Women's British Open brings together BIGGA's ladies
The female greenkeepers who joined the Woburn team for the Women's British Open
A team of BIGGA members helped out at the AIG Women’s British Open last weekend, with seven lady greenkeepers from all over the UK joining the Woburn team.
Joining Courses Manager John Clarke and his deputy, Gavin Sowden, in preparing Woburn’s Marquess Course for the championship was a team of volunteers including Caroline Munro, who usually works completely alone in maintaining Bonar Bridge Ardgay Golf Club in north Scotland, meaning she undertook a 1,100-mile round trip to get involved.
“What can I say, it has been one of the best weeks of my life,” said Caroline. “I met some fantastic greenkeepers and helpers and the craic has been out of this world. Thanks to everyone at Woburn for having us and treating us so well.”
Bonar Bridge Ardgay's Caroline Munro made a 1,100-mile round trip to join the Woburn team
Another female volunteer was Rachel Richardson, who accompanied her husband, Matt. He was a member of the John Deere TPC Sawgrass Volunteer Programme in 2019 and will be returning to help out at The Players Championship in 2020, this time accompanied by Rachel.
There are presently just 25 females working as greenkeepers within the UK who are members of BIGGA. With female golfers in the spotlight, Courses Manager John Clarke felt it would be appropriate to invite each of BIGGA’s female greenkeepers to assist at the Women’s British Open, won by Hinako Shibuno of Japan on her major championship debut.
John said: “This was the first tournament we are aware of that has attracted and encouraged female involvement and alongside the R&A’s Women in Golf Charter, we felt it was something we really wanted to support.
“It has offered the volunteers an excellent opportunity to meet each other and discuss the challenges they have faced within the industry, in a profession that has always been very male-orientated.”
Chloe Gallagher of The Wynyard preparing a tee ahead of the day's play
Although the ladies were aware of each other as fellow members of BIGGA, they had never met in person. They were integrated into the Woburn greenkeeping team and carried out a variety of daily set up tasks, from cutting fairways to changing holes.
Kimberley Yeldham of Barnham Broom in Norwich has previously joined the BIGGA Open Support Team, volunteering at the Men’s Open. She said: “It has been an awesome week. Thank you to John, Gavin and the rest of the team for everything you have done for us.”
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The BIGGA support team for the AIG Women's British Open
The entire BIGGA support team for the AIG Women's British Open was: Ryan Wilson, Hendon; Jamie Finch, Royal Norwich; Craig Potts, Shirley; Dan Knight, Newmarket Links; Owen Crouch, John O'Gaunt; Spencer Dunstan, Langdon Hills; Matthew Shaul, Grange Park; Caroline Munro, Bonar Bridge Ardgay; Kevin Armstrong, John O'Gaunt; Stephen Bennett, Alwoodley; Amy Thomas, Barton-on-Sea; Chloe Gallagher, The Wynyard; Kimberley Yeldham, Barnham Broom; Rachel Hunter-Worrall, Queen Ethelburgas School; Zoe Lee-Aimes, Felixstowe Ferry; Craig Betts, Aldwickbury; Paul Harris, Leighton Buzzard; Tom Clark, Leighton Buzzard.