Sunday 13 December 2020

Working on the European Golf Tour for the Race to Dubai, during Covid.

I've been volunteering with the Golf in the UAE for 3 years now and have had some amazing opportunities from working with the anti drug testing, marshalling, as a spotter and working with the TV Production team with scoring and recording sound, which you can read about here.

However it's all been very different during covid, no crowds, just minimal hospitality, coaches, a few partners of the golfers and caddies plus agents and sponsors around the course, meaning it's been quieter than usual and with few distractions, I'm really getting to enjoy the experience a bit more.

An empty Village, normally full of food vendors, tv screens and bean bags.

Usually this space is open for viewing the 1st tee from the stands which aren't here this year.

There are two bubbles, one for the golfers, caddies, European Tour Team and everyone who has flown in for the event, which is called the inner bubble are all staying in the Atlantis Hotel. Us volunteers, who live locally are in the outer bubble. We have separate toilets on the course to use and restricted access to certain areas, our lanyard colours give indication as to who is inner and outer bubbles. We're also temperature checked every morning and have daily online forms to fill in, we can't travel on the golf carts and have a separate bus between the TV compound and the course.

The Race to Dubai has the World's top golfers playing for a share of $8,000,000 and is part of the Rolex Series. I'm walking round with the top players with a live TV crew recording the sound of the caddies speaking to the golfers, up close and personal on the tee's, fairway and edge of the greens. It's hard work, the kit weighs around 3kg with the battery packs, I have an ear piece to get instructions and to be able to radio back in for a ref etc, head phones so I can hear what sound I'm picking up, then add a mask, back pack with food and drink, sunglasses and a hat and I'm my own game of buckaroo or if you're older, I could try balancing a cabbage for my own episode of Crackerjack.

For the regular readers of my blog posts I know a lot of you don't follow the golf, so have no idea who I'm talking about, well I don't play golf either and I rarely follow it the rest of the year due to lack of access to the golf channels here in Dubai and the UK, but I'm learning fast. the rules, the players and even matching up family members and caddies now to the players.

A list for the day helps.

I know who plays the greens slowly and who takes their time with the tee shots. I know which players get a little upset when they hit a bad shot and those who like to have a laugh with their team mates when they're walking down the fairways. But it's a serious game, with a lot of money at stake.

There is little interaction from the players towards us, minimal conversation from them and barely a thank you at the end of 18 holes. I'm not sure many of them are aware most of us are volunteers though.

Recording sound is great fun, you get to walk right up close and personal with the players, it's rare to be within 2 meters of them anyway as you have to keep out the way of the cameras and quite often there can be 3-4 per hole. Trying to find your position to record the sound on the green, away from the cameras, out of the sight line of the golfers without walking on the green is tricky and I'm often having to sprint ahead to get into position, then they over hit and you have to just stay completely still and watch your shadows at the end of the day.

The worse thing that can actually happen is for a golfer or a caddy to ask you to move as you know you've got it wrong, thankfully that hasn't happened to me yet.

Some of the golfers and caddies don't actually realise how much you can hear with the mic. Quite often I'll laugh out loud and they'll ask 'did she hear that?' 'Yes I did'. I've heard some great stories as I've walked alongside, behind and even in front if the wind is blowing in the right direction. The sound is fed back to the studio, I point at their faces when they're lining up for a shot, the ground when they hit the ball, then the crowd for the applause.

I also pick up comments, personal stories, breaking wind and sometimes comments aimed at me in an attempt to knock me off balance and make me blush. (I'm the mother of 4 adult males, they must try harder) Some will deliberately swear so they know the sound won't be used and try to encourage me to walk with the other golfer. 

I won't be repeating the stories on here or social media, no one has ever told me I can't but ethically I know it would be wrong.


  1. Sounds to me like you're getting an excellent education in podcasting! That said, with the inner and outer bubble, it must create a real "us and them" atmosphere this year. Does sound like fun though.

    1. oh no, i'm much more comfortable hiding from the camera and behind the mic

  2. This sounds amazing, I would love to give this a go. I bet without crowds its a whole new experience

    Thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

  3. Sounds like a wonderful experience and very different from "normal" times.

  4. It sounds like a different experience to what you are used to but interesting and a lot of fun. x

  5. What a difference! Sound like a fun experience.


  6. That is so interesting, what an incredible experience. I love that you have heard so many good stories.

    1. Thank you, I've really enjoyed it and have more next month in Abu Dhabi