In 1984, when the first Jamie Farr Classic was staged at the old Glengarry Country Club, Dale and Jean Pittman were enticed by friends to volunteer their services at the event.
This week, the Pittmans will work at their 21st consecutive Farr Classic. That s 21 out of 21.
The Pittmans are two of about 25 volunteers who have been with the Farr every year since it started. The entire volunteer corps for this week s tournament will number more than 1,200.
Dale Pittman has been the chairman of the roving marshals for 18 years. Jean has been in charge of the greens reporters for about a dozen years.
I have to admit that when I started as a greens reporter that first year I didn t have the slightest idea what I was doing, Jean said. But I ve thoroughly enjoyed it through the years.
The greens reporters sit at every green and electronically enter the scores compiled by every LPGA pro on that hole during the course of a round.
We started with walkie-talkies, then went to cell phones, and now we enter the scores, plus other statistics that each group s walking scorer gives us, into a palm pilot, Jean said. That information is fed directly into the electronic scoring system.
Dale heads a crew of roving marshals who walk with certain groups to assist hole marshals with security and crowd control during both the tournament and the pro-am events early in the week.
We help the players and [pro-am] celebrities get from the driving range to the first tee, then from all greens to tees, Dale said. I assign guys to walk mostly with the lead groups that will have the largest crowds following them. But I m in radio contact with the area captains and hole marshals and we ll shift personnel in mid-round if a player gets hot elsewhere on the course and her gallery gets larger.
Dale s name should be more than a little familiar to local football fans. He was the successful head coach at the former De-Vilbiss High School from 1968-74 before becoming the school s athletic director from 1975 through his retirement in 1989.
I hadn t retired yet and had just started to play golf when the Farr began, which made it a little more interesting for me to volunteer, said Dale, who now plays to a 10 handicap at White-ford Valley.
Volunteering must be in the Pittman blood. Jean has been a volunteer at Toledo Hospital for more than 20 years, and Dale joins her three days a week during the winter months, subbing for other volunteer workers when they head south for some warm weather.
We keep busy, Jean said. I enjoy the tournament a lot. The work is interesting and we get to see a lot of golf, too.
IN THE POCKET: Judd Silverman, the Farr Classic s director, calls it the Year of the Quarterback. The leading celebrities slated to join tournament host Jamie Farr this week at Highland Meadows include Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roeth-lisberger, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, and former University of Toledo great Chuck Ealey.
Also, the Beach Boys will entertain at the pre-tournament gala dinner and show sponsored by McDonald Financial Group and Key Bank on Tuesday evening at the SeaGate Centre.
The quarterbacks and Farr will take part in a number of the celebrity events, which include four pro-ams and the Dana Celebrity-LPGA Challenge.
It all kicks off with the Mercy Health Partners/Basement Experts pro-am in a 7:30 a.m. shotgun start tomorrow at Highland Meadows.
Later tomorrow, the Pepsi Junior pro-am, a second-year event featuring top high school girls players, will begin at 1:30.
All but one team in that nine-hole prep tournament will have four amateurs playing with a pro partner. The team from St. Ursula Academy will be an all-amateur unit led by Morgan Pressel, a Farr Classic sponsor exemption from Florida who recently tied for second in the U.S. Women s Open.
With the Meadows reserved mostly for pro practice rounds on Tuesday, the Toledo Edison/Pro Medica Health System pro-am will be staged at Inverness Club with double shotgun starts at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
On tap for Tuesday at Highland Meadows is the Dana Celebrity-LPGA Challenge with six teams of celebs and pros in a six-hole event. Roethlisberger, the Findlay High and Miami University product, will team with friend Natalie Gulbis, but other pairings have not been finalized.
The event will be played over holes 10-14 and No. 18.
The day-long National City Celebrity pro-am will begin Wednesday at 7 a.m. at Highland Meadows.
MONDAY QUALIFIER: Two amateurs have been invited by Farr sponsors to compete in tomorrow s qualifier with a yet-to-be-determined number of LPGA pros.
One of them, Ball State University golfer Julie Harder, who recently won the women s club championship at Highland Meadows, would figure to have something of an advantage.
One problem. The qualifier is being played this year at Stone Oak Country Club, not Highland Meadows.
Julie is the daughter of Dave and Jan Harder, who are Highland Meadows members.
Natalie Storck, a New Zealander who plays for the University of Toledo s golf team, also will attempt to qualify.
Two berths in the Farr Classic will be up for grabs in tomorrow s qualifying tournament.
2005 CHARITIES: The Farr Classic is bearing down on $5 million raised for local children s charities since the event began in 1984.
The tournament s two permanent charities the Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Ohio and the Jamie Farr Scholarship Fund will be joined by six other charities in benefiting from the proceeds of this year s tournament.
They include Sylvania Area Family Services, Feed Lucas County Children, the Old Newsboys, Adopt America Network, Central City Ministries of Toledo, and Family House.
FARR JUNIORS: Christine Suchy of Strongsville, Ohio, and Jordan Fesh from Toledo finished 1-2 in the gold flight of the recent Jamie Farr Classic Junior Girls Amateur held at Detwiler Park.
Suchy won with rounds of 75-74-149 while Fesh, a student at St. Ursula Academy, carded a 77-76-153.
Kaitlyn Van Gunter of Findlay won a playoff for third place against Alyssa Shimel, who plays at Eastwood High, after both finished 36 holes with 155 totals.
Tiffany Tutak of Toledo, a Whitmer High student, won the silver flight with a 82-81-163 total. Julia Hanson of St. Ursula captured the bronze flight with an 18-hole score of 95 and a nine-hole card of 45 for a 140 total. Lisa Kitzler of Toledo finished first among exhibition players (two nine-hole rounds) with a score of 49-48-97.
The top five finishers in all flights of the junior girls event:
Gold Flight: 1. Christine Suchy, Strongsville, Ohio, 75-74-149; 2. Jordan Fesh, Toledo, 77-76-153; T-3. Kaitlyn Van Gunter, Findlay, 75-80-155; Alyssa Shimel, Perrysburg, 75-80-155; T-5. Brittany Lynch, Tiffin, 79-78-157; Angela Sparagowski, Sylvania, 77-80-157.
Silver Flight: 1. Tiffany Tutak, Toledo, 82-81-163; 2. Simone Short, Toledo, 82-84-166; T-3. Rachel Brown, Curtice, 82-87-169; T-3. Sara Porter, Lambertville, Mich., 84-85-169; 5. Kaendall McVicker, Temperance, Mich., 84-86-170.
Bronze Flight: (One 18-hole round, one 9-hole round) 1. Julia Hanson, Toledo, 95-45-140; 2. Julia O Connell, Toledo, 100-46-146; 3. Rebecca Porter, Lambertville, Mich., 100-48-148; 4. Kristin Toth, Perrysburg, 100-51-151; 5. Alex Rossler, Rossford, 103-50-153.