Local Teens Tote for Top Golfers
When you reach the level of play required for the U.S.
Amateur Public Links Championship, one small mistake
can mean the difference between victory and defeat. A good caddie
who knows the course well can make all the difference. So when the
best amateur players from across the country play the course this
summer in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Laurel Hill Golf Club, they may
benefit from the caddie advice of four Fairfax County teens with
impressive high school golf records of their own.
“The players are going to be counting on us,” said McLean High
School senior Pari Bhargava who was selected to be in the
championship caddie pool. “I can help them (the players) with what I
know about the course, and they can help me with the strategy of the
game. They’re at a higher level than I am, and I just want to learn
all I can from them. It’s beneficial for all of us.”
“I can’t wait,” said South County High School sophomore David Rabil.
“This is my home course. I know it well.”
These teens know the Laurel Hill course well because they’ve played
it themselves multiple times in practice and in high school golf
competitions. They know how challenging the course can be, and they
know where to anticipate some of its most deceptive attributes.
“Laurel Hill is the second-highest point in Fairfax County,” said
Fairfax High School sophomore Ruby Rim. “The greatest golfing
challenges here are the wind and the tall grasses, and because we
have played the course, we can give the players a huge advantage by
offering tips and tricks on certain holes.”
Advice and strategy are only part of a caddie’s responsibilities.
These teens will also need a great deal of endurance if they wind up
working for a winner.
“If players advance in this tournament, they could be playing 36
holes a day,” said caddie coordinator John Caulfield, who also
coaches the South County High School golf team. “The caddie will have
to carry the player’s golf bag for 36 holes.” Not an easy task when
you consider a large golf bag, complete with clubs, balls, tees,
umbrella, drinks, snacks and first-aid items can weigh 30 lbs. or
more. But these determined teens are working hard to meet the
“Being fit is very important,” Rim said. “You don’t want to ruin it
for the players.”
“Caddies work really hard,” said South County High School junior
Adam Bacon, who along with Rabil, will caddie if he doesn’t qualify
to compete in the Championship. “Right now, I’m playing in as many
local tournaments as I can. Either way it builds endurance or
confidence for playing or caddying.”
The teens say their dream job would be to play professional golf.
For now, they’re just thrilled at the prospect of helping some of
golf’s rising stars develop a winning strategy.