Singapore: For golf course superintendents, much like golfers, the pinnacle of their career is to be involved in a Major championship.
Few are fortunate ever to receive such a chance. However, thanks to The R&A and Sentosa Golf Club, that priceless opportunity is being presented to attendees at next month’s Sentosa Agronomy Superintendent Volunteer Programme.
The Superintendent Volunteer of the Week from the SMBC Singapore Open, as picked by their peers, will be rewarded with a coveted trip to England for the 146th Open at Royal Birkdale in July.
There, they will be part of the team that is responsible for participating in the set-up and the daily operations of the 2017 Open Championship course.
Andy Johnston, General Manager and Director of Agronomy at Sentosa Golf Club, said: “We are delighted to have worked out an arrangement with The R&A to send the Superintendent Volunteer of the Week to next year’s Open Championship.
“It will be an experience the lucky winner will never forget.”
Dominic Wall, Director – Asia-Pacific at The R&A, who have recently opened an office at Sentosa Golf Club, said: “The R&A holds a long association with the Sentosa Golf Club and, as such, we are pleased to support the Sentosa Agronomy Superintendent Volunteer Programme.
“By offering the Volunteer of the Week a chance to be involved with The Open Championship, we hope to raise the profile of superintendents in general and highlight the excellent work they do, which often goes unnoticed and unpraised.”
Organised by Sentosa Golf Club and supported by the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) and the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA), the Sentosa Agronomy Superintendent Volunteer Programme has become an integral part of the SMBC Singapore Open in recent years.
Johnston said: “We are really looking forward to the 2017 event. Our thanks in advance to all the volunteers for their commitment and sacrifices to working with us during tournament week.”
To be staged from January 19-22 over Sentosa’s award-winning Serapong Course, the US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation.
In addition to including the leading players from both Tours, the event will be headlined by Major champions Ernie Els and Adam Scott and European Ryder Cup stalwart Sergio Garcia.
As well as helping with the course preparation and daily set-up, volunteers will join what Johnston describes as an ‘enlightening educational programme’, featuring Russ Britton, Chief Executive Officer of Mirimichi Green, and Dr Jack Ninemeier, a retired professor in The School of Hospitality Business at Michigan State University who serves on the Master Club Manager Academic Council of the CMAA.
Johnston said: “The programme that we have lined up revolves around new technology using carbon. The carbon materials that Russ Britton will be presenting is going to change your entire IPM programme.
“It is revolutionising agronomic practices at select golf clubs in South Florida. Those on the programme have significantly reduced disease pressure and nematode pressure, living in harmony with a healthier environment. Some have even reduced their fungicide applications by 50 per cent.”
Adding further kudos to the event, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America has endorsed the curriculum and will offer Certified Educational Units (CEUs). These can be claimed and used for classification progress. At the end of each segment, delegates will receive a certificate of achievement for use to claim the points.
Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We applaud the initiatives of Andy Johnston and his team at Sentosa for the outstanding work they do in supporting superintendents.
“Like Sentosa, our Federation is committed to offering educational platforms aimed at improving overall standards in course maintenance.
“We ran five seminars and field days for course superintendents around the region this year and will have a similar number in 2017.”
Patrick Joyce, Vice President Golf – Asia at Lagardère Sports, said: “As the promoters of the SMBC Singapore Open we’re delighted to see the involvement in this historic championship of course superintendents from Singapore and around the region.
“This year, for the first time, the SMBC Singapore Open has been added to The Open Qualifying Series for 2017.
“As a result, the top two players who are not otherwise exempt who finish among the top-10 and ties will earn coveted starting spots in the 146th Open. It’s fitting that one of the volunteer superintendents will also have the opportunity to experience at first-hand The Open Championship next year.”
For registration and further information about the Sentosa Agronomy Superintendent Volunteer Programme, please contact Adeline Yan at +65 6373-7104 or email [email protected]
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