Minnesota Golfer - Directory 2023 - 41

CADDIE CORNER
Recruiting New Caddies
J
ust a generation ago, youth caddies
flocked to caddie yards eager to find
loops. They flock no more. With an
increasing number of outside commitments,
clubs with caddie programs are
compelled to recruit at local schools and
youth organizations in order to fill their
caddie yard with kids who are willing
to work and who may become potential
candidates for the Evans Scholarship.
The COVID pandemic in 2020 hit caddie
programs hard, cutting club participation
in half, and caddie loops dropped
68 percent from the previous year. The
MGA and Western Golf Association
(WGA), in conjunction with the 22 caddie
clubs in the state, are working to fill
the pipeline with caddie candidates and
create more demand for loops by club
members.
" The supply and demand of caddies at
a club-level are the two most important
factors of a successful caddie program, "
says John Hallberg, Minnesota Evans
Scholar State Head.
Supply
Sustainable caddie programs require a
steady supply of caddies who will remain
committed throughout the summer. This
has become a growing challenge with kids
having more options other than caddieing.
Clubs have found that as the season
unfolds, more kids start to abandon their
caddie programs. The MGA and WGA are
reaching out to middle schools and high
schools, as well as youth organizations, to
recruit more kids who want to caddie.
Last year, outreach efforts involved an
event with high school counselors and
community groups to explain caddieing
and the benefits of the Evans Scholarship.
Similarly, new caddie programs at Elk
River and Keller golf clubs successfully
recruited caddies through youth hockey
(Elk River), and several area high schools
(Keller recruited from North High,
Johnson High School and Hill-Murray).
Demand
In the post-COVID era, caddie loops have
increased by more than 200 percent. First,
member education has been instrumental
by explaining to golfers the impact caddieing
has not only on the caddies, but the
club, membership and community.
Setting clear expectations with golfers
on what to expect from a caddie takes
away any unknowns, such as services
provided by and cost of each caddie level.
Secondly, creating " Caddie Ambass*
BY JACK MENDESH *
adors " at each caddie club has made a big
impact. Caddie Ambassadors commit to
take caddies as often as possible, spread
the word amongst the membership of the
caddie program, and make time to mentor
the youth within the caddie program.
Third, the introduction of new technology
has helped. Smartphones and
apps now allow golfers and caddies to
schedule loops easily and conveniently, a
huge technological leap from just a generation
ago. Loops are now scheduled a
day before the round takes place, giving
the golfer and caddies peace on mind.
If your club needs assistance with any
aspect of a caddie program, please reach
out to Jack Mendesh, caddie@mngolf.org.
Jack Mendesh is the MGA's caddie development
manager, and can be reached at
caddie@mngolf.org.
xxxxxxx
-xxxxxxxxxx
The ForeCaddie app allows for easier assignment, management,
and payment options for both golfers and caddies.
The ideal caddie recruit is between middle school and high school, and at an age allowing them ample time to meet the requirements
of the Evans Scholarship (a minimum of two seasons under their belt), and the opportunity to build a strong caddie record,
achieve excellent academics, show financial need and demonstrate outstanding character traits.
mngolf.org
Directory 2023 MINNESOTAGOLFER
41
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Minnesota Golfer - Directory 2023

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