MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mark Haugejorde spent years of his career working for Jack Nicklaus. But the Central Minnesota native has a new pet project now.
“’Best first job ever’ is our tagline,” Haugejorde said.
It’s a nonprofit called “Caddie U,” which training high school kids to be caddies. And already, they’ve had quite the week at the 3M Open at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine.
“To grow the game, we need to grow those kids’ experiences one at a time. We can advertise all we want, we can shuttle everything we want,” Haugejorde said. “It really it boils down to the power of one. How can we make a difference in this young person’s life so that when they think about golf, it’s an immediate positive impression, and then they recruit their friends.”
During the Pro-Am earlier this week, they caddied for the amateurs while they played with the pros.
“That’s 192 players just yesterday, and we did another 100 on Monday,” Haugejorde said.
All Minnesota high schoolers, boys and girls.
“From the time that their player gets here, til the time that they leave, they’re responsible for that player’s experience. They’re going to carry that bag, they’re going to be friendly, they’re going to help them with everything from raking bunkers to reading greens, and really help them really enjoy then what this 3M Open is all about,” Haugejorde said. “They were so thrilled. They had never experienced anything like this. They’re inside the ropes, they’re understanding and learning about the PGA Tour and what that is, they’re interacting with business community leaders all over, and of course, they did very well financially, too. They got paid well, so for the Fourth of July they got a little money in their pocket, or, as we know, on Venmo.”
It makes you wonder. As long as this tournament continues to be here, we may see some Caddy U graduates someday caddying for one of the pros.