Laura Sayer-Hall is one of the volunteers helping the team at Royal St George's – and it was quite a trek to get to the Kent coast
It isn’t just Laura Sayer-Hall’s first time at The Open. It’s her first golf tournament. And what a debut to remember as the Ardfin greenkeeper got to follow Jason Day during his first round.
She is part of the British and International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association’s Open Support Team, a collection of turf experts who have volunteered from all over the UK to help Paul Larsen and his group at Royal St George’s.
Few, though, will have travelled further than Laura, whose journey to Kent from the island of Jura in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides should really be described using a big graphic and complicated arrows.
“I should have just gone to St Andrews next year,” she joked. “I drove in the end because it was just the easiest option.”
Firstly, she took a ferry from Jura to neighbouring Islay before boarding another boat for the two hour trek to the port of Kennacraig in Argyll and Bute. She then drove 10-and-a-half hours to the south-east of England.
Every Open, the R&A ask for BIGGA’s help with the championship and those who are picked to join the support team get unprecedented access to the game’s greatest event, supporting every match with bunker raking duties.
Laura actually learned she got on the team last year but, to add to her long journey, she had to be very patient as the tournament was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m really happy I got in. The whole of last year was a bit of a write off, wasn’t it? At least we finally got here.
“It’s nice that there are crowds as well. I was a bit worried we would get here and it would just be us wandering around.”
It’s certainly a far cry from golf on Jura, which had a population of 196 during the last census and where the prestigious and exclusive Ardfin club might only welcome a few groups each day.
“It’s a little weird coming somewhere like this and there are golfers everywhere. We only have two to four golfers each day and we just keep out of their way,” she said.
“I’ve never even been to a golf tournament before today. Seeing that grandstand down 18 is immense. It’s quite exciting. Really scary, though. I’m just trying to think where to walk and just not wanting to mess things up.”
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