Excerpt from the Summer 2023 issue of the GAP Magazine
By John T. Iswalt
Success is something that caddie Nicholas Dell’Omo associates with Metedeconk National Golf Club’s members. Inspired by their hard work and dedication to career, he is set on forging a similar road. Helping pave the way is the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust.
“There are people out there that want to help,” Dell’Omo, 20, of Jackson, N.J., said. “Sometimes you may feel that the whole world is against you and that you’re fending for yourself, but in reality there’s always people you can turn to, and to me that was J. Wood Platt.”
Dell’Omo is a rising junior at the University of South Carolina. In 2022, he was awarded the Neil and Loretta McDermott Endowed Scholarship, which is presented to a caddie who intends to pursue a career in medicine as a doctor or nurse. Neil McDermott served as GAP President from 2002-05. Loretta is his wife.
Dell’Omo is hopeful to become a surgeon, possibly focusing on cardiothoracics and orthopedics.
“Our former director of outside operations, Jeff Smolar, reached out to me and encouraged me to apply [for the scholarship],” Dell’Omo said. “[Jeff] said I was ‘doing a great job as a caddie’ and to ‘use this scholarship to my advantage.’ I didn’t know about it when I first started here, and he brought it to light for me.”
Before high school, golf was not even a part of Dell’Omo’s life. After searching for a spring sport during his freshman year at Jackson Memorial High School, he decided to give the sport a swing.
“My first rounds [of golf] I played were on my freshman team in high school,” who graduated from high school in 2021 said. “I used my late grandfather’s [Bruce Kuczynski’s] clubs that were sitting in my garage. They were perfect for me.”
It was his high school golf experience that catapulted his caddying career.
“I’ve had a few people I played with and knew in high school talk to me about caddying, [so] I started looking at places,” Dell’Omo, who lives two miles from the club, said. “I did one year at Hollywood Golf Club in Deal, N.J., and I’ve been here for the past four seasons caddying. Actually, another J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholar [Kyle Rogers] was the one who referred me and got me [into Metedeconk].”
Dell’Omo’s caddying responsibilities include on-course management, providing a social presence and enhancing the overall club experience.
The Platt Scholarship isn’t the only professional development opportunity that Metedeconk has given Dell’Omo. The chance to connect with members who have created their own career success is also something he is grateful for.
“I definitely have been more personable since I’ve gotten here and more likely to go out and take initiative to go out and do things,” Dell’Omo said. “Seeing all these successful people here inspires me to want to be like them one day and gain that level of success.”
At South Carolina, Dell’Omo majors in biological sciences and dual minors in medical humanities and business administration. He is also a member of the South Carolina Honors College.
“I plan on going into medical school after I graduate and biological sciences is one of the more common majors to be able to go [there],” Dell’Omo said. “I was in the STEM academy in high school, so doing biological sciences is something that kind of flowed nicely into college.”
The J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust has been nothing short of life changing for Dell’Omo. The obvious benefit of the scholarship is a relief from higher education’s financial burden, but Platt’s resources extend far past monetary assistance.
“I have been trying to work more with the EMPOWER program,” Dell’Omo said. “I know they have a ton of opportunities, especially pre-professional opportunities, and that’s something I want to indulge in more this summer. I just got back from school about a week and a half ago, so that’s something I want to reach out about and see how they can help me.”
The Trust’s EMPOWER program, launched in 2020, gives scholars the opportunity to advance their professional development through résumé assistance, leadership training, mentorship opportunities, internship placement, networking and service projects. Participating scholars can earn additional financial support after reaching certain educational benchmarks.
With the help of funding earned through EMPOWER, Dell’Omo was able to afford a medical service trip to Panajachel, Guatemala offered through his pre-medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon and Global Community Volunteers.
“We set up a free medical clinic in a mountain town called Chuti Estancia in Guatemala,” Dell’Omo said. “It was in the gym of one of their schools there, and we served over 160 patients for the week.”
Along with seven other students, Dell’Omo assisted medical providers with patient care tasks such as taking vitals and managing supplies. For many of the patients, this was the first time they had access to medical care. Traveling to Guatemala was his first time abroad.
“I’m thrilled that in some small way, we were able to support Nick’s experience in Guatemala,” Andrew Downs, J. Wood Platt Director of Education, 45, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “I am a huge proponent of study abroad experiences, and I am still grateful for the support the Platt scholarship provided me during my time as an exchange student in England.”
Dell’Omo makes the most of his time while at school. In addition to his heavy course load and aforementioned extracurriculars, he also serves as a Blood Donor Ambassador with the South Carolina American Red Cross; Team Captain for his fraternity’s Relay For Life team and a Personal Touch Volunteer at Prisma Health, the largest private, non-profit healthcare system in South Carolina.
Dell’Omo understands Metedeconk is a destination for the successful. With his own hard work and ambition, coupled with some help from the Trust, he might one day leave his caddie bib behind and join the members he admires.
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 and is the charitable arm of GAP (Golf Association of Philadelphia). The J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust’s mission is to financially aid and empower qualified caddies and those working in golf operations in the pursuit of higher education. Along with aiding caddies financially, J. Wood Platt’s EMPOWER program strengthens scholarship investment dollars by providing caddies with exceptional benefits and leadership training through access to the wide network of J. Wood Platt donors and alumni. To date, more than 3,700 young men and women have received $25 million in aid from the Trust.