Taking the Lead
As the first point of reference for golf fans arriving at the grounds, the manual leader board is a tournament staple.
“We post the scores manually because it is kind of a tradition,” says Shelly Schmucker, 38, of Scottsdale. “They have had the opportunity to make it into an electronic scoreboard, but everybody votes every year that they really enjoy having the Thunderbirds up there.”
Schmucker has been volunteering at the tourney for five years and enjoys the vantage point from high above all the hype. “We have a wonderful view; it is the best view in the house. Some of the numbers are really high and you have to stand on this ladder. Since I’m small, they put me on the ladder and the guys can roll the ladder on the wheels.”
Her outgoing personality and willingness to change scores nearly 20 feet above the scaffolding, has landed Schmucker in the limelight herself.
“I’ve made it on the front page of the sports section of the newspaper a few times.”
While seemingly removed from the commotion of the tournament grounds, Schmucker and several Life Thunderbirds sit center stage greeting incoming and outgoing fans with an update of the day’s play.
“The people who are sitting there watching 18 don’t know who is coming up the fairway, so they really rely on the scoreboard for that,” Schmucker says. “Everyone sort of stands around 18 to follow their favorites and when you change a line score and move someone up on the scoreboard, the crowd will just cheer. If it is a local favorite, they just roar.”
Favorite Tournament Viewing Location:
“I think 17 is a great place to watch from because the guys are coming off 16 and preparing for the final two-hole stretch.”