Hundreds of volunteers help Bridgestone Senior Players Championship start
AKRON, Ohio – Professional golf returns to Firestone Country Club this weekend as the Bridgestone Senior Players Championship kicks off at the historic South Course.
This is the third year in a row that Firestone has hosted a PGA Tour Champions event and one of the main championship events in the PGA Tour Champions program.
To keep the tournament going without a hitch, hundreds of volunteers spend thousands of hours preparing the course and amenities for the golfers.
This year, the event will reunite with fans after the COVID-19 pandemic restricted their participation in 2020.
âThe roar of the crowd, there is no such thing,â said Bambi Miller, the tournament volunteer chair. âIt’s the 20-foot putt, and we were there to see it. We have to applaud and see everyone smile.
As the Tournament Volunteer Chair, Miller oversees a group of around 700 volunteers who take their own vacations and purchase their own volunteer uniforms to participate in one of Akron’s flagship events. Many have lent a helping hand to professional golf tournaments at Firestone for over 25 years.
âWe have volunteers who come from all over the country,â Miller said. âEveryone is eager to find that personal touch and do something important for our neighbors. These are the same ones that keep coming back year after year. We invite new people to our family year after year.
Volunteers are responsible for everything from food to security. Over $ 30 million has been donated to area charities through professional golf tournaments at Firestone Country Club since 1984.
âTo be able to be a part of something that gives back $ 30 million to charity, you can’t do it as an individual,â Miller said. âWe are part of it. We’ve all had a share of it. “
Last year, despite the pandemic, the tournament was still able to raise more than $ 750,000 for charities in northeast Ohio.
âPeople here are selfless,â Miller said. âWe do it because we give back to the community. We might have had a family member who needed help or someone from our past or our friends.
The Firestone Country Club has been a home of professional golf for 68 years. The course’s first ever tournament was the Rubber City Open in 1954. More recently, the site has hosted the World Series of Golf and the World Golf Championships as major tournaments.
âThis tournament is a little different, our seniors are very friendly,â said Miller. âThey are in a different phase of their life. You don’t have to be so quiet on the T-shirt. You can say ‘Hey, how are you? It was a good shot that you had on five! ‘ And they’ll interact and say âThanks, I really appreciate itâ. It lasts all weekend.
âI made lifelong friendships with people I would never have met without this golf course,â Miller said.
The whole event has something for everyone on the course this weekend. The club will host several food trucks including that of Slyman’s Tavern. There will be concerts after the end of each round starting on Friday with the Sunrise Jones, who were the house group during the NFL Draft in Cleveland in April.
On Saturday, northeast Ohio country group The Shootouts will perform songs from their new album with the group receiving national accolades on Rollingstone.com. After the tournament’s trophy ceremony on Sunday, the Akron Symphony Orchestra will perform 30 musicians at an American bandstand presented by Fleet Response, a program featuring patriotic and family-friendly summer concert music on the driving range. .
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