PODCAST: James Bledge at Royal Cinque Ports

8 November 2019 Editorial



This week the pod heads to Royal Cinque Ports, on the Kent coast and just down the road from Royal St George’s, which will host The Open in 2020. 

Royal Cinque Ports should have hosted The Open at least four times over its 127-year history. Unfortunately, the 1938 and 1949 stagings were relocated to Royal St George’s due to heavy flooding and while Royal St George’s is preparing to host the championship once again in 2020, golf’s oldest major has never been back to Deal.

Working hard to push the course back towards those former glories is Course Manager James Bledge, who has instilled a culture of professional development that is paying off for the greenkeeping team. There’s a Toro Student Greenkeeper of the Year winner and FTMI graduates among its staff and the Royal Cinque Port members are seeing the benefits out on the course.

I sat down with James in his office for a conversation about how he’s encouraged the members of the golf club to invest in the team as much as they’re investing in the course.

BTME and Continue to Learn 

Registration has opened for BTME 2020, taking place in Harrogate this January. 

As always, Continue to Learn will kick off the week, with the education programme evolving to better suit the needs of BIGGA members. Taking place from Sunday 19 to Wednesday 22 January, the association’s Learning & Development team has put together its largest-ever package of education.

Continue to Learn features more than 250 hours of education delivered by over 90 speakers and places are selling out fast, so make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity to take your career, and your course, to the next level. Head to the BTME website to find out more.

BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards

BIGGA and Campey Turf Care Systems have teamed up to offer one BIGGA member a money-can’t-buy trip to Jacksonville, Florida.

All you have to do to enter is to put together a feature for Greenkeeper International that discusses your thoughts on an aspect of the greenkeeping industry today.

We’re looking for you to draw upon your own talent, experience and passion to produce articles that spark debate among fellow members and drive the industry forwards. Each month we’ll select an article for inclusion in the magazine, with the author winning £100 in Continue to Learn vouchers.

To submit an article, email commsawards@bigga.co.uk

Additionally, there are two other awards up for grabs:

The New Media award recognises the importance of social media and other digital platforms. Whether you’re using social media, podcasts, blogging, video content or anything else to engage with golfers, we want to hear from you.

The Outreach award seeks to reward those BIGGA members who have engaged with their local community to promote their efforts within the golf club. Face-to-face is just as important as other forms of communication and we’re looking to recognise those BIGGA members who have reached out into the community, whether by inviting schoolchildren to take part in ecology days, getting involved in local fundraisers, or anything else!

The winners of the New Media and the Outreach awards will both receive a £400 cash prize, with the winners to be revealed on the Campey Turf Care Systems stand at BTME 2020.

To nominate a BIGGA member or team of BIGGA members for an award, email commsawards@bigga.co.uk and put the name of the award in the subject heading, in addition to some information about why you think they should win!


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.

You can also join the conversation on social media using @GreenRoomBIGGA on Twitter we’ve also got a Facebook page where all the latest notices, news releases and information from BIGGA can be found. We’re also on Instagram using @BIGGA_HQ.

Subscribe and leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. The more people know about the sports turf industry, the more understanding they will have about the hard work of BIGGA members and other greenkeepers.

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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