Authentic Augusta honors the Black caddies of golf

Published: May. 29, 2023 at 4:54 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - In April, Augusta was the center of the golf universe when the Masters took center stage.

But now, the spotlight is shifting away from the green jacket, and over to those who helped so many golfers win one.

Authentic Augusta and the Lucy C. Laney Museum of Black History is honoring an important part of Masters history, the black caddies.

The experience starts with Willie “Pappy” Stokes. He’s known as the grandfather of the caddies.

“Don’t nobody know this course better than me”, said Keyonice Burts, an actress playing the role of Stokes.

Then there’s Willie “Cemetary” Perteet, a musician and personal caddie to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Every now and then, the president would throw a wrinkle into my plans,” said Thomas Burroughs, the actor portraying Perteet.

Willie “Pete” Peterson was on the bag for Jack Nicklaus when he won his first five green jackets.

“I had enough energy for the both of us, he called me a great character,” said Varian Hunter, the actor who played Peterson.

These actors tell the stories of some of Augusta National’s most famous caddies from 1932 to 1982.

Burts said: “It means so much to me because, no one knows the true history of the caddies, their life story of the caddies, how they became a caddie.”

Burroughs said: “Nowhere in the world has this story just like nowhere in the world has the Masters.”

Hunter said: “I didn’t know too much about the caddies but I learned a lot of history and what the caddies did on the course.”

But the best stories are coming from the legends themselves.

Tommy “Burnt Biscuit” Bennett, known for caddying for Tiger Woods, said: “I’m glad this happened and I’m glad they’re going to continue doing this because golf is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and we need to be there.”

Jim Dent never got to play in the Masters, but he had a long career as a professional golfer.

“Practicing hard and working hard and scoring my PGA card,” said Dent while speaking about his golf experience during the presentation.

Dent was also inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame, with some of his fellow caddies like Otis “Buck” Moore.

“Never played in my life, but I was considered one of the best caddies out there,” said Moore.

Henry “Jnox” McClendon, who caddied for Lee Elder, said: “I appreciate them doing something for us, and being recognized like we should have in the first place.”

These golf legends are hoping this experience will get more people interested in the game and will help to grow the future of it, by remembering the past.

Bennet said: “I’m thinking about the youth of golf, the black youth that’s who we need to bring up.”

If you are interested in hearing these stories for yourself, this experience will be held at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History one weekend a month. For experience times, visit the Lucy C. Laney Museum of Black History website.