Should Sentosa Golf Club convey its agronomy secrets?

By: December 14, 2017

We can agree that it is not so simple for a superintendent to gain practical experience how to create sustainable high-end golf tournament turf quality. The Singaporean Sentosa Golf Club in cooperation with The R&A and the Golf Environment Organization is launching in 2018 its Singapore Open Agronomy Volunteer Programme.

The organizers are inviting every superintendent and assistant superintendent from around the world to participate in this program to discover the meticulous practices that go into agronomy and turf management.

Ahead of the 2018 SMBC Singapore Open (a co-sanctioned Asian Tour and Japan Tour event), held from January 18 – 21 over Sentosa Golf Club’s Serapong Course, the participants will be able to see how the local superintendents are preparing the turf for the tournament. This educational program lasts until the end of the tournament. They will be able to ask for best practices from Sentosa Golf Club’s

  • Director of Agronomy, Andy Johnston,
  • Course Superintendent, Rodney Mckeown.

Sentosa Golf Club Singapore Open Volunteer Programme 2017

In addition to this experience they will get also:

  • lectures and seminars from some of the game’s most recognized thought leaders, including Steve Isaac, Director of
    Sustainability for The R&A, and Jonathan Smith, Executive Director at GEO Foundation.
  • The seminars are accredited by GCSAA (Golf Course Superintendents Association of America) and allow those that attend to gain CUEs (Critical Use Exemptions) for participation.

The successful candidates have a chance to follow the success of the 2017’s ‘Volunteer of the Year’, Khun Minachi (see picture below) who became part of The Open Championship team at Royal Birkdale. If you are interested in the program, then you can apply here at the Sentosa Golf Club website.

Sentosa Golf Club 2017 Volunteer of the Year Khun Minachi

I cannot say that I am without concerns regarding the success of this educational program. Here are my questions:

  • Is this a one time opportunity or just one of the events of an educational program? It would be better if it could be a continuous program for superintendents.
  • Will the R&A and the Golf Environment Organization subsidize the travel and accommodation costs of the participants?
  • Will they provide online consultation after the program? It would be great if there would be an online platform (e.g. where the participants could exchange their experience and opinions.
  • How could people join the program (e.g. via live streaming) who cannot afford to participate?
  • Will they provide career advice and hold job fairs?