ABBEY Hill Golf Centre assistant greenkeeper Ben Koracevic has been shortlisted for a national award after impressing staff and college tutors.
The 19-year-old, from Willen, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in his fledgling greenkeeping career, which started as a work experience placement at Abbey Hill and just two years later sees him in the running for the prestigious Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award 2012.
If he wins, Ben will be packing his bags for an eight-week trip to the USA, where he will be enrolled on a six-week Toro Scholarship, a residential turf management course at the University of Massachusetts.
He will also visit the Toro Company – the global leader in turf and landscape maintenance – and the Golf Industry Conference and Show in San Diego.
Ben was nominated by Andy Wright, his tutor at Oaklands College in Hertfordshire, who has been tremendously impressed with Ben’s work towards his Sports Turf Diploma in green keeping – in fact he completed his portfolio a full 17 months ahead of schedule.
His achievements have impressed the judging panel too as they have now put Ben forward to the regional finals, which take place next month and will involve an interview with the judges.
Prior to taking up his role at Abbey Hill, Ben was often out playing the course and has a number of honours to his name, including the Junior and Adult Scratch Cups.
He said: “Having spent a long time on the golf course I developed a keen interest in the work of the greenkeepers.
“This was the catalyst that led to me applying for a work experience placement at Abbey Hill.”
During that placement Ben impressed Course Manager Ross Edmonds so much that he offered him a weekend job while he was still at Ousedale School in Newport Pagnell. Once he had completed his GCSEs he was offered his current position as assistant greenkeeper.
Since taking up the role Ben has continued to excel in his role, so much so that BGL Golf sponsored him to complete his college course and he was also name Employee of the Quarter at Abbey Hill.
Ben said: “I have a great passion for the game of golf and enjoy being involved in the day-to-day running of the course.
“To be shortlisted in the regional finals of the Student Greenkeeper of the Year award is an amazing feeling as there are hundreds of people who are nominated.”
Gordon Forster, Abbey Hill Golf Centre General Manager, added: “Ever since Ben first set foot in the greenkeepers’ shed when he was still a schoolboy on work experience he has shown incredible aptitude and appetite for the job.
“He has excelled at every task he has been given and was a worthy winner of our Employee of the Quarter award – it is no surprise to us that he has been nominated for the Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award.
“We are all extremely proud of him and will be doing everything possible in our power to help him prepare for his regional final.”
For further information visit www.abbeyhillgc.co.uk