Change of careers leads to the home of golf for John Deere award winner
One man on a large John Deere mower and another man standing next to him on a green course
News

Published on

May 19 2022

A dramatic change of careers paid off for SRUC student Ben Matthews, after his tutors unanimously named him the winner of this year’s HNC Golf Course Management Student of the Year Award, sponsored by John Deere and Scottish turf dealer Double A.

Born in London, but raised in Canada from the age of three, Ben moved to Scotland in 2014. He worked in health and social care in both Canada and Scotland for 20 years in total before realising it was time for a change.

Ben is enjoying focusing on the practical side of greenkeeping and looks forward to building up his experience and skills.

“I’ve been absolutely blown away by the greenkeeping community – everyone is so supportive and welcoming,” he says. “It’s the type of industry where if you’re having a problem, you can call someone at another golf course and they will lend you equipment or recommend a product. It’s such a tightly knit and positive community. I’m so happy to be in it.”

Ben is currently busy preparing the famous St Andrews’ course for the 150th Open this summer.

“I don’t think I could be in a better place to start my career and I’m so grateful to SRUC and so happy to have won this award,” he says. “Finding out I had won really cemented that I’d done the right thing in changing careers and that all my hard work has paid off.”

Course Tutor Ian Butcher says: “Ben has been a very positive member of the faculty throughout a period of change and transformation, and all the staff welcome his contribution to our classes whether they are online or on campus.

“Ben has, like many of our HND cohorts, decided to change career, from the Health and Social Care sector and he also previously completed an MSc Degree in Sustainable Resource Management. This provided Ben with a strong foundation for our own curriculum as we address the challenges golf faces in the 21st century.

“He has very strong team building background and has also shown strong communication skills with industry professionals, as well as adaptability to new situations. In 2021 he was awarded the R&A Greenkeeping Scholarship, which again adds to his perspective on the golf world as a whole.

“Without doubt his keenness to learn and enthusiasm for golf course management leads to the consistently high standard of submissions and capacity to explore new ideas. We look forward to supporting his new career as it continues with the St Andrews Links Trust in the Open Championship year of 2022.”