By Martie Thompson
Laura Renstrom, who is celebrating her 12th year as a volunteer at THE PLAYERS, is also the tournament’s newest Vice-Chair and the fourth female chairperson. In her first year of this prestigious position, she said she is excited to take on new challenges and is ready to see the tournament play out.
As the newest Vice Chair, Renstrom is in charge of the Volunteer Services Division, which oversees the 11 committees that basically ensure that volunteers at the tournament have the best experience possible. Included are committees such as uniforms, Darlene’s Diner, credentials, and volunteer transportation.
Renstrom is a trial lawyer with the law firm of Holland & Knight, where she specializes in commercial litigation, including product liability, tort and class actions, as well as business, insurance and contract disputes. She lives in Mandarin with her husband, Nathan and two young daughters, aged four and two.
Q: What do you like best about living in Mandarin?
A: I love the natural beauty of Mandarin! On the weekends, you can regularly find my family exploring a new park or out on the water.
Q: How did you get started as a volunteer?
A: I was born and raised in Ponte Vedra Beach and my dad was a volunteer. I became involved with THE PLAYERS at a very young age, first serving as a youth runner and then in middle school and high school I was a standard bearer. After I graduated from law school and returned to this area, I wanted to get connected back to the community so I started volunteering at THE PLAYERS as an adult. My first position, which was great for me, was as the assistant chair of the standard bearers.
Q: What are some of the positions you have held up to this point?
A: I’ve held a variety of positions, including chair of the Benefactor’s Tent, which was a hospitality venue on the 17th hole. I was also assistant chair of volunteer apparel and chair of the offsite shuttle committee. This called for some early mornings, like 4:30 a.m., as our volunteers shuttle in from Davis Park and many shifts start at 5 a.m. For the last two years, I have been chair of the Tournament Support committee. We call this the “Swiss Army knife” of committees, as these volunteers help wherever they are needed that day. It was a lot of fun and my day was spent coordinating and tracking volunteers and making sure everyone was fully utilized.
Q: What was your favorite position?
A: I’d have to say that the hospitality position was very fun. The days flew by. The spectators were having fun, but the volunteers behind the scenes were working hard to make sure everything was seamless.
Q: What is it about THE PLAYERS that keeps you coming back?
A: For me, it’s all about the community, with the tournament’s community involvement being the first thing. I’ve always felt the need to give back and be a part of something bigger than myself. THE PLAYERS gives so much money to charities and it’s very moving to see the results. Secondly, our volunteers are like family. So many return year after year and I see their special pride in being a part of this event in our local area. It’s special to be a part of it.
Q: What would you say to someone who might be interested in volunteering at THE PLAYERS?
A: I’d say do it! We have more than 2,000 volunteers, but are always looking for new ones for next year. Volunteer registration is in the fall. Across the board, there are so many opportunities that you can pick an area that interests you. All the information is available at theplayersvolunteers.com.
Photo courtesy Laura Renstrom
Laura Renstrom and family.