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Ryder Cup : A Marshal’s Review #1 September 28, 2006

Posted by Rambling Man in Sports.
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I’ve just about recovered from my week long marshaling escapades at the K Club. What a great time I had ! What a frustrating time I had !

It’s too long to write about in one fell swoop, so I’ll take it a piece at a time.

Day One – Marshal’s Registration – Sunday, September 17th
Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the week previous to the Ryder Cup was set aside for marshal’s registration. Some 800 volunteers had applied to be part of the biggest sporting event ever held in Ireland and all trooped through the PGA National Clubhouse in Kildare at some point over this weekend. This registration was run by Ryder Cup Ireland with some help (as far as I could tell) from PGA of Europe. We collected our credentials, car parking permits, clothes and instructions from here and were in and out in 25 minutes – this was the first thing that worried me slightly – no training whatsoever ! Look at a video, where to stand and where not to stand and off with you. We were meant to arrive at the K Club on the Tuesday morning at 6am … I had been allocated to scoring duties and my cousin to the Player Care section. So far, apart from the “Is this it ?” sort of feeling, everything was grand … For the record, we each recieved 2 RC logo polo shirts, a long sleeved windcheater top, a jumper and a cap.

Day Two – Practise Day 1 – Tuesday, September 19th
Having been let in the staff entrance of the K Club grounds and not even once asked for ID to go with my marshal’s badge, we didn’t get scanned at all this morning. So I got my mobile phone in no problem. We were struck by the length of walk from the staff car parks to the tented village – it was about a mile and a half – and with nobody there to show us the way in the pitch black, we plodded along behind everyone else. We couldn’t read the signs in the dark as the road isn’t lit. Each marshal had received a letter detailing where to go and saying that we would receive our duties for the week at that initial meeting. It was the village scoreboard for me and I joined the other 30 or so marshals there on time.

The majority of marhsals, or at least head marshals, are 55+ and from England, or families of people from the UK, who as a hobby attend the majority of big golf tournaments as marshals. All the head marshals in my area were English (nothing wrong with that, except the pronunciation of the names !), but alas when the jobs had been handed out, yours truly didn’t appear on the list … at all. I had been reassigned to player care but still got the older letter. This meant I would be working with my cousin for the week and might actually get to meet some of the players … Happy Days !

My redeployment confirmed with the folks in Marshal’s Admin, I literally ran up the one road through the K Club to the site where the PCMs (Player Care Marshals) were congregating. It appeared that they hadn’t actually got any briefing as yet because some players were warming up on the practise range. We were marshalling the road crossings between the clubhouse and carpark and the practice range. We were told that after the players went out for 9 holes, we would have our initial meeting and be told what sort of stuff we would be doing for the week. As we marshalled the ropes and barriers, the security men who were supposed to be doing it (as we later learned) looked on in admiration. More to follow …
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