Jason Ellis, Superintendent at the Villages at Country Creek in Estero, Fla., is headed to France this September to assist with the Ryder Cup. He was one of 10 Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSSA) members selected to join the 2018 Ryder Cup Turf Maintenance Team at Le Golf National in Paris.
“The Ryder Cup is one of the grandest stages in golf, with 24 of the best players in the world in a patriotic, highly competitive atmosphere. It will be an honor and I look forward to the experience,” Ellis said. “I can take this opportunity to translate some of the knowledge I glean and bring it back to Country Creek.”
There are 20 members of the overall maintenance team; the other 10 are from the Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Association (FEGGA). The international team of golf superintendents will prepare the course for the Ryder Cup and perform various tasks associated with the tournament. The biennial Cup involves highly competitive matches between a team of golfers representing the U.S. and a team representing Europe, all taking place Sept. 28-30. The maintenance team will also work closely with the R&A (Royal and Ancient), which helps govern the rules of golf alongside USGA.
Ellis was chosen out of 374 eligible individuals from the GCSAA to be a part of this international Turf Maintenance Team. Class A, B, and C members who met certain requirements were eligible to apply. To be considered, applicants had to be members of their respective professional association for at least two years and have at least three years of experience working for a golf course.
The team was created by Martin Sternberg, CGCS, and Alejandro Reyes, golf courses and estates manager at Le Golf National. The pair asked GCSAA to help select the team. The committee consisted of current board member Jeff L. White, CGCS (chairman) and past presidents Keith A. Ihms, CGCS, and Peter J. Grass, CGCS. The maintenance team will receive flights from New York to Paris, housing, meals, uniforms, and personal development opportunities.
This incredible experience will give greenkeepers the unique opportunity to be a part of golf’s most prominent event, one of the largest sporting affairs in the world. Ellis and the other 19 GCSAA and FEGGA maintenance team members will ultimately be able to create exceptional playing conditions for the world’s top 24 professional American and European golfers.