HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.c. (WSAV) – Usually, Nolan Hawkins would be hitting the shots instead of carrying around another player’s bag., but there he was, lugging clubs during the RBC Heritage Pro-Am.
“This is my first chance to get on the course as a caddie,” Hawkins said.
When the RBC Heritage comes around, the Hilton Head Island senior turns from a golfer to whatever the tournament needs him to be.
“I got a nice guy and we played a round with a couple of pros I’d heard of,” Hawkins said. “So I got to meet the pros as well.”
Hawkins started volunteering at the RBC Heritage Classic at eight years old and has loved the game of golf ever since.
” It’s a gentleman’s game,” Hawkins said. “So you get to be kind to the people around you. You’re rooting for the people around you. In other sports, it’s a lot of contact, a lot of rudeness. Golf is a very friendly, supportive atmosphere.”
Usually, Hawkins works on the driving range, picking up golf balls and cleaning the area in between rounds. It’s a job that lets him see the pros up close in a way that very few other people get to do.
“They see the little kids, they give them balls, they give them signed autographs, they bother to at least say hi to us on the way to the range instead of being in their own world,” Hawkins said.
Beyond his work on the range, Hawkins is an academic honors student and a captain on Hilton Head’s golf team, all factors in him winning one of just 11 scholarships given out by the Heritage Classic Foundation.
“I was pretty excited. I didn’t think I was gonna get it because they had so many applications,” Hawkins said.
As Hawkins prepares to move on to college, the Heritage will need other people to caddy, work the range and to be the backbone of this annual tournament.
If anyone needs advice on how to do it well, they can just ask Hawkins.
“Be active in the community outside of school,” Hawkins said. “It’s not just being in the classroom and being a great student, you have to make a difference in the community. Like with this Heritage, it’s the biggest event on Hilton Head, so it’s fun to be a part of.”
Hawkins is going to Duke University in the Fall and will study both computer and electrical engineering.