HARRIS - Carley Saint-Onge of Marquette will not be the only Upper Peninsula resident walking the fairways at Sweetgrass Golf Club next week.
More than two dozen Yoopers will be caddies when 144 Symetra Tour players compete in the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass.
The 54-hole event begins Friday, with the final round July 1. The field is cut after Saturday's second round.
Dennis Grall | Daily Press
Callie Jensen of Gladstone lines up her putt on No. 17 at Escanaba Country Club during a meet in May. She will be a caddie for Symetra Tour professional Kristie Smith next week at the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass.
Saint-Onge is one of two amateurs participating in the "Road to the LPGA" tournament. She also played last year, after winning her fourth straight U.P. Division 1 medalist championship at the high school tournament, but missed the cut after shooting 87-72. She was a redshirt freshman on the Michigan State University golf team this season.
Among the caddies will be Callie Jensen of Gladstone, who played against Saint-Onge in several high school matches in 2011 as a freshman. It will be her first stint as a caddie.
"It will be a very good learning experience," Jensen said Thursday, shortly after helping conduct a youth golf clinic at Terrace Bluff Golf and Country Club.
Jensen, who tied for fifth at the U.P. D-1 finals this year with 91, said the Symetra players "are at a way higher level than me. I hope to learn a lot from it. It will be very helpful."
While she will watch the players execute shots and manage their way around the links-style course, Jensen said "it will be a different view of the game. It will be very cool. It will be a good experience. I can learn so much, that is what I'm excited about."
She plans to watch how her professional, as well as the two other players in her group, handles various situations. "I've always struggled with letting the game get the best of me," said Jensen, noting the roller-coaster ride of a few poor shots mixed in with a good run. "If they have a bad shot I want to see how they overcome it."
Jensen, who learned Friday she will carry the bag for Tate and Lyle tournament champion Kristie Smith, was encouraged to apply for the caddie position by her parents, Rick and Judy. "They said it would be a good experience," she said.
Sweetgrass director of golf Dave Douglas put in the plug to her parents to get Callie involved. He said Brett Langenfeld of Carney-Nadeau High School is the only other high school caddie.
He said 27 players have requested caddies, and there were 28 caddie applicants. The final field will be determined Monday. He said a couple players requested experienced caddies while several bring their own caddies, ranging from family members to boy friends. Some players carry their own bags.
He said the caddies "are not expected to read the greens or club (offer suggestions on yardages) the players. They will fix divots, carry the golf bag, rake sand traps, clean the clubs and golf ball and tend the flag.
"They don't offer advice or institute conversations (with the players)," said Douglas. "It is pretty basic stuff."
Several area men were caddies at last year's initial event, with Paul Schrader of Escanaba back on the bag for Blair O'Neal, who has been featured in a Cobra golf ad in the last two Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. She is also a spokesman for golf in the Myrtle Beach golf mecca.
"She was very personable. We gabbed like we were playing a regular round," said Schrader, who is a ranger at Sweetgrass and plays the course frequently. "She actually asked advice where to hit shots. On the green she was very self-reliant but would ask for confirmation (of the putting line)."
Schrader believes he is much better prepared to help O'Neal this year, from getting in better shape by carrying his own bag instead of riding a cart as well as making a yardage book and marking sprinkler heads.
"You are forced to play such a fast pace, so I did a little homework this year," he said.
Noting it was an enjoyable experience for someone who has played tourney golf for three decades, Schrader said he was impressed with how the Futures players competed.
"I was amazed how business-like it is. There were no details left to chance," he said. "It is such an exact science for these gals and professionals. They are just miles above us weekend hackers around here. They are just excellent golfers. The work ethic they have is phenomenal."
Another experienced caddy will be Jeff McCall of Gladstone, who has been on the bag for six-time Michigan Open champion Scott Hebert, an Escanaba native now the director of golf at Grand Traverse Resort.
Douglas and tourney co-director Tony Mancilla provided an on-site caddie school for the applicants recently, using a nine-hole practice round and then the trainees played another nine rounds.
Jensen actually had a caddie during her round. "I got the idea how that feels," she said. "They told us where to stand, where to put the rakes in the sand trap. They taught us the basics."
Asked what advice he would give Jensen and other first-time caddies, Schrader said "the first tip is wear the most comfortable shoes you've got because you'll walk a million miles out there. And do whatever she (golfer) says."
Several Symetra players began arriving Wednesday for early practice sessions since there is not tournament this weekend.