‘Our week at Le Golf National’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 17, 2019 18:31 Updated

During last year’s Ryder Cup, 180 of the world’s best greenkeepers worked on the Parisian golf course. Here, two of them – both British staff at The Belfry – detail their experiences of a week that will never be forgotten.

At last year’s Ryder Cup, 180 greenkeepers from across the globe, headed up by Le Golf National course manager Alejandro Reyes, worked together to present the Albatros Golf Course at its highest standard.

From The Belfry were head greenkeeper Jamie Wade and senior greenkeeper James Cleaver, who were selected for their expertise and experience.

“This was the first time working on the Ryder Cup for both of us. It is the pinnacle for any greenkeeper and it was an amazing project to work on. It was a great venue, similar in a sense to the Brabazon with great matchplay holes and with its history,” said Wade.

James Cleaver with the ‘The Postman’, Ian Poulter, during the celebrations after Europe won the Ryder Cup last year

“We were lucky to experience such fantastic support from both Team Europe and Team USA. At the final most of the greenkeepers were at the 18th green when Europe had won, and Thomas Bjorn and the European team came over and acknowledged all of us for our efforts over the week, which was fantastic! To share the experience with members of other greenkeeping teams from across Europe has been an invaluable opportunity and a real inspiration.”

James Cleaver added: “Of course we have lots of big events on the Brabazon throughout the year, so we are used to having to work with big teams and setting up the course to a very high standard every day.

“The Brabazon is a mature golf course, whilst the Le Golf National had its own style and it’s a sort of parkland, inland links type of golf course and the viewing areas for spectators are great for both. To produce a course of that quality requires long hours, dedication and a good network of people who you trust to help you, so it was an honour to be involved and be a part of golfing history.

“There was an incredible atmosphere and we got loads of support from the fans as we were making our way around the golf course. They were clapping us and appreciating all that we were doing there and trying to achieve. We even managed to grab a quick selfie with ‘The Postman’ himself, Ian Poulter, in the celebrations, which was an unforgettable moment.”

“The 2018 Ryder Cup was a huge success as we witnessed one of the best-presented golf courses in the world. To see two of our own greenkeepers involved is a huge privilege and a very proud moment for us all,” said Angus Macleod, director of Golf Courses and Estates at The Belfry.

“We are incredibly proud to see Jamie and James get the opportunity to work at such a prestigious event. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication which we see reflected in the facilities provided here at The Belfry,” added James Stewart, resort director at The Belfry.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 17, 2019 18:31 Updated
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