Golf Badgers (ɡɒlf bæʤə) - noun: A group of golfers obsessed with the game. Does this sound like you? If so, you're in the right place. Sam Cooper (Associate with Clayton, DeVries & Pont) and James Bledge (Course Manager @ Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake) invite some of their friends from across the architecture and green keeping industries to join them for a deep dive on all things golf. Feasting on a gluttonous diet of golf course architecture, greenkeeping, agronomy and all of the topics usually too dull for polite conversation. We hope you'll enjoy spending some time with us.
011 - Harrogate, Orlando, bunkers and Clegg Hammers
1:16:52Hello Badgers, Welcome to Episode 11 of Golf Badgers. Its been a busy start to the year. We've been to Harrogate for BTME and then to Orlando for GIS. We thought we'd have a catch up together to talk about our experiences at them both and give you some of our thoughts. It was meant to only be short, but we got a little distracted at times. We discuss the architecture and maintenance side of bunkers, and find out the firmness of Bledge's office floor. Hope you enjoy and don't forget to get in touch with your thoughts on the pod. Thanks! Sam @links_from_the_road @golfbadgers @jamesbledge
010 - Matt Plested - Stoneham GC
46:25Episode 10! A bit of a milestone for Golf Badgers. Please forgive the self indulgent intro but Bledge and I would like to thank you all for listening to the podcast so far. It has been enormous fun putting this together, and we'll certainly be carrying it on. You find us back at BTME in the quietest corner of the hotel we could find. A hive of activity, it's not quite 'recording studio' standard - but hope that doesn't detract from what I am convinced is a fascinating conversation. Matt Plested has had a particularly interesting career to date, and in recent years has undertaken one of the most significant refurbishment of any Course Manager in Britain. Stoneham Golf Club has been significantly refurbished, while the club have pursued a scheme of Soil Importation to invest in the practice facilities and quality of the course as a whole that has generated well over £2m. This will not be the only scheme of this type. We are looking at a number of projects with CDP where strategically taking on inert soils to the site, perhaps to enhance a landscape, as well as generate significant cash enhancements. Matt is at the cutting edge of Course Managers to have gone down this route and we believe all Course Managers would learn from his experiences in this field. Thank you Matt for taking the time. It was a pleasure to learn from you.
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009 - Jim Croxton (CEO of BIGGA) on BTME 2023
22:36Welcome back Badgers, Bledge and I have just got back from an excellent week in Harrogate for BTME 2023. We managed to record a few episodes which we'll release over the coming weeks, but thought we'd share with a brief overview of BTME with Jim Croxton. Jim is CEO of BIGGA - the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association. BTME is the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition, held each year in Harrogate. As I found out over the week, it's far more than just the exhibition itself. Jim's team arrange hours of structured educational seminars and conferences, and thousands of like minds descend on Harrogate to nerd out over the golf industry. As my first time there, I thought it was absolutely wonderful. Looking forward to returning year on year. Thank you to Jim and the whole BIGGA team for looking after us. We hope you enjoy this little chat recorded on the Monday of the event. BIGGA website: https://www.bigga.org.uk BTME website: https://www.btme.org.uk/
008 - Lee Strutt - Cabot Cape Breton (& a lot of other stuff)
1:18:35Welcome back Badgers! It's been a long time since our Christmas special, but we're back! With BTME on the horizon, Bledge and I will be taking our microphones down and recording a bunch of episodes - so hopefully plenty to come. We hope you enjoy this chat with Lee Strutt. Bledge worked for Lee when he was a young greenkeeper. Lee's one of the most experienced guys out there, working in a broad range of roles over his years in the industry. It's a little longer than usual, but we got into the weeds towards the end. Hope you enjoy it and please do keep on messaging us with your feedback and thoughts! Cheers, Sam
007 - Zac Blair & Kye Goalby - (Christmas) Tree Farm
1:04:53Merry Christmas, Badgers! We hope everyone's had a great Christmas. Between the snow storms in the UK, some technical issues and a big dose of man flu for Bledge, we've been a little quiet recently. Well we're back with a bang for our Christmas special, and were delighted that Zac Blair and Kye Goalby joined the pod to discuss (amongst other things) The Tree Farm. Enjoy the rest of this weird spell between Christmas and New Years where every day feels like a Sunday, and we'll be back in the New Year! Best wishes, Sam
006 - Sean McClean - Course Manager, Royal Birkdale
48:00Welcome back Badgers. This week we're joined by a few special guests. First, Sean McClean the 'new' Course Manager at Royal Birkdale Golf Club. Birkdale is one of the most famous links courses in the world, and both Bledge and I were looking forward to speaking to Sean and asking his opinions, ideas and plans for this great Open venue. We also talk about his career to date, including 13 years at Princes with guest of episode 2, Rob McGuirk. Sean was also asked a couple of questions by Fletcher and Jesse, Bledge's next generation of course managers. Undoubtedly the hardest hitting questions of the episode. We are so grateful to everyone who listens. We hope you enjoy this week's episode and please do keep sharing the podcast with other golf badgers out there who enjoy our nerdy niche. Thanks, Sam
005 - Ryan Noades - GM/Owner, The Addington
1:02:24This week Bledge and I were joined by Ryan Noades of The Addington. Ryan's family have owned this exceptional heathland course for a while now, and it is currently going through a multi-year restoration process with my firm of CDP. We talk about Ryan's life, when he realised The Addington was special, how far it had fallen and the work ongoing to bring it back. It's a truly special place and Ryan's knowledge of architecture is matched by his enthusiasm for the project. We hope you enjoy episode 5 and please do carry on sharing the podcast with like-minded Badgers out there in the wild! Sam
004 - Sam Cooper - Architect w/ Clayton, DeVries & Pont
50:15Welcome back Badgers. For a change of pace, Mr Bledge is interviewing me (Sam Cooper) on my transition into the golfing industry, thoughts on architecture and the culmination of my 2 year road trip around the coastline of Great Britain. We hope you enjoy and, as ever, please feel free to tell us how we're doing on our respective social media accounts. Thanks for listening! Sam
003 - Simon Olver - Course Manager, Ganton GC
55:12Welcome back to the Podcast, Badgers. I'm on the road this week, and I've left Bledge back in Hoylake. I popped into Ganton Golf Club to play their esteemed 'inland links' (more on that later) and meet Course Manager, Simon Olver. As you'll hear, Simon is another intelligent, passionate and ambitious course manager. I asked him about his career to date and plans for the historic course at Ganton. I hope you enjoy the conversation and as ever, don't forget to get in touch with me on Instagram or Twitter (@links_from_the_road and @sd_cooper respectively). Thanks for listening! Sam
002 - Rob McGuirk - Owner, Princes & Chart Hills
49:07Badgers, welcome back to the podcast. This week, we're in conversation with our great friend Rob McGuirk. Rob's family have owned the famed links of Princes for a good while now, and recently acquired Chart Hills Golf Club. We have a wide ranging chat about his career, particular interests within the game, the evolution of Princes and their work at Chart Hills. We wanted to provide a slightly different perspective on the industry, so were delighted Rob was able to provide the owner and GM's angle. Please let us know what you think! We're both on Twitter (@sd_cooper & @jamesbledge) and Instagram (@links_from_the_road & @jamesbledge).