The Kids Golf Foundation held its first Caddie Training and Information Session Saturday, February 14, 2009 bringing roughly fifty-five participants to the Indoor Golf Arena at Harvest Lodge at Rich Harvest Farms. Site Coordinators and junior golfers with their parents or guardians gathered to learn about the many opportunities in caddying. Three unique guest speakers gave their insight on different aspects of caddying: Mike Maher, Caddie and Scholarship Development Manager for the Western Golf Association; Jeff VerCautren, golf course Superintendent at Rich Harvest Farms, and Jordan Yamamoto, Program Participant and experienced caddy.
Discussing the key role that parents play in their son or daughter’s caddying experience was just one of the various points Mike Maher touched on. He also outlined the requirements and details of the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship, as well as encouraged those interested to take advantage of the benefits offered, including the life skills one will gain through a job in caddying.
“This Caddie Training and Information Session was great!” said Anderson Smith, DuPage AME Site Coordinator. “I think it is about building a sense of responsibility for the kids, and they will grow up learning how to be disciplined. Caddying brings them an opportunity to grow and mature by teaching them how to be on time, how to interact with people, and develop positive relationships.”
Jordan Yamamoto from DuPage AME shared his own experiences caddying, along with the challenges he came across. Many questions came from the curious audience who wanted to know things such as how to deal best with inclement weather or how to address issues such as garbage, kindly and professionally.
Jeff VerCautren concluded the session by speaking about the importance of a superintendent’s and a caddy’s role in maintaining the golf course. He touched on several responsibilities like fixing divots, picking up trash, raking a bunker properly and more.
“A caddy is a huge help for a golf superintendent,” says Jeff VerCautren. “Caddies interact with golfers more than any other representative of the golf course. Therefore, it is important for them to understand their role in maintaining a healthy golf course and playing environment.”
Wanting to give the participants a real-life perspective of a caddy’s job, attendees were able to view several items like a scorecard, yardage book, caddie uniform, towel, range finder, and more that the Foundation had on display as “Tools of the Trade.” Utilizing the space in the Indoor Arena including the synthetic putting green and sand trap, participants watched Jeff and Mike as they demonstrated several important tasks of a caddie, such as raking a bunker properly, tending the pin, being alert to your shadow, and more.
The Foundation plans to continue to utilize the Indoor Golf Arena at Rich Harvest Farms for additional sessions. “Hosting an educational session such as this is important for our Foundation,” said Holly Alcala, Foundation Director. “It is part of our responsibility as a statewide junior golf organization to present information to our program participants and their families which may help them both now and in the future.”