PODCAST: Alwoodley and the Brabazon Trophy

6 June 2019 Podcast


Hosted from 30 May to 2 June 2019, the Brabazon Trophy took place at Alwoodley Golf Club in Leeds. 

The Brabazon is the short name for the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship. Notable winners over the years include Guy Wolstenholme, Michael Bonallack, Sandy Lyle, Ronan Rafferty, Charl Schwartzel.

Alwoodley is a spectacular inland course designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie, who went on to design Augusta National, Cypress Point and Royal Melbourne. However, Alwoodley was the first course he designed and so is known as the Original MacKenzie.

Set on Wigton Moor, Alwoodley is a natural heathland course and as such has springy fairways, areas of heather and natural-looking bunkers.

Responsible for maintaining the course for the competition was acting course manager Matt Brighton. Matt took over the role in March following the retirement of long-term course manager and BIGGA life member Philip Taylor. 

BIGGA’s Membership Services Manager Sandra Raper stopped by Alwoodley to find out how the team was getting on and to deliver some pork pies to keep them going. 

While there she sat down for a conversation with Matt and James Crampton, the director of championships at England Golf, to discover what it takes to host a major amateur event. Away from the cameras and glamour that characterises The Open or other professional events, the greenkeeping team at the clubs that host amateur competitions want to put on a show of equal quality. However they must often do so with fewer resources and a smaller team, making the challenge even greater. 

Also mentioned in this week's podcast are the BIGGA Awards, for which nominations have opened. The awards are an opportunity to recognise the incredible achievements of BIGGA members. We’re looking to find out about those teams who have hosted a major event, like the team at Alwoodley, or perhaps they’ve completed a major project such as the renovation or rebuild of their course on limited resources. Maybe they’ve done incredible work to further the reputation of the greenkeeping profession – which can be charity work or just a lifetime of dedication? We want to hear each of these stories, so if you’re a greenkeeper and you know of someone who’s worked incredibly hard or you’re just a member at a golf club and want to see your team recognised for their efforts, the BIGGA Awards are the place to go. Head to our website to find out more and there’s also a link in the show notes.

As it’s National Volunteer Week, Sandra also spoke to a pair of BIGGA members who have given up their free time to help out at the event. 

30-year-old Jason Norwood is a greenkeeper at Rudding Park in Harrogate, while 29-year-old James Dawson is a greenkeeper at Oulton Hall in Leeds.

Sandra spoke to the pair about their reasons for volunteering at the Brabazon Trophy and how they’d found the experience so far.

So thank you to Matt, James, Jason and James for talking to us, and thank you to Sandra for being our roving reporter on the day!

Image courtesy of Leaderboard Photography.

The Green Room Golf Course Podcast is produced by Karl Hansell on behalf of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association.

For questions, comments or concerns, you can get in touch by emailing karl@bigga.co.uk.

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If you’d like to get in contact about any other aspect of your BIGGA membership, including member benefits, support, or learning and development, call 01347 833800 or email info@bigga.co.uk

You can also get more information about BIGGA and how it can improve your career and your course by heading to our website.


Karl Hansell
BIGGA | Communications Executive


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