Ahead of the 2018 SMBC Singapore Open, held from January 18 – 21 over its Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club is launching its Singapore Open Agronomy Volunteer Programme; a joint initiative supported by The R&A and GEO.
The programme, unique to Sentosa, affords Superintendents and Assistant Superintendents from all over the world the chance to sample what life is like at one of the world’s pre-eminent golf clubs, but also to discover the meticulous practices that go into agronomy and turf management during one of the world’s most prestigious events.
January’s tournament, a co-sanctioned Asian Tour and Japan Tour event, signals the start of a remarkably busy period for the club, as it prepares to host four televised events throughout the year, with the SMBC Singapore Open followed by the inaugural Women’s Amateur Asia-Pacific Championship in February, the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March and finally the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in October.
The initiative, which lasts throughout tournament week, sees volunteers work side by side with Director of Agronomy, Andy Johnston, and his experienced team of greens staff led by Course Superintendent, Rodney Mckeown, in ensuring the best possible conditions are provided for the world’s best players.
Outside of day-to-day maintenance on course, the programme encompasses lectures and seminars from some of the game’s most recognised thought leaders, including Steve Isaac, Director of Sustainability for The R&A, and Jonathan Smith, Executive Director at GEO Foundation. The seminars are accredited by GCSAA (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America) and allow those that attend to gain CUEs (Critical Use Exemptions) for participation.
For one volunteer, however, the journey won’t finish in Singapore. They’ll follow in the footsteps of 2017’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’, Khun Minachi who became part of The Open Championship team at Royal Birkdale. Following the culmination of the week’s activities, participants are urged to vote for their fellow ‘Volunteer of the Week’, who this year will be sent to work as part of the team at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, held in August at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s.
Of the programme, Isaac, said: “This great initiative is one we at The R&A are really proud to support and be an integral part of. Our partnership with Sentosa Golf Club lends itself perfectly to getting behind the Agronomy Volunteer Programme, and I’m so glad that we’ll be able to host one lucky volunteer next year at Royal Lytham & St Anne’s for the Ricoh Women’s British Open”.
Sentosa’s two courses, the Serapong and New Tanjong, are well renowned for their immaculate conditioning, as a result of unique agronomical practices that stem from Andy Johnston, a leader in the industry, whose skillset spans from agronomy specialist to general manager and even golf course architect.
Expressing his excitement at the prospect of hosting more of the game’s brightest superintendents and assistants from across the world, Johnston said: “The SMBC Singapore Open is obviously one of the best weeks of the year for us, not only because of the buzz around hosting such a prestigious event, but the chance to spend time with, and show many like minded individuals the Sentosa way.
“To be able to put on this programme is fantastic, and my thanks go to The R&A and GEO for their support. It’s a project I’m very passionate about, and I’m very much looking forward to working alongside all the volunteers in January.”
Applications are now open for the programme, and to be considered, you must be a Superintendent or Assistant Superintendent and prepared to work with the Sentosa Golf Club team. Click on the link to apply now: https://form.jotform.me/72470083808458
Sentosa Golf Club www.sentosagolf.com