The 2011 Masters will mark Carl Jackson’s 50th anniversary of caddying at golf’s most grandiose event and venue. He started looping at Augusta National in 1958, and in 1961 at the ripe old age of 14, worked his first Masters. Jackson has caddied for Ben Crenshaw since 1976, including victories in 1984 and 1995. I was fortunate enough to spend a few minutes chatting with Carl last week, now the head caddy master at The Alotian Club outside of Little Rock, AK, about his experiences over the years. Some of Carl’s thoughts and insight from that conversation, in his words:
- I carried for Billy Burke in 1961, my first Masters. Although he was near the end of his career (Burke won the U.S. Open in 1931), he was still a wonderful ball striker.
- I missed the 2000 Masters due to illness (colon cancer). I learned a lot about myself and what I needed to do to stay healthy after that. The importance of nutrition, alternative/natural medicines, and the close relationship between physical and spiritual well being and health.
- Ben (Crenshaw) was out of position in 1995, I noticed it in on Tuesday of that week. Looked like he was playing hockey. We went to the practice tee, and I suggested he move the ball a little closer to his body and a bit back in the stance, and to tighten up his shoulder turn. I sat down right next (outside) to the ball, so that any swing coming from the outside would have hit me in the knee or my bad toe. I didn’t get hit – and Ben started hitting it better.
- Ben always treated putting like a “little golf swing.” His stroke has great rhythm and his transition (from back to front) is wonderful. Mark McNulty, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, those fellows are some of the other great putters, to name a few, who I’ve seen over the years.
- You have to be patient when you play Augusta National. You can’t get cocky, just have to let the round come to you.
- Mr. Roberts (Clifford Roberts, Augusta National co-founder and Chairman from 1934-1976), Ike (President Dwight Eisenhower) and Mr. Stephens (Jackson Stephens, Augusta National Chairman from 1991-1998) all had big influences on me.
- The old caddies – they were all true professionals. Nothing better now than sitting down with a mint julep and talking about the old caddying days.
Jackson is now passionately involved with the Carl’s Kids Foundation (http://carlskids.org/), a program providing young people an opportunity to develop life-enhancement through golf.