Posted: July 6, 2015 12:02 am
For Hershey resident Lynn Duffy and some 2,500 volunteers like her, Sunday afternoon’s party at the Lancaster Country Club was a lot of fun. Food, drink and music dominated the event, which was centered around an air-conditioned tent near the driving range and practice green.
Today, the work begins.
The 2015 U.S. Women’s Open week starts today with the biggest names on the LPGA Tour descending on Lancaster County in the hopes of capturing the major.
Behind the scenes, the backbone of it all begins with the volunteer force, most of which comes from within a 50-mile radius of the course, said Open vice-chairman and Lancaster County resident Steve Buterbaugh.
“The last time I checked, we had a (volunteer) waiting list of 500 or 600,” said Buterbaugh, who is a Millersville University grad, former Marauder golfer and native of Chambersburg. “That tells us the community is all over it and very supportive of it. They have been tremendous. We are not doing anything without (volunteers). You can talk about revenue to the community and a great event for the players, but we can’t put on the event without the volunteers. No doubt about it.”
Duffy will be volunteering in disability services at the Open. She will be part of a contingent that provides assistance to spectators with physical limitations.
“I have to be here at 6:30 a.m.,” Duffy said of her Monday start time. “I am getting an early start. I’m excited. I am excited that I get to help people view the tournament and get enjoyment out of it and I can do the same thing.”
This is the first time Duffy has volunteered for something like this. She had been to several Lady Keystone Opens when that LPGA Tour event took place at the Hershey Country Club and two other courses between 1975 and 1994.
“It was close by and I thought it might be something exciting,” said Duffy, who retired last May from her job in information technology at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. “That’s the whole glory of retirement. The fact you get to do what you want to do. When you want to do it.”
Willie Smith of Chester County is another retiree, but unlike Duffy, he has done this before. Smith previously worked at the 2013 men’s U.S. Open at the Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, as well as the 2010 AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square.
“I enjoy the overall excitement,” said Smith, who retired after a career in the Navy. “It’s a great opportunity and doesn’t happen often in this area. Once you get out here and try it, you get bit. You catch the bug.”
Smith said he will be working in the control, distribution, collection and re-charging of all the golf carts associated with the Open.
“I worked with hospitality and the players’ baggage at the AT&T,” Smith said. “That was interesting. You got to be pretty close to the players. They are just like you and I. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer. It’s wonderful. They seem bigger than life when you see them on TV, but they are just like the rest of us in person. They are not standoffish or anything. They enjoy what they do and it shows.”
Mount Joy resident Neil Mosesman is first-time volunteer who will be working in scoring and statistics for the Open.
“I live in a retirement community and there were several others there that mentioned something about it,” said Mosesman, who is retired from a small tech company in the State College area. “There are probably seven or eight of us from there involved.”
Mosesman said scoring and statistics was not his first choice when he applied, but he is nevertheless looking forward to it.
“I think they have four scorers assigned to each hole,” Mosesman said. “I’ve been to other pro golf events, but have never volunteered. I’m curious to see how it all works from this side.”