JON MARTIN WINS DAMARU GOLF VIRTUAL MEDAL FOR GLORY, PRIDE N HONOUR 2018

here's my report 





I was a volunteer for the 4 days of the Maybank Championship (MC) held at Saujana Golf Resort, Kuala Lumpur between 1-4 Feb2018.  There were over 250 volunteers supporting the event in various roles : scoring, static and walking marshals, TV, scoring etc. There is a core of volunteers who have been participating for 6 or 7 years  at the three annual main professional events held in KL - this Maybank Champonship, Sime Darby LPGA and CIMB Classic PGA  and the biannual EurAsia Cup.  So it is like being part of a big family of Malaysians of all races and a few long term expats - British, French, Aussie, American etc. There is good comradeship and cooperation.  Our reward for volunteering is breakfast and lunch, tournament shirt and hat, umbrella and volunteers golf game (for those who attended all four days) the following week.


 For this MC, I was a static marshal at the high activity teebox at hole#3 - this is normally the first hole but the first three holes had been re-positioned for this event.  It is high activity because it has three routes converging - cross over from hole 9 to hole 10, directly from the club house to the hospitality pavilions which overlook 18th green and tee box 3 for sponsors guests and catering supplies and for spectators to walk along hole 3 to 4. So there is non-stop movement of people, buggies (for TV camera crew/photographers, VIP's, tour staff, rules officials, water distribution, umbrella girls etc etc ) trolleys which have to be held still/kept quiet whilst players are teeing off.  This involves the constant e use of the Quiet sign  and the occasional loud command  "Stand Still please" or "Quiet please" in order that the players are not distracted by movement or noise whilst on  the tee.  Generally spectators, catering staff, sponsors guests are  cooperative and I had help from some of the security guards and event police stationed at the entrances to the pavilions and the kitchens . For the  guards and event police (who are majority non-golfers), I developed a hand signal ( 3 fingers/2 finger/1 finger) to keep them informed of how many players left to tee off so they know  how long to hold back/keep quiet the  catering staff, sponsors guests which worked very well.   The bosses of the security and catering were very co-operative in keeping their staff informed of the requirements.

In between waiting for flights to arrive on the hole (ten minute intervals), there are always questions asked by spectators/guests to answered  eg where is player so and so, where is hole so and so, where can I find .... and for a chat up with personal friends who are attending.   I learned from early experience, essential to mark off on the days list of play which flights have gone through the hole you are stationed and the approx timing.  Luckily English is the common language, since there are many spectators/guests from Japan, Korea, Thailand supporting their national players. To add diversion for me there were also, daily passing by were  the Maybank umbrella girls, Carlsberg promoters with huge but empty bottles strapped to their backs and two Emirates lovely ladies on their way to the sponsors pavilion.

Days 1 and 2 are when the full field of 52 flights  (156 players) are split between hole #1 and 10  and morning and afternoon sessions, so the static marshals are on duty until the last flight goes through. A long day from 7:40am through to after 4 pm.  The plans for volunteers only having to a morning or afternoon shift were disrupted because of a number of no-show volunteers and  on Friday for Muslim volunteers to attend   the midday  prayers. 

Days 3 & 4 are shorter because the field is cut to 26 flights and just a morning tee off from  holes #1 and 10 but still a long day when 4 and half hour rounds are normal, sometime longer because of wayward shots and rules interpretations, often with second opinions by the rule referees being called for by the players  .

At the prize giving, all volunteers are invited  onto the 18th green for a group photo with the winner.

All in all, a long but enjoyable four days in the fresh air under the sun made very bearable with an  unusual breeze/wind on Saturday and Sunday


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