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UK greenkeepers selected to support the hosting of The 150th Open at St Andrews

March 28 2022

A team of almost 50 greenkeepers from golf clubs all over the United Kingdom and further afield will be supporting the home greenkeeping team as they prepare the Old Course’s famous fairways for The 150th Open in July.

Each year The R&A requests the assistance of British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) members in the staging of the event. Every full BIGGA member who has been with the association for at least two years is eligible to apply for a place on the Volunteer Open Support Team and those who are selected are given incredible access to golf’s greatest championship, supporting every match with bunker raking duties.
 
The history of the Volunteer Open Support Team began at St Andrews in 1984 following years of complaints from golfers and the governing body that bunker raking at The Open was inconsistent. Walter Woods BEM, links superintendent at St Andrews at the time, proposed that members of the Scottish & International Golf Greenkeepers Association (SIGGA), which existed prior to the formation of BIGGA in 1987, could be enlisted on a volunteer basis. Having a deputised band of trained greenkeepers on site would also provide the home greenkeeping team with additional support, should the need arise. The Volunteer Open Support Team was formed and has attended every Open since, providing hundreds of BIGGA members with incredible memories and inspiring them to achieve greater things both in their careers and at their home facilities.
 
Joining the BIGGA volunteers will be Gordon Moir, BIGGA President 2022, himself a former links superintendent at St Andrews and an industry veteran who supervised the hosting of five Opens.
 
BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “The 150th Open will be a spectacular celebration of the sport of golf and in some ways the Volunteer Open Support Team recognises the vital role greenkeepers have played over the centuries in the development and prospering of this wonderful game, so we are thankful to The R&A for providing this opportunity for BIGGA members each year. The Open is the world’s greatest golf tournament and this is set to be the biggest and best instalment ever, so everyone at BIGGA – including those members who form the home St Andrews greenkeeping team – is looking forward to playing our part in the hosting of the championship.”
 
This year’s BIGGA Volunteer Open Support Team features a record number of first-time team members and each year is provided with accommodation, subsistence and uniform for the event.
 
The 150th Open takes place from 10 to 17 July 2022. Applications for the BIGGA Volunteer Open Support Team for The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool will open later this year.

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