HARRIS - Volunteers are needed for the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass Golf Club when the Symetra Tour women's tournament visits Island Resort & Casino June 29-July 1.
A field of 144 international women golfers will compete in the second annual event.
"Our goal is to have a great tournament, and to have our volunteers watching as much as they are working," said Vickie Micheau, executive director of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, whose team is coordinating the volunteer effort.
"More so this year, the community is asking to be involved and be a part of the excitement."
More than 200 volunteers have already signed up to serve as scorekeepers, caddies, cart drivers and marshals for the 2012 Championship, the second in a three-year commitment by the Symetra Tour Road to the LPGA to include a tour stop in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Micheau encourages others to volunteer their time to help spread the workload. All volunteers receive a staff shirt, free entry into the tournament, a round of golf at Sweetgrass Golf Club, and meals during their volunteer shift. There is no entry fee, which typically can be assessed to volunteers for professional golf events.
"It is an excellent opportunity to support the community and these girls, and enjoy the wonderful venue at Sweetgrass," says Dan Doyle, a retired teacher from Gladstone and second-year volunteer. "It is a no-brainer to be part of the event and give back."
Doyle's wife, Deborah, is also a volunteer; the couple is also one of several locals who will house a professional golfer in their home for tournament week.
"The overall experience is wonderful, and we wanted to be a part of it again," says Marquette retiree and avid golfer Charlie Gross, who will serve as a player caddie at this year's event. "I've been practicing every morning since my training, carrying my golf bag on the course, and building my stamina," says Gross.
The volunteer program is one of several community-wide efforts to welcome the women golfers reaching for their LPGA Tour Card through the Symetra Tour.
The Chamber will also offer the "Keys to Success" program, offering players discounts and special offers at area businesses. Several area non-profit organizations are also participating in the Championship ticket program, selling $10 three-day passes and keeping the profits for their respective charitable causes.
"There's less apprehension and fewer questions about what this tournament means to the U.P. this year, and more talk on how they will be involved, as a spectator or volunteer," said business owner Brad Mantella, owner of Dobber's Pasties. "It is a great success for the business community and all who are involved."
Spectators can see a complete list of non-profit organizations in Wisconsin and Michigan currently selling tickets at www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com, or purchase them at the Island Resort Showroom ticket office prior to the tournament.
Sweetgrass Golf Club at the Island Resort & Casino is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community of the Potawatomi Nation. For more information, see sweetgrassgolfclub.com.
The Symetra Tour Road to the LPGA, is the official developmental tour of the LPGA and is in its 32nd competitive season. With the support of its new umbrella sponsor, Symetra, the Tour's mission is to prepare the world's best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour.
This is the first season the top-10 money winners will receive full, equal status for the following season on the LPGA Tour. The 2012 schedule includes 16 tournaments with stops in 11 U.S. states and Mexico and a total purse of $1.76 million.
With more than 500 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 362 LPGA titles, including 39 major championships. Symetra Tour events have contributed more than $5 million to charitable organizations throughout the nation since 1989.
Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/RoadtotheLPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.