Caddie Tourney: Loopers Get Different Look at No. 2
Last week Caddiemaster held its annual Caddie Tournament for its Pinehurst loopers on courses No. 8 and No. 2.
After two days of medal play competition, contested under ideal playing and weather conditions, caddies Troy Quick and Jeremy Ringled finished tied with a combined stroke total of 147. Quick shot a two-under 70 on No. 8 the first day and followed it with a plus-five 77 on No. 2. Meanwhile, Ringled fired a three-over par 75 on day one, and came in at even par 72 on Donald Ross’ famed No. 2 layout.
As a result, the tandem was forced to go head-to-head in an 18-hole match-play playoff, which Quick won by a score of 2 and 1 to take home the 2011 trophy.
“As caddies we get to walk this course 150 to 200 times a year,” said Quick “and we only get to play it once. So it means a lot to be able to go out there and actually get to see the course from the perspective of a player. We are always critiquing our players on loops, giving them advice on what to do. It a bit tougher to have to be the one on the spot and follow that same advice — so that gives us some perspective as caddies about what the golfers have to deal with.”
Quick has been a caddie at Pinehurst for more than six years now. Along with carrying bags on the storied and acclaimed No. 2, he and all other Caddiemaster Pinehurst caddies do loops on courses No. 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8.
“I tied for first one other time and lost in a playoff, so it is a fairly big honor to get the trophy, especially with all the history that surrounds this course and the caddie program here,” he said.
Caddiemaster is the company that has provided caddie services for the Pinehurst Resort since it took over the long-running operation back in 1997.
Jimmy “Elvis” Smith has been a caddie master at Pinehurst since 1998. After this year’s event, he spoke about the state of caddies at Pinehurst, and the significance of the annual tradition of holding the caddie tournament.
“One thing is, the tournament is the only time the caddies get to play No. 2 during the year,” said Smith. “The main thing that makes the event so special is that the overall champion receives a trophy named after Fletcher Gaines, who passed on several years back. But he was a hall-of-famer (caddie), an ambassador for Pinehurst and a legend. So it is a great way to honor his memory and legacy.”
In a first for the yearly competition, several Pinehurst golf professional and other club employees carried bags for the caddies during the event. According to Pinehurst Resort’s Tom Pashley, executive vice president, marketing, this added aspect brought a whole new dynamic to the tournament.
According to Pashley, the group who carried for the caddies on No. 2 included Chad Campbell, Pinehurst Resort director of golf; Todd Camplin, No. 7 head professional; Jeff Crabbe, first assistant at Main Golf Shop; Shannon Smith, assistant golf professional; Rob Pilewski, No. 6 first assistant; John Azzarelli, assistant golf professional; Kyle Fera, assistant golf professional; and Matt Vick, assistant golf professional.
Smith also felt the idea was a special way to tribute the Pinehurst caddie program and its caddies.
“Jeff (Crabbe) came up with the idea initially,” Smith said, “and he sent an email out to all the golf professionals who have taken caddies before on No. 2. He thought it would be a great way for that group to come out and support the caddie program here. It truly was a big deal for the guys, just an awesome addition that made for lots of fun. For the professionals, carrying the bag gave them a better appreciation for what we do as caddies, and the immersive customer service experience the guys provide visiting golfers each time they go on a loop.
“This tournament is is always a great way to bring the year to the end as the guys get to have some fun, while also enjoying some spirited competition. Also, the course was just in amazing shape for the final day. No. 2 was immaculate, the greens were close to perfect, and the weather was great.”
According to Smith, the state of the caddie program at Pinehurst is a thriving one.
“October was the biggest month we have had for caddying since I’ve been here. After the restoration was completed, it seems the guests really love it, and the anticipation building for the 2014 Opens helps.”
The fact that the caddie program has enjoyed solid success of late and has high prospects for the future thrills Pashley.
“I am a huge fan of the caddie tradition here at Pinehurst,” said Pashley. “I love caddie stories, I love the history, I love seeing the new guys work their way in. I would say the main reason being that anything ‘caddie’ is authenticity when it comes to the game of golf.
“Therefore anything I think we can do, to give more visibility to our caddies is something I love to do. The Caddie Hall of Fame is one example. It was created in 2001. I think it is great that they get to play No. 2, because it is only going to make them better caddies as they will be able to better relate to the players they carry for throughout the year.”
Pashley has been with Pinehurst Resort for 15 years, working eight years at his current position. In his mind the thing that separates Pinehurst from other resorts are the caddies and the history that goes along with them.
“I think the caddie program here is a differentiator for us. Our caddies’ quality here in terms of their of overall proficiency, experience, personality and historical perspective makes for a diverse mixture that just cannot be matched in my mind.”
Contact F.W. Manning II at email@example.com.
More like this story