Jacobsen recently had a chance to reconnect with several groups and individuals who have benefitted from the company’s investments in education.
“At Jacobsen, we have always invested back into the industry which has supported our company for so many years,” said David Withers, President of Jacobsen. “We believe that education drives up standards and leads to a better experience for golfers and supports the higher level of professionalism that we are seeing across the industry.”
Since the 1980s, Jacobsen has been hosting the Future Turf Managers’ program, an annual educational event for college seniors in several of the world’s top turfgrass programs. The program brings top students into Charlotte for a week of training, customer visits, factory tours and other turf-related activities. This year’s event, slated for May, will include 30 college seniors from around the world.
The program is an opportunity for future golf course superintendents and sports field managers to get out of the classroom and into the field. Attendees get up close and personal with top turf professionals like Jeff Kent, Superintendent of Quail Hollow Club and 17-year member of GCSAA and Clark Cox, Sports Turf Manager for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.
“You get to see what it’s really like to be a professional turf manager from people who live it every day,” said Steve Loughran, eight-year member of the GCSAA and newly-appointed Superintendent at Rock Ridge County Club in Newtown, Connecticut. Loughran attended Jacobsen’s Future Turfgrass Managers’ program in 2007. “I still use things I learned during my week with Jacobsen. It’s an excellent program that helped prepare me for a successful career.”
Training during the Future Turf Managers’ program is held at Jacobsen University, an in-house educational facility that features learning labs and provides hands-on training for turf students, superintendents, technicians and salespeople. Nearly 150 attendees are expected to train at Jacobsen University in 2012.
Jacobsen also supports education at the college level. The company has been donating quality turf equipment to Florida Gateway College in Lake City, Florida for more than 30 years. Sixty percent of golf course superintendents in Florida are Gateway College graduates.
The college uses the equipment for a variety of different training purposes, including ride-on training, hydraulic testing, electrical testing and more.
“It’s one thing to show students a picture of a hydraulic pump, but when I can put one in their hands, it’s a whole different story,” said Mark Yarick, Professor and Program Coordinator of Turf Equipment Management at Florida Gateway College. “Having them train on real equipment better prepares our students for their careers. When they get to their first job, there’s no learning curve because they know the equipment so well.”
Jacobsen dealer Golf Ventures West recently donated a full fleet of Jacobsen equipment to Florida Gateway College, including a large wide-area rotary mower (HR-9016), two super lightweight fairways mowers (SLF-1880), a five-gang articulating rotary mower (AR-5) and an out-front rotary (TurfCat).
“Jacobsen also gives our students access to industry-leading innovation,” said Yarick. “Several years ago, Jacobsen sent us an E-Walk, the very first all-electric walking greens mower. Our students were able to see firsthand the future of mowing technology. It was an incredible experience for them.”
Jacobsen is also involved in developing individual careers. Scott Annesley, a native of Australia and graduate of The Ohio State University’s Turfgrass Science Program, signed on as an intern at the famed Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. Working alongside Michael Giuffre, GCSAA Class A superintendent at Congressional, Scott spent five months preparing for the 2011 U.S. Open Championship.
After his tour ended, Jacobsen worked with Mike O’Keefe of OSU to extend his mentorship. Through its exclusive partnership with Pebble Beach Golf Links, Jacobsen was able to secure and fund an internship at the famed course. Scott is now working with Chris Dalhamer, a 15-year GCSAA Class A member.
Scott will add to his incredible resume at The Castle Course of St. Andrews Links in Scotland later this year.
“We, at Ohio State, appreciate the fact that Jacobsen has the vision and foresight to help train the future turf manager’s from around the world as these young people are the future of this profession,” said Mike O’Keeffe, Program Manager for OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ International Exchange Program.