Last Sunday, the 8th University of Tartu Rector’s Cup Golf Tournament was held at the Otepää Golf Centre, where I was set at the forefront of the organizing team when I started working at UT. Yes, I am a relatively fresh employee of UT. I guess it can even be said aloud that I am on a trial period. Thus, this event was the first major test for me. In the past, I’ve arranged one wedding – my own. I think it went well, because we’re soon going to celebrate our fifth anniversary.
When my colleague, Mrs Teele Arak, gave me a task to organize the golf tournament and told me about her experience, knowledge, and tips, it seemed to be a cosmic venture. I didn’t know much about golf at this time and everything at the university was new to me. But Teele did a good job and explained everything in astonishing detail. Multiple times! And I wrote everything down in my purple notebook. In the middle of June, a reception webinar took place in the next house, which I also helped to organize, but somehow I lost my purple notebook somewhere during the process. “Oh no!” I shouted to myself. I was already thinking we couldn’t organize the golf tournament without it. Luckily, it showed up about a week later in the Multimedia Center and I got back my peace of mind. There were also important notes about organizing the University of Tartu Open Doors Day (LUP), very detailed info also from Teele.
Even though I had got my super-important purple notebook back, I didn’t feel confident about the golf tournament. Luckily, Teele brought me together with Tanel Tein and Piret (Normet, marketing manager) arranged a meeting with Tanel Laisaar. Both gentlemen are alumni of the University of Tartu and also active golf players. Jackpot! After meeting with them, I started to understand the charm of golf and make a plan about how to organize the event so it would be one of the most desired tournaments among golf players in Estonia. But I’m not going to publish that plan yet, because next year I want to do it even better.
I had never played golf myself. During the organizational process, I tried to learn as much about it as I could, and, in doing so, I probably tired head-caddiemaster of Otepää Golf Centre Joel to death. But he was patient and brave, and he explained everything to me several times until the start of the tournament day.
I arrived in Otepää at 11 o’clock on August 26th, by which time the Mercedes had already been settled, the flags were hailed, and the first players were warming up. I’ve always thought that golf was such a community thing. Players enjoy the game and the company equally and probably make new friends. I would say I had a very positive experience by simply watching the players gathering. I believe I’m not exaggerating when I say everyone knew each other. They welcomed each other in a brisk, friendly, and warm manner, like good old friends. It was very nice to be part of it. Regardless of being a public figure or not, everyone made jokes, and they were very good jokes, by the way.
When the competition started at 13 o’clock, I was on the first tee, where UT’s new rector, Toomas Asser, started playing. In fact, three of the four players in the first group were named Toomas! The way they met each other was quite funny for themselves and the side viewers. “Hello, I am Toomas, good luck!” “Welcome, I am also Toomas. Good luck!” Such a coincidence is certainly a good icebreaker. I moved together with said group for the first four holes and although the rector mentioned he was actually playing for the first time (besides the green card course), he played very well. The ball was always hit and according to Toomas Tein, who also walked together with us, the group’s speed was totally normal. Groupmates supported each other in any way, including humour, until the end of the five-hour-long tournament.
A new red Mercedes was parked close to the fourth hole, which made people excited and put pressure on competition. I was anxiously waiting the news that some of the players won it. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen this year, and Silberauto kept the car. But maybe next time?!
I decided to take a closer look at golf on the tournament day and took part in a golf demo. The coach, Valdek, conducted a speed course that was as cool as I had expected. In less than an hour we had an overview of the rules, etiquette, and equipment, and we headed for a long-distance training field. It turned out that there were at least three different ways to hold the golf club. We had to keep the back inclined slightly, hold the body still, let our hands hang loosely (so that a fist would fit between the body and arms), hold our feet as wide as our shoulders, have a look at the ball, hold the golf club slightly to the ground… and to think about it all at the same time, then focus and hit! For the first few attempts I missed the ball. It became clear that one or the other of the above claims was unfulfilled. When I was able to concentrate, then the hits were successful. The feeling was very good, and the coach also praised me, so the feeling became even better. And then he added that the majority of enthusiasts also focus on practicing long-distance shots, as it makes you feel good, and they don’t focus on short-distance shots, which are actually more important, as they train your cognition.
At the end of the demo, when we had started practicing the short shots, the rain started to fall and soon after it rained heavily. At least compared to Saturday, the weather was mostly dry on Sunday. Bad weather was one of the most stressful things I was afraid of when organizing the event. Even the rector jokingly asked how much we had to spend from our budget for the dry weather. Fortunately, we had luck on our side. When the tournament ended, participants gathered at the clubhouse, where they could take hot saunas. People were tired but satisfied, and many had smiles on their faces. I heard someone telling a joke when he was asked how the tournament went. He said: “Well, I only swore three times today.” Everyone laughed, and so did I.
Awards were lying under the windows of the restaurant, the food was served, and the hall slowly began to fill with people, who still had cheerful faces. Even though they were tired from the long day, fresh air, and walking, they were dressed up decently. The duet, Ivo Lille and Tiit Born, played some music on the saxophone and guitar, and it seemed to be exactly what was missing. A nice woman came to me and said that the choice of musicians was simply super! I was very glad to hear it.
My blood pressure rose before the awards started. I was worried whether everything was going well and whether the cups were in the right order. I hoped everything would go fine, and then I was told we had too many awards and they needed a helping hand. My blood pressure rose again. I had to step into the limelight and hand out the awards. Why not? Let’s do it! I stood there between the two named Toomas (Asser and Tein), and when Toomas Uibo received a cup, there was a funny moment. The audience shouted that Tom should sing something. He didn’t sing this time. In the end I thought it wasn’t that terrifying at all to hand out the awards, because everyone was still cheerful. It seemed to me that everyone had had a great day. They were really like a huge close-knit and active community. They were satisfied! That was my main goal.
My first major event on the lines of the University of Tartu. Check
Thank you Tanel and Tanel, Karl, Heiko, Mari-Liis, Kaja, Kristel and Ann, Kristina, Karin, Piret, Liina, Joel and Kristi, and, of course, Mr. Toomas Asser!
All photos of the University of Tartu Rector’s Cup Golf Tournament can be found in Facebook.
Monika Õun is a Senior Specialist for Marketing at the University of Tartu.