The Greenkeeping team are the unsung heroes behind the scenes at our spectacular golf courses. They’re on-hand come rain or shine, with only lightning storms preventing them from keeping our championship greens pristine!
One rising student greenkeeper star amongst our team of nearly 20 greenkeepers here at our golf course in Cheshire is Peter Pattenden. An assistant young greenkeeper with his sights firmly set on becoming a Course Manager. Peter has recently entered the prestigious ‘Student Greenkeeper of the year’ award. We’re proud to announce he is one of six out of the 54 contenders to make it to the final round.
Peter first heard about the award through peers in the greenkeeping industry. The award looks great as part of his professional portfolio and aligns with his goals of becoming the best in his field. Eventually achieving the role of Course Manager.
The award comes with a very exciting work experience opportunity in the South of France. However, the main prize of interest is the training vouchers, which if successful, Peter hopes to put towards an Irrigation Course. Enabling him to learn more about irrigation systems; their maintenance, spotting issues and repairing faults. All skills Peter can use to contribute to continually improving the golf courses his team maintains.
The application process involved for aspiring student greenkeepers involves a brief of your goals and experience, which then will determine if you get through to the regional interview stage. During the regional interview stage, your knowledge is tested on Toro, Reesynk, Bigga and general best practices for greenkeepers. Shortly after the interview, it was confirmed that Peter has made it to the final which starts on the 7th of September, and will run over a few days. The final of the Student Greenkeeper of the year award involves a course walk-around with identification knowledge checks.
Peter has already set his sights on next year’s competitions too, and he will hopefully be entering the FTMI (Future Turf Managers Initiative) in 2023. Carden Park will fully support Peter in his competitive and professional journey.
Peter is passionate about greenkeeping it’s a profession you can take a lot of pride in – in fact, you can physically see when you’ve done a good job. He is most interested in the Biological Chemistry aspect of the job (fertilisation) but there is a broad scope of responsibilities to choose from.
Greenkeeping can be a hidden gem of a career opportunity for those who like working outdoors. There are also very clear, and achievable progression paths you can follow throughout your career.
The knowledge you can acquire in the line of work is beyond what people might first imagine. Even down to the ‘height of cut’ on the golf course, fairways being 15mm whereas the tees are just 10mm for example. There is plenty of opportunities to expand your expertise even on a daily basis.
Another factor to consider with greenkeeping is the early mornings. Many shifts start from 6.00 am until 2.30 pm which can be viewed as favourable. Many of our team find this convenient with childcare requirements, for example. However, if you are more of a 9-5 kind of person, this might not be the path for you.
Due to the size of Carden Park (over 1,000 acres), Peter explains there is a huge opportunity to learn and test your greenkeeper skills. It also has a large fleet of impressive machinery, which you might not otherwise have exposure to, other than in theory. As well as a mixture of soil and sand based golf courses to get to grips with. One of which is open all year round.
Greenkeeping is one of the highest-quality professions in this line of work, and it can open additional doors to a lot of opportunities in the future. If you did want to change the direction of your career, you could consider migrating into pitch management, private grounds maintenance plus more.
Peter first started considering student greenkeeping due to his overall love of sport. Being an avid golf and rugby player, he wanted to involve himself in this field of work in some way. Peter found a course in sports turf management in a local college and has now begun working towards his Level 3. Although you don’t need qualifications to get into the role, it does help speed things up if you want to progress through the hierarchy of greenkeepers.
There will be contacts in the college that may be able to help you find suitable positions. Alternatively, there are often vacancies which will allow you to train on the job. As you expect, greenkeeping roles are predominantly advertised on job sites. It’s also a good idea to keep a close eye on the careers pages of your favourite local golf courses so that you can apply directly, or even better register your interest ahead of time.
Seasonal greenkeepers roles are often available at local venues to try out the field if you would prefer to test the water. Peter personally decided to do this during his school holidays which confirmed his passion for the work involved. One main consideration is do you like the outdoors. Peter joked you have to be pretty weather resistant as a human to thrive in the environment.
I am sure you join us in wishing Peter good luck for the final of the student greenkeeper of the year award. Regardless of the result, he is certainly making himself ‘a name’ in the greenkeepers arena. Watch this space!
If you want to learn more about our current greenkeeping roles you can view openings by clicking below.
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