Are We Having Fun Yet?

March 28, 2011 § 1 Comment

I hurt … I’m stiff … I’m sunburned – on my toes!

Why am I in such tortured estate? I’ve just finished a stint volunteering at the Arnold Palmer Invitational Golf Tournament at the Bay Hill Golf Club in Windemere (near Orlando). Oh, what we will do for a “free” round of golf at a private golf club!

Arnold Palmer Invitational

Tom and I have volunteered for the API for the past two years, working in concessions for a ladies’ charity group out of Mount Dora – 6 hours selling hot dogs, apples, chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, bananas, cookies and chips, and of course, don’t forget the Arnold Palmer Tea (half tea/half lemonade). For this we received free entrance to the tournament for the duration. Great!

Last December we took the plunge and volunteered for the LPGA Championship in December – also in Orlando – working 4 days, I in the cart barn and Tom on the BIG scoreboard. Fun; worked in shifts; got to watch the tournament (these girls are good!) and free food and a round of golf. What could be better?

On to Tavistock – the “club championship” of the Tavistock developed multi-million dollar subdivisions of Isleworth and Lake Nona, and this year joined by Albany in the Bahamas and Queenswood of England. This is a two day, televised event between PGA players who live in these enclaves. I drove an 8-passenger golf cart, transporting spectators and marshals from hole to hole (and the kids of the golfers from the playground to the “day camp” house). Tom was a walking marshal. We get to play Isleworth in June. Can’t wait!

So why not Arnold Palmer? It’s for a good cause – the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

 [How appropriate was it, too, when the news came that Anika Sorenstam of Isleworth had been rushed to that same hospital with the premature birth of her second child – a son – at 36 weeks. Reports are good – mother and son doing well. The golf world breathed a sigh of relief.]

I volunteered as a hole marshal for this tournament. This way I’d got to see all of the golfers – even ringside for Mickelson and Woods. My gig – Back 9 Marshal, Hole #15. Hooray!

So, for the past five days I have stood at the tee with my arms raised: “Quiet, please.” “Stand, please!” “Please put your cell phones in your pockets.” I’ve got these phrases down along with the differing tones of voice needed.

I have stood at the green with my arms raised – and my back to the action – to keep the crowd under control while the players hit their shots for the big bucks.

I have stood at “the magnolia tree” near the bunkers where the fairway “doglegs right” and dodged golf balls aimed at my position – this is so that if the ball flies out of bounds I can signal the tee and the golfer will know he needs to hit a second shot.

I’m not saying I never got to sit down. I did. But each new golf group that came through my position meant getting up to control the ropes and stare down the beer guzzling young people who didn’t know that “Quiet Please” meant them! Or the Bay Hill club members who thought the rules didn’t apply to them. Or the parents who brought their young children and didn’t corral them at the appropriate times. For this I paid $85 for the uniform. For my 48 hours work, I received lunch every day, all the donuts, coffee, water and soda I wanted. In May or June I will play a “free” round of golf and chase it with a bar-b-q lunch at Bay Hill.

My knees are sore … my back is sore … my toes are sunburned (I forgot to put sunscreen on them)! And I think I’ve gained 5 pounds, in spite of walking and standing and sitting.

So I ask myself – is it worth it? Heck, yes! I think we’ll volunteer for the Miracle Network Tournament at Disney next fall. They give two rounds of golf and park tickets!!

Bay Hill - Straight Down the Middle

Play Golf – Straight down the middle!

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