A love of golf and of working outdoors makes a green keeping apprenticeship at the internationally-renowned Castle Stuart Golf Links the ideal job for Ethan Ramsay.
Ethan, 17, started his new role this month at the four-time Scottish Open venue, but is already very familiar with the famous links.
The former Millburn Academy pupil has spent time at Castle Stuart on work experience and was also part of the bunker squad during the 2016 Scottish Open. In addition, the 13-handicap golfer has played and caddied on the course several times.
“The Scottish Open was an amazing experience and gave me a taste of what it would be like to work full-time on this great course”, said Ethan. “I like playing golf and enjoy physical, outdoor work so I am delighted to get a chance to start my apprenticeship here.
“I hope I can have a career in the golf industry and that the job will also help my golf, at least on this course.”
Ethan joins a team of 11 full-time green keeping staff at Castle Stuart who are preparing for the 2018 season opening on 23 March. They will be joined by two seasonal staff between April and October.
While receiving on-site training at Castle Stuart, Ethan will also be studying for Scottish vocational qualifications in sports turf maintenance at SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College, in Fife, for three years.
Head greenkeeper James Hutchison said: “Ethan is really enthusiastic and has a real get-up-and-go attitude. He is keen to learn and is always asking questions which shows he wants to progress.
“At Castle Stuart he will be involved in all aspects of the course so he will develop a wide range of skills. If people impress here there will certainly be opportunities to move up the career ladder.”
Apprentices have a world-wide career opportunity with Castle Stuart as it offers placements and exchange programmes with other courses. In the past greenkeepers have visited Europe, Australia and the US as part of their learning experience.
James added: “Greenkeeping is a great career for young people. We have a fantastic working environment here and provide apprentices with the right tools and on-site training to prepare them for whatever they want to achieve.”
The quality of the Castle Stuart links has been praised by the likes of Phil Mickelson, who won the Scottish Open in 2013, and the 2016 winner Alex Noren. It is regarded as a model for modern course design by testing the best but being playable and enjoyable for players of all abilities.
Castle Stuart has also won awards for its environmental management, the course having been created from an area of former farmland and a site rich in wildlife.