He’s been called “a natural leader” and a “one-in-a-million volunteer” by tournament organizers.
Perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise for someone who spent 27 years in the U.S. Navy as a supply officer, guiding, directing and encouraging others to be their best and to take pride in their duties.
For Craig Majkowski, who co-chairs the on-course services committee at the LPGA Tour’s Volunteers of America Classic, volunteering is a way to lead and contribute, as well as to spend time around a game he has been playing since childhood. This week’s event marks his seventh year working at the tournament.
In recognition for his service as the 2020 winning volunteer at the Volunteers of America Classic, Majkowski joins other nominees from each LPGA tournament vying for the overall AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award. The award will be presented at the end of this season.
The tournament charity of the randomly selected 2020 winner benefits from a $10,000 charitable donation by AXA.
“I feel so honored for all the kind words and for being nominated for this award,” said Majkowski, of Grapevine, Texas. “During this week each year, I am in heaven, doing what I love and doing whatever it takes to make this tournament a great success.”
The on-course services team on which he serves stocks all of the water, drinks, ice and food on the course throughout tournament week for players and caddies, as well as at the practice range, tournament office and media center.
Majkowski volunteered for the LPGA tournament for the first time in 2014, after volunteering earlier that same year at the PGA Tour’s tournament at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. He returned for his second year at the LPGA event as co-chair of on-course services in 2015 – a role in which he has remained ever since.
“Craig is one of those volunteers that you wish you had a hundred like him and you hope he never leaves,” said Kristy Nutt, the tournament’s operations manager. “He arrives every day with a smile on his face and an energy that is contagious to everyone around him.”
“He always raises a hand to help and you can be confident he is going to get it done and most likely exceed expectations,” added Lexi Wood, the tournament’s senior event coordinator. “Craig exemplifies not only the way you should work, but also, the way you should treat others.”
Born in El Paso, Texas, Majkowski grew up outside Cincinnati and moved to Little Rock, Ark., during high school. One of seven children, he and his brother learned to play golf by age 8 with cut-down clubs from their father. They caddied for their dad when he played on Saturdays.
The boys soon got their own clubs and began playing junior tournaments around Little Rock in 1969. They eventually spent summers working at the local country club, picking up the practice range by hand, cleaning and moving around golf cars for members and later, working in the pro shop.
Once, a mini-tour professional tournament was held at the club and Majkowski found himself caddying for future World Golf Hall of Famer Hubert Green. That was his first up-close look at professional golf.
Majkowski went on to play for the school team at Catholic High in Little Rock and was a four-year member of the golf team at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. Commissioned in the Navy as an Ensign, he continued to play golf on Navy teams at military tournaments.
Following seven years of active duty in the Navy, Majkowski took a civilian job while continuing to serve in the Navy Reserve. While working in materials management at Abbott Laboratories for 25 years, he stayed active in golf, running the company’s golf league and company tournaments.
“My father loved the game, so I guess that’s where I got it, too,” he said.
Majkowski’s easy demeanor, steady work ethic and reliability got him tapped to help Abbott Labs move its medical manufacturing instruments from Dallas to Singapore during his last four years of work. He took the 20-hour flight to Singapore 16 times in four years, and then retired.
“I always wanted to volunteer, so once I retired, I was able to do it,” he said.
One of his volunteer experiences came at the U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado. And in recent years, he has helped operate the PGA Tour’s ShotLink system at Colonial Country Club using a laser device that calculates ball distance from golf holes, providing information used by announcers during PGA telecasts.
Majkowski is the kind of volunteer who embraces whatever duty he is given and he doesn’t think twice about jumping in and rolling up his sleeves to help.
“I try to listen to my fellow volunteers, keep them happy and make it enjoyable to work,” he said. “In the Navy, I was usually in charge of a unit of people, so I learned to deal with all kinds of personalities.”
In addition to volunteering at the LPGA and PGA’s Texas tournament stops, Majkowski also volunteers at the Grapevine Relief Association’s thrift store in his community, unloading trucks and organizing donated items to be sold for charity.
His wife, Bridget, worked at Cross Timbers Middle School for 25 years, so Majkowski returns there each year with his wife to help conduct the Math-Science Competition. He also runs the scoreboard for the school’s football team and keeps the scorebook for the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams.
In addition, Majkowski and Bridget volunteer each week at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport USO Center, serving food and welcoming members of the military passing through the Texas terminal to deployments around the world.
“I’ve been blessed with a good life,” he said. “I served in the military, I enjoy golf and all of our kids went to Cross Timbers Middle School, so these are areas where I’m able to give back to something that has been very good to me.”
Majkowski still plays golf regularly and enjoys collecting sports memorabilia. He estimates that he has at least one million baseball cards in a collection that spans back to the mid-1950s. He also enjoys collecting signatures of tour players he has met while volunteering.
But when asked what have been the highlights of his volunteer experience so far, he recalls special visits by the LPGA’s Angela Stanford at the Texas tournament and Jordan Spieth, following his PGA Tour win at The Colonial. Each stopped by the volunteer center at their respective events to thank the volunteers and sign autographs.
“That left a very big impression on me,” said Majkowski. “It’s meaningful to thank the volunteers.”
Indeed, it is.
The AXA LPGA Volunteer Award program will designate a top volunteer nominee at each of the LPGA’s tournaments. At the conclusion of the 2020 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