Merrill Squires, Ted Scott, Maury Hodgens
TCN co-founder Merrill Squires (left) with caddie Ted Scott and Cajun Caddie Sweepstakes grand-prize winner, Maury Hodgens.

For Maury Hodgens of Gulfport, Mississippi, last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans was a week he won’t soon forget.

Hodgens was the grand-prize winner of The Caddie Network’s #CajunCaddie Sweepstakes, in which fans of TCN signed up for a chance to be the guest of two-time, Masters-winning caddie Ted Scott (the Cajun Caddie) for a behind-the-scenes look at being a professional tour caddie. Scott, and other TCN caddies, gave Hodgens a front-row seat to what there life is like week in and week out… with plenty of fun sprinkled in.

“I follow the PGA Tour every week and couldn’t wait to be inside the ropes,” Hodgens said. “I was very surprised when I saw the winning email and can’t really put into words how excited I was to go and experience life as a caddie.”

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Hodgens drove the 1 hour, 15 minutes it took to get from his home in Gulfport to New Orleans. Upon arrival, he was met by the TCN team and shortly thereafter, PGA Tour player Joel Dahmen and caddie Geno Bonnalie invited him into their office – inside the ropes – to hang out during a practice round.

“Joel and Geno were just awesome guys to hang out with,” Hodgens said.

On Tuesday evening, Hodgens made his way over to a nearby country club with a big group of PGA Tour caddies for a private screening of the new film, “Loopers: A Caddie’s Long Walk,” hosted by Scott.

The film takes you from St. Andrews, Scotland – golf’s birthplace – to Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters, where local caddies played a vital role for the world’s top players for decades. It also has the story of Greg Puga — a young Bel-Air caddie from East Los Angeles who fought his way to Augusta to play in the Masters as a Mid-Amateur champ.

“Tuesday night was great,” Hodgens said. “The private screening of ‘Loopers’ was extra special with all those caddies there. It was interesting to hear their thoughts about the guys that loop at clubs every day and the differences between that and their gig as a caddie on a professional tour. Ted was very funny and hospitable. Everyone went out of their way to make me feel included and welcome.”

Maury Hodgens
Maury Hodgens, center, with all his new PGA Tour caddie buddies after the screening of the film, “Loopers: A Caddie’s Long Walk.”

At the end of the screening, Scott took part in a Q&A session. During the session, he was asked to recount the hilarious story about his first week as a professional caddie. Here’s what he had to say:

Hodgens was able to spend plenty of time with the caddies, sharing conversations with them in the caddie area and even tracking a couple of them down for an interview, like this one with Heath Holt who was on the bag for Davis Love III:

“The one thing I didn’t realize until this experience is how many hats a caddie has to wear each day,” Hodgens said. “You hear the stories on TV, but until you’re inside the ropes you have no idea how big of a role they play. Overall, this was an unbelievable experience and I can’t thank The Caddie Network enough for this trip. I have a whole new outlook on caddies and their job.”

While seeing the golf up close was great, what’s a trip to New Orleans without experiencing some of the sights and especially the food?

“I did go to Drago’s for those world-famous, charbroiled oysters, along with over half of the players in the field,” Hodgens laughed. “I also had beignets every morning from Cafe Du Monde. Best in the world. The Roosevelt Hotel was a great experience and was a throw back in time. Lots of history there and the service was first class. Not many hotels still turn down the sheets at night and put chocolates on the pillows.”

And the best part of the trip?

“My favorite part was being on the range and watching the players practice and watching the different interactions with players and caddies,” Hodgens said. “A close second was being inside the ropes and seeing the best players in the world play. The whole group went out of their way to make me feel welcome and explained a lot of the aspects of being a caddie on the PGA Tour. What a great experience.”