Hi Sam, tell us, what attracted you to your role and working at The Grove?
I joined The Grove in summer 2012 on a casual basis before starting university. At the time I didn’t know anything about golf course management. My background is in farming, so working on a golf course where I could drive mowers and tractors sounded brilliant. After four months on the job I had become obsessed with the role and knew that greenkeeping and golf course management was something I wanted to do long term. Working somewhere as renowned as The Grove was also greatly appealing.
What’s the best thing about working here?
There have been so many big events take place during my time at The Grove. I can’t think of many jobs where you could set the golf course up for the likes of Barak Obama, prepare the estate for the NATO Summit or look after a football pitch for high-profile football and NFL teams every year. There will always be something to keep the job exciting!
What does a typical day look like for you at work?
My working day starts at 5am. I like to be the first in to check any irrigation cycles from the previous night, update course maintenance sheets and check emails. I then assess the work planner for the team before they arrive at 5:30am. We hold a daily meeting to delegate jobs and relay important information about the day to the staff. In the summer we can have up to 18 team members so it is important that everyone knows what they are doing.
From 6-9am I am usually out on the course checking the quality of the surfaces and training/mentoring staff. It is important to ensure that the quality of the product we produce is always checked to the highest standards for our guests.
The remainder of my day involves planning work schedules, mentoring our Level 2 apprentices and Level 3 greenkeepers, along with planning and implementing the agronomy planner for the golf course. Whenever possible, I always try to be on the job with the team as I enjoy being hands-on. I love operating the machinery.
Before I leave, I ensure that there is time in the diary to plan for the next working day. It is also important to set up water programmes and make sure that there will be no faults overnight. Grass never stops growing and disease and disorders are always ready to creep in so we need to make sure that when we leave, the playing surfaces on the golf course have everything they need to survive.
What career-related opportunities or training have you had since joining the team?
I have acquired a Level 3 NVQ, a HNC and now a HND in golf course management. These courses, along with 10 years’ experience at The Grove, have been invaluable for progressing my career. On top of this I have been sponsored for multiple operator tickets such as forklift, excavator 360, spraying operations, tractor tickets, chainsaw operation and tree felling certifications.
What advice would you give to someone looking to join the team?
You get out what you put in to this job. Make sure you always ask questions, put all your effort and attention to detail into every task you undertake and always get involved.
Where do you see yourself in your career in five years’ time?
Within five years I would like to have the keys to my very own golf course and be a Golf Course Superintendent.
Describe your job in three words.
Rewarding, engaging and exciting.
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