I was [playing] golf,” Reilly, a Rydal, Pa.
resident, said. “[My dad] never forced golf on
any of us.”
At age 11, Reilly put on the bib and began
working with his father at North Hills. He
established relationships, built a favorable
reputation and thrived in his role.
Then, a caddie conundrum arose.
ClubCorp, an organization that owns and
operates more than 200 golf and country,
city, sports, alumni and stadium clubs
nationwide, purchased North Hills in 2017.
The corporation’s nepotism policy prevented
Reilly from continuing to caddie at the club.
“Being at North Hills for five years, I
became really close with all the members,”
Reilly, an undeclared major in Villanova’s
College of Arts and Sciences, said. “I loved
it there. When I couldn’t come back, I was
Reilly needed a new home; Philadelphia
Country Club filled the void. With more than
five years of experience already to his résumé,
Reilly’s adjustment went rather fluidly. He
quickly assimilated to the new environment,
becoming comfortable with both the mem-
bers and caddies at the club.
“Michael always has a great attitude when
he comes into work,” Chris Button, Philadel-
phia Country Club’s caddiemaster, said. “He
always has a smile on his face. Having guys like
that around, not only is it great for the mem-
bership, it’s great for the caddie program.”
While amicability was never a problem,
Reilly did, however, struggle initially with the
considerable grain present on the greens of
Philadelphia Country Club. Still, it was not
long before this matter was rectified as well.
With guidance from the club’s more experienced caddies, Reilly learned to, at times, pay
more attention to the coloration of the putting
surface rather than the slopes within it.
Even now, with eight years of caddying ex-
perience to his name, Reilly continues to add
to his skillset. It is a point of pride that results
from the importance his parents placed on
“Since I first started caddying, my parents
always asked, ‘Do you feel like you’re getting
better each and every round?,’”Reilly said.
“In the beginning that was trying to make
sure I didn’t have any mistakes with walking
in someone’s backswing or making noise,
but now it’s where this putt goes and that
kind of thing. There’s always room for improvement with caddying. You’re never going
to know everything.”
HE MAY NOT BE PERFECT, but in the spring of 2018, Reilly’s appli- cation for the J. Wood Platt Caddie
Scholarship was reviewed and approved.
“Since I started caddying, I had always
heard about the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholar-
ship Trust,” Reilly said. “My parents would be
like, ‘ You have to work hard to try and get the
Platt scholarship.’ It was always on my radar.”
What started as an aspiration became ac-
tuality when news of the scholarship arrived,
fittingly enough, while Reilly had a bag on his
“I just got a ton of texts from my mom saying something from J. Wood Platt had come
in the mail,” Reilly, who was caddying in the
Silver Putter Tournament [at Sunnybrook Golf
Club] at the time of the letter’s arrival, said.
“She started asking, [to open the letter] so I
obviously let her. She sent me a picture of the
statement. It was just an honor to be chosen
because it really caught me by surprise.”
The favorable fortunes continued when
Reilly earned recognition as the William T.
Walsh Endowed Scholar for 2019-20. This
distinction, named in honor of a former GAP
President, Philadelphia Country Club mem-
ber and Trust advocate, is bestowed annually
upon an exemplary caddie at Walsh’s home
club. For Reilly, receiving the Walsh Endow-
ment means additional funds to support his
education during the 2019-20 academic year.
Neither the value or the source of the finan-
cial backing he has received is lost on Reilly.
“It was extremely important,” Reilly said.
“It helped me make the decision to go to Vil-
lanova. I don’t know if I would have been able
to do so without the scholarship. It just kind
of amazes me that there are so many bags
that I carry with a Platt bag tag and think,
‘Wow. There are so many people who care for
caddies and want to see them succeed.’”
The support of the Philadelphia golfing
community, along with the chance to work at
beautiful outdoor facilities and to spend am-
ple time around the game of golf, leads Reilly
to his conclusive and concise summation:
“There’s nothing better than caddying.” 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.
“It just kind of amazes me that here are so many bags that I carry with a Platt bag tag and think, ‘Wow. There are so many people who care for caddies and want
to see them succeed.’”