Youth golfers get firsthand experience working at the RBC Heritage

Published: Apr. 13, 2023 at 5:23 PM EDT
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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WTOC) - A lot of families are at the RBC Heritage this year, with a lot of kids all over the golf course.

Some are trying to get autographs, some are cheering good shots and some local youngsters are here working, watching, and learning.

The Heritage is a working holiday for some kids who don’t even have jobs yet.

“Oh yeah, they are running back and forth all the time. They get here at dark 30. They get here before sunlight,” said Joe Farrell, the driving range volunteer manager.

Junior golfers are putting in time on the driving range at Harbour Town this week, not hitting shots but making them possible by keeping the PGA Tour pros in the field set up with practice balls at all times of the day.

“It’s great to come out and help the players and see how they play, see how they practice. It’s a great experience,” driving range volunteer Chan Lee said.

And helpful for kids who might hope to emulate the players they are watching someday.

The high schoolers working the range are students at the area’s golf academies. They spend their school day immersed in golf and this week they are spending their Spring Break at the course as well - just not playing.

“They’re working up and down the line here on the practice tee. They’re picking up the bags and scooping up the shag balls that get hit. They’re raking practice traps, washing balls, and separating them by make and model and they’re doing a great job for us.”

And they are getting to see the game at the highest level - up close, in a different way than they ever have before.

“You feel like you’re training and developing your skills just watching them.”

“They’re not just following them around the golf course, which is nice too. But they’re seeing a lot of good players, elbow-to-elbow here, hitting balls off the tee, shaping balls off the practice tee one after the other. No 15-minute wait in between threesomes. They’re getting a lot of golf shots here.”

Another perk of the job for those young golfers is they will get a chance to come out and play Harbour Town after the tournament. They are as excited about that as they are to see the pros this week.