June 21st, 2017 12:05PM
Michaywe’ Pines Caddie Program from left to right: Conrad Code, Noah Kole, Kyle Putnam, Joe Colliton, Ken Mertz, Brendon Gouin, Mike Valuet and Joey Crensheck.
One day a bag service worker for The Pines at Michaywe’ asked golf professional Judy Mason if she knew of any place downstate where he might relocate and work as a caddie so that one day he could apply for a coveted Evans Scholarship.
Judy did some thinking, made a few calls, and then thought again.
“While I was doing that the thought crossed my mind that we have so many people in this community in over 900 homes, and the kids are just a bike ride away,” she said.
That led to The Pines, Michaywe’ starting a caddie program in the middle of the Gaylord Golf Mecca for the 2016 golf season. Year two is underway.
“We didn’t do a tremendous amount of loops for the caddies, but we built a foundation and most of the caddies who worked last year came back,” Mason said. “All of them are good golfers, hard-working kids who understand the game.”
Judy said the response has been great to the way it is approached. Each caddie wears a bib with the golfer’s name on the back, and they have all received some training on caddie methods.
“Golfers who have taken them out have thoroughly loved the experience,” she said. “We have the perfect golf course to play with caddies, and the golfers love the throwback way of playing golf with a caddie. It’s been a win-win for our young golfers, but also the community. It gives people in the community a great chance to be around young people, interact and play some golf and the kids have a part-time summer job.”
Judy is proud of everyone involved.
“It’s just been a real positive, and we are planning to keep it going,” she said. “There is a loop rate of $20 for the golfer, and we suggest a tip of a similar amount if they do a good job and then the caddie also gets a free round of golf to play from us.”