MY name is Alan Baird and I am a Greenkeeping Cadetship student studying Level 2 in Sportsturf Management at Greenmount Campus, CAFRE in Antrim.
I had previously completed a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture. As part of my course I undertook an industrial work placement on Greenmount Campus. During the placement I was given the opportunity to work on the campus golf course facility – this is where my interest in Greenkeeping began and I haven’t looked back since.
As part of my studies I help maintain the sportsturf facilities on campus four days per week and I receive a financial study bursary to compensate me. Greenmount campus has a dedicated three hole golf course, short game practice area and contoured driving range which is often used by the Golfing Union of Ireland (GUI) for elite training.
One day each week is spent focusing on theory and receiving practical instruction, however some of this is now being delivered online due to Covid-19.
I am thoroughly enjoying all aspects of my course at Greenmount campus. The facilities and resources are excellent and the staff here have made my learning experience most enjoyable.
The highlights for me have been getting to volunteer at both the ISPC HANDA World Invitational in 2019 and again at this year’s Irish Open at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort. In 2019 I was lucky enough to meet a few celebrities, such as Niall Horan. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions this summer, I was unable to meet any of the players at the Irish Open but I look forward to working at more great golf tournaments in years to come.
I would recommend this programme to anyone who has an interest in golf and keen to become a professional golf greenkeeper. Each year the cadetship programme is kindly sponsored by the Golfing Union of Ireland to encourage people into Greenkeeping who will in the future help improve the golfing surfaces throughout Ireland.
n For more information on Greenkeeping and Sportsturf Management programmes check the CAFRE website www.cafre.ac.uk or contact Fergal Greenan Fergal.Greenan@daera-ni.gov.uk