j. wood plAtt cAddie scholArship
Commonwealth National’s Matt Kavalek selected Caddie of the Year
the elon university senior was recognized at the Platt’s annual caddie Brunch in december.
Kavalek plans to attend medical school and to serve as a u.S. navy physician. by Brad Kane
MATT KAvALEK stays so busy it’s a wonder he has time to caddie at all. But the senior at Elon Univer- sity, in Elon, N.C., and looper at Commonwealth National Golf
Club, doesn’t merely find time to do things; he
excels at them.
That’s why the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust had a relatively easy decision to make
when it chose Kavalek as the 2012 Francis C. Poore
Caddie of the Year.
He’s a perfect 7-for- 7 so far in earning Dean’s
List recognition at Elon, and sports a gaudy 3.839
GPA. He’s already earned an associate degree in
business administration, and is working toward a
bachelor’s in exercise science.
But his future plans are what really set Kavalek
apart. He intends to go to medical school and to
serve as a U.S. Navy physician, with an eye toward
master’s and doctoral degrees in exercise physiology and biomechanics.
“Matt has truly been an outstanding student,”
said Dr. Joyce Davis, chair of Elon’s exercise sci-
ence department. “Matt’s academic success is the
result of an excellent work ethic, personal disci-
pline, high standards for achievement and effective
It’s those same qualities that drive Kavalek on
the course, too. He’s caddied at Commonwealth
National since his freshman year at Central Bucks
South High School.
“He’s always been an early riser,” said Danny
Kelly, Commonwealth caddiemaster. “In fact, he
and his high school mates routinely beat assistant
caddiemaster Joe Leva and myself here on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
“He was always willing to take a second loop,
which helped him become a good caddie in his first
season. He steadily rose and became one of the bet-
ter caddies here at CNGC.”
Then there’s that part about finding time to cad-
die, period. The past two summers, Kavalek has
taken additional courses at Delaware Valley Col-
lege to better prepare himself for medical school.
Imagine that. Picking up a loop in the morning at Commonwealth and then hitting the books
in the afternoon. And nothing easy either – courses
like organic chemistry, not mere general education
“Matt’s always been busy with other activities
while still finding time to be here when needed,”
Kelly said. “Seems like he was always taking a
class of some sort to either get college credit or enhance himself in some other way while remaining
a very reliable and dependable caddie.”
In case you’re not impressed already, there’s
this, too – during his time at Elon, Kavalek has
been a lead research assistant for Project Neck, a
program that’s researching the musculature of the
cervical spine. The end goal of the research study
is to create a basic training protocol for athletes and
coaches that could reduce the risk of a concussion.
And did we mention he’s also a certified EMT?
Handy to have on a golf course.
“When I was selected, I felt proud the Platt had
chosen me from other worthy nominees,” Kavalek
said. “This vote of confidence by the Trustees and
Platt contributors validated my beliefs in the prin-
ciples of hard work and dedication. It represents
a confirmation of my academic accomplishments
and support of my future goals.”
He admitted that giving a speech at the annual
Caddie Brunch, held at Manufacturers Golf &
Country Club just before Christmas, had his knees
shaking a little bit. But that ended up being little
more than a tap-in putt.
“I was a bit nervous giving my speech,” he said.
“I wanted to make sure I represented the caddie
program well and accurately reflected the integrity
the scholarship strives for.”
Said Kelly: “It’s guys like Matt that keep me
talking to young kids about the values of being a
caddie, and the benefits aside from the cash.
“It kind of all fell into place. Here’s a kid who
has a plan and is taking the steps to fulfill that plan.
I’m sure he will be successful.”
In many ways, Kavalek already is.
Brad Kane is the director of the J. Wood Platt Caddie
Scholarship Trust. Contact Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLATT CADDIES OF THE YEAR
YEAR NAME, CLUB COLLEGE
2012 Matthew Kavalek, Commonwealth National GC Elon University
2011 Trent Miller, Lancaster CC Millersville University
2010 John Pawlowski, Whitford CC University of Delaware
2009 Isaac Bennett, CC of Scranton University of Delaware
2008 Stephen Koytek, Glenmaura National GC Pennsylvania State University
2007 Stephen Welsh, Riverton CC Drexel University
2006 Matthew Flannery, Huntingdon Valley CC King’s College
2005 Jeffrey Stoltzfus, Lancaster CC Bucknell University
2004 Joseph Ullman, Lookaway GC University of New Hampshire
2003 Christopher Fleming, Torresdale-Frankford CC Temple University
2002 Ryan Chase, CC of Scranton Pennsylvania State University
2001 Phillip Mellet, Philadelphia CC Pennsylvania State University
2000 *Melanie Blake, Whitford CC Fordham University
2000 *Stephen E. Gross, Stonewall Duke University
1999 Steven M. Domsky, Gulph Mills GC Temple University
1998 Kevin A. White, Old York Road CC Princeton University
1997 Keith J. Kmieczak, Saucon Valley CC Thomas Jefferson University
1996 Jeffrey D. Manns, Merion GC University of Virginia
1995 Robert B. Genter, Tavistock CC Columbia University - Graduate School
*Co-Caddies of the Year