New degree opportunities in Tifton - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New degree opportunities in Tifton

May 17, 2006

Albany -- Expansion at a south Georgia college will give area golf courses a boost. The Board of Regents gave ABAC the okay to offer a couple of four year degrees. S

Students majoring in turf grass and golf course management and diversified agritculture can now earn bachelors degrees. The degrees can help students get better jobs here in South Georgia and beyond.

Golf course managers say the four year degrees in turf management will be a big hit in South Georgia.

"It's a tremendous benefit for economy, for South Georgia as well as the golf program," said golf pro at Pine Knoll Country Club Sonny Skinner.

Managing these greens and fairways are one of the jobs a graduate with a grass-turf degree can do. The golf pro here at Pine Knoll Country Club says some of those students would be competitive to manage here some day.

"Certainly having a good person on turf-grass management can benefit your club that way," said Skinner.

Educators at ABAC celebrated the new status Wednesday afternoon. They say these four year degrees will make it easier for new graduates to get better and higher paying jobs.

"It's also going to provide additional classwork, more classes in turf grass diseases and turf grass insects, all these areas that are very important as a golf course manager, turf manager, sports field manager, etc," said Eddie Seagle.

An alumni of ABAC himself, Sonny Skinner says students with their Bachelors from ABAC will know the needs of the South Georgia area, so they are more prepped to work here.

"The local guys from around here that attend ABAC that go through the program, they know the agromini here in South Georgia, they know the problems that the turf grass people have," said Skinner.

It's that extra knowledge a four-year degree can give them, to get that first job out of school.

ABAC administrators think the new programs will help them surpass last fall's record enrollment of 4,323. The first ABAC graduates with four year degrees are expected to get their diplomas in May 2009.

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