John Deere, Quail Hollow introduce fellowship program

The initiative will launch in 2018 and equip young professionals with real-world experience and cross-training within the club business.


John Deere and Quail Hollow Club have announced the establishment of the Quail Institute, a first-of-its-kind, world-class fellowship program focusing on the skills and competencies required to fully develop future leaders in the golf industry. The one-year program will begin in 2018 and include three fellows in the areas of agronomy, golf operations and club management.

“The Quail Institute strives to create and perpetuate a vibrant and diverse learning environment that helps develop the next generation of leaders in golf, while fostering innovative best practices in golf management,” said Ren Wilkes, tactical marketing manager for John Deere Golf. “We’re committed to developing a sophisticated pipeline for this industry, and the Institute is the perfect avenue.”

An initial pilot program was conducted this year with two fellows: Russell Ambrose, whose focus is golf course management, and Rachel Nesbitt, whose focus is club management. Through the experience, John Deere and Quail Hollow Club validated the need for a fellowship program to inspire young industry professionals and provide them with real-world experiences to grow their careers.

The 2018 program will go beyond current club curriculums, challenging each fellow to think critically, analyze and assess practices, and create, lead and implement change. Over the course of the year, the three fellows will participate in six different modules, enabling them to understand both the macro and micro challenges of their sector and the wider club industry. As part of the curriculum, the fellows will have access to the following:

  • Major tournaments and championships
  • Operations in a world-class private club
  • Cross-training in all disciplines within the club business
  • Unique exposure to the John Deere and Quail Hollow Club brands
  • Academic project and thesis development
  • Career development, public speaking and crisis management training

The program doesn’t stop after one year. As fellows graduate from the program and become alumni, there will be additional opportunities for them to participate as mentors for future events. The Quail Institute will also track the successes of alumni, to be documented and communicated to help inspire current fellows.

The Quail Institute will be set up as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to help encourage participation. As the founding members of the program, John Deere and Quail Hollow Club hope to grow the number of sponsors involved, and expect other companies, foundations, etc., in the industry to see the value in participating and supporting the program.

Further information about the Quail Institute and the application process will be announced in fall 2017.