Michael and Linda Lacombe of Lewiston onthe eighth tee box at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts, where they were hole marshals during the Dell Technologies Championship over Labor Day weekend. (Submitted photo)
Michael and Lisa Lacombe love all aspects of golf.
When they went down to the National Golf Expo in Boston this past spring they saw a booth. They checked it out and it was for volunteer signups for the PGA Tour’s Dell Technologies Championship — the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs over Labor Day weekend, played just outside the city.
They said, “Why not?” and went through the sign-up process, which included ordering the uniforms that volunteers wear during the tournament. Then they attended a training day in early August.
“It was a half-day of training where they explained everything we were suppose to do and what was expected of us,” Michael Lacombe said. “Basically, there were several different jobs, if you will, that you could apply for. You could (be) a hole marshall, you could do shotlink (tracking golfers shots), you could do media services, you could sign up (to transport) the pros back and forth with a cart to certain holes. There are several different committees, and it’s amazing the amount of work that goes into one of these tournaments.”
The Lacombes and other volunteers also were able to see how the grounds crew takes care of the greens: how golf balls are dropped to measure the depth of the mark they leave to make sure they’re consistent, how the Stimpmeter is used to measure the speed of the greens, and how holes are cut from one day to the next day.
During the tournament, the Lewiston couple were hole marshals on the par-3 eighth hole on Saturday and Sunday, the second and third rounds (Dell Technologies is a Friday-through-Monday tournament compared to the traditional Thursday-through-Sunday). Their duties included making sure the gallery was quiet when the players addressed the ball and hit their shots.
On Saturday they were posted near the green, and on Sunday they were at the tee box.
During the training, the volunteers were told to be prepared when Tiger Woods rolls through because of a mass of humanity will be following behind, especially since he was teeing it up at the TPC Boston for the first time in five years.
“What’s crazy, they warned us at training that you could have 25,000 people at the tournament and 24,000 are following Tiger,” Linda Lacombe said. “It’s unbelievable the amount of people follow him. It was crazy.”
Michael found a new respect for Tiger and his playing partners.
“It’s the media coverage, too. I mean when he comes through, the entourage that comes through with him as far as media people is unbelievable,” Michael said. “You kind of develop a new level of respect for him, if you will, and the people that play with him because the crowd and comments, the (gallery) moving around. He and whoever his partners are play under entirely different conditions then any other player on that golf course.”
There was incident Sunday as a couple members of the gallery were harassing Webb Simpson, and finally on the 18th hole his caddie confronted them and police escorted them off the property.
The Lacombes didn’t notice anything particular pointed at Webb Simpson, but they said there were a few bad apples in the gallery being rude and making comments when players were taking their shots. They chalk that up to the liquid courage some gallery members had.
Linda’s favorite moment of the weekend was when her husband had an ingenious way to make young fans’ day on Sunday when they were patrolling the tee box.
“The kids are in awe of these pro players, and they were watching and you could see the looks on their faces that they were watching these pros,” Linda said. “Mike decided that these pros would hit and they would leave their tees behind. …They would walk away and after they would hit, he started picking up the tees and handed them out to the kids. They thought it was Christmas, it was unbelievable. To me, that was the best part, to see these kids’ faces.”
Michael favorite enjoyed meeting new friends and meeting the defending Masters champion, Patrick Reed, who showed up at the volunteer party Sunday night to thank all the volunteers for their time.
The PGA Tour is changing its schedule next season to make sure the season ends before the NFL’s season begins, so the Dell Technologies is being eliminated as the FedEx Cup playoffs goes from four tournaments to three. The Lacombes will travel down to Jersey City, New Jersey, for the Northern Trust Open to volunteer next year. The Northern Trust will alternate each year between the New Jersey/New York City area and TPC Boston. They also hope to be volunteering at TPC Boston in 2020.
“I don’t know if I have anything necessarily as a favorite (moment) other than the whole experience itself,” Michael said. “We are definitely going to continue every year as long as we can.”
Michael and Linda Lacombe of Lewiston, who were hole marshals, stand with Masters champion Patrick Reed, middle, at the volunteers’ party at TPC Boston on Sept. 2 at the Dell Technologies Championship in Norton, Massachusetts. (Submitted photo)
Michael and Linda Lacombe of Lewiston with the FedEx Cup Championship trophy. They were hole marshals for the PGA Tour’s Dell Technologies Championships at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts over Labor Day weekend. (Submitted photo)