Youth on Course
Youth on Course's Top Looper: Grant Petry
In the first year of the Youth on Course caddie program being offered in Kentucky, no one was as active looping bags as Louisville’s Grant Petry was. Petry completed 25 loops in 2019 across the participating clubs in the Louisville area, being Hurstbourne Country Club, Big Spring Country Club and Big Spring Country Club - Harmony Landing Course. For his efforts, Petry was rewarded with memorable experiences, knowledge to help his own golf game and a good chunk of money in his wallet.
Petry is concluding his junior year at St. Xavier High School and beginning to plan for what comes after his high school graduation. Right now, his top choices on where to go are the University of Kentucky and Clemson University, which is where his father went to college. As far as what he studies, Petry is leaning towards either a history degree or a law degree. His interest in politics and writing has him intrigued about the prospect of writing for a political news source down the road.
Like many politicians Petry might find himself covering one day, being on the golf course is one of his favorite places to be. He grew up playing primarily basketball in Columbus, Ohio and gave football a shot which he admits was not his finest sport. Petry gave the golf team a go in 7th grade but mostly played it on a casual basis for the years since then. Youth on Course has helped build on his love for the game, however, so Petry will try out for St. Xavier’s golf team this fall.
Petry’s introduction to Youth on Course was quite simple. A friend of his who’s a member at Big Spring Country Club saw a post on their bulletin board mentioning the caddie program’s origin and spread the word about it. Conveniently, Petry was looking for a summer job and decided to get involved thanks to that news. Once he completed the orientation process, Petry could work whenever he wanted thanks to the program’s flexibility.
“I typically try to set two days per week where I’m going to plan on caddying,” Petry explained. “Sometimes you just have to go off what loops are available, but it’s a great first job to have since you get to be outside on the golf course, work when you want, and you make good money.”
Petry and all Youth on Course caddies receive $50 automatically for each round they loop. Not included in that are tips some golfers give to him and other caddies who impress the player they were matched up with. The perks don’t end there, as every ten rounds caddied means the caddie gets $500 in college scholarship money. That means with 25 loops, Petry has $1000 in college scholarship money waiting for him plus $1,250 and whatever money he got in tips available right away.
Another benefit to Petry’s dedication to caddying was having the opportunity to participate in the Barbasol Championship’s Wednesday Pro-Am where he caddied for PGA Tour players competing that day.
“It was such a cool experience,” Petry recalled. “I was in the same group as Jhonattan Vegas and it was amazing watching him hit driver. He just absolutely crushed it every time and it was awesome to see and hear that contact right next to him.”
Petry, on the far right with Jhonattan Vegas
Many of the loops, whether they were with PGA Tour winners or not, provided lots of insight on how Petry can improve his own golf game to increase his chances of making it on St. Xavier’s golf team later this year. With caddie opportunities at three of Louisville’s top courses, the chances of getting a scratch golfer or low-handicapper are fairly good. Since Petry was out caddying so often, that meant more opportunities to get those top players and pick their brains.
“I got a lot out of seeing how the really good players approach their rounds. Everything from their course management to their actual swings made an impression on me. I had one player tell me that in order to succeed, you can only have one or two swing thoughts. If you have anymore than that and you’re struggling with your swing, things are only going to get worse. That really stood out to me and I’ve tried to follow that advice as much as possible ever since.”
Despite the novel coronavirus pandemic, Petry is well-aware of the fact the program is only bound to grow as it continues to gain traction in Kentucky. It is already set to head to the Lexington market by expanding to Keene Trace Golf Club once Kentucky is safe to operate normally at the pandemic’s conclusion.
“Every teenager should give it a try. You get $50 automatically for each round and get to work outside whenever you want at some of the nicest golf courses in the area. There are so many opportunities you have by participating and I hope more people continue to get involved with it.”