COLUMN: Volunteers make the RTO go | NevadaAppeal.com
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COLUMN: Volunteers make the RTO go

Darrell Moody

When you put on an event like the Reno-Tahoe Open, it can only be successful as the volunteers who are working the event.

Approximately 800 Northern Nevada residents gave up their time this week to lend a hand to one of the summer’s premiere events.

Patty Cooke and Ron Pacheco, both of Carson City, said they have enjoyed their experience immensely.

This is Pacheco’s first year volunteering. I caught him munching an Awful Awful burger before starting his shift on Friday afternoon.

Pacheco, a sports enthusiast, carried a scoring sign each day. He was responsible for updating the scores each hole as needed, and he would work hand-in-hand with the scorer who accompanied the group.

It may not sound like much , but walking a hilly course like Montreux is no easy task. Montreux has plenty of elevation change, probably more than any other PGA course.

“It’s a lot of walking,” said Pacheco, who worked two Pro-Am days and half of the 72-hole portion of the tournament. “The first day you are huffing and puffing. By the fourth day, you are used to it.

“We don’t have a lot of interaction with the players (during the competition rounds). We stand about 10 yards away usually. If they lose a ball, you help try to find it. During the pro-am, the pros talk to you a lot more. Usually at the end of a round they will autograph a golf ball for you.”

Pacheco said he’s considering coming back next year.

“I’d do it again,” he said. “A friend of mine turned me on to it. I didn’t even know about it. I wonder if they publicize it well enough.

“They treat the volunteers really well here. There is always plenty of food and water, and they have a party for us.”

This is Cooke’s fourth year volunteering at the RTO, and she is in a new role this year. Her husband, John Benkert also volunteers.

Cooke has gone from being a marshal to being a laser operator. She said it didn’t take much training for her new job.

“I like doing laser a little more than marshaling,” Cooke said. “It’s been fun; a good experience.

“You measure how far the drive went (if you’re on the fairway). On the greens, you measure each putt.”

Every tee shot and every putt for every player is tracked throughout the round. The information is part of the Shot Link technology which helps the tournament officials, media and fans alike follow the progress of every golfer during the four-day event.

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If you don’t have anything planned for today, come on out to Montreux Golf & Country Club and support a great local event for adults and children alike.

The KNPB Kidz Par-Tee Zone, presented by Institutional cash Distributors opens at 9 a.m. There are hands-on building workshops thanks to Home Depot and a coloring contest sponsored by Scolari’s. There is a bounce house and a putting green and more.

For the adults, the annual Reno-Tahoe Open Beringer Wine Walk starts at 9 a.m. For $20, can go to the Hump which is presented by Champion Chevrolet. Located at the intersection of Nos. 11 and 17, fans can watch the action on flat-screen TVs and experience top-shelf selections in a private lounge.

There is something for even the casual golf fan. Good golf and good food. It’s a great combination.