Working for green

Monday evenings in the summer, two teammates on the Lake Oswego (Ore.) High School golf team and co-workers enjoy a night of golf after a busy day at work.

Sophomore Justin Nelson and recent graduate Alex Agan caddy at the Lake Oswego Country Club, and all of the caddies get to play the course for free on Monday nights.

"If you like golf, you'll have a great time with it," Nelson says of caddying.

There are a lot of summer jobs that relate to golfing -- miniature golf, driving ranges, golf courses -- but working on a golf course could help your game.

"I get to learn from other golfers I caddy for, like what clubs to use," Nelson says.

"I caddy for a lot of good golfers," says Agan, who has played golf since third grade. "Watching their game helps me."

Vince Bianco is in his third summer working in the bag room at Pittsburgh-area St. Clair Country Club. Bianco has played golf with his dad since he was a little boy.

"I've picked up a lot from just watching people," says Bianco, who just graduated from South Park (Penn.) High School. "I watch people's swing. Just being around golf, you might not realize it, it helps your game."

Bianco works with just-graduated Chris Resnick in the bag room cleaning and putting away the carts each night, cleaning golf clubs and club grips -- and they close the two ranges at the end of the day. Resnick played high school golf for Peters Township (McMurray, Penn.) High School and helped lead the team to a second-place finish at state.

Golfers expect caddies and bag room workers to know a lot about golf and the course.

"I've been asked everything from what club to use to if the weather will hold out for a quick nine holes," Bianco says.

Most golf courses have training programs that teach caddies the basics of the job, like where to stand, when to replace a divot and how to communicate with the golfers. People skills and being able to talk with the golfers are also big parts of working at a golf course.

"It taught me how to talk to people," Bianco added. "You make great connections."

Caddies make tips, and being able to talk to the golfers and knowing about the sport can mean more money.

"You have to be a people-person while you're caddying," says Agan, who likes to talk to the golfers he caddies for about their lives.

"I've been around golf a long time," Resnick says. "I like being involved with golf and sports." Resnick is heading to Lafayette College on a golf scholarship in the fall, and says he also enjoys working outside in the summer.

Working at a golf course for the summer is a way to stay active with the sport and make some money.

"It does get hard at times," Agan says. "Even if the bag weighs 300 pounds, as long as you have a smile on your face, it'll all be good."

"You get paid to do what you like to do," Nelson says. Nelson started caddying last year because a lot of his friends started doing it, and he says it's a good way to make money.

And it's not all work. On rainy days at St. Clair, they have chipping contests in the bag room.

But when it's nice out and it's Monday, co-workers, friends and teammates clock out and head to the greens.

Julie Turner is an editor at ESPNRISE.com.