Local volunteers lend an Open hand

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The United States Golf Association has a pair of experienced volunteers in Frank and Bonnie Kinder.

The Kinders, who live in Jackson, play golf regularly at Kimbeland Country Club. They have attended several Professional Golf Association events. And they served as volunteers in October at the PGA's Chrysler Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

They are reprising their volunteer roles -- Frank will assist at the caddie shack, Bonnie at an information tent near the entrance -- this week at the U.S. Senior Open at Bellerive Country Club in the west St. Louis County suburb of Town and Country.

The Kinders are among nine Cape Girardeau-area residents volunteering this week at a tournament being played about 100 miles from their homes.

"We've been going to PGA and LPGA events for years," said Howard Kinder, 75, before reeling off tournaments they've watched in Palm Springs, Calif.; Phoenix and Memphis. "We had seen the volunteers, and we thought it would be a pretty neat thing to do."

The Kinders served in similar capacities during the Chrysler event in Florida.

"It was real interesting in Florida," Howard Kinder said. "All the players were there -- except Tiger Woods -- and I was in daily contact with them.

"We enjoyed that, and we heard about this one in St. Louis and sent in our applications."

Volunteers purchase their uniforms -- usually a hat and polo shirt -- but they may roam the grounds as specatators when their shifts are finished or on days they're not working. The Kinders were not scheduled to work Tuesday, but they were planning to be out at Bellerive for the practice session.

The tournament begins in earnest Thursday and concludes Sunday.

The Kinders received their instructions last week and attended a barbecue Saturday to get acquainted with the surroundings at Bellerive. While Bonnie Kinder will be providing information for spectators, Howard Kinder will be one of the people assisting the guys who do the heavy lifting at the Open.

"We provide what caddies need -- food and beverages and a place to rest and store clubs," Howard Kinder said. "It's a restricted area where only the caddies and the players and other officials are allowed.

"They tell you not to bother players and don't take advantage of your position," Kinder said. "They're pretty persistent about that."

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