RA’QUAN WASHINGTON never forgot his
“What I learned from my first loop was that
it is really important to watch the golf ball,” said
Washington, now in his fifth year as a caddie
at North Hills Country Club. “My first loop, I
probably lost about 10 golf balls. As I kept
getting deeper into that first loop, I realized
it gets easier and easier but you have to pay
A caddie by trade and a musician at heart,
he beats to his own drum. Such resolve is one
of many characteristics that helped Washington
earn a J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship.
Washington is a freshman at the Berklee
College of Music in Boston, Mass., pursuing
his dream of becoming a jazz performer and
“When I was younger, I used to beat on pots
and pans,” said Washington, 19, of Glenside,
Pa. “I got my first drum set at the age of 8 and
then I started playing piano at 10. My interest
came out of nowhere since nobody in my
family played music.”
When Washington isn’t on the links, he
directs the choir and plays the piano and organ
at the First Baptist Church of Huntingdon Valley
in Huntingdon Valley, Pa. and the Christian
Street Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pa.
“I like playing the piano the most because
I can express myself more,” said Washington.
“I just love how I can minister people through
music and through song.”
He brings that energy to his loops at North
Hills, where he attempts to give the players he
caddies for as good of an experience as he can.
“Ray is always prepared to caddie and he
is very courteous,” said Mike Courtney, 41,
of Lafayette Hill, Pa., a five-year member of
North Hills. “I knew the scholarship would
mean a lot to him and we are always trying
to promote the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholar-
ship to our caddies at North Hills. He is just
an all-around good kid.”
Courtney was Washington’s first loop. The
two immediately established a comfort level
that has endured primarily because of Wash-
ington’s strong character and personality.
“Caddying is one of the best jobs that I have
ever had,” said Washington. “You get to be out
in the nice weather and get to meet people you
wouldn’t meet otherwise. It is a way to help
build your connections. You are getting paid to
learn the game and have fun. It can’t get much
better than that.
“Although it was my first loop, Mike made
caddying for him very enjoyable. He was
always joking with me and made me feel com-
Golf and music, in some situations, are
synonymous. Both require smooth rhythm and
hours upon hours of practice.
They also require a positive attitude and
character, both strong Washington qualities.
“Ray is a hard-working caddie,” added North
Hills General Manager Mike Reilly, 48, of Rydal,
Pa., who served as the golf professional for 10
years at North Hills prior to his current role. “He
was one of our younger caddie recruits and he
just took to the idea of caddying and showed
up regularly. You would never know that he is
an accomplished musician because he is so
unassuming. He is very pleasant to be around
and people enjoy his company.
“His mom dropped him off here for the first
time and I spoke to her. She was concerned
about how he acted and presented himself on
the golf course. We never had an issue with
Ray from Day One. The relationships he has de-
veloped here have helped him earn the respect
he deserves. He has been a great pleasure to
have here at North Hills.”
Although Washington is told frequently that
being a musician won’t pan out for him in the
future, he plans to silence those doubters by
giving it his all at Berklee: an opportunity made
possible by the Platt.
“Receiving the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship means the world to me,” said Washington.
“Berklee is really expensive so when I saw the
scholarship I knew I had to apply because I was
a good caddie and I did pretty well in school. I
thought how great of an opportunity this could
be. When I got the scholarship, I was jumping
up and down.
“If I didn’t have the scholarship, I would have
to take out more student loans. The loans can
add up really quickly. Representing caddies in
the area means that I have done well to earn
respect in my community. I would hope other
caddies find a way to apply because the scholarship has been huge for me.” m
Dalton Balthaser is a 2018 graduate of Temple University,
where he majored in journalism. From Kutztown, Pa.,
Balthaser is the Six-Month USGA Boatwright intern.
“When I got he scholarship, I was jumping up and down.