The Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful group of volunteers who commit themselves to making the tournament one of the best stops on the LPGA tour. Each month, we’ll be highlighting a different volunteer chairman for a behind the scenes look at what it takes to run a world-class golf event, as well as get to know some of the hardworking volunteers who return year after year to the #NWAChampionship!
Mike Shea has been an integral part of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G since year one. As the Chairman of the Pro-Am Operations Committee, Mike is responsible for recruiting cart drivers for Pro-Am teams. Mike’s interest in golf doesn’t stop with his time at the tournament. He is the Executive Director of The First Tee of Northwest Arkansas and was formally the Director of Golf and Recreation for the Bella Vista POA. Through his role with The First Tee, Mike has also worked hand in hand with the tournament’s Mattel Junior Clinic and the Walmart Kid’s Center presented by Dove. His commitment to growing the game of golf is an asset to the tournament and we are thankful he’s part of our team.Mike Shea, Pro-Am Operations Committee Chairman
How long have you been volunteering?
Since year one—the YEAR OF THE FLOODS.
How did you get started?
I was the Director of Golf in Bella Vista at the time and the first Volunteer Tournament Chair "recruited" me. He said something like, "Which committee are you going to chair?" I chose the Pro-Am and I guess have been "Peter-principled" ever since.
Tell us about your committee and what your role is.
The Pro-Am Operations team facilitates the amateur teams by driving carts and helping the players with clubs, etc. Carts are restricted to the paths, so we help to keep play moving through the course. My role is to determine which teams will not have guest drivers and to assign Pro-Am Operations team members to drive those carts.
What do you think is most surprising or unexpected about putting on a golf tournament of this magnitude?
Probably the most surprising thing is, knowing how many dedicated volunteers it takes to help put on the event, how smoothly the event runs. I know every committee could tell you that this or that happened, but the recovery is so quick that those on the outside never see the problems.
What is your favorite part about tournament week?
Seeing the crowds on the weekend and knowing the event is a whole lot bigger than just a golf tournament.
Do you have any favorite memories from over the years?
The river on 18 the first year, the Mars Challenge in 2010 with The First Tee kids paired with the pros, and Stacy "really" winning this year.
If you could do any other volunteer position, what would it be?
We have a good time during the Pro-Am, but the range might be interesting or being the standard bearer for the last group on Sunday or . . .