2017-02-16 / News Briefs

Hibernians Seek Caddies to Tell Their Tales

By James Merolla

“Caddyshack” was not filmed in Newport, but it could have been. The cast of characters portrayed at the fictitious Bushwood Country Club in the classic 1980 flick could have all been plucked from the memories of the caddies and greenskeepers of the Newport Country Club.

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is inviting all former workers of the country club to gather at their hall on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 3-5 p.m. to retell and embellish their old stories. Chris Kirwin, organizer of the event, promises “acres and acres of stories.”

“This reunion was simply an idea to gather old friends from 40 and 50 years ago and piece together common stories of our caddy days,” said Kirwin. “It is not a fundraiser and generally, the AOH, as a private club, is not open to the public. We are hoping we find some of those alumni who have not heard about it from other sources.”

One former boyhood caddy is already sorely missed, the Fifth Ward’s Jack Kelly, who died in 2016. “As for stories, Jack could have told more than most, but he’s on to greener fairways,” said Kirwin.

“Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, actor Burt Lancaster, comedian Bob Hope, and Olympic athlete Jesse Owens all used a kid who likely hitchhiked his way to the course to carry a golf bag too big for someone his size,” he added. “Golfers must have wondered what that group of young teens was doing running barefoot around the last five holes of the course during an annual initiation ritual.

“They surely cringed at the sound of a Coca-Cola-induced belch of preposterous length and volume, or the misused curse which carried up the hill from the caddy shack,” added Kirwin.

The AOH does not expect most of the hijinks of that era to be reenacted, but the laughter in recalling them is likely on Saturday afternoon, Kirwin said.

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