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UGA Volunteers Getting the Job Done

By Joe Watts


When the Utah Golf Association announced its tournament schedule for the 2015 golf season it showed what appeared to be a significant scheduling mistake.

The UGA announced that qualifying tournaments for the Utah State Amateur championship would be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 2nd and 3rd, and on Friday, June 5th.  That seemed just fine. It would make for a busy week, but the staff and volunteers could handle it. It would keep them busy, but they are good at busy.

But OOPS! The dates for the 54-hole Utah Mid-Amateur Championship were announced as being scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, June 4, 5, and 6. That’s seven major events in five days on four different courses. No problem? Big mistake?

Nope! No mistake! The conflicting schedule was deliberately planned.

Bill Walker, UGA Executive Director, said “The UGA has an experienced staff and is capable of handling multiple events during any given week.  We knew moving the Utah Mid-Am would be a busy week for us but we felt the positives outweighed the negatives.”  Walker noted that after discussions with the Men’s Advisory Committee of the UGA which consists of UGA Board Members and tournament players that the historical dates of late August through early September dates have become too crowded with UGA, USGA and local events.   Walker also noted that a June date for this championship would be an ideal move for the championship.  Walker also mentioned that this move would not have been possible without the efforts we have made in strengthening our volunteer core.  The increase in volunteer participation is directly tied to the work of Jacob Miller the UGA Director of Rules and Competitions, Denise Vilven UGA Volunteer Committee Chair and Keith Hansen our lead Rules of Golf Instructor who in the past year have trained more volunteers to assist with our tournament efforts.

Each golf course requires rules officials to check each hole and to mark and clearly define the areas that are out of bounds and water hazards. That requires painting and staking the areas and writing a specific set of local rules for each golf course including red stakes for lateral water hazards, yellow stakes for regular water hazards, and white stakes for out of bounds.

It also requires that the course be examined for unplayable conditions that need to be marked with white paint as Ground Under Repair.

The UGA has a standard “Hard Card” which covers the general rules of play for UGA Championships.  The UGA also determines the notice for competitors which takes into account the specific rules issues that face each particular course and again requires on site examination.

Upon arrival at a UGA tournament the player will be greeted by a volunteer registrar who will give them all the printed information regarding rules and any last minute changes or announcements.  At the first tee the player will be greeted by a formal starter who will encourage them to put an identifying mark on their ball and to count their clubs to make sure they are within the limit, exchange scorecards, answer any questions, introduce them to each other and their designated caddies, and make sure they are playing from the proper tee box and that they are aware of the Pace of Play rules.

On the course the players are expected to manage themselves, but generally there are numerous volunteer rules officials and spotters to help facilitate a smooth round of golf.

At the end of the round they will turn their scorecard into a volunteer scorer and their score will be posted for public display by a UGA scoreboard official.

The tournaments this past week have been managed by all UGA staff members as well as by volunteers who cover various assignments.  Below is a listing of all of the folks who made last week possible: Karen White, Judy Allem, Sherm Hatfield, Garey Chadwick, Keith Hansen,  Mike Steele, Jeremiah Dandoy, Dell Cook, Rick Shew, George Comish, Ron Clark, Gary Tarbet, Ken Lane, Randy Cassidy, Carol Matsuura, and Dave Huntsman.

A ‘hats off’ to the UGA staff and volunteers for the professionalism they show in managing UGA golf tournaments, especially this past week where they have handled seven major events in just five days at four different golf courses.