Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ask The Boss If You Can Come Do This For A Day -- And Get A Shirt And Hat And Some Free Golf

(From Sunday's Times and News-Star)
Oct. 3-8, 2015
VOLUNTEER: 768-7000, or mail

I’ve got clearance to offer you a deal.

No strings here. No pyramid deal. No lawyer to see. I’m not a foreign widow who needs you to send me francs or rubles or to deposit some cash into a Swiss account.

I’m just a guy with some solid information.

The deal is this: you volunteer to help one day with the 29th U.S.  Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Squire Creek Oct. 3-8 in cozy Choudrant, and in exchange you get a complimentary round of golf redeemable through April 1 at the state’s best course (which would be the very same Squire Creek), a nice hat and shirt, and the good feeling of knowing you’ve helped with only the second United States Golf Association event in the state in the past half century.

You don’t have to know a golf ball from a cue ball from a debutante ball to help. You don’t play golf? No problem. You still get a good-looking hat and shirt, you watch golf and you enjoy this beautiful piece of land God created and man molded into a world-class golf course. That prize package is easily more than $150. (Holla!)

There’s a lot to get to in a little bit of time, so let’s give you some quick info.

The USGA is the not-for-profit governing body of the game of golf. This championship is one of only 13 it holds each year, including the Men’s, Senior Men’s and Women’s Open Championships.

The other 10 are amateur championships, such as the one that ends today in Olympia Fields, Ill., the 115th U.S. Amateur Championship. Three young Shreveport golfers competed there this week: Sam Burns, Philip Barbaree and Eric Ricard. You’ve heard of Hal Sutton? He won the U.S. Amateur’s Havemeyer Trophy in 1980.

The championship in October is one of “those,” a biggie, and the second-most prestigious and coveted women’s amateur title behind only the U.S. Women’s Amateur, the other-gender counterpart to the championship that ends today in Illinois.  

A field of 132 females age 25 and older will compete, golfers who won their way here by qualifying in regional events that are ongoing. Customarily, seven countries and virtually all states are represented in USGA championships. It’s a big deal for the competitors, who earn not a dime for travel or playing. It’s all about the love of the game and the competition.

But it’s also a big deal for our area. The golf world’s eye will be on our state, specifically on north Louisiana. Word of how the players and their families were treated, how the overall experience was, will travel far and wide, and the only cost to us as fans is to support the event, which is free to anyone wanting to come out and either volunteer to help or just watch and enjoy this course and the world’s best female amateur golfers.

The historical significance is obvious: the USGA revisits places that prove solid for championships. Squire Creek, which only this July turned into a teenager, has twice hosted the state women’s Mid-Amateur and in 2013 hosted the Louisiana Women’s Amateur. But the October title event is a big, prestigious step in a small window of time for a club that 15 years ago was trees and creeks and cattle and dirt-bike paths. At that time, it had seen thousands of cow patties and zero Titleists.

Then came July 2002, and this gift from the Davison family to the area was ranked No. 5 by Golf Digest on its list of best new U.S. courses. Since, it’s consistently ranked No. 1 or 2 among Louisiana courses.

The venue is there. So are the people. Both are championship caliber. We just need to get out there and support and enjoy this experience. Some companies – Community Trust Bank, Bank of Ruston and Argent for sure -- are even offering their employees a day off, a free, look-the-other-way day, in exchange for a day volunteering at the championship. Somebody, go talk to the boss!

And it’s not hard. Easy as falling off a porch. You can sit in the shade and help locate wayward tee shots. You can caddy (which pays money)! You can help with scoring, transportation and hospitality. We even need someone to guard the trophy: even in a gentleman’s game, you can’t be too careful!

Check out, call (318) 768-7000 or email for information on how you can be an important part of the biggest golf event ever in our area. For your attention, please accept this tip of my high-handicap golf hat to you.