BRINGING THE FUNK: Ron and Jerry Funkhouser help lead Tullymore Classic Volunteer Force
CANADIAN LAKES – From having enough donut holes for volunteers to eat, to having enough people to provide mobile on-course scoring for the Symetra Tour, Ron Funkhouser and his wife Jerry bring the fun and funk, not to mention willingness to work to the Tullymore Classic.
“We are funky and fun,” Jerry said and laughed.
Yes, Jerry is her name spelled the boy way. Long story short, her parents lost a son in World War II, her parents wanted a boy and her father said they would name the baby Jerry. She was born, named Jerry and she is used to explaining it.
“Been doing that about 74 years,” she said.
Jerry is 74 and spunky, quick with explanations, smiles, comments, help and laughter.
Ron, 75, is the quiet golfer type, the one with a deadpan sense of humor and easy aw shucks smile.
They have been married 53 years, have three daughters, six grandchildren and have been team leaders among the volunteers of the Tullymore Classic in each of the three years the tour has visited.
“They are great volunteers, the best,” said Gary Lewandowski, the tournament director and head golf professional at Tullymore said. “We couldn’t do the tournament without all of volunteers, and great Tullymore members like the Funkhousers. It just wouldn’t be possible, and if they were not around, it wouldn’t be as much fun either. They bring great energy and enthusiasm, and that is what it takes.”
The third Tullymore Classic will play out over 54 holes Friday through Sunday with 144 golfers on the “Road to the LPGA” competing over 54-holes for a $100,000 purse. Tickets at $10 are available at the gate.
Jerry said being a volunteer at a golf tournament is hard work, but there are other benefits.
“You know there is an end to it, and it’s really fun to be part of it,” she said. “We talk about going, having a good time, making it a positive experience. It’s good for the club and the community, and in the end we love being involved. It’s not like signing up for life. It’s over on Sunday and you meet a lot of interesting people.”
Ron said they plan ahead, and make sure not to invite family or friends for the Fourth of July weekend.
“We just don’t have company on this weekend,” he said. “We will do it Labor Day or Memorial Day or some other time.”
Ron and Jerry have lived in a house near the No. 17 tee of the St. Ives Golf Club course for 17 years. St. Ives is the other Tullymore Resort course. The 17 years are twice as long as they have ever lived in one house, and the move to Tullymore was the eleventh move they made as a married couple. They last lived in Rochester because Ron worked in finance and materials management for 36 years for General Motors before retiring. Jerry sold real-estate.
“I wanted a view, he wanted a golf course, and we got it,” Jerry said. “We love it here. It’s a great community with really nice people. We help each other. You get sick, somebody brings you soup.”
The Funkhousers work like that as volunteers as well. Lewandowski said they have been like that since he met them.
“Great people,” he said. “You know if you ask them to do something it will get done, and they will take pride in it.”
Ron takes pride in that the Symetra Tour has cited the scorers at Tullymore among the best on tour. He has to recruit 48 to serve the 48 groups for a field of 144 golfers over the first two days of play.
“The first year we did two days of training with our golf pros here playing some holes, and our scorers calling in scores, keeping stats and working the radios,” he said. “Of the 48 we have this year, I would say all but five are returning volunteers. The training has gotten easier, though the recruiting of the new scorers has been a little tougher.”
Jerry takes pride in making sure there are rides, lunches, directions, answers and even donut holes for the 250 volunteers.
“I learned how fast volunteers eat donut holes,” Jerry said. “I had 18 dozen donut holes in two big boxes last year. I put out one box the first day and they were gone just like that. I saved the other box for the second day; put it out, same thing. I called the bakery to get more for the final round, but they had closed at 2 p.m. I didn’t have donut holes at check-in. You should have heard the groaning and complaining. They really wanted those donut holes.”
When there are enough donut holes things run smoothly and the volunteer force is happy. That force, which includes Tullymore Resort residents as well as many residents from the sponsoring Canadian Lakes community, is usually smiling and enjoying rubbing elbows and getting to know the future LPGA stars.
“Everybody is in a good mood,” Jerry said. “Our volunteers like being in this environment of the event, and getting to see and meet the great golfers. We housed golfers the first two years, too, just the sweetest kid, Caroline Powers (now coaching at Michigan State University).”
Ron, who this time of year plays golf three times each week, said they were shocked when over three years ago it was announced professional golf was coming to Tullymore.
“We couldn’t believe they would bring the pros here, but they did and it is great,” he said. “They are great golfers, too, incredible to watch. That’s why I think scoring is the best job. You get to see the golf.”
Jerry likes the jobs where she gets to engage her neighbors, players, anybody.
“I’m a people person,” she said and laughed. “This is fun. I get to help people. I get to talk.”
TICKETS: $10 at the gate. Three-round pass is $18.
VISIT: Visit www.tullymoregolf.com for resort information.
via Greg Johnson