MAGAZINE 2023-24

Claire Fry’s degree course has ended up taking her to many of the world’s finest golf courses year after year. She cut her golfing teeth at Royal Liverpool as a junior, became a good player, and even contemplated striving to become a professional.

Now she works for the DP World Tour, the main men’s golf Tour of the European Tour Group. During the 2023 season Its schedule will pack in a minimum of 39 tournaments in 26 countries.

So what does Claire do for the Tour?

On site I’m a Tournament Office Manager or Recorder. When you manage the Office you support the Tournament Director who has the overall say on the tournament, who’s responsible for everything that goes on inside and outside the ropes. It’s my job to contribute everything I can to the smooth running of the event. That means making sure the Office is properly set up to provide all the admin a tournament requires. The players have an online portal they can access and obviously they need to be as well informed as they possibly can be so they can go out there and perform to their best. So the portal always needs to be quickly refreshed and up to date.

Any sort of player-facing questions that crop up on site during a tournament are dealt with in the Office so competitors can, if necessary, be referred to the right areas of expertise. That also means making sure the Tournament Director, referees and even the weather department have everything they need to perform their roles.

I also work closely with Tour Headquarters and internal departments - player relations, marketing, scoring, championship management, entries and membership and so on; and then there’s liaison with sponsors, promoters and, of course, host golf clubs.

And when play is over it’s time to assist the Tournament Director with a detailed wrap-up of the event, contributing to the final report and compiling and archiving all the event’s electronic files.

If I’m on site as a Recorder, again I’ll work with the Tournament Director to help generate the draw and all the reports that are sent out for the week. So we’ll sit down, we’ll put together a plan for the tee times; he’ll tell me where he wants certain players with regard to TV groups, and then we trigger an automatic draw for the rest of the field. That means managing and operating the field software which does that job, as well as producing scores, scorecard labels, the timing schedules, results, ranking lists, and finally all the data associated with the tournament.

You have certain seeded players that are requested by television, and certain sponsor requests, and once the draw has been done it’s published and players are sent a text message tee time reminder.

Once the tournament starts I’ll be in the Recording area, and when players have finished their rounds they’ll arrive there to finalise their scores. I’ll use the scorecard I’m given to enter it into the system and triple check with the player that they agree that their scores match what they had out on the course. Once they’ve done that they sign and at the end of the day I’ll do a card check, verify, and input the scoring data.

How did she end up taking this career path?

I studied at Myerscough College in Preston, taking a course which was also a University of Central Lancashire degree course. I studied Golf Management, which allowed me to learn all about sports management with specific modules devoted to the world of golf, like the retail sector and the coaching side. Then I noticed an advert online for a job with the Ladies European Tour and I was very lucky to get it. I was there for seven and a half years and I learnt so much, they gave me a lot, and it was an incredible place to work and it’s good to see it doing so well.

I was also blessed to work within the Solheim Cup and that was a wonderful environment to be in. I worked very closely with Catriona Matthew in 2019 and 2021 and also her Vice-Captains. Catriona was the first Captain to win on both sides of the Atlantic - it was a dream come true to be involved in that.

Any golfing sidelines?

I love working in the golf industry, and I do have some other little roles - for example, I’m able to take some time out to work at The Open. Winding back the clock I saw an advert by The R&A for a runner’s job in the TV compound and I was at university at the time. The Championship was being staged at Royal Lytham and that’s not far from Myerscough College.

I got the job and worked for the broadcasting set-up and that turned into an annual event which means I will be at Hoylake, my golfing home, this year. I will be working for CTV who look after The Open rights-holders in the US, NBC. My local knowledge should come in handy - quickest way to get to 15, that sort of thing. I’m hoping to have some downtime as well so I’ll be able to take in the golf without worrying about anything.

Perhaps all this was a very good break for me, because maybe the fact I had some behind-the-scenes experience of big tournaments helped me get the job at the LET. Add to that the fact that Myerscough College secured us placements like operating manual scoreboards at places like Wentworth as part of the degree course - which meant I could start to build a little CV. I’ve gone from one day being a student carrying players’ scoreboards to sitting in the Recording area marking the scores for these players.

Any thoughts about the 151st Open?

I was at Hoylake in 2014 and was very lucky to get a 72nd hole armband, so I was able to put in a hard week’s work and then relax a little watching some of the world’s best players coming in, which was tremendous. I love playing golf here, but I love it even more when I watch them play the course. So this year I’m going to try and get a round in as late as possible, then watch the experts, and maybe now and again think, ‘You know, I actually played that shot better than he did.’

How did Claire start playing golf?

I was born in Chester and I live in Ellesmere Port and I’ve been a member of Royal Liverpool since 2002, so I was 12 when I joined. The Club was recruiting junior members so I came here for a trial and the wonderful Audrey Briggs was the Junior Organiser at the time and Peter Frazer was also on the scene, and they were very good for us, me and my family. The Club helped with some clubs - I used to play at a municipal course over in Ellesmere Port, which was fun but it was great to join here and play a fine links course.

I had some ability but my first handicap was 25 though it did come down to two eventually. I was lucky to become Junior Captain, and went on some great golfing exchanges, Sweden for example. I think it was the first time I’d travelled abroad.

I played in some of the England competitions, though to be honest I don’t think I had the right mindset to become a strict, disciplined amateur golfer; I realised that if I stopped enjoying the game because of my performance it was time to take a step back.

Any regrets?

No. There was a time when I thought about trying to be a professional golfer, but I had a tough summer one year and decided it wasn't for me, and now, looking back, I’m happy with that decision.

To be over a putt thinking I need to make it because keeping my card and therefore my finances depend on it, well, no, but I still have the game as a hobby and coming to Hoylake is like a release from everything. It’s like my second home.

I just love coming here to play with my friends, or bringing my dad when I have an opportunity.

The DP World Tour in South Africa: Claire with Kevin Feeney, Deputy Director of Tour Operations (left) and David Williams, Senior Tournament Director (right)
The DP World Tour in South Africa: Claire with Kevin Feeney, Deputy Director of Tour Operations (left) and David Williams, Senior Tournament Director (right).
TClaire with Europe’s hugely successful Solheim Cup Captain, Catriona Matthew
Claire with Europe’s hugely successful Solheim Cup Captain, Catriona Matthew.
Claire at Hoylake with Dame Laura Davies
Claire at Hoylake with Dame Laura Davies.