Seven for Sawgrass

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Seven for Sawgrass

This year’s group of British and Irish greenkeepers are preparing for the experience of a lifetime as part of the John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme, organised annually in partnership with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) and the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (GCSAI).

 Held at the legendary TPC Sawgrass course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, THE PLAYERS Championship regularly features more of the world’s top players than any other venue throughout the year, leading to its unofficial title of the fifth men’s major. As such it presents an incredible opportunity for BIGGA and GCSAI members to network, learn and gain a huge amount of invaluable experience, in a once-in-a-lifetime setting.

THE PLAYERS is made possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of a course preparation force of over 90 volunteers from around the world, who join the home greenkeeping team in getting and keeping the course in shape. Following the final day’s play, the greenkeepers also get the chance to attempt to hit the 17th hole’s intimidating island green.

This year the event returns to its traditional March timing after 12 years of being hosted in May. The shift is the result of changes to the PGA Tour calendar and will see the greenkeeping team in 2019 undertake a very different challenge to that of preparing the course in May. The successful BIGGA and GCSAI members selected to join the volunteer team at the tournament, which takes place from March 14 to 17, are:

  • International - Niels Sorensen, Randers Golf Klub, Denmark
  • South West and South Wales Region - Mark Simmons, Kingsdown Golf Club
  • Northern Region - Jon Gamble, Welshpool Golf Club
  • BIGGA Scottish Region - Darren Skinner, Castle Stuart Golf Links
  • Central England Region - Matthew Shaul, Cleethorpes Golf Club
  • South East Region - Andy Copeland, Chesfield Downs Golf and Country Club
  • GCSAI - Alex Newenham, Douglas Golf Club, Ireland.

John Deere Limited turf division sales manager Chris Meacock said: “I would like to congratulate all this year’s successful BIGGA and GCSAI members for winning through the rigorous selection process and earning a place on what will be our fifth annual TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme in 2019.

“The quality of applications that we receive each year is a true reflection of the high standards of greenkeeping and course management throughout the UK and Ireland. I know from the comments of past volunteers that this latest group will benefit greatly from the experience of being part of such a large, well-organised international greenkeeping team involved in the preparation of one of the world’s top golf tournaments.”

For further details and/or photographs, please contact:

 Steve Mitchell                            or             Chris Meacock

ASM Public Relations                                  John Deere Limited

Tel: +44 (0)1926 818762                           Tel: +44 (0)1949 860491

E-mail:                         Website:


Photo captions:

A) Chris Meacock of John Deere Ltd, GCSAI general manager Damian McLaverty & BIGGA CEO Jim Croxton (far left & right) with the 2019 volunteers at BTME.

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