JUSTIN GERWICK: Therapist has hand in U.S. Open
A local massage therapist will have a hand in this year’s U.S. Open, thanks to a unique opportunity.
Dave Coker, the owner of Indiana Sports Massage and a member in the Indiana Borough Council, will serve as a volunteer massage therapist for the players, caddies and volunteers at the U.S. Open, held at the Oakmont Country Club from June 13 to 16.
Coker will be a member of the U.S. Open Wellness Team, which consists of approximately 140 health-care providers, including chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, hyper-baric therapy technicians and physical therapists.
“They contacted me last December,” Coker said. “They wanted to know if I’d be interested, and I definitely was. I’m a golf fan, but I’m a bad golfer. I thought it was a great opportunity. The days I’m not working, I intend to go out and see the action.”
Dr. Jeff Poplarski, who has served as the chairman of the USGA U.S. Open Wellness Team for 12 years, was the head of the recruiting and training process.
“We started the recruitment process last year,” Poplarski said. “We reached out to chiropractors and therapists from Pennsylvania and got a great response. They had to go through a screening process. Coker was one of the volunteers who reached out and we thought he was a great candidate.”
The screening process for candidates consisted of email and phone interviews, various background checks and a submission of certifications and qualifications. The volunteers have all been vetted at this point, and on Sunday, May 15, they all met with the Wellness Team staff at Oakmont to undergo hands-on training.
As a golf fan, Coker was eager to jump at the opportunity to not only work at a major golf tournament but also to see the legendary Oakmont course.
“To be part of the whole extravaganza that the U.S. Open is, it’s a special opportunity,” Coker said. “I’ve been to the Western Open a couple times, but I’ve never been to a major before. It’s going to be a great experience to meet people and see that course. I’d like to see those legendary lightning-fast greens.”
And as someone who has worked as a volunteer therapist at other sporting events and works primarily as a massage therapist for athletes, Coker couldn’t pass up the ultimate day at the office.
Members of the wellness team will provide therapy in three areas. There is a trailer where care will be provided for golfers and caddies, and there will be two tents where care will be provided for the support staff (i.e., scorers, card holders and marshalls).
Those who volunteer for the wellness team will be required to work two five-hour shifts — one in the wellness center trailer and another in one of the two tents. The golfers, caddies and support staff members endure more wear and tear on their bodies than most would realize.
“The legs, of course, are taxed because they walk so much,” Coker said. “There are a lot of shoulder, neck and upper-back issues, too. They really torque themselves pretty well. It’s a number of things, and each person is different.”
And of course those eligible to take advantage of the expert therapy are all too eager.
“We’ve been warned that especially if there is a rain delay that we’ll be swamped,” Coker said.
Coker is looking forward to the rare opportunity, but he’s likely to restrict himself to this event unless the U.S. Open returns to Oakmont in the future.
“It’s a volunteer basis, so I won’t be going to Chambers Bay or anywhere anytime soon,” Coker said. “Who knows though, maybe I’ll meet up with someone who wants me to be their traveling massage therapist.”
AT THE INDIANA COUNTRY CLUB: The club will play host to a Memorial Day variable better ball tournament with men’s and women’s divisions on Monday.
• The 31st annual Nell Jack Classic is Monday, June 6.
The tournament is used to raise revenue for women’s athletics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Proceeds are placed in a permanent endowment used for scholarships in women’s athletics.
The tournament includes stroke play and competitions for hole-in-one, putting challenge, longest drive and closest to the pin, with prizes awarded for each.
Scott and Liz Weigner, campus ministers at IUP, will be presented as this year’s university honorees. Amy Fairman, a Marion Center native who played basketball and softball at IUP, will be this year’s guest speaker.
• Club pro Dan Braun and assistant pro Chad Krawczyk will participate in the Head Professional/Assistant Championship on Tuesday at the Edgewood Country Club in Churchill.
AT INDIAN SPRINGS: The 39th annual Homer City Open launches today at 8:30 a.m.
More than 130 competitors will compete across eight flights in the tournament, which includes a championship flight, a senior flight and additional flights ranking first through sixth. The tournament features golfers who have lived in or worked in Homer City.
• Frank Ferra, Vito DonGiovanni, Dave Irvin and Bob Hammill finished first in the senior scramble with a 65.
Chuck Mack, Jim Zerbini, Rich Lamberski and Jim Wilson took second place with a 66 following a match of cards.
• The winners of the Pick 6 game in the Wednesday’s ladies league this week were Janie McDonald, Donna Yvanek, Loretta Lowman and Carol Anderson.
• The course will hold its annual Memorial Day Flag Day event on Monday.
• The course will play host to a cross-country scramble on Friday.
For this tournament, the course will be set up in non-typical fashion. For example, players teeing off from the tee box at No. 1 will be aiming toward the green on No. 2.
AT MEADOW LANE: The course will hold its annual Memorial Day Flag Day event on Monday.
• The 13th annual Four Footed Friends golf scramble will be held Friday.
• An opening-day scramble will take place on Saturday.
• The annual season-long Coney Island Match Play tournament will begin on June 5, with first-round play and a dinner to follow. Registration is still open for the tournament, but all entries must be completed by Wednesday.
• Club pro Elmer Bland is again holding his junior clinics. Each clinic will consist of five instructional courses, with the June clinic running from June 9 to 23 and the July clinic running from July 5 to19. Total instruction for the five courses will be 12ﾽ hours.
The cost is $75 per child.
To register or for information, contact Bland at (724) 465-5604, (724) 422-5379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.