Par None

Who knew you could score a college sports scholarship by watching someone else compete?

By Stacey Wilson May 19, 2009 Published in the June 2008 issue of Portland Monthly

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THERE IS NO movie Kate Burr hates more than Caddyshack. The 18-year-old Waverley Country Club caddie has spent the last three years trying to overcome the images of golf-course buffoonery perpetuated in the 1980 flick. “When I tell people I caddie, they say, ‘Cool, just like the movie!’” says Burr, who graduates this month from Clackamas High School. “And I’m like, ‘No. We are not allowed to throw Baby Ruths in the pool.’” Of course, there are some similarities. Like Caddyshack’s main character, Burr will attend college next year on a caddie scholarship. (That doesn’t mean carrying clubs for the school team, just returning to Waverley each summer.) She is one of seven Oregon high school students, and the only female, to be awarded the Western Golf Association’s 2008 Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship. The full-tuition scholarship fund has ushered more than 8,600 caddies through college (including a handful who went on to caddie for the PGA and LPGA) since Evans, winner of the 1916 U.S. Open, created it in 1930. So what makes a caddie rise above the rest? Here Burr, who’s bound for Oregon State, lets her trade secrets out of the bag.

STAND OUT. “Members pick their caddies by coming out to this bench where we’re all sitting and just pointing at one of us. Since I’m really the only female who caddies, I’m pretty easy to spot and I get picked a lot.”

SAY GOODBYE TO JEANS. “You cannot step on the course unless you’re wearing khaki shorts or pants. Any dyed denim is forbidden. You also have to wear a polo-style golf shirt, and it must be tucked in.”

BE NIMBLE MIND AND FOOT. “My first time out as a caddie, when we were on the 15th hole, I realized I had lost one of my member’s clubs. He’d set it on the ground next to the bag at the previous hole and hadn’t told me. Fortunately, I ran cross-country, so I was able to run and get back pretty quickly.”

EMBRACE DISCRETION. “Swear words start small at the 1st hole, and then turn into big, bad words by the 18th. But colorful language on the course doesn’t bother me. I was a student trainer for my football team, so I’m used to it. When members want more privacy to talk, they just ask me to walk 10 steps ahead.”

KNOW YOUR STUFF. “You need to know the sport, but it doesn’t really matter how well you play. I just started golf three years ago and I shoot in the 90s for 18 holes [LPGA golfers shoot about 71]. But because I play, I’m more aware of details, like how to keep the clubs from clanging against one another in the bag. Since each club has a different length and angle, you can fit them together in an orderly fashion, like a puzzle, so that none of the metal parts are touching.”

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