The U.S. Open golf tournaments are immensely exciting for those who attend. They get to see their golf heroes up close and in action while absorbing the high energy of a thrilling shot, nail-biting round between rivals, much-awaited comeback of a pro legend or jaw-dropping expertise of a rising star. But for an even better view of the action, you can be a U.S. Open volunteer.
As one of 4,500 volunteers assigned to 25 committees, you could get the opportunity to interact with players, directing them to the press tent, driving them around or handing them a welcome kit. You might even get a smile from your idol! Of course, when you're the one in the volunteer shirt, you're charged with keeping high levels of integrity and order in the game, directing fans to step away from a shanked shot or assisting with scoring.
There is such high demand to volunteer at the U.S. Open that there's already a waiting list for the 2014 championships at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina, with the men's rounds from June 9-15 and the women's from June 16-22. Check the U.S. Golf Association website (http://www.usga.org) for details on these events, as well as information about other competitions, including the U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur championship.
Here are some informative details about what your volunteer experience might be like:
According to the USGA's website, "all volunteers for the 2014 U.S. Open championships will be required to work a minimum of four shifts throughout the two-week period, with each shift lasting between five and six hours. Volunteers will be able to choose one of the following options listed below. Please note, volunteers committing to Options One or Two will be given preference in their placement on the wait list:
"Option One -- Five-Shift Minimum: Three shifts will be scheduled during the U.S. Open and two shifts will be scheduled during the U.S. Women's Open. Volunteers will receive their uniforms, as described below, which includes two logoed championship hats and a credential valid for both championships. Volunteers electing to work five shifts will also receive a limited-edition 2014 U.S. Open championships souvenir upon completion of their fifth shift.
"Option Two -- Four-Shift Minimum: Three shifts will be scheduled during the U.S. Open and one shift will be scheduled during the U.S. Women's Open. Volunteers will receive their uniform, as described below, which includes two logoed championship hats and a credential valid for both championships.
"Option Three -- U.S. Open championship or U.S. Women's Open championship: Four shifts will be scheduled during the U.S. Open or U.S. Women's Open only. Volunteers will receive their uniform, as described below, and a credential valid for the championship they are working."
It does cost money to volunteer. The package price is $175 for the 2014 U.S. Open, which includes the uniform specifically designed for that year's U.S. Open championships, and you'll also get credentials for your specific volunteer position. (Volunteers treasure these ID cards and lanyards, often sealing them in shadow boxes as keepsakes after the event!)
Here's what your uniform might consist of: two logoed golf shirts, a jacket and your choice of headwear.
"Volunteer positions will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis; however, those volunteers working both championships will be given priority in committee assignments and work schedules, based on availability. Please note, background checks will be conducted for volunteers working on certain committees," the USGA site says. That's right, background checks. You'll be in close proximity to golf superstars, valuable trophies and prizes, so the organizers will check you out thoroughly as a security measure.
If you don't wish to submit an application for the current 2014 wait list, you might look ahead to the 2015 U.S. Open, so your volunteering dream can come true. The organization begins its volunteer search for the 2015 championships in spring 2014. Visit www.usopen.com to sign up.