How does BIGGA help greenkeepers with their mental health struggles?

By: December 9, 2022

I hear from more and more places how big problem mental health is in workplaces including golf clubs. More employees are leaving their jobs for mental health reasons, including those caused by workplace factors like overwhelming and unsustainable work. 

Harvard Business Review says more employees are talking about mental health at work than in 2019 and demographics (e.g. Millennials, Gen Z, LGBTQ+, etc.) continue to play a strong role in workplace mental health.

In 2021 BIGGA undertook a survey that revealed 80% of greenkeepers had worried about the mental health of a colleague.

BIGGA Steve Dudley-Brown mental health service

Did you know that 75% of deaths of men aged 50 and under are due to suicide, making it the biggest cause of death in that age bracket?

I was very happy about this when I found out that BIGGA will train 100 mental health first aiders during 2023, who will receive training that will give them the skills to support golf greenkeepers and other clubhouse staff through any difficulties they may be experiencing.

Working environments and money concerns are major causes of stress and mental health problems and BIGGA is working alongside golf’s governing bodies to improve governance and working practices at golf clubs.

Stronger, more positive, and respectful working environments should help relieve some of the undue pressures placed upon staff at present.

BIGGA Mental Health

The cost of the course is being met by BIGGA with support from The R&A and participants will receive a certificate from Mental Health England.

In addition, participants will receive three years of ongoing training and support from Mental Health England.

The first course will be held in February at Edgbaston Golf Club and further events will be hosted around the country, helping to build a national network of mental health first aiders.

The campaign is being led by BIGGA’s Steve Dudley-Brown (, himself a former greenkeeper and course manager with 25 years of experience in the industry.

Integrating mental well-being into your golf clubs’ employee experience

Today it is not enough to understand golf club employees’ individual needs, expectations, goals, and private life challenges. Golf clubs should think about how they manage the effects of stress overall.

If your greenkeepers or other golf club employees are facing loneliness, doubt, or even potential burnout then the simplest of work duties can be a challenge.

Now, let’s stop for a moment and evaluate our golf clubs’ company culture.

Today, it is not enough to have an attractive company culture but to be able to help golf club employees reach far better mental well-being. For instance,

  • norms and expectations of work-life balance;
  • leaders are providing clarity and direction,
  • include health-related activities,
  • create fun communities of interest (e.g. book clubs, music clubs, movie recommendations, etc.)
  • encourage your golf club employees to share health & well-being stories,
  • say thanks & demonstrate an appreciation for your employees’ work, etc.