Mar 14, 2011 6:35 PM by Press Release
Unlike most professional sports, the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour rely on volunteers to help conduct their events. And the Chitimacha Louisiana Open is no different.
In fact, the Open is actively soliciting volunteers for its 20th renewal, scheduled March 21-27 at Le Triomphe Country Club, and hopes to have over 500 local individuals and golf enthusiasts taking part.
"Those are the people that really make the tournament run," said Open executive director Danny Jones. "They're out there scoring, marshaling, maintaining the grounds and the course, hospitality, parking, whatever it takes."
Jones said there is a big need for walking scorers to pair with the playing groups, particularly with the threesomes on Thursday and Friday but also with the weekend twosomes in the final two rounds.
This year's event will be more attractive for volunteers, Jones said, for no other reason than having access to the volunteer tent and its totally-revamped food menu. The meals offered inside the tent during the Thursday-Sunday tournament weekend will be among the best all weekend at Le Triomphe, and Jones said that members of the Open's board of directors will be cooking at the tent at least once during the event.
"It's going to be an all-new menu," Jones said. "It's going to be the best place to eat all weekend long."
Many of the tournament's volunteers are involved in the charitable organizations that the Open benefits, and are part of groups that give their time and efforts during tournament week. But many also volunteer on an individual basis because of their love of golf and their dedication to the tournament.
They are part of an army of over 25,000 volunteers who staff Nationwide Tour events throughout the season. They also join with the Open's board, a strictly volunteer group that donates its time on a year-round basis.
Even though the Open's budget is well over $1 million annually - including a $500,000 tournament purse and a charity donation purse that has averaged over $215,000 over the last seven tournaments - the event has only two full-time employees, well under the Nationwide Tour average.
"That's why the volunteers are so important," said tournament chairman Will Arledge. "We believe that our tournament is one of the best on the Tour in terms of hospitality and the players' enjoyment of the event, and the volunteers are the reason why."
Individuals and groups wishing to volunteer may do so through the Open's web site at www.laopen.com, clicking on the "Volunteer Registration" box and filling out or printing out an on-line form.
Regular volunteers are assessed a $25 fee, but receive free admission to all four days of the tournament, free parking, access to the tournament hospitality tent and a volunteer uniform. Student volunteers are exempt from the volunteer fee. Volunteer fees may be charged to a credit card.
Some volunteer areas require golf knowledge and include the walking scorers, long-drive markers and course marshals. Other areas do not require golf knowledge, and the Open is making a special pitch for youth volunteers to serve as walking standard bearers with each group of players.
Volunteers may sign up for half-day (7:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. or 1:15-6:45 p.m.) or full-day shifts on any or all of the four days of competition. Shift times are approximate and subject to change.
"We really want to encourage anyone who hasn't been involved before to volunteer for just one day," Jones said. "We want everyone to be a part of this tournament, because there's no way we could have this event without the volunteers."
A volunteer meeting is scheduled for Saturday prior to the tournament, March 19, beginning at 2 p.m. at Le Triomphe. More information on volunteering for the Open is available by calling (337) 593-8000.