Volunteers needed: Support some of the most talented women in golf

July 23, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by GreatLIFE Golf & Fitness.

The GreatLIFE Challenge has become a favorite stop on the Symetra Tour – known as the Road to the LPGA – thanks to how well Sioux Falls hosts this worldwide event.

And that takes a lot of help.

“We have a great, dedicated and loyal group of past volunteers, yet we still need 50 to 60 more to help the tournament flow smoothly,” said Gregg “Mutt” Helms, the event’s volunteer coordinator.

Since it started five years ago, the event has paid out more than $1 million in player winnings and generated hundreds of thousands in charitable contributions.

The GreatLIFE Challenge, which runs Aug. 26-Sept. 1 at Willow Run Golf Course, offers tons of fun and flexibility for volunteers. You can register for one shift or more, work one day or more and select more than one task to perform.

The 144 players who will be in Sioux Falls represent 40 countries, Helms said, and volunteers will get to know them for the week they’re here.

“It is an opportunity to see firsthand exceptionally talented golfers on their way up. They have some of the most impressive amateur and collegiate golf resumes,” Helms said.

“It is a fun, relaxed, exhilarating environment. These ladies are poised, humble, appreciative of all the volunteers. They are just a blast to be around.”

We asked Helms to share more about what volunteers can expect.

As a volunteer, what kinds of things might I do?

There are so many options. You might drive a cart following a group of players, recording their scores and radioing them to a team of fellow volunteers who will then update the tournament website with that information so that Mom and Dad, wherever they are, can see in real time how their daughter is doing.

You might work a leader board, which posts up-to-the-minute updates on who is leading the tournament. You could work in a score tent verifying the players’ scorecards or work the track board posting players’ scores upon completion of play.

We also need help spectator marshaling at green-side and tee box areas. We need spotters positioned along a hole to help locate players’ shots. We need help to refill coolers on the course with ice and water, help checking in volunteers and working the practice range supplying balls for the players to hit.

Junior volunteers are needed as standard bearers on Saturday and Sunday of the tournament. They walk with a group of players carrying a small standard displaying the players’ current scores. We need help setting up signage on each hole the Sunday prior to the tournament as well as taking the signage down on the Sunday of the tournament after completion of play.

I also believe the most rewarding opportunity is in housing of a player or players. Many folks have made friendships that have lasted through the years. If interested in housing a participant, please reach out to  michele.rislov@bankeasy.com.

Do I need to know much about golf?

No golf knowledge is required to volunteer, just the spirit of a great heart in helping to promote our state, our city and the desire to make a difference in someone’s life. Volunteers experience a fun-filled day of activity in a relaxed environment. Shifts typically run from three to five hours, working while watching professionals perform at a high level. There are both morning and afternoon shifts.

There are two training sessions prior to the beginning of the tournament. A person is fully competent within 10 minutes of training for all volunteer positions. All tasks are that easy to master!

How would you describe the experience of volunteering at the tournament?

Personally, it is very selfish for me; I always come away from the tournament with a very warm feeling, knowing that in some small way I have helped someone catch their dream, I have made a difference in someone’s life. That is very rewarding personally — and it takes all of our volunteers to make that happen.

The players always reference the warm welcoming they receive from our volunteers, the atmosphere that our community creates and the general “South Dakota nice” that they experience!

What to know

Registration for volunteers is $40, which includes a shirt, cap or visor, entrance to the tournament all four days and lunch on the days you work.  GreatLIFE also hosts a volunteer appreciation evening on Friday night of the tournament, with appetizers, beverages and door prizes.

In addition, if you work three shifts, you’ll receive two rounds of golf at Willow Run Golf Course. And if you’re a GreatLIFE member, you’ll receive cart vouchers instead of green fee vouchers.

To register, click here.

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Volunteers needed: Support some of the most talented women in golf

The GreatLIFE Challenge has become a favorite stop on the Symetra Tour, thanks to how well Sioux Falls hosts this worldwide event. And that takes a lot of help. Here’s how you can do your part!

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