Earlier this month Jacobsen hosted more than 20 college seniors from top turfgrass programs around the world as part of its annual Future Turf Managers event. The annual event gives students a unique opportunity to experience professional turfgrass management at the highest level. During the 3-day event, students visit with top sports field managers and golf course superintendents, hear leading-edge presentations from top universities and get an insider's look at Jacobsen's turf maintenance equipment.
Future turf managers event prepares students for successful future
Earlier this month Jacobsen hosted more than 20 college seniors from top turfgrass programs around the world as part of its annual Future Turf Managers event.
The annual event gives students a unique opportunity to experience professional turfgrass management at the highest level. During the 3-day event, students visit with top sports field managers and golf course superintendents, hear leading-edge presentations from top universities and get an insider’s look at Jacobsen’s turf maintenance equipment.
Attendees must be recommended by directors or professors at turfgrass programs. Students were selected from more than 20 colleges and universities, including Penn State University, Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University, Iowa State University and North Dakota State University. The group also included an international student from Myerscough College in Lancashire, England.
Jacobsen University hosted several educational sessions, which included a presentation from Abby McNeal, CSFM, Director of Turf Management at Wake Forest University. McNeal gave the group an overview of the Sports Turf Managers Association and shared some advice about ongoing training and player expectations.
“I’ve always been told not to be afraid to take the ground balls,” said McNeal. “Take basic courses to keep your skills sharp like fertilizer calculation or machine calibration. It’s amazing how much you forget over the years.
“Joe DiMaggio once said that every game there could be a kid who’s seeing him for the first or last time and he owed it to them to give his best,” McNeal told the group. “It’s the same with our profession: every game you prepare for is the most important of the season, whether its Pop Warner football or an NFL playoff game.”
The group also heard from Dr. Jim Brosnan of the University of Tennessee, who gave a presentation on herbicide resistance. Research has shown that herbicide resistance is being perpetuated by turf managers who use the same modes of action, year after year.
“Some of the guys I talk to out there are using the same herbicides in the same way for years,” Brosnan told the group. “And they wonder why their grass is resistant to herbicide. The key is rotating your modes of action to avoid resistance.”
One of the highlights of the week included a visit to 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 sports complex. Cox also shared his experiences and challenges of managing turfgrass in the transition zone.
Reflecting on the event, students said their experiences will better prepare them for their job search and future careers.
“This event made me more confident about finding a job and better prepared for the work that lies ahead,” said Robert Glenn, graduating senior at Mississippi State University. “Plus, the fact that I have contacts at two upper echelon sports facilities extends my networking reach even further.”
It was also encouraging is how positive the recent graduates are about job opportunities.
“I’m not really worried about getting a job,” said Derek Christensen, graduating senior at North Dakota State University. “The last 3 years, all the turfgrass graduates from our school found jobs right away. I think this week has put me in a great mindset to begin my job search.”