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A circa 1923 links golf course with a working lighthouse, Sankaty Head Golf Club, is the home of a caddie camp each June. The course hugs the shoreline in Siasconset, Massachusetts.
For 79 years, this exclusive club, which has a twelve-year waiting list for adult membership and claims Jack Welch as a member, has held a camp for about 60 boys aged 13 to 19. The camp is one of the last remaining in the country.
The boys come from all walks of life, and as far away as Ireland.
Each June, according to a NY Times article by Stacy Stowe, the boys report to Camp Sankaty Head, stationed between the 11th and 13th fairways.
Mark hatfield, Sankaty’s head pro for the last 22 years, says, “They’re trained from Day 1 how to rake bunkers, tend pins, mark balls. But it’s not just a caddie camp. We really have a camp to help kids mature.”
The boys are there for 10 weeks. They rise at 7 am when they hear the clang of a brass bell. They shower and dress in gray T-shirts, khaki shorts and red cap, and then assemble for flag-raising.
They have chores like weed-whacking and mopping, assigned at the all-camp meeting known as “quarters” (this is a military-style routine). Camp director Normal Claxton is a former Navy captain who has run the place since 1962.
The caddies work six days a week. They are assigned at “the bench” above the parking lot.
Carrying one bag — a “tank” in the camp’s jargon — nets $70, in addition to a tip that averages about $20. In the evenings, caddies are allowed to play the 6,670-yard course, ranked by Golf-week Magazine among the top 100 classic (pre-1960) courses nationwide.
Most of the kids are golfers. One of the top senior amateurs, George Zahringer, is an alumnus. About half are from Massachusetts, and because many return each summer, there are only about 10 to 15 openings each year for the 100 boys who apply.
Room and board is $5 a day, but the fee is returned at summer’s end to those in need.
Money management is a cornerstone of camping at Sankaty Head. Every evening the caddies deposit their tips and record their “loops” — the number of times around the 18 holes. A list of campers and their earnings is posted on a wall of the mailroom, a section of the dining room that doubles as a bank.
Most campers earn about $3000 over the summer; the best ones can earn as much as $9000.
During the last week of camp, boys who have submitted essays and applications will learn if they will receive one of the roughly $110,000 in scholarships to prep schools and colleges. Club members subsidize the camp and contribute to scholarships. And campers and employees have told of many examples of quiet generosity.
Last summer, a member paid a tutor to hold College Board test prep classes in the camp library, for which about 20 boys signed up.
sole source: Stacy Stowe’s article in the NY Times on 7/23/09
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