Model Caddie Program

Raising the Bar


With a passionate caddie master and strong support from club members, the Park Ridge caddie program thrives.

 

Park Ridge caddie and Evans Scholar Matt D'Souza (Ill. '13)

with WGA Director Kevin Buggy

 
As a high school senior, Matt Bogusz (NU ’09) had an ambitious dream — he wanted to be a state representative by age 30.

Five years and one Evans Scholarship later, Bogusz is Third Ward alderman for the city of Des Plaines, one of the area’s youngest-ever elected officials, and on the path to accomplishing his goal. And that path started at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Ill.

Bogusz is just one caddie success story from Park Ridge. But there are plenty others. The club has more currently enrolled Evans Scholars than any other WGA-member club, with 22 students attending schools across the country this fall. With nearly 100 Alumni, Park Ridge is setting the bar as a model Evans Scholars caddie program, supporters say.

Much of this success is due to caddie master Kenny Goodwin, who has been at the club for a decade. "Without Kenny’s help and support, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity," Bogusz said. "He was the one who made it happen for me."

Goodwin takes an active role by visiting high school officials in search of potential caddies. "I look for kids who are dedicated and eager to work, academically talented and in financial need," he said. "And someone who doesn’t mind waking up at 6 a.m. every morning."

It’s also critical to personally inform the parents, he says. "I sit down with them and let them know what we have to offer," he said. "Their kids are caddying for people who know what it takes to be successful. It’s a great experience."

And one that extends beyond a summer job. Goodwin keeps in touch with his caddies after they leave. When they visit, he shows off the commemorative plaque bearing their names in the clubhouse’s central corridor. "There’s no better feeling than to see a kid grow up and become successful," he said. "That’s why I do what I do."

Buy-in from the members is another critical component of the program’s success. Before Goodwin, Park Ridge members were ambivalent. Today, they embrace their role as mentors, dishing out life and career advice during loops, and proudly sporting Par Club caps. Every member has donated to Evans Scholars since 1991. In August, they play golf with the caddies at "Caddie Day."

"The members recognize it’s a great opportunity for these kids to be successful and for the public at large," said club general manager Tom McHugh. "We value education."

 

Caddies
The caddie is a vital part of the game of golf. Caddies have a strong impact on golfers, clubs and communities.