A feature-length documentary film that profiles the work of the non-profit Caddie School for Soldiers (CSS), created in St Andrews, is to premiere at a prestigious golf event in the USA.
The film Carrying On, will premier at an open-air special event stage located at Destination Kohler, in Wisconsin, on September 22.
Described by its creators as a “highly emotional and uplifting film” it was shot during the school’s first session in St Andrews in 2019 and features military veterans from the USA, UK and Canada who were invited to spend a month together learning not just about caddying and golf, but about how to find a way forward in their lives after concluding their service careers.
Don J. Snyder, founder and chief executive officer of the organization, said: “Because soldiers are dedicated to the ideal of self-sacrifice, when they return to a world that is defined by the opposite—personal gain—they don’t really know how to fit in and they become strangers to themselves.
“And when you’re a stranger to yourself, you don’t really believe in yourself anymore.
“The Caddie School for Soldiers program was created to help veterans earn back their belief in themselves, so that they can carry on in life with the measure of dignity they are entitled to.”
As previously featured in The Courier, the CSS invites small groups of veterans to live together for a month, learn about golf and caddying, and gain skills that will help them create new lives in a new profession—whether in golf or any other.
Previous schools have been held in the St Andrews area, but, due to Covic-19 restrictions and practicalities, the 2021 school will take place between October 6 and November 5 at Whistling Straits, host of the 43rd Ryder Cup.
Don added: “Our sponsoring partner, the Kohler family and company, have been instrumental in helping these deserving veterans through their generous support from the very beginning.
“They’ve provided not just vital funding, but also the use of their wonderful golf facilities, initially in St Andrews and this year at Whistling Straits. The CSS is extremely grateful for their support.
“We’re also very grateful for the support of our many other donors, contributors and partners—including our presenting sponsor, Peak Scientific; Folds of Honor, which contributes scholarships to the children of the school’s attendees; and the many organizations who refer veterans to us, including the Wounder Warrior Project, the On Course Foundation, Royal British Legion, B.L.E.S.M.A., and others.”
Filmed in Fife
Carrying On was directed by Jon Beer and filmed in St Andrews and Elie.
In the film, the veterans share highly personal stories about their service careers, talk about the difficulties they’ve had adjusting to civilian life, and emerge at the end with newfound hope after spending time together learning about the noble profession of caddying.
Several of the school’s graduates have gone on to become professional caddies in the St Andrews area and elsewhere.
The Caddie School for Soldiers is a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to help ex-soldiers rise up from the desolation of the wars they fought and restore their essential belief in themselves.
The organization’s goal isn’t necessarily to help veterans become caddies—though many graduates have gone on to rewarding careers as professional caddies—but rather to help veterans discover that a meaningful and positive future is possible after military service in whatever new field they may choose to pursue.