By Amanda Herrington (@AJGAAmanda), AJGA Communications
We usually use tournament blogs to showcase the tournament experience for the players, but what about the staff experience – especially when it’s an experience that includes delicious food, visits to college stadiums, games and pranks.
The PING Invitational is a staff favorite event.
The food during The PING Invitational is second to none. Prior to the tournament, the staff takes advantage of the spacious kitchen at our home for the week, Boone Pickens lodge – and advantage of the AJGA’s resident culinary expert.
What many people don’t know about Vice President of Tournament Operations Andrew Greenfield is that he is an excellent chef – staff members frequently have food envy when his leftovers show up in the office kitchen.
Each year he prepares meals for the staff – on Tuesday night it’s fajitas and on Wednesday it’s everyone’s favorite – chicken parm.
PING Invitational Tournament Director Jeremy Freyman also earns his keep – making his award-winning chili (voted by the staff, of course).
While it’s nice for AJGA staff to enjoy home-cooked meals while traveling, the kitchen at Karsten Creek impresses every year. Just follow their daily special tweets for a taste of the chef creations. From Asian to Mexican cuisine, lunchtime at Karsten Creek is a highlight for AJGA staff.
And you can’t come to Stillwater, Oklahoma, without a delicious meal from Eskimo Joe’s. Staff, tournament participants and families enjoyed an Eskimo Joe’s-catered welcome dinner – highlighted by the delicious pork and perfectly roasted potatoes.
The Welcome Reception at The PING Invitational takes tournament participants to Oklahoma State University’s athletic facilities. Players warmed up on the basketball court at Gallagher-Iba Arena, then ventured into Boone Pickens Stadium for touchdown passes and field goals.
Each year AJGA staff members prove why we run golf tournaments and don’t play in the NFL. But, get us on that 50-yard line, and our shockingly bad but effortlessly entertaining athletic ability comes out. (Just check out my moment of glory below).
AJGA events take us to some of the greatest golf venues in the nation where we meet the greatest people. The staff members at Karsten Creek are phenomenal. From the F&B crew who is always smiling, to Superintendent of the Year Travis Levings, who completely embraces the operations staff, the people of Karsten Creek are the biggest reason AJGA staff looks forward to returning.
Ringleader of the fun is head golf professional Rob Land. Rob goes above and beyond to create an incredible tournament experience for the field – and for the staff.
This year he wore many hats, including video producer. Rob piloted the drone which captured this awesome Instagram video.
But when his GoPro wasn’t soaring thousands of feet above Karsten Creek, he was using it for other purposes…. like scaring communications staff to death.
Communications Manager Stephanie Dittmer (@AJGADittmer) is notoriously known for her fear of snakes. Watch what happens when you combine a rain delay, a hidden camera and a fake snake.
With 100 plus tournaments on the annual schedule, traveling takes a toll on AJGA staff members. But, when you get to go to Oklahoma and spend a week at Karsten Creek, the early alarms and late nights are well worth it.