Though Craig is the only golfer in his family, the Malech’s use golf as a way to spend time together. Whether it’s Craig’s sisters joining him at the Youth on Course Classic event earlier this year – walking 18 holes alongside their brother – or the frequent 5 hour round-trip car rides that he and his father take together to caddie all around Northern California – Craig appreciates the quality family time that golf has provided him.
“Whenever I go caddying, my Dad usually drives up there with me. He likes to go out and explore the area. His favorite place is Harvard, near Menlo. He likes traveling. I would definitely say it’s father-son time.”
Craig’s Dad bought him a set of clubs in junior high, took some lessons at a local club, and quickly fell in love with the sport. Like a lot of Youth on Course members, Craig enjoys being able to spend time with his family on the course but also build friendships with other YOC members.
“When I go out and play I usually go out with members of my team. Most of the people on my golf team are my closest friends, and golf has actually allowed those relationships to develop more in depth. It’s a way to de-stress and keep up with friends.”
Craig is a goal-setting “man with a plan”. He says that his favorite thing about golf is that it is a constant strive towards self-improvement, so when he learned about the Youth on Course Caddie Program from an email he received from our organization, he was eager to sign up.
“It sparked my interest. I had actually just finished a round of 18 when I got the email so I decided to apply and give it a try. I didn’t know a whole lot about what caddies did when I applied, but I knew that getting involved in a sport that I loved definitely interested me.”
Craig was excited to get started after caddie orientation, but realized that a lot of the golf courses where he could caddie were 2 hours away from where he lives – sometimes more. He was not going to let that stand in his way.
“If I wanted to get a lot of frequent loops, I would have to travel a long way. So, I made a list and I decided if any job came up at these courses I would take it, and I wouldn’t let the distance be a burden. When I signed up to be a caddie, I set a goal for myself that I would get 15 loops in for a scholarship.”[Through the Youth on Course Caddie to College program, YOC deposits an additional $50 into a college scholarship fund for every completed loop.]
“Once you get out and do 1 or 2 loops, getting up early and traveling that far doesn’t come as hard as you would think. It gives you a jump start to the day and a reason to get up in the morning.”
When Craig reflects on the beginning of his caddying career, he says he learned a lot about golf certainly, but he also learned a lot about himself. As he began to build relationships with the members at the Country Club where he caddied, he felt himself come out of his shell.
“Meeting new people, making connections and getting to prove my skills in golf – all these things drive me to be a better caddie. Those experiences, practicing, having conversations with a stranger…it was cool to recognize members at the Club. Before caddying, I was a little shy. I would stay in my shell most of the time, especially when it comes to social interaction.”
Though he’s never had his own caddie with him when he’s golfing, he says he would tell them the most important thing is to stay ahead of your golfer. If you do make a mistake, just learn from it and move forward – a valuable lesson on and off the course.
Craig is the recipient of the 2019 Sally Morton Youth on Course scholarship. He will be attending California State University, Long Beach this Fall where he plans to major in Mechanical Engineering. He says he plans to remain a caddie because he enjoys it so much, and will definitely continue to golf as it’s a good way to “get out stress”.
But before he heads off to college, he has another goal: to caddie this summer at every single YOC caddie course in Northern California!
We wish you luck with ALL of your goals, Craig and we are so proud to have you as a YOC Member, Caddie, and Scholar.