A greenkeeper from Milton Keynes has been invited to be part of the greenkeeping support team at one of golf’s most famous tournaments.
Abbey Hill Golf Centre, a BGL (Burhill Group Limited) venue in Buckinghamshire, has announced the news that greenkeeper, Sam Norman, has been invited to be part of the greenkeeping support team at The Open Championship.
Sam joined Abbey Hill in 2018 in a part-time position and secured a full-time role on the greenkeeping team in 2021, and his stellar efforts saw him recognised as Abbey Hill’s Employee of the Year for 2022.
“I’m very excited to head up to Royal Liverpool Golf Club for this summer’s Open Championship,” commented Sam. “To be selected as one of just two apprentices to join the greenkeeping team in July is a great honour, and I’m looking forward having the chance to represent Abbey Hill and hopefully learn a huge amount at such a high-profile event.”
Sam will join the support team in the week prior to the tournament, where he will share responsibilities such as hand-mowing Royal Liverpool’s greens, before joining the bunker raking squad for The Open Championship tournament days.
“Everyone at Abbey Hill is hugely proud of Sam following his successful application to be part of this year’s Open Championship,” said Ross Edmonds, Course Manager at Abbey Hill Golf Centre.
“Sam is an ambitious young man, and this is an incredible opportunity for him to learn from James Bledge (Links Manager at Royal Liverpool Golf Club) and his team during one of the biggest weeks in the greenkeeping calendar. We can’t wait to find out what he learns from his time at Royal Liverpool in July.”
Colin Mayes, CEO of BGL (Burhill Group Limited), added: “Everybody at BGL is extremely proud of Sam for being selected as one of just two apprentices to work at golf’s most historic event. We’re extremely passionate and committed to supporting our staff in their endeavours to develop and further their careers. Whether it be via our internal learning platform, or through national programmes such as this one, we’re delighted to offer opportunities for personal and professional development and champion the success of our people.
Sam’s commitment to developing his skillset has been evident throughout his time in the greenkeeping team – in February 2022 he completed a chainsaw operator’s qualification and began studying for an NVQ Level 2 in Sport Turf Management in early summer of the same year.
Additionally, as part of his education Sam is a registered Apprentice BIGGA (British and International Greenkeepers Association) Member.
In early 2023, Sam’s BIGGA membership gave him the chance to apply to be part of the greenkeeping team at The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, with just two places on offer.
Sam was one of more than 60 applicants, and, following a conversation with Royal Liverpool Golf Club’s Links Manager, James Bledge, Sam was selected.
Abbey Hill Golf Centre can be found at Monks Way, Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, MK8 8AA.
For more information on Abbey Hill Golf Centre, visit the website or call 01908 562566.