Volunteers for the US Women’s Open fly in from across the world

Published: May. 31, 2019 at 7:43 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - 1700 volunteers are in Charleston keeping the 74th U.S. Women’s Open Championship running smoothly.

Another 200 people are on the waiting list hoping to get their feet on the course. They help with selling merchandise, watching the holes to help make calls, and putting up names on the leader boards.

Every volunteer Live 5 News talked to says they are giving up their time doing other things to volunteer at the tournament for one reason. They say they love the game of golf and everything that comes with it.

Several of the volunteers are from across the United States, and even from all over the world. The worldwide lineup consists of volunteers from Australia, Sweden, Canada, United Kingdom, and more.

“We have people from 45 states and five countries,” said Eric Mills, the championship coordinator.

A map in the volunteer tent has pins placed in every city and country to track where the volunteers have traveled here from. Claire Cook and Kevin Nolan from Melbourne Australia even made their own spot on that map.

They say they’ve been looking forward to this trip for months.

“Claire is a little sneaky. She organized this as my Christmas present, to fly here to volunteer,” Nolan says.

He says the 32-hour travel time was absolutely worth every minute since they get to spend time watching their favorite sport at a professional level.

“It’s not that far. You get on the plane, watch a couple movies, have a couple drinks, get some sleep and you’re here,” Nolan says.

Another volunteer comes from the Palmetto State. The Columbia native says she played in this tournament 20 years ago.

“This is the holy grail of women’s golf tournaments,” said Clarissa Chiles, a volunteer.

Chiles says although she’s not here to play this time around, she’s still thrilled to be here.

“It’s an honor to be inside the ropes close to the players. Most people don’t get that experience,” Chiles says.

Tournament officials say they’ve never had a volunteer roster fill up as fast as the one for this Charleston tournament. They say the southern hospitality is just another reason why they love hosting in the Lowcountry.

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