In May I participated in the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) Pure Silk Championship at the Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Virginia, not as a player (my golf game as much as my gender disqualified me) but as a volunteer. The LPGA is dependent on hundreds of volunteers to pull off their tournaments. Volunteers man signs identifying the players and their score, shuttle players around in golf carts, check admission tickets, etc. Volunteers receive a logoed shirt and cap and free lunches, in return for paying $120 for the privilege of contributing their time. If a volunteer completes the required three 6-hour shifts, he also gets a free round on the resort’s fabled golf course (they’re all “fabled” to Golf Channel commentators.).
I had followed the LPGA off and on ever since my wife and I watched Annika Sorenstam, a legend of the game with 72 victories over her 13-year career (versus Tiger Woods’ 82 in his 25-year and counting career), win her first victory at the US Women’s Open in 1995. We’ve been to 4 or 5 tournaments since, favoring the LPGA over the PGA as the admission fee is substantially less and the golf just as astounding. It’s a pleasant way to spend a day midst beautiful surroundings and golf is the only sport my wife really understands, her understanding beginning and ending with the knowledge that whoever gets the ball in the holes with the fewest strokes wins.
These days I’m addicted to ladies golf (a less harmful complication brought on by pandemic lockdowns than killing one’s cellmate). So, unable to attend tournaments as they aren’t allowing spectators these days, I decided to volunteer. As soon as I arrived at Kingsmill, I dropped by the volunteer tent at the practice range where I would be working to say hello to the man in charge, Dave Hamada. Dave, I learned, is something of a legend in the ladies golfing world. After retiring at 51, Dave puttered (pardon the pun) at various charitable pursuits before settling on following the LPGA around as a volunteer. He has now volunteered at some 200 tournaments. Dave runs a tight but amicable ship, our duties boiling down to making sure the players have plenty of balls to practice with.
As I was leaving the range, I noticed a cart about to depart and thought “How nice of the resort to provide shuttle service.” As I walked towards the cart, the young lady in the back seat moved over to make room. We had a nice chat in broken English (she was Korean) on the way to the putting green. I learned later that the carts are for players and their caddies only. My breach of tournament etiquette could have gotten me escorted off the premises as they are pretty uptight about protocol at these hoity-toity events.
And for good reason. Most of the volunteers are post-menopossible (pronounced mē-no-possible) men, some a bit grubby (The number of “balls” jokes exchanged belied the many years since these guys had been in junior high!). As you might imagine, the DOMs were giddy to be hanging out with young, mini-skirted females—many barely out of their teens, some not yet. Fraternizing with the comely is strictly forbidden, and, so far as I experienced, my fellow letches acted impeccably. My ride with the friendly Korean golfer led me to muse whether the reverse is true. Do some of the duffers who do not even cover their expenses (half the players in a tournament do not “make the cut” and so have no share in the prize money) have less interest in the golf match than in match-making, i.e., latching onto some well-heeled, silver-haired member of the country-club set (preferably with a heart condition) with the prospect of marriage (and a green card)?
Getting back to business, so to speak, my first assignment was to run balls collected by a volunteer driving a contraption which picked up hit balls from around the range through a ball-washing machine. The first time I did so, I neglected to put a basket under the spout the cleaned balls came out of, resulting in balls scattering all over the floor. On my second run I again neglected to put a basket in place and some of the balls spewing out rolled to the feet of the tournament’s Director of Volunteers, an officious, unsmiling type who failed to see the humor in the situation.
I recycled the now dirty balls, then carried the two baskets I had washed to the volunteer tent. I was about to start my third run when a colleague brought one of the baskets back saying the balls in that basket had not been cleaned. I was confused as I distinctly remembered running two baskets through the machine, but less distinctly remembered I had washed one basket twice because of my technical glitch and the other not at all.
I was relieved of my ball-cleaning duties at that point and transferred to a task Dave thought I might better handle: collecting balls at the far end of the range that went too far awry for the ball-scooper to pick up. No sooner had I arrived on post than I realized I needed to pee and so trudged the 300 yards back to the porta-potty near the volunteer tent. His highness, the D of V, asked why I had abandoned my post and, when I explained, uttered not a word, just frowned. I later heard him berate the scoop driver for taking a pee break without asking his permission first.
The next day when I was about to head to the outback again, one of my colleagues jokingly reminded me to pee first, but I felt no urge and so ignored the suggestion. Ten minutes into collecting wayward balls I got the first inklings (more like tinklings) of nature’s call. I wasn’t about to suffer the humiliation of an urgent return to the john again, so I applied my home remedy for such emergencies: farting. That provided temporary relief, but I soon felt a few droplets leaking involuntarily from my bloated bladder (I vowed to swallow my pride and wear a Depends next time).
After an hour of dancing in place, I saw Dave carting out to see how I was doing. I hoped he was going to relieve me (amazing how many puns can be derived from a simple bodily function), but I was disappointed. As he drove off, I noticed what I took to be a few drops of effluent had actually been a gusher that had left a conspicuous dampness in the crotch of my pants. Mindful that a friend had almost been tried as a sex offender for peeing in the bushes at a closed rest stop on the Jersey turnpike, I took my chances and did likewise. For the next hour, I sat with my legs widespread to encourage evaporation, hoping the telltale mark would disappear before I finished my shift and returned to the volunteer tent.
By the time I was relieved the air-drying had worked; but, from the barely concealed grins of my fellow volunteers as they snuck a glance at my nether region, I concluded Dave had noticed the wet spot on his visit downrange and mentioned my faux passing. I suspected the heartless crew had encouraged him to prolong my shift to add to my no-pot-to-piss-in dilemma. If this was the case, I felt sure I had become something of a legend in my own right: The LPGA’s “Most Indecorous, Incompetent, Incontinent Volunteer”. Maybe if word got around, I consoled myself, the next time I applied to be a volunteer they would pay me to withdraw my application.