Meet this year's BIGGA Delegates

The following BIGGA members have been selected to participate in the BIGGA Delegation to the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show 2024, made possible by our Premium Partner Bernhard and Company.

A place on the BIGGA Delegation provides extraordinary access to the biggest single event in the turf management industry. BIGGA members get the opportunity to sample the legendary educational conference and network with the world's largest gathering of turf and facilities care specialists. This established trip will also feature course visits.

BIGGA Delegates 2024

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Robert Acheson

Course Manager, Thonock Park Golf Club

“It is an honour to be selected as a delegate. The effort I put into the application and the interview really paid off. I was over the moon to become one of the final 10. The opportunity to network with others and learn much more from across the pond will mark this as a great achievement for me.”

Robert’s journey began with aspirations of a career in the Royal Air Force, but after a summer job at Hillsborough Golf Club, his path took an unexpected turn. His fascination with golf course management led him to achieve his goal of becoming a head greenkeeper at Worksop Golf Club at the age of 29.

Eager for new challenges, Robert seized the opportunity to become the course manager at Thonock Park in Gainsborough, where he has spent nearly four years, navigating and overcoming the challenges of the role.

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Harry Cannon

Head Greenkeeper, Sunningdale Golf Club

“I am delighted to have been selected for the BIGGA Delegation to Phoenix. It’s a wonderful opportunity to pick the brains of the best in the business and network with other likeminded turfgrass professionals.”

Harry's greenkeeping journey began at Royal Mid Surrey Golf Club aged 16. Over nine years, he advanced from an apprentice greenkeeper to head greenkeeper of the J H Taylor Course.

Seeking broader experiences, he undertook an internship at the Ohio State University, working at prestigious courses and volunteering at top tournaments.

 At 26, he became golf course manager at Sand Martins Golf Club, facing challenges like the 2018 drought. In 2020, Harry fulfilled his dream of managing a heathland course as the head greenkeeper of the New Course at Sunningdale, hosting prestigious events and gaining new skills.

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Stephen Davey

Head Greenkeeper, Queenwood Golf Club

“I feel very proud and honoured to have been selected to be part of the BIGGA Delegation. This exclusive opportunity will enable me to expand my knowledge of the industry and its practices, while also getting the chance to network with other turf professionals from around the world.”

Stephen is a lifelong golf enthusiast who achieved the course record at Lee Park Golf Club (Liverpool) at the age of 17.

He holds a foundation degree in sports turf science and management and has gained extensive international experience, currently serving as head greenkeeper at Queenwood Golf Club. Stephen has also participated at prestigious golf tournaments and continually expands his industry knowledge and qualifications with the goal of managing top golf clubs worldwide.

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Michael Gibbons

Course Manager, Disley Golf Club

“Having spoken to numerous former delegates, it’s clear the BIGGA delegation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Being able to soak up all the US has to offer is an incredible personal opportunity but it could also be career-defining. The learning and networking opportunities will be second to none and I hope to get all that I can out of the experience. I feel incredibly fortunate to be one of the greenkeepers picked for it and cannot wait to get going in January.”

Michael began his career as a greenkeeper but later ventured into higher education, earning a degree in ancient history from The University of Manchester. He then returned to greenkeeping, joining the ICL Continue to Learn Scholarship programme in 2021 and graduating from the Future Turf Managers Initiative in 2022.

Currently pursuing a Master’s in sustainable sports management through Myerscough College, Michael is recognised as an R&A Scholar. With experience in various golf courses and a strong network, he aims to expand his connections in the UK and the United States through the delegation.

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James Hampson

Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Llanymynech Golf Club

“I am really looking forward to this opportunity. I am particularly excited about networking and meeting new people in the industry. I am looking forward to developing my knowledge of the industry and how it differs over in America and I am also looking forward to learning from my fellow delegates.”

James's greenkeeping journey began in 2006. His passion for the profession led him to continue learning by attending seminars and educational days and seeking knowledge from industry peers. In 2015, James took on the role of deputy head greenkeeper at Chester Golf Club, offering valuable insights into management, budgeting, and staff coordination.

In 2020, he returned to a previous club as deputy head greenkeeper and was accepted into the FTMI programme, expanding his industry knowledge. In 2021, James served on the BIGGA support team at Royal St George’s. Eager to learn more, he pursued an HNC through Elmwood College and achieved R&A Scholar status by the end of 2021.

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Stuart Imeson

Owner and Course Manager, Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course

“I’m very proud to be selected and can’t wait to meet the group. It’s an opportunity I’ve wanted to be part of for some time now and I’m looking forward to getting out there!”

Stuart's remarkable journey in greenkeeping began at Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Course at the age of 15. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming head greenkeeper aged just 18. Over the years, he progressed to roles such as course manager and general manager, sometimes undertaking both roles simultaneously.

In the past two years, Stuart embarked on a new chapter by taking ownership of the business. His unwavering commitment to self-improvement is evident in his educational pursuits, undertaking a foundation degree with plans to complete the full degree in 2024.

Stuart's career has taken him to various prestigious events, including DP World Tour and PGA events, along with three Open Championships. Additionally, he is passionate about educating and creating opportunities for fellow greenkeepers to learn and network.

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Fraser Jardine

Deputy Head Greenkeeper, Trump Turnberry

“I feel very proud to be selected as part of the team representing the UK greenkeeping industry on a global scale. To make the top 10 is certainly one of my biggest achievements and I’m so glad I applied. I can’t wait to get over to Phoenix to meet people in the industry from around the world, learn from others and help elevate my career and personal development. I’m looking forward to learning about new technology and sharing ideas and techniques with others that I can bring back home with me. Thanks to BIGGA and Bernhard and Company for such an incredible, prestigious opportunity.”

Fraser has more than 17 years of experience in greenkeeping. He began as an apprentice in 2006 and has since held various greenkeeper roles with increasing responsibilities.

Notably, Fraser served as the first assistant at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, and more recently, he assumed the role of deputy head greenkeeper at Trump Turnberry. His career includes participation at prestigious tournaments like the Scottish Open and volunteering for golf championships.

Fraser is passionate about the greenkeeping industry with a dedication to excellence and continuous growth.

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Richard Ponsford

Course Manager, Clevedon Golf Club

“Attending BTME each year is a highlight of my diary. Having been selected to go to the GCSAA Conference and Trade Show will take it to the next level. This is a fantastic learning opportunity that will give me an invaluable insight to the world of turf management outside Europe. I’m excited to network with a wider group of professionals and absorb as much new information to maximise the experience as I can.”

Richard is a greenkeeper with 24 years’ experience. He began his career after completing a diploma in golf course management at Cannington College. He then honed his skills at Henbury Golf Club, rising to the role of deputy course manager.

With certifications in spraying and chainsaw operation, Richard later transitioned to course manager at The Bristol.

In his current role, Richard's team has hosted two EuroPro events, featured on Sky Sports Golf and won the BIGGA Championship Greenkeeping Team of the Year in 2022.

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Luke Sheldon

Head Greenkeeper, Beau Desert Golf Club

“An opportunity of this calibre is immensely exciting. To gain the experience and the ability to network on such a large scale is invaluable. It will really be something to remember and that will stay with me throughout my career.”

Luke’s journey in greenkeeping began as a 17-year-old apprentice at Beau Desert in 2010. He completed a Level 2 apprenticeship, successfully transitioning into a full-time assistant greenkeeper role.

In pursuit of new experiences, Luke joined The Belfry, broadening his expertise in resort and commercial golf operations. After an 8-month stint, he returned to Beau Desert as the head greenkeeper, where he continues to make a significant impact on the course.

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Richard Stephens

Course Manager, Vicars Cross Golf Club

“I was stunned, excited and proud to be selected to represent British greenkeepers. It’s an experience I’ve wanted for such a long time and I can’t wait to meet up with the rest of the group.”

Richard Stephens has had a diverse career in the golf and sports turf industry. Starting as a groundsman at Liverpool College, he progressed through various roles, including first assistant greenkeeper and course manager at several golf clubs.

He also briefly worked in sales and as a sportsturf contractor. Throughout his career, Richard has volunteered for construction projects and PGA tournaments.


For more information about this and the other great opportunities available to you as a member of BIGGA, visit the Member Opportunities page in the My BIGGA area of the website.


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