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Natalia Pinto

Welcome Phil Helmn to The Bernhard Academy

Welcome Phil Helmn to The Bernhard Academy 1080 1350 Natalia Pinto

We are thrilled to announce that we have recently expanded our leadership team by appointing Phil Helmn as our full-time Program Leader for agronomy, leadership, and management.

In his new role, Phil will oversee the delivery of all Bernhard Academy courses and workshops related to agronomy, leadership, and management. He will collaborate closely with Sami Strutt, our newly appointed Education Director, and our internal and external teams to ensure a coordinated and enriching experience at the Bernhard Academy.

With over 35 years of experience in the Turf and Agronomy industry, Phil brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our team. He has managed full golf course construction projects and has previously supported the Bernhard Academy as a speaker and workshop guest. Phil is a GCSAA Class E (Educator) member and a Master Greenkeeper, a prestigious title held by only a few worldwide.

Phil shared his enthusiasm about joining the Bernhard Academy, saying, “I’m delighted to be joining the Bernhard Academy and helping Sami expand its operations. Since its inception, the Bernhard Academy has been making real progress and providing greenkeepers and turf professionals in the UK with superb tools to enhance their careers. Throughout the last year, the cutting unit setup workshops and management programs that the Academy has delivered have been very successful.”

In his first few months, Phil will be tasked with identifying and developing a range of workshops focused on agronomy, leadership, and management for the upcoming fall/winter season. His extensive background and forward-thinking approach will undoubtedly bring fresh perspectives and innovations to our educational offerings.

In addition to Phil’s appointment, we are also recruiting for a second senior management position: Program Leader for Technical and Equipment Management. The successful candidate will be responsible for reviewing, adapting, and introducing programs that deliver world-class learning and development opportunities in all subjects related to technical training and equipment management.

We are excited about the future of the Bernhard Academy and confident that these leadership additions will significantly enhance our ability to provide top-tier education and training for turf professionals. Stay tuned for more updates and new workshop announcements as we continue to grow and innovate.

Steven Neuliep’s Educational Journey in the UK with Bernhard Academy

Steven Neuliep’s Educational Journey in the UK with Bernhard Academy 1080 1350 Natalia Pinto

Steven Neuliep’s Educational Journey in the UK with Bernhard Academy

We take immense pride in offering opportunities for golf course professionals to enhance their knowledge and skills. One particular example is Steven Neuliep, the Director of Golf Operations at Etowah Valley Golf & Resort in North Carolina, and a certified golf course superintendent

Through an exciting auction, he won the chance to visit our factory in the UK, take part in educational workshops at the Bernhard Academy, and experience the world of golf course maintenance in the UK. This educational journey was initially delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but has now come to fruition. Let’s dive into Steven’s insights and experiences during his time with us.

We began our conversation with Steven by asking him about his motivation to bid in the auction that led him to this experience. Steven’s commitment to personal and professional development, especially in terms of upskilling and networking, drove him to seize this opportunity. His involvement with organisations like the GCSAA and his advocacy for the importance of soft skills were instrumental in pursuing this auction win. The chance to explore the Bernhard Academy, coupled with his desire to contribute to the GCSAA Foundation, made this journey even more appealing.

One of Steven’s primary goals for this educational trip was to gain a better understanding of turf maintenance practices in a new international environment. Networking with greenkeepers and deepening his understanding of Bernhard and the Bernhard Academy were also high on his list. His time in the UK provided him with insights into the nuances of maintaining golf courses in different parts of the world, which in turn, he believed, could lead to a greater understanding of agronomics.

His interactions with golf course managers in the UK during his course visits were likewise invaluable. Playing golf with them provided an excellent opportunity to discuss how they manage golf courses on both sides of the Atlantic. Steven was particularly intrigued by the extensive effort put into maintaining heather on UK courses, which is a unique and beautiful aspect of their landscapes. The use of open ditches as supplemental drainage at Sunningdale Golf Club also caught his attention.

In his interactions and observations, Steven noted that cultural practices in the UK emphasize environmentally friendly solutions due to more stringent restrictions on chemical control. While the US also focuses on responsible chemical use, Steven highlighted the importance of addressing the root causes of problems rather than masking them with chemicals.

Steven had the opportunity to have a factory tour at Bernhard and Company, which reinforced the importance of sharp cutting reels and bedknives in reducing stress on turf. The experience encouraged Steven to prioritise keeping their grinders updated and maintained to ensure quality and sustainability. He recognised that maximizing the effectiveness of their current equipment is essential. Among the various experiences, Steven also highlighted his discussions and interactions with Simon Game, the Engineering Design Manager at Bernhard and company. He was impressed by the percentage of engineers involved in our product development, reflecting on the combination of old and modern technologies. This integrated approach to grinder technology was both intriguing and reassuring to him.

Steven still aspires to achieve the Master Greenkeeper designation. Furthermore, he plans to stay involved with educational institutions and superintendent associations, like BIGGA and GCSAA, which will allow him to continue contributing to the growth and development of the golf course maintenance community and keep fostering a greater sense of collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Steven Neuliep’s educational journey in the UK has been enlightening, enriching, and transformative. We are proud to have been a part of his learning experience, and we look forward to more opportunities to support the sports turf maintenance community in the future.

Bernhard Academy unveils Sami Strutt as new Education Director

Bernhard Academy unveils Sami Strutt as new Education Director 1600 1200 Natalia Pinto

Bernhard Academy unveils Sami Strutt as new Education Director

We are excited to announce the appointment of Sami Strutt as our new Education Director within the Bernhard Academy.

Strutt joins the Bernhard Academy Team at our production factory based in Suffolk to take on her new role. With a wealth of experience, having performed numerous roles in a 30-year tenure at BIGGA (British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association), most recently as the organisation’s chief operating officer, we have no doubt she will make a big impact for us.

Steven Nixon, the Managing Director here at Bernhard and Company, commented: “We’re delighted to be appointing Sami as our new Director of Education, in what is a really exciting period for the Bernhard Academy. There is absolutely no doubt that Sami has the experience and tools required to take the Bernhard Academy to the next level, as we continue to roll out new programmes and workshop opportunities around the globe.”

Sami Strutt added: “This opportunity is one that I never imagined would be made available to me, so it is one that I couldn’t turn down. The Bernhard Academy is proof of Bernhard and Company’s commitment and investment into enhancing the careers of greenkeepers and sports turf professionals, from those with decades of experience, all the way to those who are just starting out. The Bernhard Academy is providing something really positive to the turf industry, so I’m really excited to be part of that.”

Sami will start her new role at the Bernhard Academy in spring 2024. Our current Director of Education for the Bernhard Academy, Craig Haldane, will be taking a step back from running day-to-day operations at the end of January.

Steven Nixon added: “We are very excited to welcome Sami to the team. She will bring an enormous amount of experience in developing educational programmes for the greenkeeping community from her many years at BIGGA.”

Strutt and the team will continue to develop new training modules, to complement the range of existing programmes we already have in place, to help greenkeepers, equipment managers, and turf professionals take their performance to the next level.

We have recently launched  a whole new programme of educational courses, that are now available for booking at our three sites around the UK, via the new Bernhard Academy website:

The new courses offer valuable opportunities for attendees to take away real-world skills and solutions that can enhance performance of their turf maintenance facility on a daily basis. The new programme includes workshops that fall under two categories: Management or Technical. Both categories will cover a range of essential topics to help achieve success in turf maintenance.

The Bernhard Academy workshops – ‘Grinding Perfection and Cutting Unit Setup’ – are available to book as part of BIGGA’s Continue to Learn programme at BTME 2024, were among the first to totally sell-out due to extremely high demand.

Seize the opportunity to enhance your turf maintenance career by securing a place in one of our Bernhard Academy educational courses today and embark on a journey of professional growth.

For booking information, course details, registration, and support, please visit the new user-friendly Bernhard Academy website:

For more information on the Bernhard Academy, you can visit the LinkedIn page:

You can also find the Bernhard Academy on Twitter at @BernhardAcademy or on Instagram at @bernhard_academy.