Q&A with this month’s #PlattProfile, David Stuart.
Stuart speaks about his experience caddying for the winning team.
(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: How old are you?
A: I am 22.
Q: What school are you currently attending?
A: I go to Penn State University.
Q: When do you graduate?
A: I am graduating with my bachelor’s and master’s this December.
Q: What is your major?
A: Architectural Engineering.
Q: How did you decide on that major?
A: So, I tell people that as a kid I was super interested in math. I knew my entire life I wanted to go into a field involving math. Then fast forward to middle school, I discovered my passion for architecture. And after that, I just combined the two and found architectural engineering and since then, I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m passionate about it now. And that’s what I’m going to be going into for my career.
Q: What are your post-graduation plans?
A: Last summer, I interned in Washington DC with Thornton Tomasetti. They are a structural engineering company based out of New York, but I worked in their DC office. My major is architectural engineering, but my actual job will be as a structural engineer, I will be designing building structures. I worked at Thornton Tomasetti last summer and right now, I am probably going to be working with them full-time after graduation.
Q: Do you participate in activities in school? Clubs?
A: During the pandemic in 2020. I joined the Penn State Disc Golf Club. I started playing Disc Golf in 2019. I then took over the club as president in 2020, because the leadership was inactive, and there were only about 20 members. But, during the pandemic, the sport of disc golf blew up in popularity, because people needed an outdoor activity to do while everyone was locked indoors. I brought club membership from around 30 members at the time to over 100, which is great. Since then, I stepped down in 2022, after my school work got more rigorous but the current leadership was able to send a Penn State team to the College National Disc Golf championships which is a thing believe it or not. I am proud of the progress they’ve made.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Right now, I’m getting into exercising a bit more. Last year and the year before with my schoolwork, I couldn’t find a lot of time to get outside and exercise, so I’m getting back into that. I’m also trying to do some marathon training and in November, I’m going to be doing the Rocky Run in Philadelphia. Which is a half marathon so I am excited about that!
Q: What golf club do you caddie for?
A: Bluestone Country Club in Blue Bell.
Q: How long have you been caddying?
A: Since 2018.
Q: How did you start caddying?
A: In the summer of 2018, my mom forced me to get a summer job. That was the summer of Fortnite where everyone my age in high school was inside every day, playing video games all day. So, when searching for a job, I discovered caddying at Bluestone through one of my neighbors. And that’s how I was connected with my caddie manager, Joe Cook.
Q: What is your favorite thing about caddying?
A: So historically, it’s been being with fun groups and listening to banter between members on the course. Last summer, however, my favorite part was just having a job that was outside because also last summer, I interned in Malvern during the week and caddied over the weekend. It was the best feeling to be out early weekend mornings caddying and outside with other people. It was great!
Q: How did you hear about J. Wood Platt?
A: Through Bluestone’s Head Pro, Chris Gardner. He gave me a pamphlet one day, I believe it was 2019, and told me about the opportunity. He thought I would qualify so I looked into it, did the interview, and now I am a Platt Scholar.
Q: What are your long-term goals? Think 5 to 10 years
A: Looking ahead five years, my goal is to earn my professional engineering license. I will be working for four years as an engineer-in-training after graduation. Once I gain those years of experience, I can take the exam to become a licensed structural engineer. This means that I would have the ability to stamp and certify building construction drawings. Looking further ahead to ten years, my goal is to start raising a family. Family is essential to me, and I hope to do as good of a job as my parents did.
Q: What is something that happened to you while caddying that you will never forget?
A: One of my favorite memories was caddying for the winning team at Bluestone’s Member/Member tournament. Both players were hitting the ball great, I was making my reads on the putting green, and the vibes were high. Each round progressed smoothly and by the end of the tournament, I had quite the payday! To balance that out, my worst memory was the year prior at the Member/Guest tournament when I lost one of my player’s balls off the tee of a par 3. Thanks to my mistake, our group created a backup that lasted several holes. That was the last time I remember losing a ball.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self as a caddie or a new caddie just starting?
A: Some advice I have for new caddies is to always show up well-rested and focused, which will reduce your chance of making mistakes. However, making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn as a new caddie, and it happens to everyone. Always have a positive attitude while on the course, no matter how the round is going. Lastly, don’t forget to have fun and enjoy one of the best jobs to have as an adolescent/young adult! Take advantage of every opportunity to learn from members and other caddies about golf, caddying, and life in general.
Q: How has J. Wood Platt changed your life?
A: J. Wood Platt has changed my life for the better by granting me monumental financial aid toward my college education. With the help of J. Wood Platt, I will be able to graduate with my bachelor’s and master’s degrees with a very manageable amount of student loan debt. My family and I will forever be grateful to the Scholarship Trust and all of the donors who invested in me and my fellow Platt scholars. Thank you!
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.