My name is Henry “Hank” McGannon. I’m from Spring Lake, Michigan. I have been playing golf since I was 4 years old, and I've caddied at Pinehurst, Eagle Point Golf Club, Biltmore Forest CC and currently at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island.
How did you get into golf?
I am a lifelong golfer, my dad introduced me to the game when I was 4 years old. I played golf competitively throughout high school and college. I still play competitively with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the U.S. Amatuer.
When did you start caddying?
I started caddying in late 2013. Pinehurst no. 2 was the first course I caddied on. Initially, I started caddying for the money. Then I realized caddying had much more to offer than a good tip at the end of the round: free golf. Most courses that have caddy programs allow their caddies to play at least once a week. Public resorts with a plethora of golf courses like Pinehurst and Kiawah typically offer even better caddy playing privileges. This is one of the many reasons why I am still looping in 2022.
What courses have you caddied at?
I have caddied at a number of courses. I started at Pinehurst, and was there from 2013 to 2015. In Pinehurst, I mainly caddied on course no. 2, occasionally going over to course 4 or 8 for a loop.
After 3 years in Pinehurst, I moved to Eagle Point Golf Club in 2016. This was great timing. In 2017, Eagle Point hosted the Wells Fargo Championship. I caddied in the pro-am for that event. On Monday I was in Zack Blair’s group, which was a blast. But on Wednesday I caddied in Phil Mickelson’s group, which was incredible. Unfortunately, he hit 17 of 18 greens that day, so I only got to see him hit one chip shot. He seemed like a nice guy, politely answering all of my silly questions.
In 2018, I moved to Asheville, NC to attend UNC Asheville. I caddied at Biltmore Forest CC during my time there. Biltmore is a classic Donald Ross gem in the mountains of North Carolina. There is a plaque on the 2nd tee box there in honor of Ben Hogan. At Biltmore I looped for past presidents of the USGA, and athletes like Andy Roddick. I even met former North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams.
Once I finished college I moved to Charleston, SC to caddy at the Ocean Course (and play more free golf). I am still caddying full time at the Ocean course.
Favorite caddy story?
There are so many to choose from, but one certainly sticks out. I was 18 years old on one of my first loops in Pinehurst. I was caddying on Pinehurst no. 4. There were four players in the group, and two caddies carrying two bags each.
The players were playing a game they liked to call “The Mother Ball”. The rules were simple: It was an individual game, and losing the mother ball is a 10 shot penalty for the player who lost it. Each player has to play the mother ball once every 4 holes, it rotates between players.
We were on the then 13th hole of Pinehurst No.4, which is a short par 5 with water up the left side of the entire hole. One of the other caddy’s’ players had the mother ball. Attempting to reach the green in two, he topped a 3 wood at least 20 feet into the pond. He looked at his caddy and asked him if he would get the ball out of the pond for him to avoid the 10 stroke penalty. I assumed he was joking, and maybe he was, but to my surprise the other caddy agreed to go get the ball out of the pond.
The caddy proceeded to take off his white caddy jumpsuit and hopped in the slimy green, chemical infested pond. About 90 seconds later he came back out of the pond looking like a swamp monster from scooby doo, with the mother ball in his hand.
This is my favorite caddy story because it opened my eyes to how positive and silly and fun caddying can be on one of my first loops. I hope that caddy got a tip that reflected his service.
Favorite caddy one-liner?
“Hit another one, we’re like Mcdonalds. We serve breakfast balls all day.”
What is the best part of the job?
Learning from new people every day. I’ve learned a lot from caddying. How to carry myself, how to introduce myself, how to be patient and empathetic. I’ve learned how to bite my tongue, that’s for sure. I have learned that if you’re telling someone to do something, you better sound confident or they will disregard you completely. I've learned how to work hard. I’ve learned alot about my own golf game from caddying. It is likely I'll never have another job that is as enjoyable as this one. But at some point, I would like to be the player, not the caddy. If I ever get to that point, caddying will be where I started.