Singapore: Ahead of next month’s SMBC Singapore Open, Sentosa Golf Club is launching its Singapore Open Agronomy Volunteer Programme, a joint initiative supported by The R&A and the Golf Environment Organisation (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, and discover the meticulous practices that go into agronomy and turf management during a major tournament.
Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Tour, the SMBC Singapore Open (January 18-21) signals the start of a busy period for the Asian Golf Industry Federation Golf Course Facility Member as it prepares to host four televised events.
In 2018 at Sentosa, the SMBC Singapore Open will be 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 Sentosa’s 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 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 vote for their fellow ‘Volunteer of the Week’, who next year will be sent to work as part of the team at August’s Ricoh Women’s British Open 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 known for their immaculate conditioning, as a result of unique agronomical practices that stem from Johnston, a leader in the industry, whose skill-set spans from agronomy specialist to general manager and even golf course architect.
Johnston said: “The SMBC Singapore Open is 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. 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. 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
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