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Innisbrook Resort and Golf Course volunteer is about more than tournaments

Shirley Gresham, 75, has been volunteering at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Course in Palm Harbor for a dozen years.

DEMORRIS A. LEE | Times

Shirley Gresham, 75, has been volunteering at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Course in Palm Harbor for a dozen years.

PALM HARBOR — Shirley Gresham devotes a big part of her life to golf, specifically the Transitions Championship that got under way this week at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Course.

Most of the 1,200 volunteers appear the week of the tournament, but Gresham, a volunteer for 12 years, is there nearly 200 days a year. She screens volunteer applications. She helps organize and arrange dinners. She sorts T-shirts and hats by size. Some days, Gresham is at Innisbrook 12 hours a day.

But there is one thing Gresham doesn't do: see anyone at the PGA-sponsored tournament actually play golf.

"I might try to get out there this year," Gresham, 75, said.

"I'm a jack-of-all-trades," Gresham, a homemaker with three adult children, said Friday during a break from sorting T-shirts. "Whatever they need me to do, I just try to help. But I didn't have to work so I thought I should do something with my time. But if it becomes too much like work, I should go get a job."

Doug Laseter, the tournament's volunteer coordinator, said volunteers are the key to the yearly event, which is being held for the 34th time.

"We couldn't do the tournament without volunteers," Laseter, 50, said. "But Shirley is certainly one of the key volunteers that helps us get it done. She steps up to take on more than her share of the tasks."

In 2008, Gresham was the recipient of the Don Harrison Volunteer of the Year Award. Named after a longtime tournament volunteer, it was the first year it was given.

Gresham and her family came to Palm Harbor 15 years ago. Her husband was in the Air Force for 13 years and she moved 29 times.

But while she enjoys volunteering, the reward for Gresham is also the contribution that her philanthropic sorority receives from tournament director Gerald Goodman. About eight of 16 sisters in the Beta Beta chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha are helping.

The international organization supports several charities including the local Florida Sheriff's Youth Ranch, Religious Community Service and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.

When Goodman took over as the director of the tournament 16 years ago, he said Gresham informed him of a few things.

"She said she doesn't answer phones and she doesn't work on the computer," Goodman said, laughing. "I catch her on the computer all the time now, but she still doesn't answer phones."

Demorris A. Lee can be reached at dalee@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4174.

. Fast facts

Transitions Championship

What: A 72-hole PGA Tour event

When/where: Through Sunday; Innisbrook Resort and Golf Course, Copperhead Course

Par/yards: 71/7,340

Purse: $5.4 million (winner's share $972,000)

Defending champion: Retief Goosen

Schedule

Today — third round; Sunday — final round

Tickets: Daily tickets — $30 in advance, $50 at gate; those 17 and younger free. Call (727) 942-5566, go to transitionschampionship.com or e-mail office@thecopperheads.com.

Tickets are available at Publix supermarkets.

Parking: St. Petersburg College and along Belcher and Klosterman roads

TV: Saturday-Sunday, 3, WFLA-Ch. 8

Innisbrook Resort and Golf Course volunteer is about more than tournaments 03/19/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 19, 2010 8:13pm]
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