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What I learned volunteering at the RBC Canadian Open

Written by Rob Gavarkovs/ Golf Canada
(Christian Bender/ Golf Canada)

Thank you to the fans, the volunteers, the tournament organizers and the sponsors for a fantastic end to a fantastic tournament!

A picturesque end to the day, nothing beats the last group walking up the final fairway to a thunderous ovation from an adoring crowd. We couldn’t have written a better end to the day, with Rory McIlroy, the darling of the golf world, taking home the championship (in a Toronto Raptors jersey to boot!)

The perfect end to a perfect day, but there is a lot of work that goes into it. The fairytale ending we all experienced today is not what it is without the thousands of volunteers tending the ropes. Dedicated golf fans that are teachers, police officers, members of the host club, retirees, and a million other things. These are the lifeblood of Our Open. They are the engine that drives the wheels of our championship.

And we owe them a massive thank you. For the 25,000 people in the sold-out crowd on Sunday, there were volunteers everywhere, making sure that the tournament was as great as it turned out to be. The unsung heroes of the championship, they are the ones that drive the parking lot shuttles, hold the “Quiet eh?” signs in the air for hours on end, keep the players and crowd safe, tend to the hospitality tents and make sure the complicated effervescent tangle of gallery rope line is in working order.

These people come together from all walks of life and descend upon the host golf course, working a long week and longer hours. They partake in the beehive-like efficiency of running a PGA TOUR event – but why? They do it because they love it.

They love the players, the TOUR, the golf course, the RBC Canadian Open, the experience of being inside the ropes, the experience of helping people, and the experience of showing the game they love off to the country, the players, the patronage and the world.

Les Palango, Hamilton radio personality, said that “I love to volunteer because it gets me in the action, I can man the ropes and the players all walk right by me. You see them on TV all the time, but to have Rory McIlroy walk by you and personally thank you for doing your job, that makes it worth it to me.”

It’s the spirit of the volunteers, the thousands of them that sign-up for forty-nine PGA TOUR events all over the country (but especially ours), that is the heart and soul of the game. The grow the game initiative comes from the passion of people like these. It’s awe-inspiring the passion of the golfer.

As the day was wrapping up, and our champion golfer McIlroy was signing his scorecard before the trophy presentation, I turned to a volunteer standing on the 18th green and asked him his favourite part of the week, “This,“ he told me. That was all he needed to say. This was everything. This moment. Thousands of people carved into the natural amphitheatre, all sharing the collective consciousness of pride in their tournament. They were chanting for the Raptors, Rory, singing Oh Canada, and not a soul had left since the final putt dropped. They all wanted more. “Wow eh?,” was all I could muster back to him, and we both stood there, taking in the moment, knowing exactly what we were talking about without saying anything.

So sign up to be a volunteer. Get more. Show the game you love to your friends, your family, a total stranger. Within your passion will ignite their passion.

The amazing experience of being a volunteer at the 2020 RBC Canadian Open is right around the corner, and you don’t want to miss out.

Click here to learn more.

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