Original article @ AGCSA
This time last year Joel Manson (photo 1, left 4) was most likely rugged up in five layers and a beanie going about his daily winter tasks as an apprentice greenkeeper at Anglesea Golf Club on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. Winter time down on the south coast can be frigid at best and 2017 was no exception.
This winter, however, Manson is literally a million miles away – well 16,000km to be precise. Since the start of 2018 he has been in the US after winning the 2017 AGCSA Graduate of the Year Award sponsored by Platinum Partner Toro Australia. Having attended the likes of the Winter School for Turf Managers (University of Massachusetts) and the Golf Industry Show in San Antonio, as part of his prize for winning the award, Manson then started an internship through The Ohio Program.
Placed at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, Manson has been a part of director of grounds Mark Chad’s crew for the past few months and last week was one of a large contingent preparing the course for the club’s famous Memorial Tournament. It was yet another unique experience for Manson in what has been a steep learning curve since setting foot in the US.
“It’s so much more than I could have imagined,” says Manson of his internship. “Coming to America from a small town (Anglesea) in Victoria, I didn’t expect it to be this big. I got the chance to catch up with Jason Day during one of the practice rounds; I’ve seen him twice around the course and he's probably one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever met. Always loves a chat and as soon as he heard the accent he was more than happy to have a chat about the footy and anything else going on around the course.”
Manson wasn’t the only Aussie fine-tuning the bentgrass/Poa greens, tees and fairways at Muirfield Village. Also on the crew were Nick Wilkie (formerly Riverside Oaks, Sydney), Ryan Newport (formerly Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast) and Ryan Thompson (formerly Sanctuary Lakes, Melbourne). Thompson had the plum job of cutting holes on the back nine greens for the tournament. And at the same time as the Memorial was on, at another Jack Nicklaus designed course – Shoal Creek in Alabama – Perth local and fellow Ohio intern Aaron Dobson was cutting cups for the 2018 Women’s US Open!