Tour caddie starts Twitter movement to cover costs for kids volunteering at Barbasol Championship
Social media is a power thing.
The story you’re about to read all started because of this tweet:
📣📣📣 We need junior volunteers to serve as standard bearers!
Inside the ropes access for any high school age kids (13-17)
— Barbasol Championship (@BarbasolChampKY) July 2, 2018
Steve Catlin, a longtime PGA Tour caddie who currently loops for Tour winner Robert Streb, spontaneously jumped into action.
“It was a spur of the moment thing,” Catlin told The Caddie Network. “I saw someone retweet the Barbasol account that they were looking for junior volunteers. I saw it was $35 to sign up. That didn’t sound right to me.”
Shortly after seeing the tweet, Catlin tweeted that he’d be happy to help pay the way for five kids, “which I could afford,” he said, “who wouldn’t have been able to pay to volunteer otherwise.”
I will happily pay the fee for 5 young volunteers in Lexington who would love to help but can’t afford it. Please let me know if you find some. Let’s get some youths out to see how cool this all is. https://t.co/OaVATUJLJc
— Catman (@OzCatman) July 2, 2018
It was a tremendous gesture… and others quickly noticed.
— The APTC (@TheAPTC) July 3, 2018
The initial tweet went out on July 2. When we spoke to Catlin the afternoon of July 4, other caddies – as well as complete strangers through Twitter – had raised enough money to fund an amazing 80 children for the event at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky., July 19-22 (the same week as the Open Championship).
“Subconsciously, I thought about how I was a standard bearer at an event growing up in Adelaide, Australia, and loved every minute of it,” Catlin said. “Kids who want to get into golf, or for kids who are already into golf — this experience is second to none. You’re so close and you see how good these guys are. Most sports, you can’t be on the field. Here you can. You basically carry a sign, keep the scores up to date and stand where the scorer tells you to stand and enjoy the day. It’s more the experience than anything.”
This incredible little gesture is going to help a lot of kids.
“I knew volunteers had to pay for a kit,” Catlin said. “But I guess I never realized it was that way for the juniors. ‘Volunteer’ doesn’t mean ‘pay.’ It’s strange, but I guess the tournament needs to make ends meet when funds aren’t enough. When I saw what it was for the juniors – we want kids in golf, we want to grow the game – you don’t want them to pay to help us out. That’s what they’re doing at the end of the day – helping us out.”
Catlin said that anyone interested in continuing to support the cause can reach out to him on Twitter — @OzCatman – and he’ll help to get the money to the right people at the Barbasol Championship.
“I’ve been in touch with the Barbasol people as well,” he said. “They put a link on their site – they got 20 kids signed up in one day after releasing that info. With a little more exposure and through a radio show and Caddie Network, maybe we can get more signed up.”
Catlin will appear on WLXG’s Backspin Golf with Matthew Laurance in Lexington, Ky., on Sunday morning (you can listen at WLXG.com, or on the WLXG app) to talk about his effort to get more kids involved. The show airs between 8-9 a.m.
“In this business, the majors are the ultimate goal,” he said. “But if I’m not at the Open, it would be cool to see a bunch of kids we’ve helped out. It takes so little time and effort to give these kids a cool experience.”
Like a tweet.