BIGGA member Richard brings home a piece of history after volunteering at The Players Championship

BIGGA member Richard brings home a piece of history after volunteering at The Players Championship

Nairn Dunbar course manager Richard Johnstone returned from his time volunteering at The Players Championship with a little piece of history after hitting a once-in-a-lifetime golf shot.

Richard was a part of the BIGGA delegation flown over to TPC Sawgrass in Florida by BIGGA Partner John Deere to help prepare the course for the tournament, which saw South Korean Si Woo Kim claim first place.

But the following day, the greenkeeping team were given the opportunity to win their own little piece of tournament history with a nearest the pin competition on the Stadium Course’s famous 17th hole.

Richard stiffed his shot to just a few inches from the hole, and was rewarded with the flag used on the 17th throughout the tournament.

Richard said: “Aiming to just hold the ball on the green, I was surprised to have hit a perfect wedge shot right next to the hole. The volunteers went wild shouting, cheering and high fiving my shot, which ended up winning the competition and finishing off my 12 days in style.

“The whole experience surpassed anything I had ever expected and I would like to say a massive thank you to BIGGA and John Deere for providing me with this opportunity to develop and progress as a golf course manager. I would highly recommend the programme to anyone who wants to be part of something very special.”

This year more than 160 greenkeepers and turf professionals teamed up to assist Director of Golf Course Maintenance Jeff Plotts in preparing the course for the championship, using the latest state-of-the-art John Deere machinery.

Applications are now being invited for the 2018 TPC Sawgrass volunteer programme, which will once again be supported by John Deere. For the first time an additional member from overseas will also be invited to join the team, meaning six BIGGA delegates will be travelling to the US next year.

For more information and to take part, click here.