Photo: Scott Aitchison - Royal Dornoch, Sutherland

Now over 30 years old, the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association is Europe's largest membership greenkeeping association. BIGGA has made outstanding progress to reach its position as a well-respected and integral part of the golf and turf industries. This progress is due to the dedication of very many members who have contributed voluntarily through committee work and support of BIGGA activity, as well as the team of staff based at BIGGA House and in the Regions.

The Association was formed to support greenkeepers and greenkeeping and provide a unified voice for the profession.


All about BIGGA

What is a greenkeeper?

A Golf Greenkeeper is a skilled professional whose job is to maintain a good quality playing surface and ensure the course offers a consistent challenge and an enjoyable experience for golfers.  The greenkeeping team is responsible for the maintenance, care and overall appearance of a golf course in line with employer requirements.

The job will include looking after all aspects of turf management, using a range of equipment and machinery safely and competently. Golf Greenkeepers are involved in hazard, environmental and ecological operations which may include bunker maintenance, planting turf, trees and shrubs and developing wildlife habitats.

What we do

Without greenkeepers, there would be no golf. From the pioneering 'Keepers of the Green' that tended the historic links at St Andrews, Prestwick and Musselburgh to today's highly-skilled and dynamic course managers at the UK's top golfing venues, greenkeepers have shaped and defined this wonderful sport. 

Every step of the way, there has been an association providing them with support, education and advice. In January 1987 the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) was created due to an amalgamation of the British Golf Greenkeepers Association, The English and International Golf Greenkeepers Association and The Scottish and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.

Since then, we've shone a light for the nation's greenkeepers, and 6,000 turf professionals from the United Kingdom and further afield are proud to call themselves BIGGA members.

Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Association is held as soon as practicable after the first day in January in each year and two months’ notice of such a meeting shall be given to each Member.

Fifteen Members are required to be physically present at the Annual General Meeting of the Association in order to constitute a quorum.

Notice of resolutions to be proposed at the Annual General Meeting shall be sent to the Chief Executive Officer not less than 40 days before the date of the Annual General Meeting and these shall be circulated to the membership not less than 28 days prior to the Annual General Meeting.

The Annual General Meeting shall be chaired by the Chairman, or by the Vice-Chairman if the Chairman is unable to attend.  

The business conducted at the Annual General Meeting shall be taken in the following order:

  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes of the last Annual General Meeting
  3. Annual Reports:
    1. President’s Report
    2. Chairman’s Report
    3. CEO’s Report
  4. Adoption of Annual Accounts
  5. Alterations to the Articles and the Governance Handbook and all other resolutions of which due notice has been given
  6. Election of Guardians
  7. Appointment of Association Auditors
  8. Appointment of President for the Following Year
  9. Any Other Competent Business

BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition

The BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME)

In 1989 the first European Turf Management Exhibition (ETME) is held at Harrogate, filling two halls.

In 1991, the exhibition changes its name to BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME).

Today, BTME has established itself as Europe's leading exhibition for turf professionals and buyers and will continue to work with Harrogate Convention Centre to remain the leading turf management exhibition. 


Greenkeeper International

Greenkeeper International is the official monthly magazine of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.

Starting out as a membership 'journal' known as Greenkeeper in 1987, it has had various name changes but became known as Greenkeeper International in 1991 and is now simply known as GI.

GI is distributed widely to BIGGA's 6,000 members plus an additional magazine subscription list. 



Our history

In January 1987 the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) was created due to an amalgamation of the British Golf Greenkeepers Association, The English and International Golf Greenkeepers Association and The Scottish and International Golf Greenkeepers Association with Walter Woods BEM as its first Chairman. These days we’re best known simply as BIGGA.

BIGGA has since established itself as a significant body within the game of golf and a key element in the lives of those working in the fine turf industry.

Today, BIGGA has around 6,000 greenkeepers and turf professionals as members and membership is on an annual basis.

History of BIGGA Chairmen & Presidents


Chairmen of BIGGA 2016 - present

2016 - 2018 Les Howkins MG

Chairmen of BIGGA 1987 - 2016

Year Chairman Year  Chairman
1987 Walter Woods BEM 2002 Richard Barker
1988 Jack McMillan MBE 2003 George Brown
1989 Patrick McCarron 2004 Andy Campbell MG CGCS CCM
1990 Ivor Scoones 2005 Kerran Daly
1991 George Malcolm 2006 Richard Whyman
1992 Roy Kates 2007 W McMillan
1993 John Crawford 2008 Kenny Mackay
1994 John Millen 2009 Peter Todd
1995 Barry Heaney 2010 Paul Worster
1996 Dean Cleaver 2011 Andrew Mellon
1997 Patrick Murphy 2012 Andrew Mellon/Tony Smith*
1998 Gordon Child 2013 Tony Smith
1999 Gordon Child 2014 Chris Sealey
2000 Elliott Small 2015 Les Howkins MG
2001 Clive Osgood 2016 Les Howkins MG
    2017 Les Howkins MG
    2018 Les Howkins MG
    2019 Scott Reeves
    2020 Scott Reeves

*Tony Smith became Chairman on 19th July 2012

Following amendments to the Articles of Association, adopted by special resolution at the AGM on 21 January 2015, Les Howkins MG was appointed Chairman of the Association for a term of three years.


Presidents of BIGGA 2016 - present
Year President
2016 Iain Macleod
2017 Sidney Arrowsmith MG
2018 Chris Kennedy
2019 Chris Sheehan
2020 Colin Webber


Presidents of BIGGA 1988 - 2015
Year President
1988 - 1998 The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Whitelaw KT CH MC
1999 - 2015 Sir Michael Bonallack OBE



At the AGM on 21 January 2015 the role of Patron was established.

2015 - present Sir Michael Bonallack OBE

Vision, Mission and Values

Our 2020 Mission:

BIGGA: An Association committed to the continual professional development of its members, working with the leading bodies in golf for the good of the game.

Our Vision:

Our Vision is to be recognised as leaders in golf course management. To have our members acknowledged as educated professionals, valued by the sport and for BIGGA to become a must join association.

Our Values:

Education   |   Leadership  |   Togetherness   |   Accountability

Our Strategic Pillars:

Supporting our Members   |   Providing Leadership   |   A Stronger Sport   |   Excellent Organisation

Board and Governance

Directors and the Board of Management

The Board of Management comprises as follows:

The Directors: there are six directors of the Association, being one member appointed by each of the five Region Boards and a Chairman appointed by the Board of Management.

President and Vice President: The position of President of the Association is an ambassadorial role, awarded by the Board of Management.

Guardians: Two Guardians elected by the membership.

Vice Chairman: The Board of Management shall appoint a Vice Chairman from within the Board.

Chief Executive Officer: The Board of Management appoint a CEO to administer the affairs of the Association.

Co-opted Individuals: The Board of Management may co-opt any individual onto the Board of Management from time to time.

Regions and Sections

The Members are organised into five geographic Regions and twenty six Sections:

Scotland: comprising the Sections: Central, East, North, South West of Scotland and West

Northern: comprising the Sections: Cleveland, Yorkshire, North East, North West, Sheffield and North Wales

Central England: comprising the Sections: East Midlands, Midland, East of England, Mid Anglia and Berks, Bucks and Oxon

South East: Comprising the Sections: East Anglia, Essex, Kent, London. Surrey and Sussex

South West and South Wales: Comprising the Sections: Devon & Cornwall, South Coast, South Wales and South West

Region Boards: East Region Board is formed from one representative appointed by each of the Sections within the Region.

Section Boards: Each Section Board is formed by no fewer than six Members.

The BIGGA Articles of Association is available for download below.
BIGGA - Articles of Association - Amended 23.1.2018.pdf

The BIGGA: Strategy, Structure & Member Code of Ethics 2019 is available for download below.
BIGGA Code of Ethics June 2019



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