The term ‘volunteer’ is really getting stretched to its limits when it comes to the PGA, particularly the upcoming 2017 U.S. Senior Open at Peabody’s Salem Country Club the end of this month. ‘Volunteers’ pay $125 for the gig and are required to work a minimum of four 4-hour shifts over the days leading up to, during and after the tournament.
The Dell Technologies Championship tournament, one of the PGA’s FedExCup events, takes place over Labor Day weekend. A ‘volunteer’ at this tournament pays $90 and has to work three to four shifts totaling 24 hours! Every year, the event has a difficult time getting enough people to volunteer and from what I’ve heard, this year has been more difficult than usual. Labor Day is basically the last opportunity to enjoy a long weekend in these parts and spending it out on a golf course, basically as a spectator, doesn’t exactly draw a crowd of participants.
Having worked several years at this event, the novelty wears off pretty fast. I happened to work on the transportation committee. For the most part, we drove golfers and their families to and from airports and hotels. After you’ve spent a few hours riding around with these people, you soon realize they’re pretty ordinary people who happen to possess extraordinary skills. As a volunteer, you’re basically their cab driver and as good a time and conversation as you might have with them, they’ll forget about you and your interactions in much the same way anyone would forget who the last cab driver was that brought them across town in Boston last week.
Golf, if you’re not playing the game yourself, is meant for television. Multiple cameras around the course focus on the leaders and apps are available for viewers at home to follow specific parings around the entire course. Add the ability to DVR the event on television and speed through the ads and you have a winning option. Unlike buying a ticket to attend as a spectator or volunteering, weather isn’t an issue when you’re sitting home.
Paying to volunteer is a big ask in my opinion. Volunteering my time is one thing. Volunteering $90-125 to help somebody else make a buck is a bit much!