Sebastien Martinez, 14, of Yarmouth, will be one of the 250 volunteers helping out at the inaugural Live +Work in Maine Open June 24-27 at Falmouth Country Club. Contributed / Sebastien Martinez

The Falmouth Country Club has hosted golf events of all kinds over the past 33 years,  but an event like the one this week is offering at least one young golfer an up close and personal look at some of the top pros in the game.

Sebastien Martinez, a rising sophomore at Yarmouth High School, will be one of the 250 volunteers helping out at at Live + Work in Maine Open, a stop on the Korn Ferry Tour. The open takes place Thursday through Sunday and features more than 150 golfers vying for $600,000 and ultimately a spot on the PGA Tour.

When Martinez, who has been competing in junior tournaments for the last five years and helped Yarmouth earn a second place finish in the 2020 Class B state final, heard the tournament was looking for volunteers, he jumped at the chance.

“It’s a great opportunity to watch the professionals up close, see their routines, their swings. Overall, I think it is going to be a fun learning experience,” said Martinez, who as a volunteer scorer will be following a group of three golfers and using a hand-held device to report their scores along the way.

Shawn Warren, a teaching pro at Falmouth Country Club, will be one of the local golfers competing in the Live + Work in Maine Open, a PGA Korn Ferry Tour event that is taking place this week at the club. Gregory Rec / Portland Press Herald

Brian Corcoran, CEO and Founder of Shamrock Sports and Entertainment, the Portland-based firm organizing the tournament, said staging the tournament would not be possible without the 250 volunteers, who will be doing everything from helping with scoring and player safety, greeting spectators and transporting players throughout the course.

“The lifeblood of any successful PGA event is a committed volunteer base,” he said.

The event, Corcoran said, is about much more than golf. It is about “driving economic, community and charitable impacts.” The tour stop, he said, is expected to raise more than $100,000 this year for the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

The charity aspect of the tour is one of the reasons Peter West, of Portland, decided to volunteer to serve as a captain on the green, a position that helps ensure the tournament and fan experiences operate as smoothly as possible.

“Golf tournaments are a lot of fun,” said West, who volunteered for five years at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, part of the PGA’s FedEx Cup.

Martinez said he’s particularly excited about this week’s open “because there hasn’t been a professional tour in Maine at this level for a long time.”

In fact, it will be the first time the road to the PGA has passed through Maine since the Woodlands Country Club in Falmouth hosted The New England Classic, a stop on the tour from 1990 to 1993.

Korn Ferry President Alex Baldwin said at a press event in September 2019 announcing the tournament stop, the Portland market met the criteria the Korn Ferry Tour looks at when deciding a new tour stop.

“Golf in Maine is a really important part of the culture of the state,” Peter Kostis, a part-time Falmouth resident and longtime CBS golf analyst, said at the time. “I am thrilled big-time golf is coming back to the state. I can’t wait to see how it is accepted.”

The tour, started in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour, hands out 50 PGA tour cards, 25 to the top point-earners at the end of the 24-event Korn Ferry Tour and 25 to the top performers in the three-event Korn Ferry finals. Korn Ferry Tour alumni make up approximately 75% of the PGA Tour players and its alumni have won more than 520 PGA Tour titles, including 24 major championships and eight Players Championships.

The country club will host the Live + Work in Maine Open through 2025.

“Maine is a great place to golf that is a bit undiscovered,” West said. “I think this tournament can help a lot to bring people to Maine. It will be nice to see it grow in future years.”

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