Behind the Scenes
One of the most friendly faces you would see at the Championship, Dale Sollars was a beloved volunteer. He passed away in April 2014. During his USDGC service, he often assisted with the school children at the E.D.G.E. pavilion. Here, Dale is shown in a 2011 picture, lending a hand to get the pro shop set up.
Everybody says, you know it’s time for the Championship when volunteers Rock and Pat Searle arrive. Fixtures of the USDGC for years, they take pride annually in preparing the player packs and spotting along hole 4.
See that human-like figure near the bottom of the tree? That’s Course Superintendent Michael Shugart. He’ll do anything to get the course ready including climbing this tree to erect a 40-foot bamboo pole on hole 11. Atop the pole is a flag to judge wind.
Staffer Leila Hand has been assisting with scoring for many years. Here, she updates a card’s score on hole 13.
She said her USDGC claim to fame happened the first year when Hand, who at the time was not familiar with the game’s players, almost did not let Ken Climo in the gate. Hand, who had been told not to let anyone in unless they had a player’s badge, didn’t see his and it took a little convincing by the Champ before she let him enter.
Team Zenger of North Carolina, made up of John and his daughter Courtney, 10, have been volunteering for spotting duties on various holes for the past few years. Someday they hope to raise their flags on hole 17, John said.
Longtime volunteer James Nichols of Asheville, N.C., makes his USDGC pilgrimage annually just like many other volunteers. Here Nichols takes a break from spotting on hole 16. In 2010, Nichols was the first to red flag the Ford Explorer splashing into the lake near hole 5.
Volunteer John Nichols makes his trek to the USDGC every year from Rochester, N.Y. Generally teaming up with his brother, James, to spot holes, Nichols is a good example of how much volunteers sacrifice to get here year after year.