Excerpt from the Fall 2021 issue of the GAP Magazine
To some, caddying is a skill learned over time. For Brooke Burgfechtel, the job was a natural fit.
“Golf has always been a part of my life. My whole family golfs. My dad, mom, my brother and I are a pretty good foursome,” said a smiling Burgfechtel. “[When I was a baby], my parents [Jennifer and John] would take me out on the golf cart, and I would be in my car seat on the golf cart while they were golfing.”
Call Burgfechtel’s grandfather Bob the caddie catalyst. He toted bags at Elmwood Country Club in Marshalltown, Iowa as a youth.
“Once he brought [caddying] up to me, I just felt it was a great way to mix my hobby of golf and bring it to life within a job opportunity,” said Brooke, 20, of Washington Crossing, Pa. “When I was six weeks old, I was there when he got his first hole-in-one in a tournament, so he was always influential to me within golf. I look up to him a lot.”
Burgfechtel found her first loop at Trenton Country Club in 2015 prior to her freshman year at Pennsbury High School. Soon thereafter, she learned about the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust from Caddiemaster Jim Watson.
The summer before heading south to East Carolina University, she received a piece of mail that changed everything.
“I almost cried when I was opening the letter and found out I was a J. Wood Platt Scholar. I was under a lot of financial stress at the time. I was working really hard and trying my best to at least try to pay for my first year at college,” said Burgfechtel, who was selected as the Nate Oxman Endowed Scholar for 2021-22. “[The scholarship] has relieved a substantial amount of financial stress on me. It has allowed me to focus on my course load so that I don’t have to work during the school year, and I can focus on my studies.”
The Nate Oxman Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a caddie who graduated from a public high school and who has a record of athletic achievements and community involvement.
Throughout her high school tenure, Burgfechtel volunteered for Athletes Helping Athletes, Best Buddies International and Special Olympics. She always felt a desire to help those less fortunate. Fueled by that unwavering passion, Burgfechtel serves as head coach of Special Olympics cheerleading for the Pitt County Chapter in North Carolina.
Her spirit isn’t surprising.
“Brooke goes way above and beyond. She helps everybody and anybody,” said Watson.
Burgfechtel, a junior at East Carolina, is majoring in public health with a community health concentration and a minor in business administration. She hopes to pursue a career in healthcare administration after graduation.
Such a profession would benefit from Burgfechtel’s drive.
“She is without a doubt, a very good caddie. She even takes the new caddies out to train them and does an excellent job,” said Watson. “She is a hard worker and does everything that is asked of her and more. There is nothing that she will not do for the club.”
Although caddying is one of Burgfechtel’s favorite life experiences, it has also given her the opportunity to learn many skills other than reading greens.
“Caddying has given me professional communication skills while also allowing me to gain connections from all of the members at Trenton Country Club,” said Burgfechtel. “Developing communication skills that are going to be valued for the rest of my life and being able to start that at a really young age was helpful.”
Burgfechtel won’t be the last in the family to tote a bag. Her brother, John Brady, 17, also caddies at Trenton. They’re known as the brother-sister duo when paired together.
“We really enjoy caddying together. It’s so much more fun now that my brother is a part of it, too,” Brooke said. “The members always come up to me after the round and say, ‘Oh, your brother caddied for me. He does a good job.’ And I’m like, ‘Yup. I trained him.’”
The Burgfechtel family golf program continues.
Read the magazine article here!
Celebrating Amateur Golf since 1897, GAP, also known as the Golf Association of Philadelphia, is the oldest regional or state golf association in the United States. It serves as the principal ruling body of amateur golf in its region. The Association’s 288 Member Clubs and 75,000 individual members are spread across the Eastern half of Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The GAP’s mission is to promote, preserve and protect the game of golf.
J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust
The J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust was created in 1958 by the Golf Association of Philadelphia through the efforts of then President Walter A. Schmidt; Leo Fraser, President of the local section of Professional Golfers Association of America; and Albert Keeping, Golf Professional at Gulph Mills Golf Club. It was named in honor of Philadelphia’s premier golfer of the era, J. Wood Platt. Not only was Mr. Platt an accomplished player, but he was also the Trust’s co-founder and first contributor. To date, more than 3,800 young men and women have received $23 million in aid from the Trust.