Since its inception in 1969, the RBC Heritage golf tournament has attracted some of the biggest names in professional golf, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Payne Stewart, Boo Weekley and Jim Furyk, who have all won the tournament at some point. While the spotlight is, understandably, focused on the pro golfers who compete in the tournament, far less attention is paid to the well-coordinated army of volunteers who help the Heritage go off without a hitch — many of whom return to volunteer year after year. Committed volunteers are absolutely essential to a golf tournament like the Heritage, which is held over a weeklong period and boasts a number of critical events, from the opening ceremony to the pro-ams to the tournament itself.
“Our volunteers are vital to the Heritage’s success,” said Tyler Daly, RBC Heritage volunteer coordinator. “We could not run this tournament without them and we are very grateful for their contributions to the tournament. We have approximately 1,100 volunteers who participate in our volunteer committees. Additionally, there are hundreds more volunteers from local civic groups who assist with concessions, parking and countless other roles during the tournament.”
The famed tournament is held Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus designed Harbour Town Golf Links at the prestigious Sea Pines Resort, a fact that undoubtedly creates an irresistible draw for professional players, spectators and volunteers alike.
The Heritage has nearly 20 different volunteer committees that perform a variety of duties. There are volunteer committees for every conceivable facet of the tournament, including announcers, child care, hospitality ambassadors and marshals, while members of other volunteer committees serve as couriers, provide transportation for players, and recruit, train and assign paid caddies for the tournament's two pro-am events. There is even a volunteer committee designed to meet the needs of the volunteers themselves.
“The volunteers perform a wide range of duties, each of which is integral to the success of tournament ... ranging from inside-the-ropes on the course to duties off-site before and after the tournament,” Daly said. “Our marshals committee is our largest committee, with volunteers spread across each hole on the course, and I would say that our most popular committee is the ShotLink Walking Scorers committee, where volunteers walk all 18 holes of the course recording players’ scores and statistics.”
The fierce commitment that many RBC Heritage volunteers have to the tournament lead many to come back to volunteer their time year after year. In fact, the majority of the volunteers participating in this year's Heritage tournament have volunteered previously, according to Daly.
“One of the strongest characteristics of our volunteers is their dedication to the RBC Heritage,” he said. “This is evident by approximately 800 returning volunteers for this year’s tournament.”
This passion and dedication has not gone completely unnoticed. The Heritage’s volunteer corps have consistently received the PGA Tour's highest rating for dedication and professionalism. That's no small feat.
The Heritage Classic Foundation is always on the lookout for new recruits, and the requirements for would-be volunteers are fairly simple and straightforward. Volunteer applicants must live no more than an hour and a half from Hilton Head and must agree to work a minimum of 16 hours during the weeklong tournament. Beyond that, volunteers must pay a $100 registration fee that includes a tournament badge, a Heritage uniform — complete with shirt, jacket and hat — and four meal tickets that can be used at any of the on-site concession stands. Volunteers also enjoy preferred parking and shuttle transportation, and also have the option of purchasing as many as four weeklong tournament badges at a discounted price. Volunteering for the Heritage also offers volunteers unparalleled access to one of the PGA Tour's most prestigious events, as well as some of the most notable names in the world of professional golf. For serious golf enthusiasts, it just doesn't get much better than that.
Being a Heritage volunteer is a sought-after position, and spots fill quickly. Applicants who dream of joining the volunteer corps should begin the application process as early as possible.
To learn more about the 48th annual RBC Heritage golf tournament, or to find out how to volunteer for next year's tournament, call 843-671-2448 or visit www.rbcheritage.com. The Heritage Classic Foundation is also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.