Nate Fricke, left, and Ryan Sensenig, both of Lancaster, are witing for an opportunity to caddie at 2015 U.S. Women's Open.

Local caddies hope for big-time work at USWO

Posted: July 10, 2015 10:53 pm

Ryan Sensenig and Nate Fricke sat in the caddie hospitality area at Lancaster Country Club Tuesday, waiting for a bag and talking about a dream.

“That’s what you’re hoping for,” said Sensenig, a 32 year-old Conestoga Valley High School grad.

He was talking about caddying on a pro tour.

“I’d definitely consider it,” said Fricke, who attends Shipensburg University. “I’d have to talk to my parents about it, and finishing my education comes first, but I’d consider it.”

Both Sensenig and Fricke are regular caddies at Lancaster Country Club. It’s a summer job for Fricke and a full-time, adult gig for Sensenig, who loops at posh Calusa Pines in Florida in the winter.

Both men had caddied, in early practice rounds for the U.S. Women’s Open, for L.P.G.A. pros like I.K. Kim, Morgan Pressel, Sandra Gal and others.

Sensenig worked the pro-am at the LPGA ShopRite Classic last month.

Still, it was looking like no work was coming for the Open itself. Most tour pros have their own, traveling full-time caddies. Even the player whose caddie was asked to leave Tuesday after attempting to copy course-setup documents, Sei Young Kim, immediately hired her father as her caddie.

“It can be harder to make it on tour as a caddie than a player,” Sensenig said. “Look at Fluff.”

That’s Mike “Fluff” Cowan, who has worked for Peter Jacobsen in the 1980s, Tiger Woods in the 1990s, and Jim Furyk ever since.

“He’s had three careers,” Sensenig said.

Still, there’s the dream.

It’s the Michael Greller dream.

Greller was a sixth-grade teacher in University Place, Wash. when he got the chance to caddie in the 2011 U.S.G.A. Junior Amateur for the defending champion, a kid named Jordan Spieth.

Spieth and Greller worked together like Batman and Robin, well enough that when Spieth turned pro as a player, he asked Greller to turn pro as a looper.

Spieth is now the Masters and British Open, and Greller will likely never teach sixth graders again.

“It can happen,” Fricke said.

Neither Fricke nor Sensenig got caddying jobs for the Open, but Sensenig did catch on with Fox television working as an on-course spotter.

He was damp with sweat as he took a break from that gig in the middle of the day Thursday.

“It’s pretty complicated,” he said. “You really have to stay on top of it. It’s probably as hard as caddying would be.”