Maui Sports

Hundreds Volunteer for SBS Tournament of Champions in Kapalua

January 9, 2017, 4:49 PM HST
* Updated January 9, 8:07 PM
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Pat Dawson has flown from Canada to Maui every year for more than a decade, all to volunteer his time at PGA Tour’s SBS Tournament of Champions at Kapalua’s Plantation Golf Course.

“It’s a legacy to Maui,” he says. “It’s aimed at making Maui a great place to be and to have the people here experience the positive part of a golf tournament.”

Serving as Marshal Chairperson for many years and currently still volunteering as a team captain, Dawson says the PGA’s first tournament of the calendar year is important for refining the game plan for marshals, in terms of attire, conduct and so forth.

“You make each volunteer feel important as an individual, recognize their strengths, compliment them on their strengths, make sure the enjoyment and satisfaction and reward is shared amongst all of the team,” he explains, adding that camaraderie a crucial component. “Try to keep the groups as teams from year to year so they get to know each other and feel comfortable when they come on the course.”


About 180 marshals help on-course behind the scenes during the event, providing crowd control and making it easier for the golfers to keep moving from hole to hole.


“Making it fun for the fans, comfortable for the players, and more than anything else, making sure our volunteers have a good time out there,” he explains.

Kapalua has hosted the Tournament of Champions since 1999; the event brought around 30 pro golfers and thousands of fans to Maui this year between January 4 and 8, 2017; see tournament results in our story here.  A total of 450 volunteers aim to make the tournament run smoothly, helping with airport pick-ups, driving, organizing, community outreach and media assistance.

“It’s a great feeling to bring them all together,” says John Valtierra, the current Marshal Chairperson. “This is supposed to be fun! If we make it fun, the volunteers will want to come back, and they do.”


Many volunteers fly in from all over the mainland and Canada, and by next month, they’ll already be planning for 2018!

“It’s a big family. They only see some of these people once a year,” explains Valtierra. “It’s great to rekindle that friendship to see them come in, and they’re excited to do it.”

The prestigious event supports several local nonprofits every year, donating $5.6 million since 1999. Designated beneficiaries for 2017 include The Boy Scouts of America, Ka Lima O Maui, Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, Hale Makua, Lāhaināluna High School Foundation and the J. Walter Cameron Center.

Tournament Executive Director Nancy Cross says Dawson and Valtierra are two examples of many who go above and beyond, adding she’s proud to work with people who embody such a spirit of service.

“John helps me out not just this time of the year, but he helps me out throughout the whole year, just because he is that kind of guy;” she says, explaining how Valtierra even helps out with securing the tent and liquor permits for the event. “They’re givers! it’s just great to know people like this.”

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