The J. Wood Platt Caddy Scholarship Trust helps dedicated cadets in the Main Line area pay for their college education.
When 14-year-old Michael Ryan wanted to make money, his father suggested caddying at the Rolling Green Country Club in Springfield, Pennsylvania. .
Thanks to the J. Wood Platt Caddy Scholarship Trust, Ryan also ended up with $ 40,000 for tuition at La Salle University in Philadelphia. Since 1958, it has provided caddies with more than $ 23 million in college grants. It is sponsored by the Golf Association of Philadelphia, which has 78,000 members and 300 member clubs in eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, and southern and central New Jersey.
Ryan’s parents could change his tuition fees at Salesianum High School. But with two daughters at the Academy of Padua, they needed help paying for their university studies. Thanks to his scholarship, Ryan graduated from La Salle University debt free. Now a 25-year-old CPA and investor, he sits on the board of directors of the scholarship fund. He made lifelong friends while taking curls at Rolling Green – most of his wedding party was made up of people he had met there. And he’s eternally grateful to Chris Hoyle, the club’s caddymaster who helped him through the Platt application process. âI’ve been out of college for two years and had some success in the business world,â says Ryan. “This is in part due to the people I caddied for at Rolling Green and on the stock market.”
Founded in 1897, GAP is the oldest national or regional golf association in the country – only the United States Golf Association is older. Unlike the PGA section of Philadelphia, whose members are club pros, GAP draws its participants from the ranks of those who play the game. It sponsors amateur tournaments – about 150 per year, starting at the beginner level – and offers educational opportunities for member clubs. The GAP team matches bring together more than 360 clubs in a round robin tournament in April and May.
The Platt Scholarship was named in honor of J. Wood Platt, who won six Philadelphia Amateur Championships and was so talented that the trophy presented to the winner of that tournament is named after him. âHe is perhaps the greatest amateur golfer in Philadelphia history,â said Mark Peterson, executive director of GAP.
In 1955, Platt won the first USGA Senior Amateur Championship and his caddy defense earned him a place in the Caddy Hall of Fame. Funds are raised in a variety of ways, including a program in which GAP members donate up to a certain level, which earns them a tag for their golf bags. âIt’s a way for donors to show they’ve participated and a chance for researchers to thank them,â says Pederson.
In addition to money, the Platt scholarship also offers a resource base of contacts to help students navigate the world during and after college. âIt’s not just the financial component,â says Peterson. âIt’s a network, and it’s up to them to use it. This has many advantages. “
The scholarship application process is not demanding, but it is designed to favor those who are serious about their education and shopping carts. Those interested should be regular cadets who complete at least 30 to 40 loops per year. They must complete an application form that includes information about high school surrogacy and standardized test results. There are also some short essays on their hopes for the future and what caddying means to them, and applicants provide information on financial aid. The last element is an interview with representatives of the board who are members of the clubs in which they belong. Over the years, the school most represented by academics in Platt has been Penn State University, but there are no restrictions on which institutions a student can attend.
âIn addition to money, the Platt scholarship also offers a resource base of contacts to help students navigate the world during and after college. âIt’s not just the financial component,â says Peterson. âIt’s a network, and it’s up to them to use it. This has many advantages. “
The average grant is $ 8,275 per year and the maximum annual grant is $ 10,000. Students must reapply each year and continue to demonstrate their needs. They must also continue to caddir during the spring and summer months, unless they get an out-of-town internship. During the fall semester 2020, Michael Reilly was able to go out four or five days a week, thanks to the flexibility of online classes. Reilly’s dad – also Michael – is the general manager of the Philadelphia Country Club, so it was almost predetermined that his son would be doing curls somewhere. “I started to caddy [in 2012] because my parents said it was time for me to find a job, âsays Reilly, now a junior at Villanova University. âMy dad suggested caddy, because he said it was a great job and he knew I would appreciate it. Once I realized I had to put my head down and work and grind on it, I started to worship it.
Reilly is studying economics at Villanova, with a view to a career in finance. âObviously, college isn’t cheap,â he says. âGoing to Villanova has always been a goal, but I always had to think about the financial situation. I took a lot out of the cart, in addition to developing a good work ethic. My social skills developed and I had the chance to interact with a lot of people. “