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 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 (above) who became part of The Open Championship team at Royal Birkdale.
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.”