Volunteers Work to Prepare Kingsmill Resort for LPGA Championship

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Army Staff Sgt. Kelly Gale delivers ice and water to each hole during a Kingsmill Championship practice round. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)
Army Staff Sgt. Kelly Gale delivers ice and water to each hole during a Kingsmill Championship practice round. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)

With the Kingsmill Championship rapidly approaching, crews of volunteers are working diligently to make sure the golf course is ready for Thursday’s first round.

More than 1,400 volunteers are expected to help make sure this year’s Kingsmill Championship remains one of the favorite venues among LPGA professionals.

Most volunteers have to pay a $60 fee to assist with the tournament, which helps to provide official work shirts and hats for the volunteers. Beyond work gear, the $60 fee also comes with nice rewards for those willing to put in 24 hours of volunteer time.

All volunteers receive four passes to the Kingsmill Championship, which they can give to friends and family. However, any volunteer who works 24 hours over the span of the tournament receives a complimentary round of golf at either of Kingsmill Resort’s golf courses.

Such is the case for Army Staff Sgt. Kelly Gale, who is volunteering with the United Service Organizations. Gale said she is volunteering for the Kingsmill Championship so she can surprise her father with passes to the tournament and a round of golf as a Father’s Day gift.

Two members of the Navy -- Joelie Hart and Lauren Lincoln -- work a concession stand during a practice round. (Photo courtesy of Ralph Kuhnley)
Two members of the Navy — Joelie Hart and Lauren Lincoln — work a concession stand during a practice round. (Photo courtesy of John Kuhnley)

This year, the USO is contributing 285 volunteers, most of whom are active military personnel, to the Kingsmill Championship.

For normal volunteers, the $60 fee also helps ensure one of the more desired volunteer positions, such as a hole marshal or standard bearer.

Those volunteering with the USO have their fees waived with the understanding they may get passed up for some of the more glamorous volunteer jobs.

Steve Lahr, who heads the USO volunteer group, said his volunteers can be expected to provide hospitality for the skyboxes, assist with parking lots, deliver water to different holes and help clean up the course after each round is finished.

Jim Saunders is a first-time volunteer at the Kingsmill Championship, who was out scouting the course for his assignment. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)
Jim Saunders is a first-time volunteer at the Kingsmill Championship, who was out scouting the course for his assignment. (Ty Hodges/WYDaily)

John Zimmerman, the chairman for USO Support, said tournament week is one of the hardest weeks for his volunteers.

“We take on the non-glamour tasks,” he joked. “Most of our people will work all week and not see any golf.”

For some, volunteering for the tournament is simply a matter of giving back to the community.

For others, such as Jim Saunders, a first-time volunteer for the tournament, volunteering is just a great way of taking in some golf.

“I’m a golf nut,” he laughed. “I’ve learned more watching the girls than the guys. I find all of the players here very approachable. It’s a great atmosphere.”