U.S. Senior Women’s Open volunteers ‘crucial’ as pro golf returns to NCR, Kettering

KETTERING — National exposure returns to NCR Country Club’s South course as the U.S. Senior Women’s Open starts today, a four-day run expected to provide a regional boost.

An event organizer called the more than 400 senior open volunteers “crucial to the success” of the tournament as they help serve thousands of fans, players, caddies, staff and media at the Kettering course hosting its fifth USGA championship.

Beavercreek’s Ken Herr, 74, and Will Ware, 40, of Dayton are helping fill roles for the United States Golf Association, and both worked the first tee as starters in this week’s practice rounds.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

“It’s a big deal for Dayton and it’s a big deal for the USGA,” said Herr, a volunteer marshal at the 2005 Senior Men’s Open at NCR. “And to be a part of it, that’s fun.

“It’s very good for the USGA and it is great for Dayton because it’s a national tournament,” he added. “It is a significant event the USGA puts on and for them to select Dayton is quite an honor.”

Ware, Wilberforce University’s golf coach, said he will be joined Saturday and Sunday by four female students serving as standard bearers assigned to carry scoring signs and walk with the players.

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

“This is a good opportunity to bring awareness of golf … and give some exposure to our ladies’ program to let everyone know that we do have ladies and they’re volunteering,” he said.

“It’s huge to be able to bring golf — on a bigger stage — to the area. We have some great golf courses here and NCR is a great venue for this type of event,” Ware added. “It’s a really big deal … It brings awareness of the area along with funding as well.”

How much of an economic boost the tournament will give the region hasn’t been projected, local officials said. But the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau expects about 7,000 to 10,000 spectators at the course for a tournament that includes some of the biggest names in women’s golf, JoAnne Carner, Juli Inkster, Hollis Stacy, Annika Sorenstam and Jan Stephenson, among them.

“The prestige of this event does nothing but provide a positive image for the city of Kettering, the Dayton region and NCR Country Club,” Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said.

“The USGA — being one of the most respected golf organizations — provides a positive image for the community,” he added.

A key element in the success of the tournament, in its fourth year, is the volunteers, who “play a pivotal role in bringing the player and fan experience to life,” said Katherine Khoury, USGA senior manager of the open.

The USGA has recruited volunteers for this weekend largely through its membership, NCR and the Miami Valley Golf Association, Khoury said.

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About 230 are NCR members while the MVGA is providing about 80, Herr and Ware among them, officials said.

“About 90%” of them come from Ohio, Khoury said.

They perform in a variety of roles, including player hospitality, player transport, starting, statistics review, scoring and standards bearers, said Steve Jurick, MVGA executive director.

The main duties for Herr today through Sunday will be verifying statistics, he said. That could involve ensuring the accuracy of players’ scores.

Herr said he enjoys volunteering because “Steve and his staff make it extremely easy” with “the preparation they do behind the scenes.”

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Ware said his duties as a starter earlier this week provided a bonus after playing recently with Paula Tucker, the aunt of a Wilberforce freshman golfer.

Tucker, Ware said, missed the cut for qualifying for this weekend’s open by a stroke. Tucker told him she knew Avis Brown-Riley, who he said is the only Black woman in the tournament field.

Ware said he and Brown-Riley met Monday.

“It was real nice to be able to build that connection when I was (working) the first tee,” he said. “I was so happy I was able to volunteer.”

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Ware said he hopes Brown-Riley qualifies for the last two rounds, which could lead to the other Wilberforce volunteers meeting her as well.

“I’m looking forward to the young ladies having the opportunity to come out Saturday and Sunday and hope that Avis makes the cut,” he said, “so they may be able to walk around with her.”


NCR GOLF HISTORY

NCR’s South course has previously hosted several PGA and USGA tournaments. They include:

•1969 PGA Championship.

•1986 U.S. Women’s Open.

•1998 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

•2005 U.S. Senior Men’s Open Championship.

•2013 USGA Women’s State Team Championship.

HOW TO VIEW

•What: 2022 U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

•When: Today through Sunday, rounds 1 and 2 start at 7:45 a.m.

•Where: NCR Country Club, 4435 Dogwood Trail, Kettering.

•Tickets: Single ticket option $30, two-pack $50. Tickets available at www.usseniorwomensopen.com.

•TV: Saturday, 3-6 p.m., Peacock, live coverage; 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Golf Channel, re-air; Sunday, 2:30-5:30 p.m., Peacock, live coverage, 7-9 p.m., Golf Channel, re-air.

SOURCES: USGA and NCR Country Club.

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