Just in time for the PGA Championship, The Ford Plantation community in Richmond Hill has awarded the Pete Dye Agronomic Scholarship for the 2015-16 academic year to Chad Austin of the University of Georgia.
A rising senior in UGA’s turf grass management program, Austin received the $4,000 scholarship following a summer interning at The Ford Plantation and working on the Pete Dye-designed golf course there.
“This summer at The Ford Plantation has been an incredible learning experience and I’m thankful to the staff here, led by Nelson Caron, for helping in my development,” said Austin, who hails from Thomson.
The scholarship and internship program are named after the famed architect who originally designed The Ford Plantation course in the mid-1980s and who oversaw a $7.2 million redesign that wrapped in October 2014. Members at The Ford Plantation have raised more than $55,000 since the program’s inception in 2009.
“I appreciate the Ford Plantation’s commitment to offer this scholarship to young people entering into this profession,” Dye said. “Quality maintenance will make my golf courses outstanding for future generations.”
Each year, professors from leading universities, including the University of Georgia, Penn State, Purdue, Clemson, North Carolina State and the University of Florida, submit nominees for the scholarship and internship program. Students are selected based on individual academic merit and achievement and receive a scholarship to be used for educational expenses. They also receive hourly wages for the duration of the three-month internship and free housing on-site at Ford.
Interns take part in all facets of golf course maintenance, from daily course preparation to spending time in the equipment area learning how mowers and equipment are set up. Along with learning the green side of the industry, they also see what goes into managing the business side of our department.
The capstone of the program takes place when each intern is responsible for the management of the golf maintenance crew for three to four days at the end of the summer. This unique portion of the program, coupled with competitive wages and an academic scholarship, make The Ford Plantation’s Pete Dye agronomic program a sought-after internship.
“This program has been met with enthusiastic support from the members of our club and the universities involved in the program,” said Nelson Caron, director of golf course and grounds maintenance at The Ford Plantation. “The financial support we get for this program from our members has been essential to its success, and Chad is a worthy recipient who will continue a fine tradition of excellence.”