Girl Caddies In Charlevoix, Michigan

Charlevoix Golf Links 1911
Charlevoix Golf Links – 1911

The Huffington Post (of all places) has an article on a little twist of golf history: the girl caddies of Charlevoix, Michigan.

… in 1918 (Franz) Rickaby (the Caddiemaster), by then a professor of English at the University of North Dakota during the school year, faced a dilemma. New golf courses had opened in Northern Michigan, the needs of WWI provided new job opportunities for young boys, and the old time caddies had grown careless and lackadaisical. The club had a caddie shortage.

“Nothing aids in keeping the grade of commodities up… quite like competition,” Rickaby wrote. He would add girls to the squad!

He took three weeks to lay the groundwork, speaking individually to skeptical players, reassuring local parents and mollifying the boy caddies. He supplemented these efforts with his weekly column in the local newspaper defending the fairness of his decision and encouraging the girls to apply, smoothing their eventual reception. Fourteen girls applied, joining 88 boys. Most were local, but a few came from faraway towns and slept in the clubhouse, which took some maneuvering on Rickaby’s part; the following summer they had their own cabin.

The girls learned to carry and balance the bag, flag the hole, hand the clubs, understand and use the lingo, spot the bird nests, replace the divots, rake the sand traps and keep the score. They learned the advantages of loose clothing and the disadvantages of high heels and tight waistbands. By the end of the season, all but two or three girls had succeeded to give good service, the exact same rate as the boys.

Read the whole thing.

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