Monday, October 29, 2018

 
Darren Skinner (Castle Stuart) chosen to work at TPC Sawgrass
 

The British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and John Deere have revealed the names of the six members of the association who will be heading to Ponte Vedra Beach next March to help prepare the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship.
 
The successful BIGGA members who have been selected to join the John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme 2019 are:
 
Scotland: Darren Skinner, Castle Stuart Golf Links;
North: Jon Gamble, Welshpool Golf Club;
Central England: Matthew Shaul, Cleethorpes Golf Club;
South West and  South Wales: Mark Simmons, Kingsdown Golf Club;
South East: Andy Copeland, Chesfield Downs Golf and Country Club;
International: Niels Sorensen, Randers Golf Klub, Denmark.
 
John Deere will also select another volunteer from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland.
 
Each spring TPC Sawgrass is home to THE PLAYERS Championship, with the event returning to its traditional March timing after 12 years of being hosted in May.
 
The shift has been necessitated due to a shuffle in the US PGA Tour calendar and will see the greenkeeping team in 2019 undertake a very different challenge to that of preparing the course in May.
 
And with the capacity to host 36,000 fans each day and THE PLAYERS considered by many to be men’s golf’s unofficial fifth major, all eyes will be on the condition of the course.
 
Whereas by May the harder ground and Bermuda grass makes for a very different playing style, in March the course is overseeded with cooler-season rye to ensure good playing conditions. Preparing the course earlier in the year will be just one of the challenges the six BIGGA members will face as they join the home greenkeeping team and a volunteer course maintenance force of over 90 volunteers.
 
Each of the BIGGA members underwent a rigorous application process, consisting of an online application, submission of a short video and an interview with BIGGA and John Deere representatives.
 
With 4am starts each morning, the BIGGA members are expected to work hard in exchange for the privilege of joining the team. They will completely integrate with the home course maintenance team in exchange for an insight into the preparation of TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course, where more of the world’s top players will compete than at any other venue throughout the year.
 

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