VIENNA Volunteers in demand for Giant Eagle Classic
Each shift lasts 4-to-6 hours, depending on the committee.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
VIENNA -- For 11 years thousands of fans have come to the Giant Eagle LPGA Classic to watch some of the best women golfers in the world compete.
Although that is enjoyable, there is another way to see the action and be a part of the tournament as well.
Every year, over 1,000 volunteers are needed to run the tournament. Although most of those volunteers come back every year, the need remains for many more.
There are 35 committees for volunteers to join. Probably the most familiar faces are the marshals, who are on the course assisting on spectator and player safety.
The other committees include admissions, communications, food service, driving range, locker room, transportation and security.
There are also many opportunities for youths to get involved. They can be standard bearers or score runners.
Mary Loro of Niles has been a volunteer for eight years and plans to help out again this year when the tournament moves to Squaw Creek Country Club from July 23-29.
Her contribution: The last four years Loro has been a co-chairperson for the Players Hospitality and Registration committee (along with Joyce Pogany), a role she has enjoyed the most of all her duties.
"I've worked all eight of the tournaments at Avalon Lakes and this will be my first one at Squaw Creek," Loro said.
"I was a spectator the first three years the tournament was at Squaw Creek, but my husband was a volunteer," she added. "In fact he's been a volunteer at every tournament. He works the driving range."
When her husband, Palmer, suggested that she become a volunteer, Loro jumped at the chance even though she doesn't play the game.
"I'm no golfer, my husband is the golfer in the family," she said. "He worked for 12 years as a ranger at Avalon Lakes."
Loro said her duties as committee co-chair keep her busy all week.
"The girls are so interesting and all of them are really friendly," she added. "Some of them bring their kids with them in the mornings and we get to meet all of them.
"We will usually provide breakfast for the players in the morning and all of their mail comes through us and we distribute it to their lockers," she added.
Loro got her first look inside the Squaw Creek buildings recently.
"I've been up there a couple times as [tournament manager] Eddie Thomas invited us up and showed us all the facilities and what they are doing getting things ready.
"It's really nice there and I think that I'm going to like it a lot," she added.
Small cost: There is a cost involved to being a volunteer, but the $48 for adults is a real bargain in the long run. Youths can volunteer for free.
The adult volunteer package, which costs $48, includes a tournament logo shirt, visors for women and baseball caps for men, a rain poncho, a weekly grounds badge, a volunteer parking pass and weekly access to the Giant Eagle volunteer hospitality tent, as well as an invitation to the volunteer appreciation party July 29.
The grounds badge is worth $40 and the hospitality tent provides food and refreshments for the volunteers all week.
Each volunteer is encouraged to work four shifts during the week, but only three are required. Each shift lasts 4-to-6 hours, depending on the committee.
For more information about becoming a volunteer contact the tournament office (330-565-LPGA) or visit the tournament web site at www.lpgaclassic.com.
Tournament tickets are still on sale at a reduced price.
Giant Eagle Advantage Card holders can buy individual good-any-one-day tickets for $8 with their cards at participating Giant Eagle stores. The tickets are $10 without an Advantage Card and tournament week those tickets sell for $12 from Monday through Thursday and $15 from Friday through Sunday.