Long before the players and caddies arrive for a tournament, many details must be ironed out to ensure everything is in place for them. Each event on the Web.com Tour has a local Tournament Director and supporting staff that works many behind the scenes hours selling sponsorships, recruiting volunteers, budgeting, planning social events & organizing pro-ams – just to mention a few. To assist with this preparation, there is always at least one PGA TOUR rules official that arrives at the tournament site approximately ten days before the 1st round begins.
For the past several years, I have served in this role as the “advance official” in Wichita, Kansas for the Air Capital Classic presented by Aetna. During both advance week and tournament week, I work daily with Tournament Director Roy Turner and his staff as well as the staff at Crestview Country Club to help coordinate all of the small, yet very important details, which will help make the event a success.
Often times, because of the tremendous variety of areas that he is involved in, an advance official feels a lot like a certified event planner during advance week. Below is a sample of some the responsibilities of an advance rules official:
- Work closely with the superintendent & PGA TOUR agronomist to ensure the course is prepared properly for the competition.
- Assist with decisions regarding mowing and irrigation schedules to achieve desired green speeds and firmness, rough height, etc.
- “Mark” the course – which includes painting the hazard lines, installing out of bounds/hazard stakes.
- Generate various documents including the hole-by-hole “time par,” Notice to Competitors (local rules), staff assignments, hole location sheets & schedule of events.
- With assistance from PGA TOUR headquarters, establish the initial field list and keep track of any subsequent withdrawals and alternate replacements.
- Prepare all materials for player and caddie registration and ensure those committees understand the processes involved with these activities.
- Ensure a course evacuation plan is in place as well as plans to have 1st aid personnel onsite during tournament week.
- Review locker room set up, practice facilities, player dining, media room set up, security processes and parking plans for players, caddies, staff, volunteers and spectators.
- Ensure proper on-course placement of skyboxes, bleachers, television towers, starters’ tents, concession stands, scoreboards, signage, tee backdrops and roping.
- Assist in preparation of post-tournament reports.
- Prepare financial statements related to the tournament as well as the Monday qualifier.
If all of this sounds like a busy week…it is! Yes, it’s a lot of work. However, it is very rewarding to be a part of all the behind the scenes event preparation and execution. It’s a lot of fun to see the whole production come together in the end. Also, you get to meet and work with a lot of great people and no two days are ever alike!