ROME, ITALY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2023 – Four young greenkeepers from around Europe are coming to the end of a unique six-month work experience placement at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, the host of this year’s Ryder Cup. And their stay will culminate in golf’s biggest spectacle, the Cup itself, being held in the last week of September.
The placement scheme was organised by FEGGA, the Federation of European Golf Greenkeeping Associations, and sponsored by CapillaryFlow, the leader in water, carbon dioxide and oxygen management techniques for golf courses and other sports fields, and equipment giant Toro. It is the second time Capillary and FEGGA have combined to give greenkeepers work experience at a Ryder Cup site, but this scheme is very different to the one run at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.
“In Paris, ten greenkeepers came from Europe and ten from the USA, but they were just there for tournament week,” says FEGGA executive officer Dean Cleaver. “Unlike all the other volunteers, who had to pay their own way to Paris, we took care of all our delegations costs for getting there and back. It worked really well, bringing greenkeepers from across the world together. But this programme is on a completely different level.”
The four scholars, Oscar Gummesson from Sweden, Ciaran Killeen from Ireland, Michele Lazzeri from Italy, and Mathis Reboullot from France, have been part of the greenkeeping team at Marco Simone since April, including for the Italian Open in May, and will remain there until the end of the Ryder Cup. “We’ve taken care of their accommodation, gave some help with flying in and out, and there has been regular education throughout the programme,” says Cleaver. “Toro has been and delivered a course on irrigation, Kneale Diamond from CapillaryFlow is going to do one on bunkers, and Alejandro Reyes, who is serving as director of agronomy for Marco Simone, has been educating them on the grass choices that were made for the golf course. It has been a really great experience for them, and I’m confident that what the four of them have learned during the placement will help them go on to become leaders of the greenkeeping community in their countries.”
CapillaryFlow chief executive Martin Sternberg, himself a qualified course superintendent, says: “We were really happy to be involved with the programme in Paris, and are even more so this year. As a company, our mission is to help improve the standard and economics of golf course – and other sports field – presentation, and improving the education of the greenkeepers who take care of those courses is a really important part of that. It’s been a fantastic programme, and I hope our scholars will go home afterwards and remember it as one of the highlights of their careers.”