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How To Be A Marshal At A Golf Tournament
Volunteering as a Golf Marshal
Have you ever wondered how those people with the 'quiet please' signs get to do that job at golf tournaments? Well I can only speak from the experience of the tournaments that I have worked on but if this is something that you might want to do then my recommendation would be to go for it!
Most golf marshals in tournaments throughout the world are volunteers who do the job for the love of the game and the chance to get close to the action, so don't expect to get paid for doing this job! There are some roles (chief marshals etc) that are likely to get paid but you will need experience to get these types of positions.
The advantages of being a golf marshal are that basically you can get close to the action, you sometimes get a chance to meet the players and you really feel part of the event itself. You also get full access to the course for the tournament which means that when you are not working you also get to see some great golf.
For me, one of the best days to be a golf marshal is on the Pro-Am golf day. Quite often there will not be big crowds on this day so that you won't have a huge amount of work to do. Also the players are relaxed and friendly and quite happy to chat to people, have photos taken and sign autographs. Once they are in the swing of the tournament cameras are usually not allowed and they will only be chatting to people on the way to and from practice (if they feel like it!). You are also only allowed to ask for autographs and photos as a golf marshal on pro-am day!
In order to become a golf marshal you do not have to have any previous experience (although this might depend on the tournament - obviously tournaments like the Masters and the Open will likely require marshals with experience as they will be oversubscribed). So try a tournament near you or even where you would like to visit that is not quite so high profile, for your first one. Check out the website for the tournament and they should have some contact details for volunteers a few months before the tournament starts. Preference will likely be given to volunteers who can marshal for the whole tournament rather than juts a few days.
You don't necessarily need to be a member of a golf club but you do need knowledge of how the game is played so that you can anticipate what might happen but obviously if you want to be a golf marshal you are likely to be a golf fan!
What The Job Involves
There are a few jobs that golf marshals do but the majority of jobs come under 2 categories, static and roving marshals. The static marshals are placed at particular areas of the course where they stay for the duration of the day's play (or part of it). This may be guiding people across a crossing point, keeping quiet in the grandstands, etc. The roving marshals are placed in teams and each team goes out with a particular group of players to make sure the crowd obeys all the rules of the tournament and keeps quiet when required. Marshals need to keep themselves spaced out at intervals (so no chatting to each other as this looks bad) and need to raise their paddles when a player is about to take a shot.
The marshals also need to make sure the players move safely between holes, phones are turned off, pathways are kept clear etc. In any case you will be briefed on what you need to do before you go out and any first timers will be paired up with experienced team members to learn the ropes.
Ideally if you can, volunteer as a golf marshal for the Pro-Am day first so that you can get a practice run in ahead of the tournament itself, then you won't be worried about what you need to do on a big day in the tournament.
The Benefits of Being a Golf Marshall
Apart from getting close to the great players and being able to see some of the action for free you also will likely get:
- a free tournament shirt
- free food and drink whilst on duty
- access to areas the public aren't allowed
- lots of fresh air and exercise!
So if you want to give it a try, check out the website of the tournament you are interested in and contact the organisers.
Something to Read!
Be a Marshal at the 2014 Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup organisers are now looking for volunteers to help with the 2014 event at Gleneagles in Scotland. The Ryder Cup is one of the biggest events in the golfing calendar and happens every 2 years alternately in the US and in Europe.
If you want to be a marshal at the Ryder Cup then you need to sign up as a volunteer quite early on. Volunteering at a massive golf event like this would be an amazing experience and one that I hope to be able to do one day. There is a dedicated website set up to apply to be a Ryder Cup volunteer and it has just been launched (Feb 2013). Check it out at www.rydercupvolunteers.com
Volunteer for the President's Cup
The President's Cup is almost an equivalent of the Ryder Cup in terms of format but it is played by two teams from the US and non-Europe so that other international players have a chance to play in this kind of high profile event. It is held every two years in alternate years to the Ryder Cup. The next event is scheduled for October 2013.
The President's Cup has it's own dedicated volunteer website at volunteers.presidentscup.com where you can see all of the available posts and what is required. Please note that you do need to pay $100 to apply for a volunteer post for this tournament.