A Ponte Vedra resident, Jim McCarthy is the president of North Florida Land Trust, as well as a volunteer at THE PLAYERS Championship for 34 years. With the tournament only a few weeks away, the Recorder decided to speak with Jim exclusively about his volunteer experience over the years.
Can you please tell us about your volunteer background with THE PLAYERS Championship?
As a sitting national vice president, I was invited by the Jacksonville Jaycees to volunteer at the 1985 tournament. The Jaycees were handling VIP shuttles. I used a golf cart and picked up VIPs at the clubhouse and took them to their cars. Over the next 33 years, I served on the Corporate Hospitality, 16 Chalets, Marshals, Greenside Reporters (later Lasers and now ShotLink) and Admissions & Will Call committees. My first leadership role came when I was appointed an assistant chair on the Ecology Committee. From there, I returned to ShotLink as an assistant chair for two years and then became chair of Facility Patrol (renamed Tournament Support). Four years ago, I was selected to chair Volunteer Personnel.
What’s the Volunteer Leadership Society? What does it mean to you to be part of that group?
It is a new group created to recognize long serving (more than 25 years) volunteers who have had a leadership role and who have decided to retire. It means a great deal to me. It recognizes the years and level of service I have tried to give to the tournament. It keeps me in touch with the tournament I love and the friends I care so much about.
What makes THE PLAYERS Championship most special to you?
It is an incredible family. We have grown older together. We know each other’s kids and have watched them grow. We have even attended their weddings and, unfortunately, we have attended a friend’s funeral. We are a very close group of committed individuals. We all love THE PLAYERS.
What’s your favorite PLAYERS moment in your 34 years of volunteering?
I really have two. Working with one of my sons on the ShotLink Committee is one. We spent Friday and Sunday working on 17 green. Spending 16 hours with your son on a 6- by 6-foot platform overlooking 17 and discussing whatever was on his mind was unbelievable. The second was working with my other son on the Ecology Committee. He still tells folks he was “the trash dude’s driver.” He drove my cart while we picked up trash. We spent four very long days driving the beautiful Stadium Course talking and laughing.
What’s something about THE PLAYERS volunteers that most people don’t know?
When folks think about the tournament, they seem to think of being a marshal, but there are so many other things to do at the tournament. There are opportunities to cook, build, paint, rope, host, welcome, distribute tickets and apparel, provide security and first aid, park, shuttle, answer questions, place volunteers and nearly anything else you can imagine. Many work year-round and others for months before the event, and some work very long hours all seven days of tournament week. Folks have no idea how much fun we have!
Edited by Jon Blauvelt