DEAL, N.J. – National championships don’t just happen. Host clubs must undergo considerable preparation, fundraising and volunteer recruiting and planning to assure that everything goes off without a hitch and makes for a memorable experience.
That was the goal at this week’s U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Hollywood Golf Club.
We had a vision in mind of what we wanted to offer the players, said Jaime Schultz, championship co-chair with Richard Stone.
We really tried to make it special for them this week, added Stephanie Schreider, chair of volunteers and player registration.
Schultz, Schreider and others began preparing two years ago, when they traveled to the USGA’s headquarters in Far Hills, N.J., to meet with USGA staff.
They also attended the 2012 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur at Hershey Country Club in Hershey, Pa., to learn how a championship is conducted from the host’s perspective. They took notes, snapped pictures, consulted a USGA manual and club members at Hershey to devise their own game plan. Then, they went to work.
Schultz and Schreider knew they had to get their fellow members involved. They showed up at club events and discussed the championship to anyone who would listen.
Schreider contacted the New Jersey State Golf Association and the Metropolitan Golf Association, as well as local women’s golf associations, to recruit 165 volunteers. An incentive for many local golfers was the chance to play a round at Hollywood in exchange for working three shifts as a volunteer during the championship.
It’s not easy to get volunteers, but people want to play this course, so that was enticing for many people to help us this week, Schreider said.
Schultz was charged with raising approximately $300,000 to cover the costs of the championship. Much of that was raised by corporate donations and with the promise that all proceeds after expenses would go toward The First Tee Metropolitan New York junior golf program and the Hollywood Educational Fund, created to raise college scholarship money for children of the club’s employees.
I’ve done a lot of fundraising over the years and I wasn’t really scared of raising the money, said Schultz. I knew it had to be enticing to get members to contribute.
Schultz assisted Anthony DeMarco and his efforts to build a giant scoreboard for the championship. She also raised funds to lease the required passenger vans for transportation and weather evacuation.
Players were treated to a patio dinner at Hollywood last Thursday, followed by a dinner at the historic Wilson Hall at Monmouth University last Friday before Saturday’s first round of stroke-play qualifying. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressed the players at Friday’s dinner.
Members of Hollywood’s championship committee made all of the floral centerpieces at the dinner.
Each player in the championship also received plush bathrobes in their respective lockers, as well as homemade pretzels from a local business.
We decided these women had enough fleece tops, so we wanted to give them something different, said Schultz.
Schreider and Schultz, who typically arrived at the course each day at 6 a.m.,also recruited their husbands to volunteer. Four volunteers were husbands of USGA officials.
Schreider’s husband, Jeffrey, caddied for Laura Coble through the first round of match play. When she was eliminated, he worked as a score runner and standard bearer.
He loved it, said Stephanie. My husband loves golf, loves this place and was on the initial committee to get the USGA to bring an event back to Hollywood.
Schultz’s husband, Steven, caddied for Kimberly Briele and helped run the scoreboard.
He had so much fun that he said he wished he didn’t have to go back to work, said Jaime.
Schreider and Schultz called the championship hard work with long hours, but added it was a special experience to work directly with the players and officials..
It was awe-inspiring, said Schreider. We were a part of history here this week.
As for Schultz, she came into the week excited to bring a USGA championship back to Hollywood, as well as to work with USGA staff member Teresa Belmont, director of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur. Belmont’s husband, Ron, taught Schultz how to play golf when he worked as an assistant pro at Hollywood from 1995-2000.
My husband’s family has been at this club for more than 30 years, so to be a part of a historic event here, as well as to give something back to the local golf world has been meaningful, said Schultz.
And when Schultz was able to visit again with her former golf instructor, it was an added bonus.
I was excited to know I would be working with his wife and getting to see him again, said Schultz. I wanted him to see that I’ve come a long, long way since my first golf lesson years ago.
Kyrinis Receives Last-Minute Brotherly Love
Judith Kyrinis had a special supporter waiting for her near the 18th green at Hollywood Golf Club after falling to Joan Higgins, 1 up, in Thursday’s final match of the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship.
Dan Allan, Kyrinis’ older brother, surprised her at the hotel this morning after catching a redeye flight out of Milwaukee on Wednesday.
I found a flight and left late last night. By the time I landed, got my rental [car] and got to the golf course, it was 1 or 1:30 in the morning, said Allan, a scratch golfer himself who hopes to qualify for the U.S. Senior Amateur in 2015.
I’m too cheap to spend $100 dollars to get five hours of sleep, so I slept in my car in the parking lot, he continued, laughing.
Allan, who was seen squatting beneath a tree to get a better view of Kyrinis’ tee shot on No. 12, avoided eye contact and communication with her throughout the match. However, after Higgins’ clinching putt on No. 18, he was on the scene immediately to embrace his younger sister as she walked off the green.
It was great to have him come down. He’s always been a great supporter, said Kyrinis, clearly filled with emotion.
Lisa D. Mickey is a Florida-based freelance writer whose work has previously appeared on USGA websites. Dan Scofield is a communications intern with the USGA.