Jayson Jackson is a passionate international student in his final semester of the Associate Diploma in Turfgrass Management (ADTM) program here at the University of Guelph (UofG). Jayson hails from Bermuda where he is a very involved member of the turfgrass industry.
Prior to his career path in turf, Jayson dabbled with some other options including studying acting in India and also coaching for the Bermuda Cricket Board Development Summer Camp. Explaining that he “flirted” with turfgrass management prior to coming to UofG, it is a sheer coincidence that he also originally wanted to study Human Kinetics, much like his ADTM classmate, Steve Rabski!
Jayson’s first job in the turfgrass industry was at age 16, working on the grounds crew at Riddells Bay Golf and Country Club. He recalls that the first Superintendent he worked for was a family friend and the atmosphere at the golf course was spectacular. Jayson explains that he gained many valuable skills and experience in terms of management practices and machinery.
The second Superintendent Jayson worked for at Riddells Bay, Mr. Josh Breda, said UofG was definitely the place to go if he wanted to study turfgrass. Mr. Breda is a Clemson University graduate in Agronomy, and Jayson describes him as “an absolute beauty and he pretty much got me into the golf industry. Mr. Breda took me under his wing and allowed me to also intern at his club. If it were not for Josh and his mentorship, I would not be where I am today.”
Mr. Breda also assisted Jayson in organizing an additional internship for post-graduation at Card Sound Golf Club in Florida; Jayson will be working for another prominent superintendent in his new role. International exposure is necessary for successful advancement in the competitive golf industry of Bermuda, notes Jayson, and states “Bermuda has a lot of golf courses per capita, as it is only 21 square miles in size!”
Coming to UofG as an international student, Jayson has great praise for the atmosphere: “The best part of the experience is the community that this program offers. As an international student, being away from home, the atmosphere has been sublime – simple things like my friends giving me a winter coat, or including me on the hockey team as the coach – a very inclusive atmosphere.” Jayson further explains that he needed to learn how to skate, and his fellow turfgrass classmates were more than happy to teach him this great Canadian pastime. Jayson admits that he can skate well now and truly appreciates being appointed to coach to be involved! He is also a Toronto Maple Leafs super fan!
On campus, Jayson is also a member of the UofG Turf Club and has been very involved in the Golf Industry Show (GIS) Turf bowl contest with his fellow students. He also notes that the field trips completed in the ADTM course of study were great and explains that “This program has highlighted my passions and what I really want to do. It has allowed me to hit the ground running – I can feel what I am doing with my life, and I know what I need to do to be successful in the turf industry.”
Jayson aspires to have international motivation behind his moves in the golf industry and is really interested in exploring future opportunities in Dubai or Kuwait where golf is a revered sport and has gained international attention as of late.
Article authored and published by John R. Watson, Guelph Turfgrass Institute Communications Assistant
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