Diary of an Open volunteer
- Wednesday, 25 July 2012
- 1 Comments
Tiger Woods practicing at the Open [Getty Images]
I'm Sean Martin, 16, Junior Captain at Frodsham Golf Club.
Unfortunately I'm not playing this year at Royal Lytham and St Annes, but I've volunteered to help on the practice ground. Eight shifts in eight days, supplying balls to the greatest players on the planet.
Day 1 - Sunday 15th July
0600: wake up and head down the M6 and M55 - I've arrived!
0830: first shift. Only a few players here today. Robert Rock, Darren Clarke, Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods are out on the course. On the practice ground I'm passing balls to Rickie Fowler and Paul Casey.
1100: look around the tented village and walk the course before checking into my unexpectedly spacious caravan!
Day 2 - Monday 16th July
1330: back on the range. I hear shouts of 'Lee, Lee' as Westwood makes his way to the range, mobbed by fans. A few minutes later Martin Kaymer and Charl Schwartzel arrive, with the rain stopping as Luke Donald crosses the bridge - an act of God?!
Day 3 - Tuesday 17th July
0800: first job is to sort two huge tubs of balls. Bubba is warming up, Quiros is booming drives and Rory is back - the range is buzzing.
1000: switch duty to the chipping area. See five-time Open champion Tom Watson and an array of superstars, including Donald, Westwood and Harrington. Woods and Clarke greet each other and have a short chat. G-Mac, Daly and Fisher walk past me; my head is in a daze. A day to remember!
1200: call in to the HSBC Golf Zone - 3rd longest junior with a 270 yard drive!
Day 4 - Wednesday 18th July
1000: course is filling up with spectators. It's a very busy day on the range and practice ground, with all the players completing final preparations.
Day 5 - Thursday 19th July
0750: arrive at the course and take my seat in a grandstand on the first. I have to wait for over an hour to see my first birdie (Lee Westwood). Head over to the 17th and see James Driscoll hole his second for an eagle two!
1200: back at work, dodging between balls hit by Rory and Steve Stricker.
Day 6 - Friday 20th July
0800 - start work. It's my birthday and I have to wake up at 6am! The course is soaked but the ground staff are doing a fantastic job. The range is quiet until the 11am rush - we almost run out of baskets!
1200: my shift ends and I go and meet my brother, who has just arrived. Later I head to Blackpool North Shore and continue the 'Alternative Open,' a series of matches I've been competing in against my dad, 'The Bandit!'
Day 7 - Saturday 21st July
1200: after a welcome lie I start work. The range gets busier and busier until Woods, Westwood, Els, Scott and Snedeker are all lined up next to each other. It really is a sight to behold.
Day 8 - Sunday 22nd July
0800: start my last shift. A radio presenter asks if he can interview me and my team. We laugh about the answers we have given, and even Ian Poulter joins in! These players are human.
1100: The shift is over, and it's time to say goodbye to my team and thanks to the organisers. Dad drives me home and I fall asleep in the car thinking about the great time I'd had. One of the best weeks of my life.