What I learned from travelling to Mexico to volunteer for the PGA TOUR

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PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 11: Whee Kim of South Korea and Matt Kuchar of the United States walk to the seventh tee during the final round of the Mayakoba Golf Classic at El Camaleon Mayakoba Golf Course on November 11, 2018 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Written by: Bob McArthur
Scoring Chair, RBC Canadian Open
Senior Manager of Payment Security, RBC
Instagram: @JustBob1965

As I looked out the window of my return flight to Canada, I wondered how I ended up scoring Sunday’s final group with Matt Kuchar at the Mayakoba Classic over 2500 kilometres away.

Starting over 10 years ago, I began volunteering to help out with the RBC Canadian Open. I have volunteered in many difference capacities, including: running ticket sales, helping patrons with directions, and scoring the tournament. The “work” (as most would call it) requires extremely long hours. Getting to the course before sunrise and leaving well after sunset each day in the summer is to be expected. I can honestly say that it doesn’t feel like work to me—not when you are doing something you love so much. Sure, sometimes negative and unforeseen events happen (like when the rain gods decide to interrupt well-laid plans). However, it has been a thrill to face adversity and challenges with my fellow volunteers, only to come out the other side. The connections over the years have created experiences all priceless to me—especially when it comes to friendships.

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David Park, Bob McArthur, Brian Evison, Lori DeCecco

My volunteer experience also includes the Toronto Pan American Games, World Junior Championships along with the Invictus Games—all of which were amazing experiences. I got to meet some incredible people at the Invictus Games, including a chance meeting with Prince Harry!

All of the previous experiences led to an open invite to Mexico to help with the Mayakoba Golf Classic over the past three years. This year, myself and three friends finally booked our trips and committed to going down. All of us volunteer with the RBC Canadian Open, including fellow RBC employee Lori DeCecco (Vice-Chair, Scoring).

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Bob McArthur, Lori DeCecco, David Park, Adam Hadwin

From the picturesque location, excellent weather and laid-back atmosphere, the Mayakoba Classic was fantastic. For us volunteers, we were able to experience all of this plus so much more. There were snakes, iguanas and birds everywhere! In the past, some have seen monkeys but they were hiding from me this year. You got to experience the thrill of watching amazing golfers plus the bonus of all the added perks of being in such an exotic location. Being up close to the players and watching them land shots within 10 feet from 200 yards out never gets old.

The tournament itself gives so much back to the community by including people in the event that would never really have the opportunity to do. The tournament is a bit smaller than many on TOUR, which affords it the opportunity to do some good things—like bringing in students to learn about golf and having them participate as standard bearers or giving people a thrill to be up close and personal to famous golf players.

In the evenings we were able to enjoy the nightlife in Playa Del Carmen. The volunteers and some of the caddies would hang out at some of the local restaurants and pubs along 5th avenue. We had full days between being at the course before the sun came up, to having celebrations in the late evenings with old and newfound friends.

Back to the highlight of my experience: being asked to be a scorer for the final group on Sunday with RBC sponsored player Matt Kuchar. On the Friday evening, David Sanchez Garcia, the vice-chair walking scorer, approached me and asked if I would like to score the final group. My first response was almost “DUHHH, OF COURSE” but instead happily agreed while doing backflips internally. Maybe I was asked because of my past volunteer work and organizing, maybe it was because we brought in team of experience volunteers, maybe it was because I have the RBC connection with Matt Kuchar as a RBC employee or maybe it was a combination of everything. Whatever the reasoning, I can’t express by biggest gratitude for selecting myself and how big of a thrill it was creating a memory that I will hold dear for the rest of my life.

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I don’t think PGA TOUR events would be as successful if it wasn’t for the tireless volunteers who provide their time and support. The bonds you make being part of this, coupled with the experiences are again, priceless. Now after our experience my friends and I are asking ourselves why we didn’t do this sooner. Hopefully this becomes a tradition with more friends and new friends joining us. You might just be amazed at how rewarding and fun this can be.

I’m just a simple volunteer—just Bob. But I can tell you honestly that these experiences and friendships gained have been amazing.

Next up, the 2019 RBC Canadian Open in Hamilton, Ont., from June 3-9.

Come out & consider volunteering.

Click here to register as a volunteer for the RBC Canadian Open.