Tag Archive for: Volunteer

John Deere Volunteer Programme open for applications

John Deere Volunteer Programme open for applications: Applications are now open for the 2024 John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme, which will see seven British and Irish greenkeepers travel to Florida to help prepare the world-famous Stadium Course for the best golfers on the planet.

The volunteers are chosen from each of BIGGA’s five regions, in addition to an international member, and one GSCAI member from Ireland. They will join the TPC Sawgrass maintenance and agronomy team in the build-up to The Players Championship from 9-19 March 2024.

John Deere Volunteer Programme open for applications

John Deere Volunteer Programme open for applications

With all travel, accommodation and uniform costs covered by John Deere as part of its BIGGA Premium Partner relationship, volunteers will be fully integrated into the TPC Sawgrass pre-tournament team – an opportunity that may see them mowing the first tee before play starts, preparing the iconic 17th hole, or raking the bunkers as play gets underway.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any greenkeeper,” says Chris Meacock, John Deere’s Division Sales Manager for Golf and Turf. “Going to volunteer at TPC Sawgrass presents a fantastic opportunity for you to expand your knowledge and experience, and you’ll meet many like-minded professional greenkeepers from across the globe.”

The 2023 cohort of greenkeeper volunteers included Assistant Course Manager Alex Brougham from Trentham Park Golf Club, Senior Greenkeeper Peter Lewis from Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Deputy Head Greenkeeper Eddie Irvine from Trump International Aberdeen, and Course Manager Mark Tucker from Temple Golf Club.

Each greenkeeper became an integral part of the team, preparing the course well ahead of the practice rounds and working until the tournament concluded, using the huge fleet of John Deere machinery from the Sawgrass maintenance compound.

Eddie Irvine said: “The experience has helped me improve as a person and in my profession, by enabling me to move forwards with my career.

Alex Brougham added: “I learnt a lot from the Sawgrass greenkeeping team, and by networking with the other volunteers. I left with a better understanding of how the team operates at one of the best championship golf courses in the world. I’m now aiming to utilise as much of that knowledge as possible back at Trentham Golf Club.”

Karl Hansell, BIGGA’s Head of Communications and Marketing, accompanied the group to Sawgrass in March 2023.

Karl said: “Having worked at BIGGA promoting this wonderful initiative for seven years, I thought I had some understanding of TPC Sawgrass and what the trip entailed. But nothing could prepare me for the actual experience of being there.

“The TPC Sawgrass agronomy team was so welcoming that the greenkeepers accompanied were made to feel right at home, and several previous John Deere volunteers now return every year at their own expense, such was their enjoyment of the trip.

“I can’t recommend this experience enough.”

The 2023 Championship at TPC Sawgrass saw American Scottie Scheffler win the tournament five shots clear of Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, shooting 17 under par for the tournament.

The application process is open to all full BIGGA members over the age of 21, who have been a full member for at least 12 months. The deadline for applications is 31 May 2023, and you can fill in your application online at the BIGGA website now.

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BIGGA announces volunteer support team

BIGGA announces volunteer support team: The return of The Open Championship this July will see BIGGA members from all over the United Kingdom leap into action once again as the BIGGA Volunteer Support Team takes responsibility for ensuring the Royal St George’s bunkers are in top condition for the world’s best golfers.

Following the rescheduling of the 149th Open Championship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BIGGA is delighted that the R&A has requested the assistance of its members in the staging of the event. Members who were selected for the postponed championship in 2020 have been invited to participate this year and are now looking forward to another incredible week of championship golf.

BIGGA announces volunteer support team

BIGGA announces volunteer support team

This will be the fourth time a volunteer team of BIGGA members has assisted at an Open Championship at Royal St George’s, having also taken part in 1993, 2003 and 2011. The bunkers at Royal St George’s Golf Club are among the most famous in golf, with the giant ‘Himalaya’ on the 4th hole providing an intimidating test, not just for the golfers who land in the hazard, but also the members of the support team who will recreate its condition afterwards.

Every full BIGGA member is eligible to apply for a place on the support team and those who are selected are given unprecedented access to golf’s greatest championship, supporting every match with bunker raking duties.

BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “A place on the Open Support Team is one of the most exciting opportunities we offer our members and I’m delighted that after such a dark year we were able to extend the invite to those members who missed out in 2020 due to the postponement of the championship. The Open remains for me the world’s greatest golf tournament, we’re thrilled to be able to support the R&A in its staging and everyone at BIGGA is looking forward to giving our all and playing our part in ensuring the 149th Open is Royal St George’s best yet.”

The BIGGA Volunteer Open Support Team are provided with accommodation, subsistence and uniform for the event. Members of the support team may also be called upon to assist Course Manager Paul Larsen and his team with early morning preparation work and other duties during the week. Restrictions are expected to be in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and any necessary adjustments to working practices will be made clear to BIGGA members ahead of the championship.

The 149th Open tales place from 15 to 18 July 2021. Applications for the BIGGA Volunteer Support Team for the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews will open later this year.

Here are the BIGGA members who will be assisting the home greenkeepers for the duration of the event:

Robert Acheson, Thonock Park; David Ball, Thetford; James Bonfield, The Hertfordshire; Tom Bromfield, Trentham; Mark Cleverley, Kings Norton; Jason Connaughton, Yeovil; Daryn Curtis, Royal Mid-Surrey; Joe Curtis, Gloucester; James Dawson, Alwoodley; Julian Drake, Neath; Nicholas Edwards, The Wisley; Michael Elderfield, Sandy Lodge; Sam Evans, North Hants; Edoardo Fauro, Walton Heath; Ryan Fiander, Lees Hall; Craig Gibson, Essendon; James Hampson, Llanymynech; Craig Hempseed, Mortonhall; Kevin Hensman, Rowlands Castle; Alastair Hollingsbee, Etchinghill; James Hook, The Bristol; Dale Housden, Drayton Park; Adam King, Radley; Antony Kirwan, Romford; Chris Low, Olton; Matthew Mackenzie, Ellesborough; Jorge Manso Grandio, Royal Wimbledon; Steven Mapes, Coventry; Michael Mead, Littlehampton; Peter Meek, Bath; William Merritt, Blundells Hill; Ashley Millar, Churston; Harry Misselbrook, Harewood Downs; Ryan Neale, Blackwell; Joshua Raper, Golf Club Hösel Ev; Laura Sayer-Hall, Ardfin; Tom Silcock, Macclesfield; Nick Street, Crews Hill; Will Simmonds, Surbiton; Niels Sorensen, Randers Golf Klub; Ollie Tanton, Royal North Devon; Amy Thomas, Barton-on-Sea; Scott Thomson, Wetherby; Gary Tonge, Castle Stuart; Ken Ward, Harrogate; Jeremy Ward, Rotherham; Sam Wood, Lingdale.

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Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award

Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award: Birmingham Exiles’ Andy Harris was honoured at the annual North Midlands Volunteer Awards recently.

The awards, now in their 13th year, celebrate outstanding voluntary service to rugby sides in the region, with the hard work and generosity of volunteers often proving the difference in keeping rugby clubs running.

Groundsman Recognised At Awards

Harris was named the Groundsman of the Year, providing him with recognition for his attentive work of maintaining the pitches at Old Damson Lane.

He has learnt from one of the best in the business, after being passed on extensive knowledge by RFU head groundsman Keith Kent, and has since allowed for the Exiles to attract higher profile fixtures thanks to the quality of the pitches at the club.

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Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award

Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award: The groundsman at Kingsbridge Rugby Club has been awarded the regional round of the Mitsubishi Volunteer of the Year.

Mike Shute, Kingsbridge Rugby Club, has won the regional round of the awards, which Mitsubishi and the Rugby Football Union organise to acknowledge the great work done by volunteers within the rugby community.

Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award

Mike has been a groundsman at KRFC for about twenty years, during that time he has used his own tractor to carry out the heavier side of the ground maintenance which includes; verti draining, earth-quaking and slit seeding.

He has also often been supported by having the use of machinery from KD Plant when bigger machines are required, and aggregates from his employer Jeremy Bishop Haulage.

Members and supporters of the rugby club will agree that the pitches have been improving year on year, there have even been comments made that they actually resemble a bowling gree!

This year with the dry summer we have had, this would normally have been a challenge to renovate the pitches but due to the bore hole installed two years ago the pitches have been irrigated since May and look in fine fettle. David Jarvis has been helping Mike to make sure that the pitches are watered and cut regularly.

Mike took two weeks of his own holiday in May this year to install some extra drainage on the main pitch and complete the annual pitch maintenance work.

He can be found at the club every Saturday morning, all year round, along with the small team ready to keep the rugby grounds in great condition be that match days or through the summer.

For the next round of the competition on Friday, September 7, Mike has been invited to a black tie dinner at Twickenham Stadium – England Rugby Headquarters.

He will be in competition with 42 other regional winners across the UK for the overall prize which is the use of any Mitsubishi vehicle for the next twelve months.

Kingsbridge Rugby Club wishes Mike the best of luck with the competition and greatly appreciates all the hard work he continues to puts in.

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Teenage Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award

Teenage Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award: A volunteer groundsman at Redditch Cricket Club has been named ‘young volunteer of the year’ at a prestigious sports awards.

Jacob Ottley, 17, won the accolade at the annual Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sports Awards at Sixways Stadium in Worcester on Thursday, November 23.

Teenage Groundsman Wins Volunteer Award

He only began volunteering at the club as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award, but has since completed a groundsman course to become an “integral” part of the club’s staff.

Club secretary Gary Fisher said: “I was very shocked and surprised but delighted that he has won it.

“You are going up against a big area and it is not just cricket, it is across all sports, so it is a very big honour for not only Jacob but for the cricket club as well.

“He has been integral in doing groundwork throughout the season which helped up win the Worcestershire league.

“He has become a massive part of the club not only as a young sportsman but as a member of the groundstaff.

“There is a lot of work on doing groundwork but he has got that knack about him to observe and take things in.

“It is fantastic news. It is great for a youngster to do what he is doing.”

The awards are organised by Herefordshire & Worcestershire Sports Partnership and have been running for 16 years.

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