Like every other caddie master, Garden City Golf Club’s George Ouellette would have been overjoyed if anyone in his crew had received a Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship. He would have been proud that one of his workers had been given the prestigious national honor and pleased that the teen’s parents would not have to pay a penny for four years of college tuition, room and board.
He would have been happy to call the recipient’s dad with the good news.
All of that actually did happen recently, except for the call. No need for that. The winner was George Ouellette Jr.
The recent graduate of the Waldorf School has earned a full ride to the University of Colorado thanks to the fund administered since 1930 by the Western Golf Association. It was named for the man who was the first to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open in the same year, and who had a great respect for the job of a caddie — as does the Ouellette household.
“Obviously I took a lot from my dad because he’s been caddying his whole life. It’s the only job he has ever had,” George Jr. said in the pro shop recently, before an afternoon loop. “It makes me very happy because my parents have put three kids through private school now for 18 years. To lift them up a little bit, it makes me happy.”
There is dignity and challenge in hoisting golf bags, which the middle one of George Sr. and Lori’s sons has been doing since he was 13. His dad started caddying at Rockville Links at 12 and has been at Garden City Golf Club since 1986. He became caddie manager in 1992. “What initially appealed to me was the prestige of Garden City Golf Club,” the elder Oullette said. “What has kept me here are the members. They truly are like a family.”
Included in the tradition is the fact that Evans played at Garden City in both the Walker Cup and U.S. Amateur. His picture hangs in the clubhouse. The scholarship that bears his name is respected in golf circles, with several colleges around the country having built special houses just for Evans scholars. Colorado opened a new building this year.
“When my wife and I went out there, we so impressed with the kids. They all basically came from humble backgrounds. They want to work,” Ouellette Sr. said. “They were probably the nicest kids I’ve ever met, probably because of where they came from.”
Ouellette Jr. continues a string of Long Island winners since 2012, including three in four years from North Shore Country Club. One of his housemates in Boulder will be Alex Atwater, a caddie at Shinnecock Hills. Scholars are chosen based on their grades, work history, an essay and an interview in front of an Evans committee.
“I’m coming from such a small school, with only 100 kids in the high school, and going to Boulder where there are 25,000 kids,” Ouellette Jr. said. “I’m looking forward to having a family, kids who can help me out, kids I can turn to.”
Meanwhile, he will keep caddying right up until freshman orientation. “It’s not a boring job. It’s kind of different every time. You’ve got to be on point. You can’t be lollygagging,” he said. “If you give a wrong yardage and they hit it 10 yards short, you know it’s your fault. You’ve just got to keep on going.
“To some people golf is very, very important and without the caddie it’s a totally different experience,” he said. “It’s a responsibility. You know you’re a big help to people.”
And caddying has turned out to be a huge help to him, and his family.
Tee Off 4 Autism will hold its golf outing July 14 at Tam O’Shanter Club, Brookville. Visit toff4autism.org . . . The 43rd Annual Marty Mongoni Golf Outing held by the Kiwanis Club of the Five Towns will be July 18 at the Woodmere Club. Call 516-395-7088 . . . The 28th Annual John Maccarone Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for scholarships benefiting Glen Cove High School scholar-athletes, will be July 18 at Glen Cove Golf Club. Call 516-676-3766.
Ed Wesche, Rock Hill G&CC, fourth hole, 200 yards, driver
Will Lombardo, Crab Meadow GC, 13th hole, 138 yards, 7-iron
Cheryl Van Syckle, Pine Hills CC, 17th hole, 119 yards, 9-iron
Mark Hammaren, Pine Hills CC, 17th hole, 142 yards, 8-iron
Walter Tanner, Pine Hills CC, third hole, 126 yards, 7-iron
Joe Rothman, Lawrence Y & CC, 13th hole, 102 yards, pitching wedge
Greg D’Esposito, Wheatley Hills GC, 10th hole, 202 yards, 4-iron
Harvey Federman, Montauk Downs, second hole, 111 yards, pitching wedge
Chuck Schlapp, WindWatch G&CC, eighth hole, 168 yards, 8-iron
Donna Corado, Engineers CC, 14th hole, 90 yards, 5-iron
Anthony Pepe, Bethpage Yellow, fourth hole, 146 yards, 9-iron
Greg Walsh, E. Donald Conroy GC, eighth hole, 85 yards, sand wedge