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Mar 31, 2024

It’s the People!

Celebrate Hilton Head Magazine

Photography By

M.Kat
Celebrating volunteers of the RBC Heritage

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Some people might tell you that the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing represents our community because it shares the beauty of our home with a worldwide audience every year. Some might point to the rich traditions of the tournament as the strongest testament to the way it has encapsulated the Lowcountry.

These people aren’t wrong, but generally they fail to mention the single greatest reason why the Heritage is our tournament – why we embrace it and make it our own in the way that no one else does. It’s the people.

Since the first iteration of the Heritage in 1969, when a starry-eyed dreamer named Charles Fraser brought a community together to help his fledgling tournament fly, it has been the people of the Lowcountry who have kept it going. Volunteering for the tournament isn’t just a way to “give back.” It’s a way to be a part of the story.

In this way, Fraser built this tournament from the ground up to belong to the people of Hilton Head Island. Sure, we spend a week sharing it with a few thousand visitors and a global audience of millions. But it’s ours. And that’s why volunteers like these locals show up year after year to add their own chapter to the story of the Heritage.

 

Natalie Usher, Volunteer role: Hospitality, Years volunteering: 7

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? It’s the biggest event on the island all year and it’s in my home plantation, within walking distance from my house. When I moved here, it was the best way for me to meet new people. Now that I understand more about what Heritage is, I keep volunteering because I love the Heritage spirit and the joy it brings to so many! It’s a great way to give back to the community and witness great golf. If you want to enjoy Heritage in a more behind the scenes role and have the most fun while doing it, I highly recommend volunteering! 

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? Every position that I’ve volunteered in has been my favorite for that year. For three years, I volunteered in the 18th green sky box, two years in the shotlink position, and one year I was a marquee sign ambassador. I have loved every role I’ve played because you cannot go wrong. I have Heritage to thank for keeping me up and moving. After walking the course as a marquee ambassador, I have walked more than 5 miles daily and loved every step.  

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? I’m not a golfer so I don’t have a favorite based on their golf game, but in my year as a marquee ambassador, I got to follow Stewart Cink as he won the RBC Heritage in 2021. He won my heart with his family values and genuine spirit. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him play and win with his son as his caddy. Witnessing their relationship both professionally and as a family was special to see. He exuded family values even when his head was in the game, and that’s what Heritage is all about – family fun and beautiful golf. 

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? My story happened when I volunteered in the 18th green sky box. A woman showed up in a golf cart without credentials. I was pulled by my supervisor to escort her up to the RBC suite and play host to her. She introduced herself to me as Mary Fraser and you would have thought I was meeting Taylor Swift. I was in awe of her stories and presence, as I was in the presence of Hilton Head royalty! I was consumed by every word as we made conversation throughout lunch. She asked where I lived in Sea Pines and she lit up when hearing my address. In her sweet Southern accent she told me, “I have dined in your backyard.” She proceeded to tell me how the builder of my house, Donald O’Quinn, and her husband were best friends and they hosted the very first Heritage Oyster Roast 50 years ago in my backyard, with many other notable attendants including Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas. She made my day by sharing such an incredible story about the house that I had just moved into. I happily repeat this story to anyone who will listen. 

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? I think you should rock your plaid 24/7 every day that week. I go grocery shopping in my plaid, I’ve been known to attend church in my plaid, and I believe the Heritage spirit is all week long! 

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? I am not a golfer. I like to refer to myself as a “Heritage enthusiast.” My children cringe when I call myself an RBC groupie. Thankfully, I have learned a lot about golf throughout my years of volunteering and have an appreciation of the sport as a spectator.

 

Hannah Reinmuth, Volunteer role: Courier, Years volunteering: 6

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? My husband and I joined together and he soon became a red coat.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? I started with him in traffic.

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? Jim Furyk – he’s been so good for so long.  

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? I got to drive Graeme McDowell and his family the year he won, and Jordan Spieth the year he won the Masters – both such really nice men.

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? Every day!

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? No, but I live on a Sea Pines course.

Cindy Rush, Volunteer role: Hospitality Ambassador, Years volunteering: 5

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? I follow some golf on TV and had been to other tournaments, so I thought it would be fun to participate at the RBC Heritage.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? I have been a Hospitality Ambassador each year, but the role can change a bit or the area you work can be different, too.

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? Jorden Speith, because he’s great with the kids that come to watch and he seems like a very nice person.

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? The opening ceremonies and the cannon firing are a great experience!

Is it ok to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? You can wear it every day, but you can go over the top on Saturday! It’s fun to see patrons get their plaid on for Saturday!

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? I haven’t played in a long time, but I love riding around on any course. They’re always so beautiful!

Denise Kuspis, Volunteer role: Hospitality Ambassador, Years volunteering: 5

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? Throughout my life, I have always tried to volunteer in the community where I lived. When I moved to Hilton Head 6 years ago, I found out about the RBC, its mission of giving back to the island, and the volunteering positions available. I knew I had to participate. I have always enjoyed my time volunteering for this tournament.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? I have always been a Hospitality Ambassador. I enjoy my interactions with the tournament visitors. I love working with the people who volunteer as Hospitality Ambassadors. All are energetic “people persons” who really make the volunteer time a pleasure..  

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? Although I didn’t follow golf prior to moving to Hilton Head, I would like to meet Tommy Fleetwood. The first year I volunteered, I observed how wonderful he was with the fans, especially the kids. Since then, I have always cheered for him in the tournaments he played.

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? I had the opportunity to walk on the 18th hole with the dignitaries and volunteers last year for the opening ceremony. It was a treat to be able to participate.

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? I like the idea of one special day of the tournament dedicated to everyone wearing plaid. It is really enjoyable to see the ensembles that people create.

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? I don’t golf, but now I do like watching others play.

Susan Wehrmaker, Volunteer role: Vice-Chair, Volunteer Tent & Uniforms, Years volunteering: 14

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? When I saw how much my husband, George, who is now Vice-Chair of the back nine, enjoyed being a part of the Heritage, I knew I wanted to participate as well.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? Sometimes you get lucky! I was assigned to the Volunteer Tent my first year and it was a perfect fit for me. It is a joy to meet and assist many of the 1,500-plus volunteers who come into the tent during the Heritage.

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? Tiger Woods! I followed him when he won The Farmers Insurance Open at Tory Pines in 2013. He was more incredible in person than on TV.

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? Since I am inside the tent, I don’t get to see much of the golf itself. I try not to miss the Boeing Flyover which is one of the events that make the Heritage such fun. There is a bad memorable moment that I pray never happens again: One morning at 6 a.m., when I was opening the tent for the day, none of the coffee machines were working. You do NOT want to tell scores of volunteers there will be no coffee.

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? Of course, you should wear your plaid any day but it is a MUST on Saturday!

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? As a very casual golfer I play as much to enjoy my surroundings as the game itself. Two of my favorites are the Robert Trent Jones course in Palmetto Dunes and Old South in Bluffton.

Charlotte Rayburn, Volunteer role: Caddy Operations, Years volunteering: First time volunteer

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? I grew up on the island, and Heritage has always been a part of my world. I remember babysitting for Greg Norman as a teenager. I’ve attended every Heritage since my husband and I moved back home in 2014 but I really thought I’d like to do something useful for the tournament. Plus, I really respect Martha Stichweh, who is in charge of caddy ops, so I wanted to work for her.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? This is my first time volunteering for Heritage. 

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? I love Jordan Spieth. I really enjoy watching him play, first of all. But it meant a lot that he came down and played here after winning the Masters. So many players used to kind of blow off coming to Hilton Head after the pressure of the Masters. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for him for that alone.

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? In 2015, my father and I went to the tournament together specifically for the Boeing 787 flyover. He was a military and commercial airline pilot and I am a commercial airline pilot. So it meant a lot to go watch the flyover together.

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? Well, I’m biased as I also am a big Scottish rugby supporter, so I say plaid every day!

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? I have had to give up golf, but I used to be a bad-to-truly-terrible golfer, depending on the day. But I always enjoyed it. And any course was great as long as I had good company.

Cat Garner, Volunteer role: Co-Captain, Hole 3 Gallery Management, Years volunteering: 9

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? I had volunteered at the BMW Championship when I was in Chicago and, when we moved down here, I wanted to continuing volunteering at a golf tourney and was able to sign up for the Heritage.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? In other tournaments, I was a walking scorer which I liked very much, but being a co-captain is a cool job. I like being in charge. 

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? The most memorable was while working the Wednesday Pro Am when an AM hit a spectator and then the ball ricocheted off her and hit another spectator. Needed to get the Biker EMTs to the scene. The flyover of the Boeing jet is always a sight as well.  

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? I think every day should be a plaid day, because not everyone goes on Saturday and they want to be part of Plaid Nation too.  

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? I am a golfer; I run a ladies’ league at Hilton Head Lakes in Hardeeville.  

Steven Fricker, Volunteer role: Ambassador, Years volunteering: 2

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? I attended the tournament as a spectator for several years prior to living on Hilton Head Island. I was always impressed with the quality of the event.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? Started last year as an Ambassador in the Calibogue Club venues on the 8th and 15th. This year, I will be a hole captain with the Ambassadors.

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? Jordan Spieth. I love his attitude and his personal lifestyle. He’s a family man, young, bright, and has high integrity with the game.

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? Watching the playoff last year on the 18th hole.

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? I like the fact that plaid is done on Saturday. It makes that day special.

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? Yes, I’m an 8.5 index and have played since I was 9 years old.  My favorite course is Pebble Beach.

Ed Varcho, Volunteer role: Team Captain, Hospitality Ambassadors, Years volunteering: 13

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? I wanted to serve the community and help provide donations to the various charities in our area.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? Hospitality Ambassador is my favorite because of the interaction with spectators and providers.

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? Jack Nicklaus, because of his various accomplishments as a golfer and golf course designer.   

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? Spending about 15 minutes talking to Jim Nance. 

Is it OK to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? Saturday.Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? Yes, and Rose Hill Golf Course.

Brian Stirrat, Volunteer role: 9th Hole Gallery Management, Years volunteering: 2

What inspired you to become a volunteer for the RBC Heritage? My desire to support the community, join the strong network of volunteers, and highlight our outstanding golfers firsthand.

Have you volunteered in multiple roles? If so, what was your favorite? I haven’t served in any other roles.

Which pro golfer would you really like to meet and why? Jordan Spieth. He has a great attitude toward golf, the fans, and the growth of the game, especially young kids.

Most memorable moment while either attending or volunteering at the RBC Heritage? Sahith Theegala’s compassion toward a volunteer when he hit his tee shot off the volunteer’s head near the 9th green. 

Is it ok to get your plaid on every day or should you save it for Saturday? Why not every day? It’s who we are. 

Are you a golfer and, if so, what’s your favorite course to conquer? I personally love all the golf courses on Hilton Head Island and have played them all. When you play any of our courses, you are playing in paradise!

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