Leroy, The Special Needs Caddie
By R.J. Smiley
This is a feel good story about the great game of golf helping a special needs child develop a bond with his father.
My friend Harold, Fuzzy for short, had a cancellation in his schedule, so he stopped by a local muni to play a quick 18. As a hard-core golfer Fuzzy always walks and uses a pushcart.
Fuzzy got paired with two good friends who often play golf together. Bobby, riding alone, asked Fuzzy if he would like to share his cart. Fuzzy declined the invite. As Fuzzy shook hands with Jake, in the other cart, he also met LeRoy, Jake’s 12-year-old son with special needs. Jake explained that LeRoy likes to ride along and he loves being outside.
Immediately Fuzzy became aware that LeRoy was restless. He was full of energy and was very inquisitive. It was hard for LeRoy to sit still when a golfer was hitting and he sometimes talked as a shot was being hit. Fuzzy was annoyed, but on the second or third hole he noticed that LeRoy was really into watching and most of the talking was questions about golf.
When Fuzzy putted out on the 9th hole, he said to Jake, “Would you have a problem if I let LeRoy be my caddie on the back nine?”
Jake thought about it for a minute. Then said, “LeRoy has never been a caddie, but I guess we could give it a try.”
LeRoy, who had been listening, piped in, “Dad what does a caddie do?”
Before Jake could speak, Fuzzy said, “LeRoy, a caddie is a golfers helper. They work as a team. A caddie walks along beside his golfer and pushes the golf bag for him. A caddie cleans the golfer’s ball before he putts on the green; there are many ways that a good caddie helps his golfer.”
“Can I be caddie for you Mr. Harold?” LeRoy asked as he jumped off the golf cart.
“Sure LeRoy, I need a lot of help. But you should call me Fuzzy.”
“Ok Mr. Fuzzy. What do I do?”
The first thing that Fuzzy showed LeRoy was how to set the brake on the pushcart. “Every time we stop, you set the brake so the cart does not roll down a hill.”
As they moved toward the 10th tee, LeRoy proudly walked beside Fuzzy pushing the cart; he immediately set the brake when Fuzzy stopped. “I am going to use my driver on this shot,” said Fuzzy. “The driver is the golf club with the big head cover. You take the head cover off and hold it while I hit my shot. And, LeRoy please watch exactly where my ball goes and remember where it is. A caddie always helps his golfer locate his ball.”
LeRoy was fascinated to learn that Fuzzy could make his golf ball go pretty much where he wanted it to go. When Fuzzy explained that he was going to putt his ball far to the right of the flagstick and let the slope of the green push his ball toward the hole, LeRoy was intrigued. On the next green Fuzzy asked, “LeRoy which way is this ball going to roll?” LeRoy studied the green for a second before he pointed to the left. The immediate grin proved that he was correct.
On the 16th hole LeRoy learned to rake a sand bunker. He quickly got the feel of the proper pressure to apply as he walked backward from the bunker. Fuzzy said with an appreciative pat on the shoulder, “Nice job LeRoy. That is beautiful. It looks like it was never disturbed.”
“Being a caddie is really fun,” said LeRoy. “There are so many things to do. And sometimes you have to walk really fast to keep up with your golfer.”
As LeRoy replaced the flagstick on the 18th green, Fuzzy thanked him and expressed how much LeRoy had helped him enjoy his round of golf.
Fuzzy then reached into his pocket and took out a $5 bill and handed it to LeRoy. LeRoy’s eyes got big and a huge smile crossed his face. Then LeRoy hollered at his dad, Jake, “Dad, Dad look Mr. Fuzzy paid me for being his caddie and helping him find his ball. Dad I had a real job. I got paid money!”
“Mr. Fuzzy, can I be your caddie again?”
“Maybe sometime LeRoy, if I am at this golf course again.”
Then Jake responded as he looked back and forth at each of them, “LeRoy from now on you can caddie for me every time I play golf. I am going to let you pick the color of the push cart that I buy for you.”
As they shook hands, Jake put his hand on Fuzzy’s shoulder and with a little quiver in his voice he said, “LeRoy and I will remember this day for ever. God bless you Mr. Fuzzy!!”