Tourney a labor of love
Golf enthusiasts enjoy lending a hand at annual Pro-Am tournament.
By BECKY MALEWITZ
Josh Biera likes to play golf.
Unfortunately, his work schedule prevented him from playing in this week's Southwest Kansas Pro-Am.
Not wanting to miss out on all the action at the golf course, he signed up as a volunteer Friday morning and worked as a spotter on the first hole for the long drive contest at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
"I was going to golf. I wanted to golf, but I have to work (Friday night) and (Saturday), so I just came out to volunteer because I was not able to golf today," he said in between groups teeing off from the first hole on Friday morning, the first day of the three-day tournament.
Even though he is not playing, Biera says he still was enjoying his time out on the course.
"I get to meet with all the pros and visit people. I have already seen some people I recognize," he said. "It's good public relations for the city. It brings a lot of people in from out of town, and I think golf is a thing that's for everyone, every age, male or female."
Biera and all of the other volunteers at Buffalo Dunes and the Golf Club at Southwind make sure that all aspects of the annual Pro-Am run smoothly.
Julie Vines, regional clinical coordinator at St. Catherine Hospital, sat in the clubhouse ready to count amateur and professional scores to radio them over to her counterpart at Southwind. She has been volunteering at the Pro-Am for eight years.
"I have taken tickets. I helped with the scores. I've helped with water and basically anything that needs to be done. I've basically just kind of jumped in and helped them out," she said about her years volunteering. "I love golf, and so I play in the ladies Pro-Am every year, and so I just love being out here. It's a great benefit for the nursery at the hospital. Besides that, (the golfers) are great guys. You meet them once, and the next year they are kind of looking for you, and so you are like 'Hey how are you doing?'"
Jarrod Spencer, wellness coordinator for the hospital, stood at the No. 9 green, checking scores and radioing them to the clubhouse as pros finished the front nine.
Although this is Spencer's first time as a volunteer, he says it's likely he will be back again next year.
"I enjoy golf. I enjoy being outside, and you get to meet people," he said. "Maybe you get to meet the next golf champion, who knows? And you get to know the community."
Nicole Lucas and Liz Sosa sat at the scorers table in front of the clubhouse, waiting for teams to check in after finishing their rounds. The pair enjoys golfing and has volunteered on and off for about five years.
In addition, Sosa said, she likes interacting with community members and meeting new people that make their way to southwest Kansas because of the Pro-Am.
"You get to see a lot of community members, as well as people from southwest Kansas that come to play in it, in addition to showcasing it to the pros," she said.