ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - For a pair of metro Atlanta high school students, their work on the golf course has earned them college scholarships. Not for playing golf, but for working as a golf caddie.
Cristo Rey High School students Elizabeth Rodriguez and Nala Bishop have spent their last three summers in Chicago working in the Western Golf Association's Caddie Academy. The program brings in 90 girls from across to country to work as golf caddies at courses around Chicago.
In three years, the girls have come a long way from when they first entered the program. "I had no idea, let alone what a caddie was, but what golf was," says Rodriguez.
"I was so nervous because I didn't want to mess up. I'm a big perfectionist," says Bishop.
Now the pair feel right at home on the course.
"Never put the bag on the green because it will damage the green. Also, you would never step in your golfer's line of putt," says Bishop when asked about the dos and don'ts of etiquette around the putting surface.
While they've become experts at caddying, that's not their calling. Rodriguez is headed to Notre Dame this fall, Bishop to Northwestern and it won't cost them a dime. By working for three straight summers in the caddie academy they have earned full rides to college through the Evans Scholarship. Rodriguez will become the first in her family to go to college.
Students apply to the Caddie Academy during their freshman year of high school and if accepted, they will not only take away golf knowledge, but real world interaction.
"Learning how to interact with adults in so many different industries, it's a life lesson that you really can't find many other places. For a 14 or 15 year old young woman on a golf course interacting with people who are doctors and lawyers and going into different fields that they might be interested in. I think caddying is the only place where you can get that variety of people in one spot," says Kara Stack, the Manager of Education and the Caddie Academy for the WGA.
So what happens when the caddies face a golfer who blames them for a bad shot or a rough round? Bishop sticks with this policy. "I really try to keep a good attitude because that's what gets you through life. You're going to have people who you don't like, but you just need to get over it. Even though I am spending fours with them, I try to keep a positive attitude," says Bishop.
Good advice when you're chasing the little white ball and when you're chasing your dreams.