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Arriving at the course at 3:30 every morning during the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic is no big deal to Carl Hovey. He s only been doing it for 23 years now.
Hovey, 77, is the director of course refreshments for the LPGA tournament and it s his job to keep everyone hydrated during those hot summer days at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania.
I start my day out checking all the water entries, everything we have that needs bottled water or gallons of water, said Hovey, who has worked every Farr Classic except the first one. We put out two 10-gallon coolers on every tee. It isn t uncommon some days to move five or six tons of water and ice.
Hovey arrives at Highland Meadows well before dawn when there s barely a soul at the course, let alone out and about.
Trekking with only the moon and a flashlight as his guide, Hovey drives around the course in his golf cart distributing all the water and ice needed to start the day.
There s nobody here except the night guards, Hovey said. I ve been doing this for all these years, [so] they know I m coming.
It s not tough. It s just a matter of getting up on time. Every job s only as tough as you make it.
Hovey s job is as essential as any other job on the course, and his average work day usually lasts more than 12 hours.
The ice is delivered in huge semi-trailers well before dawn, while Pepsi trucks bring the water.
The work goes on from there.
It s got to be ready before anything starts in the morning, Hovey said. I can get more done between 4 to 7 a.m. than I can between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. I pretty much stay until the last golfer leaves.
His two assistants arrive at 7 in the morning, and their team controls four golf carts for water and ice distribution.
Hovey is known as Aqua Leader on the radio.
Sometimes you get this 95-96-97 [degree] weather when the water goes faster than you can hang onto it, said Hovey, who grew up in Sylvania but now resides in Lambertville. Those are tough days.
Hovey has met countless different golfers during his time with the Farr, but one in particular stands out in his mind.
My all-time favorite golfer is Nancy Lopez, Hovey said. She s the most gracious lady I ve ever met, outside of my wife, of course.
Hovey said he s not sure when he ll give up his job, but don t count on seeing himwandering outside the ropes as a patron when the time comes.
Probably a couple more years, said Hovey, who has owned a laundry equipment business for the last 20 years. We ll have to see. If I came as a fan, I couldn t stand it.
Even though his alarm clock sounds when most people are asleep, Hovey doesn t mind it.
In fact, he loves every minute of it.
I wouldn t trade this for anything, he said. I get to meet all the people, everybody. I get involved with all kinds of people and I get to learn a lot of things from a lot of people. It s a joy to be an asset to the tournament.
Zach Silka, Maureen Fulton