Banker quits City to be a greenkeeper

Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 7, 2013 11:07

An investment banker has given up a highly lucrative career in the City of London in order to become a greenkeeper.

Ian Nichols BSc (Hons) Sportsturf

Former banker Ian Nichols, now a greenkeeper

Ian Nichols had worked for 20 years in the City, but was made redundant at an overseas-based bank during the Credit Crunch.

Ian, a keen golfer, decided to embark on a radical career change and, in 2010, began a three-year course studying turfgrass science full time at Myerscough College in Lancashire.

This involved doing an eight-week intensive course in which he was the only student out of 16 with no greenkeeping experience.

However, he was so successful that he has graduated with a first class honours degree, has been awarded a scholarship by The R&A and has won the Ransomes Jacobsen best student award, and with it a trip to the USA.

During the degree he spent two years working at St Andrews Links, and is now assistant greenkeeper at Orsett Golf Club in Essex.

“I owe a huge debt to Gordon Moir, course superintendent at St Andrews Links, for taking me on, and it was a wonderful opportunity to work at the ‘home of golf’, one I will never forget,” said Ian.

“The majority of students on the course were 18 to 24 years old, and although I didn’t go out partying with them every night, we got on well and had the odd night out in Preston.”

He plans to stay at Orsett and help head greenkeeper Perry Lowe, however Ian has ambitions beyond just being an assistant greenkeeper.

“It depends on the opportunities available,” he said.

“The combination of a first class honours degree and the high profile placement that the course brought certainly benefits my CV along with the award of an R&A scholarship.

“Remuneration is also a factor – I do feel that the greenkeepng industry loses talented people because they simply can’t live on the salary. I have no financial commitments, but the wage only just covers living expenses.”

His course tutor, Dr Andrew Owen, PHd, MSc added: “Ian completed the degree with the highest overall module grade this year. Throughout his course he has consistently produced exemplary work and has been a model student.”


Tania Longmire
By Tania Longmire November 7, 2013 11:07

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