Names like Bruce Edwards and Steve Williams have become as well known as the men they helped make famous.
A necessity on the major golf tours, being a caddie has turned into a lucrative occupation if you can team with the better players. Just ask Williams, who became the first caddie to break the $1 million barrier while carrying Tiger Woods' bag.
But in the Brainerd lakes area, the caddie position vanished like Bagger Vance at the end of the unsuccessful movie "The Legend of Bagger Vance."
There once was a large caddie presence at the established area resorts, but not since 1968. With the popularity of pull carts and gas- and battery-operated power carts, caddies were no longer needed.
"People really like to ride," said Dave Gravdahl, general manager and former caddie at Breezy Point Resort. "I think we had a few caddies back in 1968 but they weren't getting enough business to keep them on."
Gravdahl was a caddie at Breezy Point from 1952-53. He said there was a group of caddies, mostly from Pequot Lakes. He was able to get to the course three or four times a week and usually carried bags for the same players.
"It was $1 for nine holes and then they would usually tip you 25, 50 cents," said Gravdahl, who was 12 and 13 years old when he caddied. "The big tippers would maybe give you a buck. If you carried doubles you would get paid double."
Gravdahl said Breezy had many caddies during the 1920s and 30s before golf carts. Now he said about 99 percent of the clubs have carts, with a few private clubs still holding on to the tradition.
Caddie history Trivia:
According to the Scottish Golf History Web site, the first known caddie was Andrew Dickson, an Edinburgh clubmaker, who caddied for the Duke of York in 1681.
Expired: The last course in the Brainerd lakes area to have caddies was Cuyuna Country Club in 1995.
Carts: Gas powered golf carts are the main reason caddies are no longer used on most courses.
The Brainerd area doesn't have private golf clubs, which is another reason there aren't caddies in the area.
"We never employed caddies," said John Beyer, owner of the Brainerd Country Club, which is now Pine Meadows, in 1954. "When I bought the course it was just a nine-hole course. A few guys would bring their own caddies."
Cuyuna Country Club in Deerwood opened its first nine in 1923 and caddies were used frequently.
"We had them a long, long time ago and we actually tried it again in 1994-95," said Dale Lundgren, superintendent at CCC. "No one really used them so it didn't really pan out. There just wasn't an interest especially with carts. We had a couple of guys who used them, but not often enough to warrant keeping caddies around."
Lundgren said there was interest from children who wanted to be caddies. He had 15 hired for the 1994 golf season.
Today there is a caddie hall of fame, a caddie school and a Professional Caddie Association. There are also college scholarships for caddies, including the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships up to $500 to $5,000. The largest and most famous caddie scholarship is the Evans Scholarship.
There are benefits to having caddies at golf courses and being a caddie, but the demand from the public isn't there.
"It's a different way of playing golf," said Gravdahl, who said being a caddie was fun because he was outside and with other children his age. "I've played with a caddie a couple of years ago and it was interesting if you want to make the caddie laugh with your swing.
"The interest just isn't there. You hear some people who like to walk, but not many -- most prefer riding."
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
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