Seasider's apprentice to the Santiago Bernabeu

Paul Burgess Advanced Apprenticeship in Horticulture - Sportsturf - Greenkeeper

Former Myerscough Sports turf apprentice Paul Burgess is living the life as a ‘Galáctico’ in his job as Head Groundsman for Spanish football giants Real Madrid.

Paul joined Blackpool Football Club as an apprentice groundsman after leaving school. He immediately started his three-year course at Myerscough in 1994, during which time he successfully applied for the assistant groundsman post at Arsenal.

He then continued his studies on a pioneering distance-learning programme provided by tutors at Myerscough. Paul acknowledges that the practical experience he gained, alongside his qualifications and references from his tutors, helped launch his meteoric professional career.

Considered by many in the profession to be the best at what he does, Paul swiftly progressed to Arsenal’s head groundsman in 2000 and introduced new technologies and management systems to ensure the state of the art playing surface was top-notch. He also oversaw all aspects of design and construction of the club’s new Emirates Stadium ground.

In addition to this, he acted as an advisor to UEFA for the 2004 and 2008 European Championships before he was headhunted by Real Madrid in 2009 and asked to rescue their pitch at the Bernabeu Stadium.

His dedication and commitment have led to him winning five Premier League Groundsman of the Year and Institute of Groundsman/Turf Professional Awards.

“I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to study at such a fantastic college. It’s no coincidence that so many top venues around the world feature groundsmen who have trained at Myerscough College. The facilities, the quality of the teaching and the support they give is second to none.”

Sportsturf studies

There are fantastic opportunities both in the UK and overseas for people who are trained and qualified in sportsturf. Careers exist at all levels, from assistant groundspersons and greenkeepers to managers of international sports facilities such as Premier League Football Clubs and the major elite Golf Courses. Our courses will equip you with the skills that are necessary to build, maintain and manage quality turf surfaces to a high standard.

Students learn the science behind how grasses grow, as well as soils, drainage and a wide range of maintenance practices. You will gain an understanding of the demands of sport and what players need or expect from turf surfaces. You will be taught how to provide these conditions all year round and in all weather conditions.

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