Excerpt from the Summer 2021 issue of the GAP Magazine
Nathan Engler unexpectedly found his introduction to caddying in a time of sorrow. He was attending his Uncle Joe Gioia’s funeral in January 2016 when conversations of looping came up with friends and family at the funeral service.
“My uncle and my grandfather caddied at Manufacturers’. [My uncle], unfortunately, passed away [unexpectedly], and some of his caddying buddies were at his funeral and reconnected with our family,” said Engler, 22, of Perkasie, Pa. “They actually were the ones who convinced me to get into it. I am very thankful.”
That conversation provided a life-changing moment.
He joined the Manufacturers’ caddie yard in April 2016, courtesy of an introduction by Uncle Joe’s friend Ryan Cosden. Soon thereafter, he learned of the opportunities the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust offered courtesy of Caddiemaster Thomas Fenstermacher.
It’s only fitting, and a bit ironic then, that Engler was playing Mannies’ on a Monday after caddying in an earlier outing when his mother called to tell him he’d been accepted as a Platt Scholar.
“’You got the scholarship,’” his mother Amanda Engler said, on the phone. “I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh.’ It was a moment where I felt very proud and happy that all of the work I put in was being recognized.”
“He is always willing to do what I ask. Whether it is setting up a tournament or helping out around the golf course,” said Fenstermacher, Mannies’ caddiemaster of nine years. “He has the hard work, dedication and willingness to go the extra mile to make himself a better caddie and better person.”
Engler graduated this May from the University of Pittsburgh with a mechanical engineering degree.
In addition to his required studies, Engler held two internships during his college tenure. One, with a construction management firm called KS Engineers P.C., where he worked on the Commodore Barry Bridge in Chester, Pa. His second with Olson Technologies of Allentown, Pa. There he worked with manufacturing valves. After that experience, which he thoroughly enjoyed, Engler actually switched engineering disciples from civil to mechanical.
It is a change that paid off with a full-time position at WireCo WorldGroup, a leader in manufacturing, engineering and distributing of rope and cables for many different brands based in Montgomeryville, Pa.
“The scholarship provided an opportunity for a lot of caddies that they may not have ever had,” said Engler. “It provides an opportunity for caddies to pursue the degree or career path that they want. I think it is really great that a lot of the members of [GAP] clubs are willing to donate and help caddies pursue where they want their life to go and give us the opportunity to do so. I am really grateful that I am a J. Wood Platt Scholar.”
Being the oldest of three children, he understands the scholarship’s value for he and his family.
“It really opened up the possibility of me going to college and really pursuing the career I wanted to,” said Engler of receiving a J. Wood Platt Scholarship. “It would have been pretty hard to take out student loans, which would make me accrue a lot of debt. J. Wood Platt really opened up the possibility to further my career by going to college. Having that funding from J. Wood Platt alleviated many of my concerns.”
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.