Edwards recalls caddy days

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fred Edwards Jr., (left) and Fred Edwards Sr., (right). (photo by Kiesa Kay)

Fred Edwards Jr., (left) and Fred Edwards Sr., (right). (photo by Kiesa Kay)

Golfing tradition has been handed down from one generation to the next in the Edwards family of Tryon, from grandfather to father to son. Fred Edwards Sr. grins ruefully as he remembers his start on a golf course, at age 9.

“When I caddied for my father, I knew to keep my mouth shut,” Edwards Sr. said.

He’d practice hitting golf balls every chance he got. Sometimes, the accuracy of his aim caused a little bit of trouble.

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“My daddy had a bunch of chickens, and I’d carry eggs to school to sell to schoolteachers,” Edwards Sr. said. “My daddy had this big Rhode Island Red rooster, and he thought the world of that rooster. I said to my sister, ‘hey, you want me to hit that rooster?’ She did, and my golf ball hit that rooster so hard, he hit the ground like a wet sock, dead. My daddy never did know about it. We took that rooster up in the woods and buried him deep. Daddy never knew.”

Edwards Sr. liked to hit golf balls where cattle grazed in the pasture, too.

“One time, I hit a big black bull in the side of his head, and knocked him to his knees,” Edwards Sr. said. “I did run then.”

Edwards Sr. caddied at the Tryon Country Club, where it cost 65 cents for nine holes, and a dollar and a quarter for 18, and the caddies made tips.

“One fellow always carried gum, and he was known for giving two sticks of gum to his caddy. They tipped better when they got good scores or a hole in one. I do know we sometimes slipped a ball into a hole,” Edwards said.

On his 19th birthday, April 10, 1951, he caddied for “Slammin’ Sammy” Snead, the legendary golfer. Snead tipped him $5, not bad for the time.  Occasionally, there’d be a liquid tip.