Don’t assume a major golf tournament is a quiet event that meanders peacefully through 18 holes and that the only drama occurs among the pro golfers. As a volunteer at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando (2015 was my 10th year), my team focused on crowd control and crisis management; we see the event from a very different perspective. You may see lush greens, exceptional golfing skills, and hear the hushed tones of network and cable sports announcers. Beyond monitoring for persistent gate crashers and other potentially disruptive behavior, as part of a 2-person team (perhaps the smallest team among the 1400 volunteers in “Arnie’s Army”), we actually reunited families.
Despite the daunting task of assisting hundreds of golf fans, press representatives, and event staff, we also covered miles of golf course (and my knees can attest to that) to bring a lost woman with dementia back to her family and to locate a special needs man who had wandered away while watching his favorite golfer. It was gratifying to calm panicked family members who feared the worst during this incredibly popular tournament. Not the type activity usually associated with a golf tournament.
In my 2014 Blog “Paying it Forward in the Most Unintentional Way,” I discussed the experiences and the lessons I have learned through my participation in the sport of golf. This year provided no less. It was fun and rewarding working as a part of the unit that enabled this huge event to continue without incident – keeping it human and providing the best outcomes for our patrons. We each aspire to do this in our day-to-day lives with family and at our places of employment. Not a bad philosophy in general when you think about it.