pga professional national championship

The volunteers turn out in droves, rain or shine.

Volunteers travel far and wide to support PNC

By Bob Denney, The PGA of America

SUNRIVER, Ore. – Since last fall, the recruitment has been in full bloom for the 46th PGA Professional National Championship. It’s been an all-out campaign to attract volunteers, the lifeblood of virtually every sports event.

PGA Professional Ryan Davis, the volunteer chairperson for the showcase event for PGA Professionals, has been a man in motion. His recruiting throughout Central Oregon has attracted more than 400 volunteers, not to mention 150 caddies to a resort destination that is not in the heart of a metropolitan area.

His volunteer force also features a husband and wife from Alaska, and an exchange student from Germany.

“We have a mixture of many to help support this Championship, and I couldn’t be more pleased with their enthusiasm,” said Davis, in his fourth season as the PGA director of instruction at Sunriver Resort. “We have volunteers working 1,200 shifts and 14 committees. We had a big rush starting last fall, and have had to work harder, as expected, closer to the Championship.

“Walking scorers, who work a combined 104 shifts, are the critical segment of our volunteers, and we had more than 80 turn out for training. That indicates to us how enthusiastic and sincere they are about their jobs.”

Bill Rider, 78, of Sacramento, Calif., and his wife, Fran, were among that corps of walking scorers. They have the experience, having volunteered at a 2006 NCAA Championship at Crosswater Club, and were part of the 2007 PGA Professional National Championship volunteer force.

“I have been in golf since 1954, and play it for fun, helping with scoreboards at a lot of events throughout Northern California,” said Bill, a retired aerospace engineer. “I search the Internet to follow the players that we have met in The First Tee, and all the way to their competing in college events and beyond. We have a lot of Northern California players that we enjoy following. Some of them are playing in this Championship.

“We enjoyed coming to Sunriver over the years. The people here, the resort all treat you so well. We have friends living near the resort and when they said that the Championship was returning, we were invited to spend the week with them.”

What put the National Championship recruitment over the top, said Davis, was the unexpected support of Jim Richards, owner of the Bend Elks Baseball Club. The Elks are members of the wooden-bat West Coast League, a collegiate summer baseball program in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia that began in 2005.

Richards opened his gates of Vince Genna Stadium, June 12-17, embracing the connection between the sports, while Davis and team visited the Elks baseball park for five nights.

“We picked up more 100 volunteers by being on site that week,” said Davis. “It was a great experience for all of us, and we are so appreciative of Jim for his support. You don’t see that kind of teamwork from someone outside of golf very often.”