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.
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.