Dean Geyer, Golf Course Superintendent, with intern Allan Williams at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Dean Geyer, Golf Course Superintendent, with intern Allan Williams at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Image Credit: Supplied

Gulf News caught up with Abu Dhabi Golf Club Superintendent Dean Geyer and his new intern to discuss developing career opportunities in the golf industry in the UAE and around the world.

Tell us about this new intern programme you are establishing at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.
Andrea Faldella, Club Operations Manager at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, and myself sat down recently to brainstorm the creation of an intern programme in the Agronomy Department at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. The concept is to help the next generation of the golf industry. I was mentored throughout my career in agronomy, when I was getting into the industry, and we wanted to give something back. I connected with a few business contacts and friends in my home country of South Africa, and we approached Allan to be our first agronomy intern. Allan will be with us for six months, learning all facets of the profession, both on and off the course, and especially shadowing me in my role as Golf Course Superintendent and then we will assist him in his career progression, whether it is at Abu Dhabi, within the UAE, back to South Africa or elsewhere in the world, wherever Allan wants to take the next steps of his career. Our programme will be repeated on a rotation basis with new interns arriving every six months.

Allan, tell us about your story so far?
I am 21 and have been in Abu Dhabi for just five days. I am from South Africa and have recently worked at Pecanwood Golf Estates and Mooinooi Golf Club, my original home golf course. I attended Silver Lakes Golf and Wildlife Estates in Pretoria, home of the African Turf Academy for two years, studying Turf Management plus an extra course study in my final year in Business Management. This is a certificated qualification that is globally recognised through its affiliation with agronomy programmes at Elmwood College, St Andrews, Scotland.

What have you learnt already in Abu Dhabi?
The grasses in this part of the world in Abu Dhabi are warm season grasses compared to cold season grasses in South Africa. There are many differences and many similarities with South Africa that I have already noticed and I look forward to learning all matters agronomy at Abu Dhabi in the next six months with my 3am wake up calls. I am also excited to be working on the GEO Certification Programme in the Agronomy Department.

Dean, you have been here at Abu Dhabi Golf Club for six months, how is it going?
We now have 33 staff including myself in the agronomy team plus Allan for our 27-hole facility. We are now focusing on organisation and systems in our department and specialising in all areas, so our guys are becoming specialists in bunkers, green cutting, hole cutting etc. We are striving to be the best of the best in all our areas, and become more efficient and changing the culture, in time management as well as advancing the skill set of all our staff. We have at Abu Dhabi Golf Club been allowed to try new agronomy initiatives that is pioneering our industry, not only in the UAE, but globally. Our focus now includes our ongoing programme to upgrade the Garden Course, with the knowledge we are in for a busy summer of golf at Abu Dhabi, especially with the competition in floodlit golf in Abu Dhabi.