Ocean Course, Crooked Stick
Paige Crafton knows her way around a golf course. From Indiana, Paige started playing golf when she was 4 years old and grew up to become a very accomplished golfer. In high school she won two state championships, and was all-state 4 times. She went on to play golf for the University of Indiana where she won Big 10 sportsmanship player of the year. She continued to play golf after college-qualifying for multiple symetra tour events and earning top 5 finishes in some state opens.
When did you start caddying?
Paige started caddying when she was 16, at Crooked Stick in Indiana.. Her first loop was for legendary Indy Car racer A.J. Foyt. Not a bad start to a caddying career-caddying for a 4 time Indy 500 champion at a major championship golf course. Paige continued to caddy at Crooked Stick for a couple years, spending some time with Pete and Alice Dye while she was there. She has now been looping at the Ocean Course on Kiawah Island for about a year-another Pete Dye Course.
Are players ever surprised their caddy isn’t a guy?
“I think the players' initial reaction is surprise. I’ve never been denied by a guest because I'm a female. Nobody has ever complained about having a female caddy.”
Do you think male golfers are skeptical of your caddying ability because you’re a woman?
“I think the moment the caddy master introduces me as their caddy, their first instinct might be skeptical. But the moment I open my mouth and start building the relationship, they can tell right away that I have been in golf my whole life. I’ve had many guests tell me they knew that I knew what I was doing and they were pumped to have me on the bag.”
What is it like working in a caddy shack that is 99% guys?
“It feels like I have 80 big brothers. I have an older brother, so my whole life I have been accustomed to being surrounded by him and his friends. Since I graduated from college, I have been in male-dominated industries. I personally think it’s easier to work around guys. Being around competitive golf my whole life and playing golf with my dad and his friends has made me more comfortable with it. Golf is simply a male dominated industry.”
Are there advantages to being a female caddy?
“There are major advantages to being a female caddy. I’ve had many guests tell me they were excited to have me on the bag because I calmed them down and relaxed their tension that day, instead of a male caddy who could potentially come off more intimidating to them. I like to have fun with my guests, at the end of the day it’s just a game. The more fun my guests have with it, the better they play.”
Favorite Caddy Story
“I have caddied for many famous people-Peyton Manning, Micheal Jordan, Rick Nash. But my favorite caddy story was recently. I caddied for Matt Bova, a Country Club of Charleston Pro in the Clubcar Pro-Official Championship. I had him and the guy who created the orange whip tool. Matt was even par going into 15, 3 behind the leader. He knew what he and his partner needed to do if they were going to win. Matt birdies 16, 17, and 18 to win the whole tournament by 1 shot. It was a rewarding and fulfilling moment when Matt looked at me and said ‘We just won this because of you and your reads, you are an awesome caddy’. Ever since then Matt lets me come to the Country Club of Charleston, takes care of my grips and now I have a great network connection.”
What is the best part of caddying?
“Being outside on the golf course gives me a sense of peace and calm. The golf course is my happy place, it was my getaway my whole life and will continue to be. My favorite part of caddying is being a part of someone’s bucket list experience. When a group leaves they are going to go home and bring up the caddy to their family and friends because we were with them for a large chunk of their time-5 hours. I want to make sure they leave the course in a better mood than when I shook their hand for the first time.”