(Nov. 3, 2011) - As the sun faded behind Plantation Clubhouse, the women of Team Georgia reveled in victory-laughing and smiling as they sprayed bottles of champagne, celebrating their USGA Women's State Team Championship (WSTC) win on home soil.
Seamlessly scattered throughout the crowd, the staff and members of The Landings Club proudly watched more than 174 competitors enjoy the Championship, the first national championship hosted by the Club.
This event created a unique opportunity to share that pride with a multitude of strangers who, at the end of the week, left as friends.
One player from North Dakota said, "The volunteers - wow! The spectators were so gracious and warm. The golf course was tough, yet very fair. Every part of the tournament exceeded all of my expectations . I had a great time in Savannah, and look forward to vacationing there in the future!"
Similarly, a player from Colorado commented, ""When my husband retires, we are coming down here!"
With 51 Landings Club host families, 153 players and 21 non-playing captains coming from as far away as Alaska and Puerto Rico, plus 250 volunteers and 62 Landings volunteer caddies, this tournament was no small undertaking. Through the generous support of members and many businesses, based on our current cost estimates, it appears very likely that the championship will be cost-neutral to the Club.
But executing an event like this requires more than money; it requires manpower. Affectionately dubbed the "Pink Army," the pink shirt clad Landings Club member volunteers proudly helped execute the Championship to the delight of spectators and competitors alike.
"On the first day, a Mississippi player had a terrible headache so we [volunteers] helped her get a Coke and some aspirin," said Gerry Molella, volunteer. "On the last day of the Championship she came up to me, gave me a huge hug and thanked me for helping her. Everyone was like that-so appreciative. It was amazing to see. It was so thrilling to see everything come together and to get to interact with the players."
Led by Tournament Co-Chairs Kurt Faxon and Bill Bayfield along with 18 chairs and staff members, this 3-day tournament (October 4-6) was split into 785 volunteer shifts filled by just 250 volunteers-a feat that was flawlessly executed.
"Everyone that I spoke to at the Welcome Dinner was blown away by the hospitality," said Trish Potts, volunteer coordinator. "We heard 'everybody here is just so nice' many times over. They seemed truly astounded by the course conditions, the weather, the people and the organization."
One USGA Rules Committee Member similarly commented, "What a wonderful championship! I want to move to Skidaway Island and be a part of all the fun - the volunteers and staff were #1!"
"We have an excellent reputation for hosting state and regional events and are well respected by the GSGA," said Bill Bayfield, tournament co-chair. "Add to that our plethora of dining facilities, great volunteerism and proximity to Savannah and it's no wonder we were able to make this next step to the national stage!"
Though the size of the tournament was tremendous, the hard work and dedication of the USGA, The Landings Club staff and The Landings Club member volunteers created a raving success.
"One player commented that she didn't talk to one person that had a complaint and for that many women, that was saying something," said Ellen Broce, golf maintenance department assistant. "It was amazing to see everyone so proud of our Club. Everyone I saw was just grinning ear to ear, practically radiating pride."
Additionally, one player commented, "Thanks to - all the volunteers at The Landings [Club] for putting on the best tournament ever! Everything was just first class including the golf course, the food, Clubhouse and all the staff. I think every participant gained a grand appreciation for "southern hospitality" and food - I will never forget my experience at The Landings!"
The affection many players developed for our Club and our members is a clear testament to the hard work of our staff and volunteers.
"To the members of the "Pink Army" I extend my thanks for your tireless and enthusiastic support," said Steven Freund, executive director of The Landings Club. "You continue to amaze me and convince me that there are few (if any) Clubs like ours with a membership as willing to give of their time, talent and energy."
Perfectly complementing Mr. Freund's sentiments, the District of Columbia team said, "Your southern hospitality exceeded all expectations and you anticipated all of our needs and concerns both on and off the golf course - the practice areas and the course were in beautiful condition, and the food and amenities at the Clubhouse could not have been nicer. We know that many months of preparation went into making this a very successful Championship, and we want you to know that we very much appreciate your efforts."
At the end of the championship, the score showed that Georgia won through the strength of their last nine strokes, narrowly beating Texas and Tennessee (tied for second place). But on that night, with the air filled with pride and camaraderie, everyone felt like they won.
About The Landings on Skidaway Island
The Landings is located on Skidaway Island, just 15 minutes from historic Savannah. The debt-free, Homeowner Association-owned community offers homes from $200,000 to $1 million+, and amenities including marinas, golf courses, a tennis center, fitness/wellness center, biking and walking trails, pools, clubhouses, playgrounds, dog park, and more. If you would like more information about The Landings on Skidaway Island, voted “Best Neighborhood to Live In” by readers of Savannah Magazine, call (912) 598-0500, or (800) 841-7011.
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