by Greg Johnson
STANWOOD – Gary Lewandowski, just back from competing in the PGA Professional National Championship in Pennsylvania, switched roles and worked as a caddie in the inaugural Tullymore Classic, a $100,000 Symetra Tour tournament being played at Tullymore Golf Resort through Sunday.
Lewandowski, the head professional at the St. Ives course and sister course to Tullymore at this Canadian Lakes area resort, stepped in when he learned a few more caddies were needed. He toted for Lindy Duncan of Jupiter, Fla., who shot an opening 3-under 69 Monday in the first round.
Lewandowski, who played in the national championship for PGA club professionals via his top finish in last year’s Michigan PGA Professional Championship (tie for 8th at Oakland University), admitted he pulled the driver for Duncan on a few holes and started to hand her the head cover instead of the club.
“Just habit, I was going to hit it myself or something,” he said and laughed.
Lewandowski, who was joined by several Tullymore members when he went to the PGA Professional National Championship in 2014, said a few of the members making up the enthusiastic volunteer force were surprised by him being on the bag.
“I got on a few of the shuttles that members were driving and it was like, ‘Oh, it’s you Gary,’” he said.
Duncan, who is a former Duke University golfer in her second year on the Symetra Tour, said she hires caddies at the many stops on the Symetra Tour and that it was great to get one with such great knowledge of the James Engh-designed golf course.
“He knows the ins and outs of this place,” she said. “We play new courses every week, so to have someone who knows the specifics of the course is great. My birdie at 18 was in large part because of Gary. He told me in our pro-am round where to aim on this one hill and it gave me the chance to hit it close there.”
Duncan said some caddies are only good for carrying the bag, and they have to be taught when to be quiet, stay still and other things that come in the heat of competition.
“Gary is a player so he knows all that and I can talk about my swings to him and he knows exactly what I’m talking about,” she said.
Lewandowski said Duncan is a great putter so he left her alone on the greens.
“She didn’t need my help there at all,” he said. “She’s really a good player with a great swing, nice tempo. I just helped her with some strategy because you can get into some tough places around here.”
Lewandowski said it was fun to look at the course and the event from the perspective of a caddie. He said the other caddies in the group remarked about the crowds around the holes being much larger than other tournaments they play.
“That was great to hear, and everywhere I could see our members, who make up most of the volunteer force, working away and smiling,” he said. “It’s great to see them enjoying this even though they are having to do all the work. I know things are going a little crazy behind the scenes, but they are making it look seamless on the surface.”
Terry Schieber, Tullymore CEO, joked with the other professionals at the resort that Lewandowski got another day off.
“Actually, I think it’s great,” he said. “We want the players, the fans, our members, everybody to enjoy the experience and be part of it in any way they would like. Gary’s a perfect caddie for someone. He’s a great golfer himself. He knows the course.”
ABOUT TULLYMORE: Tullymore Golf Resort is a must-stop for golfers who want to play, stay and watch. The resort has hauled in a page of awards and honors including being named Michigan’s No. 1 Golf Resort and one of the Top 50 Golf Resorts in the U.S. in the 2010 Golf World Readers’ Choice Awards. In addition, the resort was named the Silver Medal Winner – Premier Resorts 2010 – The Best Destinations in Golf by Golf Magazine. As for the Tullymore course, it has earned a five-star rating from Golf Digest several times since 2007 and has been ranked among the top 100 Greatest Courses in America multiple times.
Visit www.tullymoregolf.com and www.tullymoreclassic.com for more information.
For Tullymore Classic live scoring and tournament information visit www.lpga.com and click on Symetra Tour.