Q&A with this month’s #PlattProfile, Anabelle McGowan.
McGowan tells us about how she was introduced to caddying.
(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: How old are you?
A: I am 18 years old.
Q: What school are you currently attending?
A: Millersville University.
Q: When do you graduate?
A: I graduate in May 2027.
Q: What is your major?
A: Biology Pre-med.
Q: How did you decide on that major?
A: Ever since I was little, I loved science. It was something I was always interested in. And then in high school, I had so many great opportunities. I was in this program called the School of Health Professions, which my senior year, I was able to actually shadow different healthcare physicians at the Rothman Institute. During my rotation, I loved everything about it, meeting the different patients and being hands-on. But when I went to my rotation in sports medicine, I was hooked. I loved it so much, seeing all the different kinds of patients and learning how to read different kinds of scans like X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans. And all the physicians that I met were just incredible, and I definitely fell in love with it. I knew, right then and there, I wanted to be a sports medicine physician. So yeah, that’s why I decided to go into pre-med.
Q: Do you participate in activities in school? Clubs?
A: So, I committed to Millersville for their women’s golf team so I’m on their golf team right now. I’m looking to join their biology club and their MMA club.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Yes! Golf is definitely one of them and definitely spending time with my family. My dad is the youngest of seven and my mom is the youngest of six. I come from a very big Irish family. I have over, I think, 78 cousins. I love playing with my two dogs, Sadie and Chase. They are a Golden Retriever and a Border Collie Australian Shepherd. And also, playing lacrosse with friends.
Q: What golf club do you caddie for?
A: Tavistock Country Club in New Jersey.
Q: How long have you been caddying?
A: For 2 years now.
Q: How did you start caddying?
A: This is actually probably one of my favorite stories to tell. Moral of the story, it was just the right place, right time, with the right people. Like any teenager, my parents were begging for me to get a job for the summer. At the end of my school year, I was talking to my AP US history teacher, and he’s a golf fanatic just like me. I told him hey, I want to work at a local golf course in the pro shop. And he said to me you could do that but he said it’s not really going to be as interesting. He said you’re going be making twelve dollars an hour and you’re going to be bored at the pro shop. So, I said okay, then what should I do? And he told me, you should become a golf caddie. And I kind of looked at him like I don’t know how to be a caddie, I don’t know what that entails. He’s been a caddie his whole life, he’s caddied for 30 years and he’s actually a J. Wood Platt Alumni.
So, in the area where I live, there are not many caddie clubs. In class one day, he went on Google Maps and showed me the different clubs I could caddie at. At this point, I really wanted to be a caddie. I’m like, this is what I want to do, this is going be a great summer job for me, but it definitely did not seem realistic because how am I going to get this job? So, summertime comes around, I’m out of school and I’m getting a golf lesson from my swing coach. He says to me, “I’m short-handed with our youth golf camp, could you help out?” I said yes, sure, my days free I can come help out. While I was there teaching the kids, there was another golf trainer there and he actually had my club’s logo on his golf polo, it said Tavistock Country Club. And I thought to myself, this is my chance. I introduced myself to him I said, “Hi, I’m Anabelle. Are you a member at Tavistock?” Turns out, he actually worked there. I told him I wanted to be a caddie there. And he said to me, I know the Caddie Manager pretty well, let me give him a call. Kid you not, five minutes later, he comes back up to me. He’s like, okay, Anabelle, you have the job. Be there 7 AM, khakis, white polo. And I just start freaking out because so many people were telling me it’s not going to work out, it’s not possible, you don’t know anyone, you don’t even know how to do it.
Q: What is your favorite thing about caddying?
A: That’s actually a good question. To be honest, I love everything about it. At the EMPOWER brunch, we were just saying, no caddie is waking up early in the morning for one of their loops and is being like ugh, I have to go the golf course. That’s just not something that a caddie says. Also, I enjoy disconnecting from the world and just focusing on golf and getting away from the distractions of the world. I also like learning more about golf and I enjoy the people I meet. They are amazing, they’re all so successful and they give me a lot of advice and wisdom.
Q: How did you hear about J. Wood Platt?
A: Again, it was from my AP US history teacher. He was a Platt Scholar when he was younger, I heard about it from him.
Q: What are your long-term goals? Think 5 to 10 years
A: In 10 years, I will have graduated from undergraduate and medical school and would like to see myself working in the healthcare field in orthopedic sports medicine. Also, hopefully, my handicap is a lot lower!
Q: What is something that happened to you while caddying that you will never forget?
A: One day when I was caddying, I will never forget when out of the blue it just started to downpour on us very early in the round on the second hole. Clubs were slipping, all our clothes were soaking wet, it was freezing, and balls were flying in every direction you could imagine! However, instead of any of the members in our group giving up or calling it quits at the turn, they played all 18 in the pouring rain and it was probably one of the most memorable and fun experiences I’ve had while caddying. It shows how even in the craziest conditions and when things are not going your way, you can still have a great time!
Q: What advice would you give your younger self as a caddie or a new caddie just starting?
A: Be confident in your caddying skills and make a connection with every person you caddie for. Go the extra mile in every loop so not only the person you caddie for has a good experience but at the end of the day, you’re proud of the work you put in.
Q: How has J. Wood Platt changed your life?
A: I am extremely grateful for the J. Wood Platt Scholarship. I know going into the medical field is very expensive and a lot of schooling. With J. Wood Platt I can now go for my dream with less of a financial burden. All the people I have met so far through this incredible program have been so inspiring and have been great mentors to me. The board members and the caddies within the program are wonderful people with great advice.
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.