Volunteers enjoy Big Ten golf tourney
MAHOMET — The trip isn’t cheap. Four nights in a hotel. A full tank of gas. And once he arrives, Terry Shoemaker is going to work. Locating wayward tee shots. Calling in scores. That’s the job of a golf marshal.
The pay for Shoemaker’s three days at the Big Ten women’s golf tournament in French Lick, Ind.? Zip. Zero. Zilch.
A retired laborer, Shoemaker can’t wait.
The Mahomet resident is working at his third consecutive Big Ten tournament. He liked it so much the first two times that he is bringing along a friend, Mahomet’s Brad Stipp.
“It’s all on you,” Shoemaker said. “When it says ‘volunteer,’ it means volunteer.”
Why make the effort?
For Shoemaker, the motivation starts with his love of golf. And his feelings toward one of the teams involved.
“I support the University of Illinois, and we’ve got a heckuva program,” Shoemaker said. “To be honest with you, it’s really a nice thing to do.”
Shoemaker enjoys interacting with the golfers and their families. He understands the players have to focus on the task at hand. Not a lot of time for chit-chat.
“It’s just nice people,” Shoemaker said.
Shoemaker and Stipp will work the tournament Friday to Sunday.
“It’s a long day,” Shoemaker said. “You’re tired after the day. You’re there from 7:30, 8 in the morning.”
They are part of a crew of about 60 volunteer marshals. For LPGA events, the volunteer numbers reach into the hundreds.
There are some perks. Shoemaker and Stipp will be given a hat or visor (their choice). Shoemaker was given a Big Ten windbreaker one year.
Breakfast and a box lunch will be provided. So will a voucher to play a round of golf at the Donald Ross-designed course.
Shoemaker and Stipp are going early enough to get in a round of their own Thursday. Weather permitting.
Shoemaker, who turns 59 in July, is no slouch on the course. He is “about an 8-handicap.”
In the past, the men’s and women’s Big Ten tournaments were held on the same weekend. The men played at the Pete Dye-designed course, and the women played at the Ross course.
Complaints from some of the coaches caused the Big Ten to split up the tournaments on separate weekends and play both at the Dye course.
Shoemaker plans to return to his volunteer role in the future. As often as the Big Ten will have him.
“It’s a lot of fun for me,” Shoemaker said. “I enjoy the game.”