December 18th 2014 – John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme

Assistant Links Superintendent James Bledge has won a place in the John Deere volunteer programme which takes place at TPC Sawgrass in Florida May 2015. Candidates first filled in an online application form via the BIGGA website, then completed a video application outlining their greenkeeping knowledge, career aspirations and why they wanted to join the Programme. A shortlist was then drawn up, and candidates successful after the video stage then underwent interviews with BIGGA’s five Regional Administrators, BIGGA officials and a representative from John Deere. This five will now join the maintenance team at the legendary venue for the entire duration of the Players Championship on the PGA Tour with travel, accommodation, subsistence and uniform all provided courtesy of BIGGA Partner John Deere. BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton said: “We were delighted with the standard and volume of applications, the introduction of a video element to the application process visually demonstrated to us the hugely impressive breadth of greenkeeping knowledge and passion of the impressive candidates. “Our five Regional Administrators, together with representatives from John Deere and BIGGA officials, faced a very tough decision to pick just one successful candidate from each of our Regions. Well done to all who applied, and congratulations to the final five who can now look forward to this outstanding career development opportunity at the ‘Fifth Major’. I’d like to thank John Deere for providing this superb opportunity to our membership.” Chris Meacock, John Deere Turf Division Sales Manager, said: “The response from BIGGA members to the TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme has been phenomenal ā€“ confirmation that this is a really valuable opportunity for greenkeepers to gain some great experience at a major tournament. “The standard of the applications has been outstanding too, making it a very hard decision for the BIGGA and John Deere interview teams to choose the final five. Iā€™d also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to BIGGA, who have supported this initiative so enthusiastically, and I look forward to congratulating the winners at BTME!ā€

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December 5th 2014 – New yardage posts

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The manufacturing of the wooden yardage posts for tees is almost complete.

The posts have been created to replace the concrete blocks by the tees and show the hole information on each of the 5 different courses. These will be in place for the 1st of January when use of the new scorecards goes into effect.

The posts have been made completely in-house by the greenstaff and each one is colour coded at the top to indicate from a distance where the next tee is located.

December 4th 2014 – 13th cross bunker remodelling

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Work is well underway with the remodelling of the 13th cross bunkers.

In an effort to alleviate the watertable issues throughout winter we are raising the bases of the three cross bunkers. This is being done by enlarging the surface area of the bunkers and spreading the material won over the base in a cut & fill operation.

The bunkers are being returned to a similar size and shape of those seen in the aerial photos from the 1940’s. They are being constructed to have portions of revetting on the main line of play but softer and more natural contoured edges around the remainder of the face.

Shots from the bunkers will now be played from a level around 400-500mm higher than the old bunkers. While an exceptionally wet winter will probably still cause flooding it is hoped that the bunkers will generally now be in play most of the year.