It takes a township: Volunteers galore required to host Ally Challenge

GRAND BLANC — Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club had hosted the former Buick Open for decades, so the prospect of hosting another Professional Golfers’ Association Tour event, or in this case the PGA TOUR Champions, is something the staff is all too familiar with. Of course, an abundance of help from others is needed in order to successfully host the tournament.

In fact, according to club manager Kevin Cunningham, the club has over 900 volunteers helping to prepare and run the event. Several different positions are necessary in order to do the event justice.

Admissions and will-call volunteers check tickets and credentials of both fans and media at all of the course entrances, while there will also be volunteers managing caddie services. They are required to handle all of the registration processes for the caddies and keep a list of local caddies who may be available to work the tournament.

There is also a need to make courtesy cars available for the players, officials and their family members to help them get to and from the course, hotels and the airport. Others will be required to control the inventory and maintenance of the golf cards and shuttles.

Hospitality credentials will be checked when it comes to admittance into the clubhouse and the hospitality venues throughout the course. The marshals will take care of the walkways throughout the course and help the players navigate, as well as evacuate, should a weather delay occur. There are also several stationed at each hole to help keep the crowd quiet when players are teeing off and putting.

On-course services will require the stock and delivery of refreshments, as well as distribution of mail, spectator handbooks and other services. They will also clean up afterwards around the course, which requires manual labor and heavy lifting. The standard bearers will carry a five-pound portable leaderboard to keep fans and players up-to-date on scores.

Help is also needed to assist the Golf Channel with its television broadcast to get anything needed for the crew throughout the weekend. Others will manage the inventory and distribution of uniforms for all volunteers, while some will take on management duties of the volunteer headquarters facility. The final volunteer position is the walking scorers, recording all information from hole to hole and transmitting it to Scoring Central via handheld computers.

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