Former Broadmoor head pro Mark Kelbel will lead the newly founded Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academy.
A JOURNEY THAT BEGAN with his brother Duffy more than 40 years ago at The Broadmoor has come full circle. Philanthropist George Solich—the Colorado Springs kid who parlayed his caddie experience at The Broadmoor into an Evans Scholarship, a tremendously successful business career and the creation of the oft-emulated Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy—has announced the launch of a unique caddie academy at his old stomping ground.
Debuting shortly after Memorial Day, The Broadmoor Caddie & Leadership Academy will run through Labor Day and comprise 35 caddies in 2020. As with the Solich Caddie & Leadership Academy (which now has three Colorado chapters and has produced 225 caddies since its 2012 inception), the Colorado Golf Association will serve as the nonprofit host. Participants not only learn how to caddie and forecaddie, but also how to become leaders who are financially literate during 11 weekly classes and summer community-service projects.
Like the Solich Academies at other courses, the program will give each participant a weekly stipend so golfers can take a BCLA caddie for free—then provide a gratuity after the round. The program will differ from the Solich programs inasmuch as the caddies will be working at Colorado’s only five-star, five-diamond resort. To spearhead the recruitment and training of such talent, the CGA has enlisted Mark Kelbel as program director.
He’s uniquely qualified. After spending 19 years as the PGA Head Professional at The Broadmoor, Kelbel now runs Fearless Golf, a nonprofit devoted to using the game as therapy for at-risk youth who have aged out of foster care. With BCLA, his focus will expand to identifying candidates “through The First Tee, local schools, churches and golf teams, train them as caddies and cultivate them for the Evans Scholarship.”
Kelbel will encourage Broadmoor members to develop mentor-mentee relationships with individual caddies. “Kids grow more confident when they don’t have too many personalities to deal with,” he explains. The resort will still provide professional caddies for some members and high-end resort guests. “This program dovetails with everything I’m doing with golf and what I’m pursuing professionally,” he says. “It checks all my boxes. The right people are behind it. It’s the right location. And it helps kids have better lives.” broadmoor.com
This article was also featured in the April 2020 issue of Colorado AvidGolfer.
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