A 19 year-old Milton Keynes golf course greenkeeper has been shortlisted for a national award after impressing staff and college tutors.
Ben Koracevic, from the Willen area of the new city, developed a love of the game when he was at Ousedale School, Newport Pagnell, and impressed Abbey Hill course manager Ross Edmonds so much he offered him a weekend job. Once he had completed his GCSEs he was offered his current position as assistant greenkeeper.
Now, two years on, Ben is in the running for the prestigious Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year Award 2012 that could see him go on a six week scholarship to the USA.
“I have a great passion for the game of golf and enjoy being involved in the day-to-day running of the course,” said Ben. “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.”
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. He completed his portfolio 17 months ahead of schedule. His achievements have impressed the judging panel too as they have now put Ben forward to the regional finals.
Ben also plays at the course in Monks Way, Two Mile Ash, and already has a number of honours to his name including the junior and adult scratch cups as well as several club competitions at the venue, which is a part of BGL Golf.
Gordon Forster, Abbey Hill Golf Centre’s general manager, said: “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.”
Should he be successful he 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.