Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity and is intended to promote goodness or improve human quality of life. Typically you see this in the areas of medicine, education or emergency rescue. But how about golf? Volunteering is alive and well in the greatest game ever invented. Especially in the Phoenix area.
Every day there are examples of passionate golfers who want to give back to the game, the community or to the cause. From fundraisers to junior golf to professional tours, volunteers are what separate golf functions from so-so events to world class productions. Can you imagine the WM Phoenix Open on the Men’s PGA TOUR without volunteers? Can you say #16 hole at TPC Scottsdale? How about the AJGA (American Junior Golf Association) and their events this past year at Lone Tree, Longbow or Gainey Ranch? How about the LPGA Founders Cup? You think they would be able to put first-class events together without the help of the workhorse volunteer? Absolutely not!
We asked a couple of habitual golf volunteers why they do it. Was it a chance to get next to the legends in the game? To rub shoulders with the rich and famous? To get an autographed cap or glove? The answer will probably surprise you, but if you are a golfer, it might not. The answer given, in bold, authoritative voices was…to GIVE back!
Ray Cook from Phoenix moved to Arizona in 1979. Started volunteering at the WM Phoenix Open in 1990 the same year he retired from US West. He enjoyed it so much he now is involved with the ASU Men’s and Women’s tournaments, LPGA Founders Cup and the AJGA events. His duties vary but include marshalling, pounding stakes and hanging rope as well as hole spotting. After 24 years of giving his time, energy and money Ray said, “I will keep on helping as long as I enjoy it. It’s a great way to give back to the game. I really enjoy the juniors and seeing great golf by the next generation of players.”
John Fitzmaurice, from Scottsdale moved to Arizona in 1977. Started volunteering three years before he retired from Motorola. John started with the high profile WM Phoenix Open but is not a stranger to working for the LPGA Tour, college events or any junior event that needs help. John made the comment, “I really enjoy meeting new people and seeing great golf. It’s been an enjoyable experience over the years and it’s something I look forward to every year”.
This is not a two person song that is being sung. It is the same across the city, country and State of Arizona. Most likely the nation. “To give back, to pay it forward, to help the cause.”
What a great game!