June 29, 2021

Volunteering for the U.S. Women's Open--A Top 10 Experience!

By Audrey Cormier

I had the opportunity to serve as a volunteer marshal for the recent 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Championship held June 3-6 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.   It was a “top 10” experience for sure!

The spirit of teamwork, camaraderie and commitment to provide an excellent experience for the players and fans was evident from the start.   Since I live in the East Bay and would have to cross a bridge to get to San Francisco, I decided to do back-to-back 4- hour shifts to be sure I fulfilled the time allotment required of the volunteers.

I arrived early each day – around 7 a.m.- in order to receive my instructions and be in place when the players arrived at my assigned hole. As I walked from the grassy parking area to the volunteer tent, I could sense the excitement of the day, viewing other volunteers and workers also busily preparing for their shifts.

The accommodations for volunteers were great! The volunteer headquarters were always stocked with great food (fresh pastries, steaming hot coffee, snacks, fruit, healthy salads, and other goodies) to keep us fueled for the day.

We were given the opportunity to perform different tasks throughout the day, so the shifts were clearly not boring!.  Spotting for balls in the deep rough beside fairways, providing directional guidance to spotters from the tee box, and managing crowds by securing clear paths for players as they moved from greens to the next hole kept me very busy and the hours flew by.

It was fascinating and very inspiring to get this “inside the ropes” perspective and see professional players perform at such a high level. I was really trying to mind my “golf manners” and refrain from snapping photos or selfies with my favorite players. However, the most memorable moment came on Saturday – June 5 when 17-year-old amateur Megha Ganne made a clutch putt for birdie on the green I happened to be marshaling. She stepped to the side and stood next to me to wait for her playing partner to putt and she spoke to me.  Little did I know that the television camera panned both of us so that evening, thanks to her, I got lots of texts from friends who saw my “5 seconds of fame” on television

I plan to volunteer at future events and believe that everyone should take the opportunity to volunteer for a USGA/LPGA Tournament when possible. I made lots of friends, saw some outstanding golf and left feeling like I’d made a contribution to growing the game of golf for women.