MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The KMPG PGA Women’s Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Course is next week and finishing touches are being put on the course, with 1,500 volunteers being called in for training.

Volunteers walk the holes, stopping to learn along the way. Golf enthusiasts are hole marshals for the week, sometimes described as traffic control for crowds. The goal is to keep crowds happy and moving during the tournament.

“It’s letting the patrons have the best experience possible, tell them who’s playing, where the balls are, how to get around the course,” volunteer Fran Page said.

Page volunteered at Hazeltine National during the 2009 PGA Championship and again at the Ryder Cup. She’s back this year with her Keller Women’s Golf Club.

“It’s just fun. We get to interact with the patrons, sometimes the players the first couple days. It’s just fun to see these young women play so well,” Page said.

Six-hundred of the 1,500 volunteers are hole marshals. Ninety percent are from Minnesota, the rest represent 23 states. And the process started more than a year ago.

“We absolutely could not do this without volunteers. They play such a huge role in what we do, they’re really the heart and soul of this event,” Manager of Volunteer Operations Eric Wilkinson said.

Hazeltine member Mark Jenkins says volunteering goes with being part of the golf club.

“It wasn’t a matter of wanting to, it was we need to, a good part of our mission statement,” Jenkins said.

He and the other volunteers are armed with tips to ensure things go smoothly.

“I learned that people need to pay attention when they’re out on the holes, watch the balls and don’t get on your cell phone,” Jenkins said.

Training continues Friday evening and throughout the weekend. Practice rounds begin Tuesday with tournament play going Thursday through Sunday. Click here for ticket information.

Jennifer Mayerle