Careers: Greenkeeping is the life for Sophie

Careers: Greenkeeping is the life for Sophie

Sophie Bulpitt, 22, is an assistant greenkeeper at The Berkshire Golf Club and was part of the volunteer support team at The Open at Royal Portrush. She explains why greenkeeping is the career for her.

Why did you become a greenkeeper?

Greenkeeping is something I came across when trying to find a career that I would enjoy – and I have definitely succeeded with that.

I always knew I didn’t want a regular 9-5 job, I used to go to work with my grandad in the summer, driving combines and constantly being surrounded by machinery. That made me realise I wanted to work outside and I found my way into the industry.

How has your career developed?

I started as an apprentice at East Berkshire GC in 2015 and after completing my NVQ Level 2 I was asked to stay on.  After 3½ years I decided it was time to gain some more experience and I managed to secure a position as assistant greenkeeper on the Red course at The Berkshire.

I started at the beginning of this year and I have completely fallen for the course. Watching it blossom over the past months as we come into summer has been eye opening and I am privileged to have the pleasure of working here.

I especially enjoy the visual satisfaction of greenkeeping. My aim is to complete every job to best standard I can to show the course off daily to the members and visitors.

What training have you done?

I’ve completed my NVQ level 2 and I have just handed in my final portfolio for my NVQ Level 3 in Sports Turf Management.  I always look forward to the next training opportunity I get as I am constantly looking to learn, improve and expand my knowledge.

What opportunities are there in greenkeeping?

There are so many opportunities and one big bonus that I love is the opportunity to travel and work at some of the best courses and the most prestigious golfing events in the world.  At the beginning of this year I was lucky enough to travel to Texas and volunteer at the Valero Texas Open which was amazing and earlier this month I had the pleasure of being at The Open as part of the support team run by BIGGA, the greenkeepers’ organisation. I am also visiting Gleneagles in September to volunteer for the Solheim Cup and then going to the French Open in October. These events are extremely important as they give you the chance to meet other like-minded people in the industry as well as learn new practices.

Is greenkeeping a good career for women?

I don’t think there are any barriers to women getting into the industry and it’s important to promote the awareness of greenkeeping as a career. It’s extremely rewarding and I would encourage anyone – male or female – to get involved if are passionate about maintaining and improving standards. It’s a great career for anyone who is dedicated and hardworking.

Finally, are you a golfer?

I started playing towards the end of last year. Currently I’m not the best, but I know with my determination I will be improving over the next few months. I love a challenge!

What I love about golf is viewing my profession from the perspective of those I aim to please daily.  It is an extremely helpful tool.  It is also a great game that calls for commitment to improve – and even to maintain a standard.