Inspiring greenkeepers of the future

SRUC (Scottish Rural College) Elmwood are an educational facility 10 miles from St Andrews that offers full-time, part-time and distance learning for students looking to pursue careers in golf course management.

Wrapped up warm

There has been a strong relationship between the College and St Andrews over the years. In fact the majority of the greenkeeping staff currently working at the Links has undertaken some form of study at the college throughout their careers. We often welcome greenkeeping students and their tutors on study tours of the golf courses during the academic year to help enhance their understanding of links golf and what it takes to manage such an environment.

The visit: Exploring the Links landscape

Early in the year, staff from the Eden and Old Course greenkeeping teams provided tours of the courses for two full-time National Certificate Greenkeeping groups who were accompanied by Course Tutor, Paul Miller. They are currently studying a Golf Course Sustainability module and were keen to learn how St Andrews Links manages the golf course environment.

The morning group explored the Eden Course and learned of the environmental management initiatives we run, which include gorse, grassland and heather management.

In the afternoon the second group were taken around the fabled Old Course, which for aspiring greenkeepers is a bit of a treat. During the tour we highlighted the importance of recycling initiatives as well as the environmental benefits to flora and fauna that our initiatives support.

Many other areas of the courses were toured such as:

The importance of these visits

A word from Paul Miller who summarised the purpose and benefit of such a visit to St Andrews Links:

“Our students always benefit from a visit to the Home of Golf. Firstly it’s always exciting to visit the St Andrews Courses, and from a teaching point of view it confirms what we discuss in class and see online and in the media.  We are very fortunate to have St Andrews just 10 miles away and, quite apart from its reputation, it provides variety and the ability to show students different styles of course in different landscapes.  The visit demonstrated superbly that environmental stewardship in golf course management is important to us all – without it there is no future for the game. It’s great to see St Andrews Links taking the lead on this.”

We hope that these course tours will inspire students to further success in their academic and professional careers, and that we may even have unearthed some future Course Managers of the Links in years to come!

Words by Fergal Cushen (Old Course Greenkeeping Team) & Frank Aherne (Eden Greenkeeping Team)

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