Royal Cinque Ports course manager James Bledge continued a fantastic month for links venues in Kent after being awarded top prize at the BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards sponsored by BIGGA Partners Campey Turf Care Systems.
The Bledge family of Jenny, Fletcher, Jesse and James alongside BIGGA's Jim Croxton and Campey Turf Care System's Ian Pogson
James was presented with a £750 cash prize and an all-expenses paid trip to Florida, when restrictions allow, on the Campey Turf Care Systems stand at Festival of Turf, which took place on 21 and 22 July 2021 at the Warwickshire Event Centre.
Located just a few short miles along the coast from this year's Open Championship venue, Royal St George's, the team at Royal Cinque Ports has developed a culture of education and strong communication, led by course manager James, 41.
The BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards recognise those BIGGA members who have undertaken outstanding work to further the cause of greenkeepers by promoting their activities through various channels, including the creation of thought-provoking articles for Greenkeeper International, the monthly journal of BIGGA.
James produced a feature that was selected for inclusion in the October 2020 edition of Greenkeeper International. The article touched upon the daily maintenance of the golf course and whether asking golfers to contribute to a course's upkeep through activities such as raking bunkers detracts from the activities of the greenkeeping team.
Each month, BIGGA encourages its members to submit articles for inclusion in Greenkeeper International, with a monthly prize of a £100 education voucher up for grabs, to be redeemed at BIGGA's annual education programme Continue to Learn, held each January in Harrogate. James was kind enough to donate his voucher to another BIGGA member who would otherwise have been unable to attend.
From the 12 features that were selected for inclusion in the magazine throughout 2020, James' piece, entitled "The Sands of Time: Should we dump the bunker rakes for good?" attracted praise from the competition judges for discussing a topic that stands in contrast to traditional thinking and sparked debate among readers.
The feature is available to read online here: https://www.bigga.org.uk/news-listing/should-we-dump-the-bunker-rakes-for-good.html
James said: "I was really shocked because I've never won anything like this before. I read every new entry that comes in, but I never thought my article was in the same calibre as those. How the article came about was I had a Sunday off, I got up and had a coffee and had a feeling that I wanted to write something. I turned the laptop on and wrote a few words and before I knew it I had enough words to submit for the magazine. It was never intended to enter a competition, it was just something I wanted to get off my mind. There are other guys and girls out there who have a lot to say and I would really encourage them to give it a shot."
"The prize is pretty exceptional and so my thanks go to Campey. We're lucky in our industry that there are so many manufacturers and sponsors who put a lot of money into things like this. It's phenomenal that we have all this support and we couldn't do it without them."
The BIGGA Excellence in Communications Awards continue throughout 2021 with BIGGA members encouraged to submit articles for inclusion in upcoming editions of Greenkeeper International. Head to the BIGGA website for more information.