Volunteers monitor scores, flying balls | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Volunteers monitor scores, flying balls

William Ferchland
Tracy Peterson / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Wayne Thornson, president of Tournament Services Inc. goes over training Monday in preparation for the celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood.

STATELINE – In her spiel to hole reporters for the American Century Championship, Pat Zimmerman listed various jobs volunteers might end up doing.

Besides communicating golf scores, Zimmerman told the handful of volunteers to look for wayward balls and to pull down ropes as celebrities march from tee to green.

Also, they should watch for any injuries the gallery or golfers might have, such as being hit with a golf ball or suffering heat stroke.

Zimmerman provided her words of wisdom in a ballroom at Harveys Hotel Casino on Monday – a day before Jordan would pull himself out of the tournament – during a training session for volunteers who would be the standard bearers, hole reporters, walking scorers and other duties necessary for a golf tournament.

In addition, volunteers should keep in mind the atmosphere of the hole as golfers approach. For comedian Ray Romano, the atmosphere could be more relaxed.

“Without volunteers, you don’t have a tournament,” said hole reporter volunteer and Sacramento resident Pete Eres.

Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Farrell said 350 people are needed to help run the tournament. The greatest need, she joked in referring to many celebrities’ golf games, is crowd protection from flying golf balls.

Most of the volunteers are from outside the area such as Florida, Texas, Indiana and Illinois, Farrell said.

Jill Smith, a college friend of Farrell, is a veteran volunteer. She worked the security gate and lately helps manage the volunteer tent. Smith said she’s the perfect volunteer because she’s not awestruck.

“I couldn’t tell you if a golfer were an athlete, soap star or whatever,” Smith said.

Bob Hamamoto, chairman of the walking scorers, said the demand for the duty is high because the volunteers walk the course with the celebrities. Hamamoto said he is forced to turn away many volunteers.

Walking scorer Bob Harms, also a long-time volunteer, has stories of how former football coach Lou Holtz started smoking pipes. He also knows the talk among celebrity golfers changes when the public isn’t watching.

“There is a whole different chatter between the tee and fairway,” he said.

Zimmerman, the coordinator for the hole reporters, had another tip for her crew in waiting before the celebrities walk a good distance from the hole before reporting the score via the radio.

“They don’t want to hear it,” she said.

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