The Hamburg, N.J. resort course is offering caddie service at $40 a bag, with a $20 discount for golfers who walk 18 holes instead of taking a cart. Director of Golf Mike Melillo says he’s seen an “immediate increase” in repeat requests for caddies from those who have used them.
Mark Melillo, now in his second year as Director of Golf at Ballyowen Golf Club in Hamburg, N.J., is striving to provide a “true golfing experience” by positioning Ballyowen as one of the only public courses in the area to offer caddying services to its golfers, the New Jersey Herald reported.
“Most people think of golf as an individual sport, and while there is only one person taking the shot, there is much more to it,” Melillo told the Herald. “Having a good caddie gives a player that mental edge when those bad thoughts start creeping in.”
The presence of a caddie on an unfamiliar golf course can be an advantage, Melillo added, and he hopes golfers will enjoy playing Ballyowen by gaining the insight about the course that only a caddy can provide.
On a course like Ballyowen, with a collection of blind shots, a constantly shifting breeze and a large number of undulating greens, a caddie’s guidance can go a long way to helping golfers improve their scores and know how to attack the golf course, the Herald noted. And as the only walkable golf course at Crystal Springs Resort, Melillo has continued to make that advantage readily available to the golfers at Ballyowen.
Caddies are available for $40 per bag, but golfers also get a $20 discount for opting to walk the 18 holes instead of taking a cart, the Herald reported.
“We want to uphold the tradition and experience that was started so long ago,” Melillo said. “I want to look off the balcony and see the course littered with white jumpsuits. Being able to have properly trained and professional caddies, we have started to see an immediate increase in repeat requests [for caddies].”
Another significant role of caddies is to help maintain pace of play during the round, Melillo added, which is a positive for everyone playing on a given day.
When Ballyowen opened in 1998, golf carts were restricted to the paths, a full fleet of caddies was on hand at all times, and the club’s caddie program was flourishing, the Herald reported. But since then, carts have been permitted to ride in the fairways, caddie requests have declined and Ballyowen began to lose part of its connection with the history of golf. Melillo’s attempt to revitalize the club’s caddie program is part of a larger effort to bring the traditional golfing experience back to Ballyowen, the Herald reported.
“We have made it a significant point to make personal connections with the local high school and college golf teams,” Melillo said. “These golf coaches have prepared their students on the nuances of the game, which makes their transition to caddying quite seamless. It all begins and ends with proper training.”
With knowledgeable caddies now back at the golfers’ disposal, Melillo hopes that more people will take part in the experience, to help restore some of the lore to Ballyowen. “We want our guest to feel like they are playing in Scotland in the late 16th century,” he said. “Without a successful caddie program, we cannot truly deliver on that experience.”