

We are also extreme Six Flags theme park enthusiasts and enjoy bonding with Jamison on high speed roller coasters when I get the odd day off. We have been to six flags well over 100 times in the past six years!

 

My career has been pretty amazing with the privilege of learning the trade from some top course managers and superintendents from all across the world. I decided a long time ago that I was going to take my time to rise up the ranks. I wanted to learn the trade and be fully confident that I had the ability to become a golf course superintendent. In 2012 I got that opportunity at Florissant Golf Club, working for Billy Casper Golf Management. Let's just say it was a rude awakening when that position fell on me! 

 

Since then I have continued to grow and have become a very confident superintendent with a continued passion for the golf industry. I have had the opportunity to work in three countries and have learnt a lot from working with a diversity of people with different nationalities cultures and beliefs. I have a thirst to continue my growth in the golf industry and with a passion to continue my travels I hope I can continue to succeed, while keeping a health work-life balance.

 

Back in 2016 I decided to give the Master Greenkeeper Certificate a shot. I knew this would help me improve my abilities and reflected what I wanted to achieve in this industry. It is and will always be very important for me to learn to  grow and improve in this business and in life. I believed this certificate would give me the confidence to further my career. 

 

Curtis Tyrrell, formerly from Medinah Country Club, and Chuck Gast, from Bellerive Country Club, were the two representatives to carry out the site assessment of my facility. Although I was nervous about two hugely succesful gentlemen coming to evaluate me, this was a great experience and both Chuck and Curtis have been very helpful, kind and guiding in my career since then.

 

The call to say I had achieved Master Greenkeeper status was amazing and came out of the blue. That morning we had a split 120-person tournament at 7am and 1 pm. We were finishing off getting the course ready when the phone rang and Deb Burnett's name came up. I won't lie, I didn't pass the examinations the first time and in a way, I am glad I didn't as I was able to gain more experience. I answered the phone knowing that the morning had been a rush and was ready to hear "not this time Andy" so I said to Deb, go on give us the news. She replied "what if it's good news?" 

 

Writing this I am getting choked up again, as I feel so proud to have achieved this and to be in a group with some very well known, talented fellow Master Greenkeepers. This is a true honour for me on a professional and personal level as my son and wife are very proud of me. If anyone would like to know how I took the news, ask Deb Burnett at BIGGA as she can vouch for me. I was really choked up, giddy, proud and, to be honest, my mind was all over the place!

 

I hold this title with pride and hope I can continue my career with passion and enthusiasm and hopefully can continue to give back to the profession that we all love.

 

I just want to say a big thank you to the BIGGA team for helping me through this and to Curtis Tyrrell MG and Chuck Gast for their help and continued support.

 

Author

Karl Hansell
BIGGA | Communications Executive

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