The title of Harvey Penick’s famous book: And If You Play Golf, You're My Friend, is particularly significant for Kris and I as we met fundraising for a caddy scholarship organization—the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund—back in 2008. In addition to playing competitive junior golfer, we spent a combined twenty years caddying which allowed us to bond with successful individuals, many of whom took risks and started their own companies at one point.
Although Kris and I both played varsity golf at Bryant and Amherst College respectively, our senior year golf experiences—mine as a Captain of the Amherst team—and Kris, who decided to not play varsity, were drastically different. The Amherst golf squad played for free at premier courses throughout New England while Kris struggled to afford the $50 it cost to go down the street and play his local course. Knowing that so many of his friends at Bryant wanted to play golf, Kris knew there had to be a way to get more students on the course, and there lies the genesis for CGP, a company that now makes golf a reality for all college students.
My dad was and still is an avid golfer (a photo of Ben Hogan's famous one-iron hangs in his office), so caddying for me and my younger brother Nate—another Ouimet Scholar—was a natural fit. Fortunately for Kris—who did not have a golf club placed in his hand at an early age—his older brother Jeff (you guessed it, a Ouimet Scholar) introduced him to caddying at a young age.
So many of the meaningful things in Kris and my world—be it family relations, close friendships, and a strong worth ethic—directly come from this incredible game which brought two friends (and now business partners) together. Our goal with CGP is to share the wonderful game of golf with college students and young adults nationwide. If you are interested in or play golf, you've come to the right place and are a friend of CGP.
**Mike Belkin is a Co-Founder of Nextgengolf. Contact Mike on Twitter @MikeBelkin11