Evans Scholar, Makenna Crocker, shares her caddie experience!
I am proud to say that I've had the wonderful opportunity of growing up on the southern Oregon coast. The towering trees, rugged coastlines, and salty ocean winds have been calming familiarities to me throughout my childhood. For this, I consider myself lucky. Growing up in the small town of North Bend, I've kept busy with countless dance classes, recitals, band concerts and more. There was never a dull moment, and living in such an inviting community made it even better. The coast of Oregon is undoubtedly a gorgeous area, and many travelers make a special note to visit. I had always known that I lived in a beautiful place, but my real understanding and appreciation for Oregon amplified when I became a caddie at Bandon Dunes.
After hearing about the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship Program through my brother, (Matt Crocker, Evans Scholar 2007), I decided to give it a try the summer after my sophomore year in high school. Going into it, I had little knowledge of Bandon Dunes nor golf itself. However, each day I spent on the courses my awareness and appreciation for the sport grew tremendously.
The courses are beautiful, Bandon is beautiful, the ocean is beautiful; the privilege and experience to work out here is just that, BEAUTIFUL.
When you are trekking along the rolling dunes of these golf courses, all of life's worries seem to fade. Your sole focus is on the game of golf and the breathtaking beauty that is the Southern Oregon Coast. On sunny days, the vibrancy of the green hills in contrast with the blue water and colorful wind surfers is bound to steal your focus. Then, on those gray, blustery days, the crashing waves and sheer power of the wind is bound to keep you in awe. Working at Bandon Dunes has given me the opportunity to see these beautiful sights every day, enabling me to enjoy and fall further in love with where I’ve grown up.
Being a young female caddie, I have always been treated with kindness and respect; I can still say this after three years of working at Bandon Dunes. Golfers and other caddies are thoughtful, understanding and have made my experience all the better.
My favorite aspect about caddying has been the ability to meet people that travel from all over the world to play golf at Bandon Dunes and hear their stories. I have met all kinds of people and made great connections that I would never have had the opportunity to make, had I not been a caddie. It’s wonderful to see people from all different backgrounds, coming together through their shared love of true links golf and the outdoors.
I have had several memorable stories throughout my time in Bandon. Among the top was with a twosome I had worked with earlier this summer. We were on the 18th hole at Bandon Trails, and the other player I was not caddying for was about to attempt a 40-yard putt. His putting hadn’t been very strong that day, so he jokingly bet me that if I gave him a read and he made it, he would give me an excellent tip. I laughed and read his putt, not expecting anything. He used the advice I gave him, and as the ball rolled confidently towards the hole the pressure mounted... to everyone's marvel, it dropped in the hole! As the ball dropped so did his jaw, as he was not expecting to have even been close, let alone to have to pay up! It was a fun group, and I will always remember that round.
Being a caddie in the Evans program has helped give me a lot more confidence connecting with people. I am more outgoing and driven. In my early days, I was shy and lacked a lot of the golf knowledge our more experienced caddies possess. Since then, I have gratefully accumulated the knowledge it takes to help golfers through each round. I’ve learned how to interact with all kinds of people, and in turn, have made several great connections throughout the country. Moreover, the biggest opportunity this program has given me is the chance to go to college.
This fall, I will be attending the University of Oregon on the Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship with full tuition and housing support. I am grateful beyond words for this opportunity. I will be entering Oregon’s pre-Journalism program, in hopes to lean towards advertising and media. I will also be keeping myself busy with a second major in dance to help keep up with a love I've had my entire childhood. I am very excited to start this next chapter in my life, but will always remember the people and places that helped guide me along the way. I will be forever grateful to have grown up in such a beautiful area and to have had such a great opportunity caddying at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.