By Noël Couch, Communications Intern
Golf is a sport of mind, body, and soul. Players must keep steadfast focus through 18 holes of play and several days of a tournament. They’re required to fire their arm, leg, and core muscles simultaneously in order to hit the ideal shot. And passion, enthusiasm, and dedication are certainly a must.
A spectator can watch the game and acknowledge players hitting a great shot or making a long putt, but it’s the small, detail-oriented aspects of the sport that make the difference between a good player and a great player. The AJGA hosts many juniors who devote their mind, bodies, and souls to becoming great golfers. The AJGA also has many volunteers who devote their mind, bodies, and souls to making the junior tournaments great. Just as the association is proud of its great juniors, it is also prides itself on the many great volunteers it has at each of its tournaments.
“Unbelievable. Non-stop. A terrific lady.” Those are a few words volunteer Brian Guifoyle used to describe Volunteer Chairman Josie Whisnant. “She’s about as energetic as you can find,” Guifoyle added.
Josie is no rookie to coordinating volunteers. She started her career in the 1990s with the Oregon Open. She went on to work several other golf tournaments, including the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Championships, two PGA tournaments, the Seniors Tradition Championship at Crosswater, and the Ladies Public Links Championship, and the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, just to name a few. Josie recalls coordinating the Ladies Public Links Championship the year Michelle Wie played in the event.
“She was twelve years old and she wore a men’s size nine shoe!” Whisnant said.
As volunteer coordinator, Josie says her favorite part is being with the volunteers.
“I take pride in the fact that they do a good job,” she said. “I have worked with some of them for 20 years.”
The dual tournament format of the Sunriver Junior All-Star and Sunriver Junior Open on the Meadows Course requires many volunteers in order to function efficiently. It takes a person paying exceptional attention to detail in order to organize, communicate with, and train volunteers for an event of this size.
Whisnant also emphasized the importance of taking care of each of them during the events. Josie is always the first one to arrive on-site and the last one to leave. Donn Wassom, who volunteered at the AJGA tournaments in Sunriver, described Josie as humble.
“She’s terrific, organized, and can probably do this in her sleep,” Wassom said. “She’s not afraid to ask for help.”
That is just the personality needed to run an efficient tournament. Her husband Gene knows what it takes, too, and he knows just how much time and energy his wife dedicates to each event.
“I’m her left-hand man,” Gene Whisnant said. “She’s dedicated, hard-working, and enjoys coordinating the tournaments, especially AJGA. She is great at taking care of the volunteers.”
From an outsider’s perspective, the Sunriver Junior Open and Sunriver Junior All-Star ran smoothly, making the work appear almost effortless for the AJGA. However, the outside spectator doesn’t see the long hours and endless effort that Josie puts into an event.
It is passion, enthusiasm, and dedication that Josie and the volunteers show for their work that made the AJGA tournaments at Sunriver not just possible, but some of the best-run tournaments in the nation.