Last week, Jacobsen, a Textron (NYSE: TXT) Company, hosted over 30 college seniors from top turfgrass programs around the world as part of its Future Turf Managers event.
The annual event gives students a unique opportunity to experience professional turfgrass management at the highest level. Students visit with top superintendents and field managers, test-drive a variety of professional turf equipment, learn from industry organizations like the GCSAA, and meet with key Jacobsen executives.
By noon on the first day, I had already increased my knowledge tenfold,” said Spencer Mendenhall, a senior at Utah State University. “I learned about many aspects of turf management that will help me throughout my career.”
Attendees must be recommended by directors or professors at turfgrass programs. This year’s group included students from 24 colleges and universities, including Penn State University, Texas A&M University, Florida Gateway College and Oregon State University. For the first time in the event’s history, Jacobsen also hosted a contingent of students from the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG), a sports turf organization based in the United Kingdom.
One of the highlights of the week included visits to Quail Hollow Golf Club and Sage Valley Golf Club, two of the top golf courses in the Southeast. The group also visited sports fields at the University of South Carolina (USC), home of the back-to-back College World Series Champions in NCAA Division I men’s baseball. USC Sports Turf Manager Clark Cox gave students an exclusive look behind-the-scenes at the school’s state-of-the-art complex.
“The visit to Sage Valley Golf Club was one of the highlights of the week for me,” said Michael Frantzen, a senior at Texas A&M University. “Director of Golf Maintenance Chuck Green talked about how important it is to see the course through the eyes of the member.”
After visiting the Jacobsen factory and headquarters, the students were treated to an in-depth presentation from the GCSAA about the importance of career goals as a turfgrass manager.
“It’s been the trip of a lifetime. I’ve been amazed by the sheer size of everything,” said Iestyn John, a student from the United Kingdom. “It’s going to be hard to go back to our small cars and venues.”
"These young men and women represent the future of our industry and it’s important that we support them not just here in the States, but across the pond as well,” said David Withers, president of Jacobsen. “That’s why we expanded our reach this year and invited students from the United Kingdom.”