From left to right: Kristian Kouhia (Finland), Michele Lazzeri (Italy), Mathis Reboullot (France), Oscar Gummesson (Sweden), Ciaran Killeen (Rep of Ireland)

FEGGA provides another career developing experience at Marco Simone – Home to the 2023 Ryder Cup

One important aspect of FEGGA’s work is helping aspiring greenkeepers in their career development through education and experience. Through this commitment we have been able to provide valuable support to five greenkeepers through a 6-month Greenkeeper Experience Programme at Marco Simone golf course, host venue to the upcoming Ryder Cup to be played for the first time in Italy.

In working with Lara Arias, Superintendent & Agronomist and Alejandro Reyes, Director of Agronomy we were able to provide this wonderful opportunity, coupled with a supporting education programme during their time at Marco Simone. Through this programme we have been able to deliver education on; Fertilization – how to prepare an annual fertility plan, management of Poa and bent grasses on greens. Irrigation management, Machine Management and bunker design and maintenance, all being delivered by experienced specialists working within our industry.  They will finish this part of their experience during the Ryder Cup week, with a seminar delivered by Thomas Nikolai on all aspects of rolling greens.

I recently was able to visit and spend some time with our greenkeeper students along with Lara and Alejandro and their team as they prepared for both the USA and European Teams to arrive for some bonding practice time together. The golf course was in excellent shape, as the final countdown now turned to days, 22 to be exact, before the 44th event gets under way.

Our attending Greenkeeper Students, coming from Italy, France, Rep of Ireland, France and Sweden, shared some of their thoughts whilst we were together recently.

Mathis Reboullot

Mathis Reboullot is from France and commented: “I would like to thank everyone who helped me having this incredible experience. I have learned a lot thanks to Lara, Alejandro, Baptiste, Alexandre, Robin, and Victor. I am so grateful to have met and worked with them all. Their advice has been so precious and very helpful in my career development. This experience has taught me a lot and has convinced me about my future professional choices.

Working on the Ryder Cup course is amazing and rewarding for me even if I still have to learn a lot that’s why right after the Ryder Cup, I am continuing my studies, taking a one year class on Automatic Watering of Sports Fields.  I can’t wait for the Ryder Cup!”

Ciaran Killeen

Ciaran Killeen is 28 years old and comes from Balbriggan, Dublin in Ireland: ”Following a short career with two different kitchen supplier company’s in Ireland , and a brief time in Australia, I returned back to Ireland. It was at that time I decided to go after a career in greenkeeping as I loved the sport of golf , being outdoors in nature and a growing interest in the machinery used to maintain a golf course, along with golf’s battle with nature and the science behind greenkeeping. I got a job in a landscaping company before getting a job as a trainee greenkeeper in Howth golf club in Dublin. Since then, I’ve never looked back and greenkeeping is definitely the career and lifestyle for me.

I received great training from Howth golf club and completed a level 6 greenkeeping course while there before making a move to my local golf course at Balbriggan golf club. I only worked there for a short time as the opportunity to join Marco Simone golf club through FEGGA with this internship at the Ryder cup was an opportunity I could not refuse when I was given the opportunity to come and join the team.

My experience here has been great, to see first-hand the work and commitment that goes into presenting a Ryder cup golf course day in day out for the best golf players in the world has been eye opening. I have learnt a lot from everyone here and working with people from so many different countries and backgrounds is something I will remember forever and will be great along with everything I’ve learned here in my future going forward as a greenkeeper.

Outside of work, this experience has also given me friends for life, we have done many things together like travelling to Naples, Tuscany, Milan, Como, seeing a Lazio football match, visiting the San Siro for a match in Milan, seeing all the sights of Rome but also living day to day life in Rome and experiencing this with my friends from work has been as special as working on the Ryder cup golf course.

I’m very thankful to FEGGA, TAS (Lara & Alejandro), Marco Simone and to CapillaryFlow and Toro who made this possible through their sponsorship of this programme.”

Michele Lazzeri

Michele Lazzeri is 24 years old and from Italy: “After finishing my studies and starting my working career, I worked as a grounds-keeper in football. I learned of the possibility of working through FEGGA for six months at the Marco Simone golf club in Rome preparing for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Following my interview, I accepted the offer of coming on the programme. During this experience I discovered a passion for golf greenkeeping and starting from a new beginning I tried and learned numerous things. I am proud to be part of Marco Simone’s team and contribute with my own hands to the creation of the greatest golf event in the world. Thanks to this experience I met many people from numerous nations with whom I have lived and shared wonderful moments of friendship. I will carry this experience in my heart forever.

Thank you to FEGGA, Lara and her Team, and also not forgetting the sponsors who have supported this opportunity.”

Oscar Gummesson

Oscar Gummesson is 25 years old and is from Stockholm in Sweden: ”I grew up and live on an island in the archipelago of Stockholm called Ljusterö.

My first contact with the greenkeeping bussiness was in 8th grade, when we had two weeks work experience. During the summer break between 8th and 9th grade I started working as a greenkeeper at Ljusterö Golf. I worked on that golf course during the summer break every year until I finished high school in the spring of 2017. Then I started working as a full time greenkeeper at Ljusterö Golf. I have done some training on course maintenance in Sweden called GUB and VUB. That is two different levels of training.

In the beginning of 2020 I went to work at The Australian Golf Course in Sydney. Unfortunately this was cut short to 3.5 months due to the Covid outbreak that took place globally.

Kristian Kouhia

The experience in Rome working at Marco Simone has been really good so far, learning and experiencing many things that will certainly help me in my further career development. I’m now looking forward to the Ryder Cup to start now, and maybe I can share more about the whole experience following the Ryder Cup.” Thank you to everyone for making this experience possible for me.”

Kristian Kouhia is already an experienced greenkeeper coming from Finland: Kristian is currently on the FEGGA Educational Scholarship programme in Sweden. Kristian was previously working as a Greenkeeper at Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, in Ireland and saw the FEGGA scholarship as an opportunity to further his career.

Kristian has a real thirst for knowledge and in particular for tournament golf. “I saw this opportunity to spend some time on the Ryder Cup programme and to gain more knowledge and experience within tournament preparation as invaluable and I am so thankful to FEGGA for making this happen.

The experience has been fantastic, and Its been so interesting to see the level of detail that takes place within every aspect of the preparation work.

Many thanks to Lara for allowing me to join her team and also to the sponsors for supporting greenkeeping development through this programme.

I have to say that spending time with these five greenkeepers was inspiring and underpins the value that comes from providing these opportunities.

A massive thank to Lara and Alejandro for their committed support in the future development of greenkeepers. Also, a very big thank you to CapillayFlow and Toro for their loyal and continuous support of the greenkeeping profession.

Finally, to Lara and her team, the whole profession wishes you well in the days ahead. It’s been a long journey, full of challenges that are not always seen, but through dedication, commitment you will provide an outstanding golf course that will show case golf biggest event.

Good Luck and enjoy the final moments……

Dean Cleaver – Executive officer