Opportunities to Develop your career – FEGGA Student Chris Krawczyk shares his experiences

Opportunities to Develop your career – FEGGA Student Chris Krawczyk shares his experiences

I decided to write this article because maybe someone will be looking for an opportunity like me to develop their career. I’m Chris and I took part on the FEGGA Greenkeeping Scholarship Programme at Kristianstad Golf Course in Sweden last season. I strongly recommend to anyone who is hungry for professional success to find out more about this unique opportunity.

I’m 44 years old and I started to work in the greenkeeping business quite late. I decided to change my career when I was 40. I was a web designer and clicking on my computer all day wasn’t me being happy. I started working as a greenkeeper on a golf course in Sweden. I loved this job and after one season I knew I wanted to make a career in this business.  I started to plan my career and set goals. I wanted to be a Head Greenkeeper.  On May 2020 I saw the FEGGA scholarship brochure about the scholarship programme at Kristianstad Golf Course in Sweden – that’s something for me I thought. I wanted to join but was little too late and I decide, I must join in 2021 and I did it! On September 2020 I started study at Elmwood college on my HNC, according to my plan, after its graduation it was supposed to give me a promotion to Head Greenkeeper.

On the beginning of April, I started the scholarship at Kristianstad Golf Course in Sweden. I heard the same thing repeatedly from the very beginning. How you benefit from your time here depends on you. And it was very true. I was the guy who knows what he wants with clear goals, and I decided to use my time on the scholarship the best as I can for my future career. When you are over 40 you don’t have time for waiting and wasting your time. You must be focused on your goals and successful career oriented.  Each scholarship student, in addition to regular work on the golf course, attends a very interesting educational program and has his own project that he or she manages with support of the Kristianstad’s team. Me and my scholarship friend Viktor’s project was to manage and maintain one of the practice greens on the golf course, commonly known as the padel green, because it was in front of the padel tennis court. Our goal was to increase the speed of green and provide an excellent playing surface for a big tournament, the Creekhouse Open. I prepared the completed the maintenance plan with fertiliser and disease protection included.  The speed at the beginning was 7.5 on the stimp and after a couple weeks later we had a stimp of 12. Normally on high season we kept the speed at 10-12 level on stimp. We were greenkeepers and head greenkeepers for this project as well.  For preparing this plan the easiest way would be to ask Bevan Tattersall, the Course Manager of Kristianstad Golf course and along with FEGGA the co-founder of this scholarship but he wanted to make us learn for ourselves. Of course, we could always count on him and consult everything with him. He also provided us with full support, not only knowledge, but provided everything that would be needed (fertilizers, seeds, etc.). It was like a test for me. I am ready for managing my own course? I wasn’t sure but this project confirmed that if I had the opportunity to get such a job as a Head Greenkeeper I would have managed.

Figure 1: Padel green

Click here to view the Padel Green presentation presentation

Figure 2: Complete maintenance plan

Figure 3: Hand topdressing on padel green

Figure 4: Irrigation was a part of my maintenance plan.

Figure 5: Everyday moisture measuring was important to proper irrigation.

In the first half of the scholarship, I started to think about the future season. One day during the searching of job offers on websites I saw an offer of a  Head Greenkeeper position, and I read it and I thought, I meet all the requirements of what they are looking for. So, I decided to apply, but before I did I asked Bevan for advice. He agreed with me I should try, unfortunately I didn’t get this job. It would be maybe a step to high, like a dream but I didn’t give up. I started to be very proactive in searching. I consulted my plans with Dean Cleaver and Bevan. When I saw some new offers, I applied.

The session with Frank Newberry was very useful for me. It was part of our educational path. During his course – Career Clinic, I learned how to improve my CV. I also gave my CV to Frank for evaluation. I used all his advice and suggestions and started receiving meeting invitations. At that time, Frank’s advice on how to deal with a job interview was helpful. In further job interviews I found out that my CV looked great, and I am very career oriented. As a result, after completing the scholarship, I had three job offers and I could choose the most suitable one for me. Next season I start new job as Head Greenkeeper at Skyrup Golf & Hotell in Tyringe in Sweden.

Would I have achieved my goals without this scholarship? Probably yes, but I certainly wouldn’t have done it so fast. I was convinced I could be a Head Greenkeeper; I must go through the various stages of my career. First work as a Senior Greenkeeper, then Deputy Head Greenkeeper and only then can I think about being a Head Greenkeeper. It is thanks to this scholarship that I have elevated my career. I have met many valuable people, without whom I would not have been able to. One of my greenkeeper friends asked me what he can get on this scholarship that he cannot get at his job. I replied that there are many things, but most of all.

  • You get to look at your golf course, thanks to the opportunity to work at Kristianstad GK – ranked within the top 3 golf courses in Sweden, you will look differently at the aesthetics, details and work under time pressure.
  • Acquaintances – as a future Head Greenkeeper you certainly do not know everything, but in important moments it is worth knowing someone who can help. There is an educational path during the scholarship, at each seminar you can ask questions, establish contact with the teacher, and these are very significant people from the greenkeeping industry.
  • Experience in organising tournaments – during the scholarship I worked on the most prestigious tournament in Sweden, Scandinavian Mixed, it was a fantastic experience. In Kristianstad, we organized the Ladies European Tour Creekhouse Open tournament, which was also an interesting experience, especially having the possibility of planning, organising and preparation. Your CV will look better with this experience.
  • Take this as a test to see if you are ready to be a Head Greenkeeper. Thanks to the projects you will learn how to manage the golf course on your own, you have excellent help in the form of Bevan, who is always ready to advise and help.

For me, the most valuable part was the opportunity to meet people, I made many acquaintances and friendships. In the person of Bevan, I found my mentor with whom I am constantly in touch. Bevan helped me a lot in completing my Soil Science in Elmwood and I know I can always count on his help.

Figure 6: Graduation of scholarship – Amazing experience to participate in this endeavour.

The best you can do for yourself and your career, if you are determined to be successful, you must apply for this scholarship. Remember that there is only room for 8 people from all over Europe….

Christopher Krawczyk

Student of the FEGGA scholarship in 2021

Head Greenkeeper at Skyrup Golf & Hotell

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