By Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan L. GuimontJanuary 23, 2012
MONTEREY, Calif. - For three days in January, Sailors from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center experienced some of Monterey's most beautiful and famous golf courses Jan. 13-15 to continue a 15-year tradition at the National Kidney Foundation Golf Classic Championship.
According to NKF Vice President for Events Management, David Rexroad, the golf program raised more than $3.5 million this year and the success of the Golf Classic Championship would not have been possible without Sailor volunteers.
"The Sailors here have been outstanding. As the players were finishing their rounds I received numerous comments of appreciation for the outstanding job they did keeping score," said Rexroad.
Each year the NKF hosts local amateur tournaments across the nation with a chance for the top two to three teams invited to participate in the Golf Classic Championship. This year's tournament took place at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, The Links at Spanish Bay, and Del Monte Golf Course with 4-man teams rotating rounds through the three different courses. More than 65 Sailor volunteered each day of the tournament to act as scorekeepers.
Seaman Addison Zarnow, a native of Denver, Colo. is a golf enthusiast who had never been to the Pebble Beach Golf Links and was the scorekeeper for a team from Dallas, Texas on the last day of the tournament.
"This experience has been nothing short of amazing," said Zarnow. "I have wanted to see the course at Pebble Beach for years. The players were very inviting and they didn't treat me like a caddie, instead they treated me like I was one of their teammates, and that was an awesome feeling."
Scott Price, one of the players on the team Zarnow kept score for felt motivated to do better every hole because of the tremendous attitude and poise demonstrated by Zarnow.
"Our scorekeeper [Zarnow] is the best out here," said Price. "He's been very polite, honest, helpful, accurate and keeping us on our toes. He's been motivating us to do better than we are."
Price also felt proud that the Sailor's were doing something for the NKF on top of serving their country.
"It's nice to see we have young people who not only have a passion for golf, but also have a passion for volunteering and want to help their local community," said Price.
Seaman Kimberly Morgan, from Lakewood, N.J. was paired up with a group from Columbia, S.C. and explained that one of the best things about being with them was the fact that they were all from the east coast.
"One of my favorite moments was the group I was with wanted to hit a ball into the Pacific because they are from the east coast and it was something they had always wanted to do. Being from the east coast myself, I can relate.
"I've had a blast with the group I was with," said Morgan. "This experience has given me a new appreciation for the game of golf."
Mark Upchurch, from San Diego, Calif., has been coming to the NKF Golf Classic Championship for the past 12 years.
"Our experience here has been great," said Upchurch. "Kendall, our scorekeeper, is the best scorekeeper we've ever had since participating in this tournament, he's a good dude. We really like the fact that the Sailors from the Defense Language Institute come out every year and show their support for the NKF, we think that's a great thing."