PLAYERS volunteering subject of Chamber event

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THE PLAYERS Championship is four months away, but the effort to attract the 2,000 volunteers it requires to make it a success is in full swing.

On Oct. 27, 2022 tournament chair Matt Welch and community outreach manager Emily Tillo presented a “Volunteer 101” webinar for members of the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce Ponte Vedra Beach Division during the monthly Chamber at Noon event.

The presentation covered all aspects of volunteering for the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

“It obviously is one of the biggest events – if not the biggest event – in Northeast Florida just from a sporting, entertainment, social standpoint,” Tillo said.

THE PLAYERS began accepting applications for new volunteers on Nov. 3. Seasoned volunteers were signed up prior to that date. The tournament is scheduled for March 8-13.

Volunteers work alongside the tournament team to assist in many areas, such as scoring, concessions, guest services, operations, parking, tracking ShotLink data and even sanitation.

One of the key benefits of the tournament is that the net proceeds are distributed to nonprofits throughout the five-county area.

“A couple of years ago, we flew past the $100 million mark of donations that we had given, not just nationwide, but locally,” Welch said.

By ensuring the success of the tournament, volunteers help make these charitable donations possible.

Welch, who has volunteered with the tournament for the past 15 years, said THE PLAYERS has given millions of dollars to Nemours Children’s Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“What we give as volunteers is nothing compared with what we receive when we see the impact on those in need,” he said. “It’s not about writing a check and hoping someone is better off. It’s about being involved and helping to change people’s lives.”

Of course, there are other benefits to volunteering.

There are discounts on food, beverages and merchandise, a volunteer party and, for those giving at least 36 hours, discounted Stadium Course and Dye’s Valley rounds.

For those in business, Welch said he knew of no better place to make professional contacts.

And then, there are the friendships that grow out of volunteering.

“I’ve met some of the best friends I’ve ever had in my life out here in the last 15 years,” Welch said.

“You don’t have to know the game in order to volunteer,” said Tillo. “There are a lot of people who may never have touched a golf club but are 35-plus-year volunteers.”

In fact, in some families, volunteering at THE PLAYERS is generational.

The Stadium Course began hosting THE PLAYERS Championship in 1982 and has done so ever since.

The tournament “attracts the strongest field in this game, just because the PGA Tour puts so many resources and time and energy behind making this the best championship possible – not just for our players, but for sponsors, fans, everyone and ultimately the community,” said Tillo.

There is a $99 fee to volunteer, covering the cost of the official shirt and jacket. To learn more about volunteering opportunities or to register, go to THEPLAYERSVolunteers.com.

 

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