Royal Liverpool Golf Club will host The Open for the 13th time in July and the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) has revealed the team of almost 50 greenkeepers, gathered from all over the United Kingdom, who will be on hand to support the home greenkeeping team for the duration of the championship.
Each year The R&A requests the assistance of 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 oldest major, supporting every match with bunker raking duties.
Rory McIlroy was victorious the last time Royal Liverpool hosted The Open, in 2014, when BIGGA members raked the course’s 82 bunkers a total of 945 times. BIGGA members were even busier in 2006, when Tiger Woods claimed the Claret Jug and the team raked 1,092 bunkers across the four days of the championship.
In January, previous members of The Open support team were given the opportunity to stand beside the Claret Jug as it made an appearance at the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition, the annual trade show and education programme that provides incredible learning opportunities to those working in golf greenkeeping and sports turf management.
BIGGA is delighted that this years’ Volunteer Open Support Team will feature a large number of first-time team members as a place on the team is inspiring and showcases to greenkeepers what they can achieve through continuing professional development and by engaging with the numerous exclusive opportunities made available to members of BIGGA. Throughout the tournament the team members will be provided with accommodation, subsistence and uniform for the event.
BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “The team at Royal Liverpool has the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of St Andrews, who last year created a truly historic championship. Yet I’m confident that the team led by Links Superintendent James Bledge, who is preparing to host his first Open Championship, will set a world class stage for what is sure to be an exciting event.
“I’m thankful to The R&A for once again inviting so many BIGGA members to participate in The Open support team, particularly given we have so many first time members this year. Is there a better way of inspiring the next generation of greenkeepers and showcasing what can be achieved in your career with a lot of hard work and dedication, than an up-close look at the world’s greatest major championship? I’m thankful on behalf of the BIGGA members who have been selected and I’m proud to be able to invite them to represent the entire association on this global scale.“
The 151st Open takes place from 20 to 23 July 2022. Applications for the BIGGA Volunteer Open Support Team for The 152nd Open at Royal Troon will open later this year.
Here are the BIGGA members who will be assisting the home greenkeepers for the duration of The 151st Open:
- Aaron Allibon, first assistant, Orsett Golf Club
- Jake Austin, first assistant, Royal Wimbledon Golf Club
- David Ball, senior greenkeeper, Thetford Golf Club
- Adam Barton, greenkeeper, Conwy Golf Club
- Andy Bate, greenkeeper, Hesketh Golf Club
- Jamie Blake, head greenkeeper, Broadway Golf Club
- Paul Boozer, head greenkeeper, Sheerness Golf Club
- Tom Bromfield, first assistant, Trentham Golf Club
- Daniel Bungay, greenkeeper, Hockley Golf Club
- David Collins, head greenkeeper, Lickey Hills Golf Club
- Aaron Cross, assistant greenkeeper, Thorndon Park Golf Club
- William Curran, deputy course manager, Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club
- Marcus Davies, assistant greenkeeper, Wentworth Club
- David Duke MG, superintendent, Golf & Country Club Seddiner See
- Daniel Evans, head greenkeeper, Maesdu Llandudno Golf Club
- Tom Evans, course manager, Wexham Park Golf Centre
- Paul Fowkes, deputy head greenkeeper, Scraptoft Golf Club
- Paul Gater, first assistant, Caldy Golf Club
- Richard Goddard, deputy course manager, Ashridge Golf Club
- Lee Greveson, course manager, The Manor Golf Club
- Craig Hempseed, estate manager, Mortonhall Golf Club
- Rob Jones, deputy course manager, Enville Golf Club
- Richard Keith, assistant greenkeeper, Ferndown Golf Club
- David Leach, first assistant, Ruddington Grange Golf Club
- Sam Ludlow, assistant greenkeeper, Luffenham Heath Golf Club
- Adam Lund, head greenkeeper, Dinsdale Golf Club
- Benn McLeod, first assistant greenkeeper, Musselburgh Golf Club
- Scott McTaggart, course manager, Sandyhills Golf Club
- Jake Messenger, assistant groundsman, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
- Ashley Millar, deputy head greenkeeper, Churston Golf Club
- Danny Millar, deputy head greenkeeper, Rudding Park Golf Club
- Darren Miller, first assistant, Farnham Golf Club
- Jason Norwood, greenkeeper, Reay Golf Club
- Ryan Oliver, assistant greenkeeper, Hornsea Golf Club
- Peter Pattenden, greenkeeper, Carden Park Golf Club
- Steven Penman, deputy head greenkeeper, Thornton Golf Club
- Scott Rigby, head greenkeeper, Gathurst Golf Club
- Luke Sheldon, head greenkeeper, Beau Desert Golf Club
- Curtis Small, greenkeeper, Stover Golf Club
- James Stratford, greenkeeper, Broome Manor Golf Club
- Craig Surgeon, head greenkeeper, Kirkcaldy Golf Club
- Mark Tyson, deputy course manager, Oakmere Golf Club
- Ken Ward, head greenkeeper, Harrogate Golf Club
- Sam Wilkinson, deputy course manager, Ponteland Golf Club
- Ryan Williams, first assistant, Caldy Golf Club
- Lewis Whatsley-Parsons, greenkeeper, Queenwood