I have been a greenkeeper for over 20 years on golf and Sports Fields.
I started my apprenticeship in 1999 at Ashlar Golf Club in Blacktown NSW, and now I am currently the Head Groundsman at Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness.
Over those years I had seen a lot of great greenkeepers leave the industry, mainly because of the lack of opportunities and low wages.
I noticed it was getting harder to keep staff and find new people to take on apprenticeships, as the large amount of kids completing year 12 were pushed into universities. When I started at the age of 16, it was normal to leave school at the end of year 10 – yet now, kids are being pushed to finish year 12, so the apprenticeship wages are not very attractive to a 18-year-old who can earn more at Coles stacking shelves while getting into debt going to University.
Just over 4 years ago I started a work exchange/experience program, where we would let people from the industry volunteer at the university and we would send our staff around to different employers around the country and overseas to show these passionate people that this industry can take you anywhere you want it to.
This was such a big success that 9 months ago, I decided to share it with everyone in the turf industry by creating a private Facebook group. The group grew to what it is today, with more than 1700 greenkeepers, turf managers, golf courses and businesses network with each other to create opportunities that have never existed before.
Our goal is too create new opportunities and build scholarships and overseas experiences for our members.
In just over 9 months we have helped hundreds of greenkeepers find new jobs locally and internationally. We also put together a charity day for Movember at Kingswood Sports Club, attracting over 80 adults and kids helping raise $800 for charity.
We’ve recently just secured our first commitment from a company called Turf Assistant to help build us a scholarship by putting aside 10% of every sale we make for them.
The Facebook group is 100% free to join and is free for all our members to post jobs, share ideas and show off their great work. We’ve recently opened up another group on LinkedIn – also free – to reach more people in our industry.
We also havepublic pages on Facebook and Instagram to help advertise our industry to the public, where we hope it will attract some new blood into the industry. You join this industry for the passion, not the money, as I’ve been told many of times over the years.
This group wouldn’t exist without our small team of 10 passionate greenkeepers who help run all the social media pages and find great content, as well as coming up with great new ideas for us to keep moving forward.
Education is our next step, with our online educational videos, we will be able to help countries around the world that don’t have a strong education system for our industry, as well as help our own country, especially in regional areas where there is no option for education unless they travel.
Founding member Bradley Tennant’s podcasts will also be released at the end of every month on Apple Podcasts and YouTube etc.
The International Greenkeepers For Hire Team, in no particular order, with over 200 years’ experience in the industry worldwide.