BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Kennedy Smith knew she wanted to attend Michigan State University when she was 12 years old visiting her sister at the college.
As she got older, she would pass the housing for Chick Evans Scholarship recipients and say, “that’s where I want to be.”
Smith, a senior at Clarkston High School, received a letter, Jan. 17; she is one of 31 caddies in Michigan to be awarded the Western Golf Association’s Chick Evans Scholarship.
“I am so excited,” Smith shared. “It has just been a whirlwind. I am really proud and overjoyed at the experience.”
Smith has been a caddie at Edgewood Country Club in Commerce for about four years. She got into it after her dad became Assistant Pro there.
“He said ‘there is thing you can do called caddying. You should do it,'” she said. “It was a good first job for me.”
When she first started caddying she worked once a week and transitioned into being a great caddie.
“My first year I wanted to be good but I just wasn’t there yet,” Smith admitted. “The bags were super heavy. I remember driving to the club in my first year being nervous every time. What am I going to say, I need to connect with these golfers. It was definitely nerve-racking.”
She added the Caddie Master and other bosses would ask people how she did and how she could improve.
“Everyone was always behind me,” she said. “I was being told, do this more, walk faster, talk a little less when I was talking too much. From then, my head pro realized I was doing well. That’s when I pushed myself for the Evans Scholarship and to be the best caddie.”
She came to the realization she just needed to put in effort and be herself.
“They are going to like you because you know how to do the job and you know how to do the job well. I am going to fit in by being the best, ” Smith said, adding not only the best female caddie out of the three female caddies. “It was that push to be accepted and work hard.”
Smith added the support she received from Edgewood Country Club was special.
“The support I got for the scholarship was crazy,” she said.
Caddies including Smith had final selection interviews at the beginning of January. Smith explained as long as someone did something for the scholarship, they could view the interviews.
“We had about 26 people from the club,” she said. “We were super excited. It was a big thing because other caddies had maybe five people come.”
Smith added her caddie job was great because she enjoys talking to people and learned so much from the golfers.
“With the golfers, it’s nice to have these opportunities to take in information from people,” she said. “Especially for what I wanted to do in college, I really wasn’t sure. I had the full support of the club, golfers giving me advice, and from there I decided to go into engineering.”
Part of the selection criteria is a strong caddie record, and Smith won Most Improved Caddie for three years as well as Caddie of the Year.
“It was really cool and a really exciting moment for me,” she said about being Caddie of the Year. “I am a regular caddie for A.J. Mathews. He won the club championship for three years, along with other championships at the club. All the caddies want to caddie for him. I started caddying for him last year. It may not seem like a big thing but for Edgewood, it was empowering to be able to caddie for him. He gave me a letter of recommendation.”
She was also a caddie for PGA golfer Brian Stuart over the summer.
Smith plans to study exploratory engineering while attending Michigan State University.
“I figured exploratory engineering would be best because I want to figure out what I want to do,” she said, adding she wants to be able to use her skills in math and science and do something hands on.
She currently has a 3.7 grade point average and scored a 1,210 on her SAT. She is currently taking Advanced Placement Government, Pre-Calculus and Trigonometry, Spanish 4, Lifeguard Training and Yearbook.
“Yearbook, I have been excited about it,” Smith shared. “I really didn’t know what Yearbook was going to be about and it’s this huge production. We do it all. There is a business department and photography people, always interviewing all the people. It’s a really fun class.”
Her activities out of school include being on the Clarkston Girls Varsity Golf team during the Fall 2019 season; captain of the Girls JV Tennis team; acting in plays with the Clarkston Village Players Youth Group as well as other theater groups like the Clarkston Junior High Drama Club; volunteering for different events for the Clarkston Optimists Club; and playing junior golf.
“It was really good for me,” she said about junior golf. “It was really cool because I wasn’t a good golfer. It got me into golfing more which made me a better caddie.”
Smith thanks her family, parents, Cindy and Joe Isgrigg, and Dan Smith; sister, Kayleigh Goodrich, everyone at Edgewood and CHS Principal Gary Kaul.
“He is the best principal of all time. He is amazing and he gave me a letter of recommendation to MSU. He has supported me through the process. He was great for everything there.”