Q&A with this month’s #PlattProfile, Justin Malley.
Malley talks about his involvement at Penn State and his experience with Gil Hanse, the famous golf architect, and Chris Solomon, a founder of No Laying Up.
(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: How old are you?
A: I am 21.
Q: What school are you currently attending?
A: I am at Penn State.
Q: When do you graduate?
A: This year, so I am a senior.
Q: What is your major?
A: I am studying math and economics.
Q: How did you decide on that major?
A: Well, I was going to do engineering and I did not like the coursework. So, I asked myself well why did I want to pick engineering and decided I picked it because I like doing math. I knew you could do a lot of different things with math so I wanted to get more specific which is why I picked economics to try to focus in on the math skills. So I switched over to math, didn’t know what I would do with math so that is why I added in economics.
Q: Do you participate in activities at school?
A: So, I am in a few different things. One of which doesn’t meet as much because of Covid but will start meeting again this year. I do club sports at Penn State, I am on the club ski race team which is a lot of fun. I am in the Schreyer Consulting group and I am the president of that. We organize alumni who work at different places to come in and talk to groups of people in Schreyer who are interested in consulting and consulting-related jobs. And I am also in one of the business frats at Penn State. We have been doing everything online basically but we still have professional meetings and some fun meetings. We finally started going back to in-person chapters.
Q: What golf club do you caddie for?
A: I work at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square.
Q: How long have you been caddying?
A: Since I was 16. This most recent summer was my fifth.
Q: How did you start caddying?
A: My uncle who is the pro over at Paxton knew the assistant caddy master, Andrew Richards, because his kids played golf on the Paxton golf team. So, my uncle said to me, “If you want to go caddy, I know someone I can ask if you are interested.” And they luckily said yes so I got in over there at Aronimink.
Q: What is your favorite thing about caddying?
A: I like that it is very social. I liked the caddy shack when it was a thing, at least at Aronimink it stopped for a while, but going down and just hanging out with people waiting to work while you were still getting paid was fun. And then, even when you were working, hanging out is not the correct way to phrase it but it’s just you and a group of people just talking for 4 or 5 hours. Especially as you keep seeing the same people over and over again, you develop relationships with the people you are caddying for.
Q: How did you hear about J. Wood Platt?
A: I think the way I heard about it was through my dad who is a member of GAP. My dad grew up caddying at Merion so he always knew it was a thing. He recommended it to me when I started caddying. And also, I knew the caddies at the time who had the scholarship and they had the different bibs and I was like, “How do I get that?”
Q: What are your long-term goals? Think 5 to 10 years.
A: After graduation, I’m going to work for an economic consulting firm in Washington, D.C. I hope to work there for 3-5 years, saving enough money to attend graduate school. After about 10 years, I imagine myself having finished graduate school with an advanced degree in economics or some type of applied mathematics. I’ve always wanted to go to graduate school but was nervous about the cost. By limiting the amount of student debt I’ve accrued and allowing me to save money throughout undergrad, J. Wood Platt has kept the door open for me to return to school. Simply put, I don’t believe I’d be in my current position without the assistance of the J. Wood Platt scholarship. I look forward to eventually giving back to the program that has given me so much throughout my academic/professional career.
Q: What is something that happened to you while caddying that you will never forget?
A: This past summer, I had the pleasure of caddying in the Tom Coyne Book Launch outing with many of the J. Wood Platt caddies. I was shocked to find out that I was in a group with none other than Gil Hanse, the famous golf architect, and Chris Solomon, a founder of No Laying Up, one of my favorite podcasts and YouTube channels. Throughout the day, I got to pick the brains of some of the most interesting people whose lives revolve around golf. It was easily one of the most interesting loops of my life.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self as a caddie or a new caddie just starting?
A: Caddying is so much more than showing up, carrying bags, and then leaving. Making an effort to connect with the other caddies, members, and staff at the club not only makes coming in each day easier, but it makes caddying far more fun. Some of the best connections/friendships will be made over at the golf course.
J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust
The Trust’s mission, which has remained constant since its inception in 1958, is to financially aid deserving caddies in their pursuit of higher education. The J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust was created by GAP 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.