MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Long before the pros “tee up” and play in the FedEx St. Jude Championship, volunteers by the hundreds already know their assignments for the week and are as anxious as the players to get the show on the road.
Hundreds of volunteers are each doing their job to make the championship run smoothly, and they are as much a part of the FedEx St. Jude Championship as the golfers.
“We have 1,570 volunteers this year which is one of our highest numbers since the pandemic,” said Annie Paris, Volunteer Coordinator.
Weeks before “tee off” more than 300 volunteers attended the briefing to get their assignments.
“Some of these volunteer jobs are tough. I mean it’s long days, hot days, doing things that frankly I would not want to do,” said Paris.
But volunteers get it done with smiles on their faces, and for some, many years of experience.
Paris says that one volunteer had spent the last 63 years volunteering for the FedEx St. Jude Championship, 2022 being their last year. Another has been volunteering for 55 years as of this year.
Paris says there is always room for new volunteers.
“I been wanting to do it for the longest and one of my co-workers did it last year and I told her to give me the information this year, so here I am, ready to volunteer,” said Darrell Wright, first time volunteer.
Wright will be holding one of those “HUSH YA’LL” placards on the course.
There are more than 350 volunteers who come from fifty-plus miles away for the event. One of them is Pam Urfer from Hendersonville, Tenn.
“About five years ago I started volunteering. I retired from AT&T and I said I wanted to give back my time and one of my friends had been asking me for years to come and do it,” said Urfer.
Urfer is with the Spectator Access Committee that escorts players from the clubhouse to the course, a spot where a lot of fans gather for autographs.
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She says volunteering is demanding, especially during Memphis’ grueling summer temperatures.
“When you’re out there, I try not to think about the heat even though I know it’s hot and you’re just sweating. It’s not perspiring, it’s sweating,” said Urfer.
While she’s made countless friends and had the chance to see some of golfing’s great names, Urfer says she never loses site of why she volunteers – St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“I’ve had friends that have had children that went there and I just want to give back, give back my time,” said Urfer.