On day two of Women & Girls Golf Week, Jane Bathurst tells us what she gets out of volunteering in golf and her advice to get involved.
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to walk inside the ropes at The Open, there are few people more qualified to tell you than Jane Bathurst, County Vice Captain for Surrey Ladies’ County Golf Association.
Jane has volunteered as a walking scorer at seven Open Championships. The Hankley Common member even walked with Cameron Smith this year at St Andrews when he shot 64 in Friday’s round.
So as part of Women & Girls Golf Week and today’s theme – volunteering – Jane fills us in on all the excitement and drama of volunteering at The Open. She also shares her advice on how you can get involved as a volunteer too.
Can you tell us a bit about what you’ve done as a volunteer?
I have been a walking scorer at the last seven Open Championships. This involves walking ‘inside the ropes’ with a group of players, recording every shot on an electronic device. This includes noting details of the club used off the tee, location of subsequent shots whether they are from the fairway, rough, fairway/greenside bunkers or on the green, and even the colour of their clothing!
The information is relayed instantly to scoreboards and media feeds, contributing to statistics such as number of fairways and greens hit in regulation. It also verifies the players’ record of their scores.
What was it like to volunteer at The Open?
Volunteering at The Open is the most fantastic experience.
It is wonderful to be inside the ropes, watching the players close up, hearing the interaction with their caddies and watching the ebb and flow of their fortunes and how they cope with it.
It is particularly exciting to be with a player who is putting together a great score, as I was with Cameron Smith on the Friday of this year’s Open when he shot 64.
Walking with the players gives a very different perspective; you walk the course as they do, you are looking at the crowds rather than being in amongst them and you feel the atmosphere, the spectators’ roars of delight and groans of disappointment, as the players do. It is a very special experience.
What do you feel like you get out of volunteering in golf?
I love playing golf, but I also want to support the game both at the professional and club level. I feel that volunteering is a way to do this. It is a privilege to volunteer at professional tournaments and be part of a big event, but I also enjoy being involved at a more local level, both in my county and at my club.
While being involved with the professional game can be enormously thrilling, local volunteering is also very rewarding but in a different way; it gives me satisfaction to feel that my involvement can help to promote the sport in my area and encourage others to get involved and enjoy it.
How much of a role do you think volunteering plays in the success of golf in general?
I think volunteers are essential to the success of golf at all levels.
For anyone else interested in volunteering in golf, what piece of advice would you give them?
If you have any interest in getting involved, do it.
Look on the internet – European Tour and R&A websites – for opportunities to volunteer at professional tournaments. Over 7,000 volunteers worked at this year’s Open so there are plenty of different roles.
Also, ask at your golf club about volunteering at a local and grassroots level.
It can be very rewarding, knowing that you are helping to promote the sport you love.
Looking for more like this? You'll like our recent article, Carving out my career in golf. We'll also be featuring more inspiring stories to celebrate Women & Girls Golf Week all week so watch this space!