Volunteers are essential for every LPGA tournament, regardless of where events are held around the world.
And one volunteer has stepped up in a big way at the Honda LPGA Thailand, where she will return for the third year this season to assist in transportation and accommodation, as well as with administrative operations.
Pimpichakorn Phooin, better known by her nickname “Film,” is looking forward to returning to the event to continue gaining both work experience and enhancing her knowledge about golf.
She is also the season’s fourth nominee for the 2019 AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes exemplary volunteers at each LPGA tournament.
“She is extremely efficient, hardworking and has a personable disposition,” said Becky Harding, the second-year tournament director who has worked for IMG at the event for four years.
Unlike many tournament volunteers who are recreational golfers, Film does not play golf. She also is not the typical golf fan hoping to spend a week getting up-close experiences with the world’s top women players.
“I had heard of Honda LPGA Thailand because I’ve seen it on television since I was young,” said Film, 23, of Ayutthaya, Thailand, whose hometown is located just north of Bangkok.
“The tournament helps promote Thailand as a golf destination and tourist destination,” she added. “It also allows Thai people to get to know golf better.”
Recently earning her undergraduate degree in sociology and anthropology at Thammasat University, Film got involved with the tournament through road cycling. She worked with International Management Group (IMG), who organized a two-day Cycle Fest event in which she volunteered in 2017.
Her volunteer skills got her invited to help at the IMG-managed Honda LPGA Thailand tournament and her understanding of English also served as a beneficial tool.
“Film is able to take on and adapt herself to many different areas of the tournament,” Harding added. “She has come through the ranks and is now a member of our staffing team due to her continuous good work and constant ability to go the extra mile for any player, staff or guest.”
Because Thai names can be long with historic significance and are often difficult for Westerners to pronounce, shorter nicknames are common for Thai people. Film says she got her nickname while her mother was pregnant with her.
“Since my aunt loves taking pictures, they were going to name the child ‘Klong’ -- which means camera in the Thai language -- if the baby was a boy, and ‘Film’ if the baby was a girl,” she explained. “So I ended up with this name.”
Film’s nickname seems picture-perfect for the personable young woman who has a way of connecting with people. While she was still in college, she volunteered with school activities and attended a community-service camp to help others.
Her family also opened a business in her hometown to help guide international tourists during their visits to Thailand.
And even though the LPGA’s Thai players – such as sisters Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn – are among the world’s top-ranked players, Film is still getting to know more about golf and the LPGA professionals who arrive for the tournament each year.
When asked if she had any favorite players, she pointed out Muni He of China “because she’s so gorgeous.”
Another player she has come to know is Australian Sarah Jane Smith, for whom she helped arrange transportation at last year’s tournament.
“She’s cute and approachable, so I followed her on Instagram after the tournament ended and she follows me back,” said Film.
As one of the tournament’s youngest volunteers, Film is about the same age as many of the LPGA’s young stars. And while those players are already engaged with their respective careers, she is still gaining skills and experiences that she hopes will be useful in her future professional life.
“I’m not sure about my career right now, but I would like to do something that can improve quality of life in society and in our community,” she said.
“I am trying to gain as much experience as possible,” she added. “Volunteering helps me improve myself and also gives me a chance to work with quality people since it’s a world-class tournament.”
The tournament’s longtime charity has been the Siriraj Foundation, which helps improve medical facilities in the local community through the Siriraj Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand’s oldest and largest hospital.
This year, a second charity to benefit from the Honda LPGA Thailand event will be the Klet Kaeo School. The tournament will contribute funds to purchase books and supplies for the rural school, located 45 minutes away from the golf course.
Film appreciates the fact that charitable donations from the tournament stay in Thailand, which makes volunteering at the event that contributes to her community even more satisfying.
“To be able to give without needing something in return could be one of the greatest contributions ever,” she said. “I volunteer to give all of me and do my best to accomplish the tasks that are given.”
And if the Thai volunteer is asked to expand her role and perform new duties at this year’s tournament, no doubt, it will be a snap for this self starter
After all, she’s as reliable as a quick shutter in a quality camera, documenting special moments and time.
The AXA LPGA Volunteer Award program will designate a top volunteer nominee at each of the LPGA’s tournaments. At the conclusion of the 2019 season, the name of one volunteer will be drawn in a random selection. That winning volunteer’s tournament charity will be awarded $10,000 on behalf of AXA.
AXA XL, the property & casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, provides insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized companies through to large multinationals, and reinsurance solutions to insurance companies globally. AXA XL proudly serves as the Official Property/Casualty, Reinsurance, Auto and Professional Liability Insurance Sponsor of the LPGA. Additionally AXA XL has partnered with the LPGA on a season-long AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award which recognizes tournament volunteers who have exemplified the spirit of volunteerism and gone above and beyond expectations. For more information, please visit www.axaxl.com