was so expensive, but I loved it so much,”
Hess said of earning the scholarship. “Having
to worry about tuition less is so helpful. It’s
just such a big weight off your shoulders.”
Coincidently, it was the literal poundage
hanging from Hess’ shoulders that, in the
end, relieved the figurative mass upon them.
The first time Hess carried a golf bag, she
did so purely out of affection for her brother.
Chad Hess, a former Division I player at Old
Dominion University, was an active Junior
golfer who frequently had his loving sister on
the bag for various tournaments.
“I just wanted to spend time with him
[Chad],” Lauren said. “This was before I even
liked golf. I was like, ‘I’ll learn how to caddie,’
so that’s what I did. I didn’t know you could
actually do it as a job.”
When her brother began caddying during
the summers, Hess learned playing the role
of golfer’s assistant was, in fact, an occupa-
tion – and one much more lucrative than her
job at a car wash.
“My brother came home with $200 one
day,” Hess said. “I was like, ‘I made $30 [at
the car wash], what the heck?’”
Enticed by the financial prospects, it wasn’t
long before Hess joined her older brother
looping at Lehigh. There, she spent her days
wiping down wedges instead of windshields.
With her unrelenting exuberance, Hess
proved an ideal fit for the job. A visit to Lehigh reveals a conclusive reality; there isn’t a
soul on the property that fails to engage Hess’
vivacious spirit upon encountering her.
“I don’t want to be known as someone
who is sad or sulky or miserable at work,”
Hess said. “I love being here and I want that
to show through.”
Hess’ passion and vibrant personality are
certainly striking to anyone in her presence.
They are also the reason she has made so
many meaningful connections at the club.
“Every member here is fantastic,” Hess
said. “[As] a young person, they really
genuinely want to help you be successful
in whatever you do. They all care so much
According to Wayne Phillips, Hess’ affec-
tion for the Lehigh members has invariably
“She’s very well-liked by both the mem-
bers and her fellow caddies,” Phillips said.
“She’ll go out of her way to do anything for
anybody. She’s just a first-class individual.
She puts everything she has into caddying.”
“There are so many doctors out here that I
try to talk to,” Hess said. “It’s cool being able
to be surrounded by [them] all the time. Just
from being here, I’ve had three doctors let me
HER RAPPORT with Lehigh’s members is unmistakable to any observer, but Hess has also relished
the chance to get to know, and learn from,
some of Lehigh’s more experienced caddies.
For starters, there’s Kerry Peiler, a seasoned
looper in his 70s who has been at Lehigh so
long he can, “give you a read without even
looking.” Then there’s Paul Bilous, Hess’
self-proclaimed “dad” at the club.
“He got me through my first round. He got
me through my first round double bagging.
The one time the battery died in my range-
finder, he had [an extra],” Hess said.
In fact, it was Bilous’ dogged resolve that
got Hess to apply for a J. Wood Platt Schol-
arship in the first place. His tenacity helped
ensure Hess’ devotion to her work yielded
not just rewarding personal relationships, but
also the meaningful financial support.
Completing her fourth year caddying,
Hess is a veteran of the trade herself. She
is less daunted by the physical demands
(one round of caddying on the tumultuous
terrain of the Lehigh Valley results in more
than 17,000 steps and 1,600 burnt calories,
according to data collected by Hess herself)
and she has become well-versed in the job’s
As a caddie, Hess dons just one bib but
wears many hats. She admits that it can be
difficult to interpret what each individual
client wants out of their caddie, but she is
continually becoming more adept at deciphering the differences.
Whether a golfer wants significant advice
and instruction, a completely hands-off approach, or something in between, Hess now
feels comfortable adjusting her role accordingly. Despite her confident demeanor when
working, Hess’ assurance is less prevalent
when it comes to her own golf game.
“I play with people who don’t care if I pick
up the ball and throw it,” Hess said. “All the
members know that though, [they’ll say] ‘She
can tell me what to do but she can’t hit that
ball to save her life.’”
Luckily for Hess, while caddying certainly
requires an array of skills and knowledge,
tour-level ball striking is one thing that
remains absent from the job description. m
Greg Welsh is a senior at Villanova University, where he is
majoring in Communication with journalism and media studies
concentrations. He served as the GAP Communications intern.
A Talamore Country Club member, Greg resides in Ambler, Pa.