Jesse Emerick, left, caddy for PGA Tour professional Bryson Nimmer of Bluffton, right, pauses during play to offer words of encouragement. JEAN HARRIS

Jesse Emerick started in the golf industry at age 15, building clubs for friends. He worked various golf jobs through high school. He came to Bluffton to attend the Professional Golfers Career College and has worked at Palmetto Dunes and at Congaree in member services.

When Club Champion opened in Bluffton, he knew that fitting clubs was an area that he liked most in the golf business.

One day a young man walked into Club Champion with a very expensive putter and needed it bent to a certain degree. Emerick, being an expert in putter fitting, was happy to do it.

The man, Bryson Nimmer, came back a few days later and wanted to go through a putter fitting lab. The two spent four hours together going through the fitting, and eventually became good friends. Nimmer finally had Emerick fit all his clubs.

Their friendship grew and Nimmer wanted Emerick to be his caddy on tour. They both have very positive attitudes and Emerick knew Nimmer’s game. “I know how to calm him down after bad shots. We have the same attitude about losing your temper,” Emerick said. “Bryson knows that young kids look up to the players and he doesn’t want to disappoint them by losing his temper.”

Emerick has caddied for Nimmer for Pro AMs, Korn Ferry Tournaments and three PGA tournaments.

Being a caddy has many responsibilities. Prior to a tournament, Emerick has to know the golf course, yardages, hazards, etc. “I have become a Google Earth fanatic,” he said. “It gives me the yardages and hazards prior to us getting to the course.” 

The players and caddies are given a green book once they arrive at the course.

Emerick has many duties prior and during the round. He makes sure they have 14 clubs, at least five balls of the same type with different numbers, water, snacks, towels and rain suit for inclement weather. During the round, his job is to give Nimmer the right clubs for the yardage, say something positive, repair divots, rake the bunkers.

I asked Emerick if he has an exercise routine to enable him to carry a bag that weighs 50 pounds for 4 to 5 hours. “I don’t do anything special,” he said, “but I realize that it is physically exhausting and I may need to start one.” 

Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at local courses.;