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Volunteer Appreciation: Shared Passion for Volunteering Yields Unexpected Rewards

October 5, 2018

By Cindy Elliott, Special to PGATOUR.COM

When PGA TOUR fan Andreas Kraemer arrived in the U.S. from Germany as a young professional, little did he know that his passion for golf and giving back would lead to love.

Impressed by Americans’ spirit of volunteerism, Andreas was determined to make a positive impact on the Virginia community that welcomed him so warmly.  However, he was unsure how to go about putting his desire to help others into action.  That all became clear one day in 2009, when a chance stop in Hilton Head, SC, on his drive home from Florida coincided with the RBC Heritage.  As he witnessed his first professional golf championship, Andreas was intrigued by the many tournament functions taking place behind the scenes, which he learned were run by volunteers – especially the tournament’s transportation services.  Upon arriving home, Andreas researched tournaments in his area, and was delighted to learn that the AT&T National would soon be played at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, MD.  He immediately registered to volunteer, and his experience volunteering in player transportation proved the perfect marriage of golf and philanthropy.

Andreas’ passion, devotion and extraordinary work ethic were infectious at Congressional, leading the tournament chairman to invite him to volunteer on the Transportation Committee at the 2010 Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship and then the 2011 U.S. Open.  When his career prompted his move to the west coast in 2012, he continued his commitment to philanthropy by volunteering at the World Golf Challenge, as well as three tournaments in 2013.  Along the way, he inspired other volunteers to join him in traveling to tournaments throughout California to volunteer, sharing camaraderie and bonding over their mutual love for the game of golf.  It was at one such event in 2013, the Northern Trust Open, that Andreas met his match…literally.  While volunteering on the Transportation Committee at Riviera Country Club, Andreas met fellow transportation volunteer Celina, also a golf enthusiast who devotes the majority of her free time volunteering at PGA TOUR tournaments.  Two weeks after the tournament concluded, Andreas and Celina began dating, and the two have been inseparable ever since.

Beginning with the Northern Trust Open, Andreas and Celina have volunteered at 32 events together from California to New York, with six tournaments planned for 2019.  In total, Andreas has volunteered at 35 PGA TOUR and PGA TOUR Champions tournaments, including six years at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship (CSCC) – where he was promoted to transportation chairman and was awarded the tournament’s Volunteer of the Year in 2017.  During his tenure as transportation chairman for more than 15 tournaments since 2015, he has recruited increasing numbers of volunteers, helping to achieve a 73%+ return rate and creating a cohesive, tight-knit team that takes a great deal of pride in helping to raise millions of dollars for local charitable causes.  This includes volunteers who travel with him and Celina to multiple tournaments across the country.  He has also leveraged his tech skills to implement software programs that have helped to refine the transportation system, using data, spreadsheets and charts to create efficiencies and streamline the transportation process.

Among his favorite memories, Andreas counts meeting fellow German native Bernhard Langer after Langer’s win at CSCC in 2015 as one of the best.  While driving Langer and his family to the airport, Andreas spent 45 minutes speaking with Langer in German, and the two became fast friends who enjoy seeing each other at the tournament year after year.

“I love golf, I love volunteering, and I am passionate about helping tournaments make such a substantial charitable impact,” says Andreas.  “I also enjoy the challenge of being forced to face unexpected obstacles, improvise, and be creative, and of course, being able to volunteer alongside Celina and so many wonderful friends has been a dream come true. I invite anyone who enjoys golf and traveling to consider volunteering at multiple PGA TOUR tournaments…it is definitely a one-of-a-kind, extremely rewarding experience.”

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