Caddie Scholarship Success Story: Spring Lake's Aidan Martin
Photo (l-r): Aidan Martin, Connor Martin, Caddie Master Mike Knapp, Michael Martin, Mairead Martin
It’s truly a family affair for the Martins, a quartet of caddies who call Spring Lake Golf Club home.
Current NJSGA caddie scholar Aidan Martin, a junior computer science major at Florida State University, is the second of four family members to work at the club.
He followed in the footsteps of his brother Michael, another NJSGA Caddie Scholar and a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. Their younger brother, Connor, is receiving a full tuition NJSGA Evans Scholarship as a freshman at the University of Notre Dame. Their sister, Mairead, a Manasquan High School student, is also a caddie at Spring Lake.
“It’s been great to see everyone grow up, to see four siblings all become caddies at Spring Lake,” said caddie master Mike Knapp. “It all comes from the work ethic instilled by their parents, Kevin and Maureen Martin. I think that work ethic made them grow up faster – and the oldest son, Michael, was a very good role model.”
While Michael was on the course, 14-year-old Aidan got his start at the club working in the bag room.
“That’s where I got to know him the most. He would be there at 5 a.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and would help me set up the bags and the carts. He got to know my every move. You can’t replace an Aidan Martin,” Knapp stated.
Only one year later, he sailed through the five-week caddie training program at the club and became an invaluable part of Knapp’s caddie program. Now, as a seasoned caddie, he expects to return to Spring Lake for his seventh season on the bag.
“When I was younger, I saw my brother go out there and make extra money. He enjoyed it and I felt it was something that would be worth doing,” Aidan said. “The biggest thing I got out of it was making the connections. Being on the golf course, you meet people and opportunities will present themselves.”
Aidan never shied away from listening to his mentors on the course.
“Many of the stories the golfers would tell I will apply in my life. They will help me make better decisions and avoid some of the mistakes they made. And, I don’t think I’d be studying computer science at Florida State if it wasn’t for their guidance, encouraging me to get into that particular field of study. It’s interesting to look back on some of the helpful advice that I was given by members,” Aidan said.
Knapp has high praise for Martin, saying he reminds him of himself when it comes to interacting with golfers.
“Aidan is able to hold a conversation with the players. There are times a player doesn’t want to talk about golf. Talking about the caddie provides a good distraction from the game – it allows the golfer to focus on the next shot – that’s what Aidan does.
“He’s one of our top caddies. He knows the game. He knows how to read greens and to read a situation by making the members and the guests feel at home, especially the guests. He helps give them a special experience,” Knapp said.
Martin is a graduate of the Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST), located on Sandy Hook, not far from his home in Spring Lake Heights.
“I commuted every day. I really enjoyed my time there. It was a great experience. We had a boat that would take us into the ocean where we collected water samples to measure chemical levels. It was really interesting stuff,” Martin said.
Upon graduation, Martin was offered a scholarship to attend Florida State University.
“Florida State awarded me an in-state tuition rate, and along with my NJSGA caddie scholarship, it has allowed me to focus on my studies and get the most out of the college experience. The facilities here are awesome. This year, Florida State was selected as one of the top 25 public universities in the country.”
This past spring, Martin donated his time to Florida State’s charitable Dance Marathon, which raised more than $2 million to support pediatric medicine for the University of Florida Health Shands Children’s Hospital, the local children’s Miracle Network Hospital there, and the FSU College of Medicine’s Pediatric Outreach programs.
He is also involved in Phi Gamma Delta fraternity as a member of the intramural football and basketball teams. Martin belongs to the Surf Club, which treks about 35 minutes to beaches at Panama City and Tallahassee. He’ll be present with his golf clubs when the Don Veller Seminole Golf Club on campus reopens in January.
As for this summer, Martin plans on returning to Spring Lake Golf Club unless he receives as favorable internship.
“It would have to be in computer science with web development and programming. I could also end up doing programming from home which will still allow me to demonstrate my skills. Either way, I hope to find time to caddie this summer.”
Aidan is happy to offer advice for young caddies:
“Put the time in and you’ll do well. Go the extra mile. Do all the little stuff because at end of the day, by doing the little things, the golfers will respect you and leave a good word with the caddie master.”