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Pawtucket Times June 29, 2010

Pawtucket CC hosts 4th annual ‘JT’ Classic

By Stephen J. Capineri Former PCC caddy

On July 6, 2010 Pawtucket Country Club (PCC) will be hosting the 4th annual installment of the JT Caddy Classic. This tournament benefits the Burke Scholarship Fund for caddies and other golf club workers and is named in honor of James Tanner (JT), the long serving caddy master at PCC.

JT has been at the club for over 50 years now and it is impossible to think about PCC without also thinking about James Tanner. JT is as much a part of PCC as the blades of grass on its pristine fairways. He has been a positive role model for hundreds of young people who have served as caddies.

In 1965, as an 11 year-old youth, I began a career as a caddy that was to last ten years. During these ten years I learned a lot from JT about life and people in general. I learned that people are not always what they seem to be at first, and that wealth can be measured in many more ways than dollars and cents.

JT was and remains a constant at PCC. He is loyal and dependable. If he is your friend, you have a friend for life. He and my father, Joseph A. Capineri, are the best of friends and rarely does a day go by when they don’t see each other. My father treasures the time he gets to spend with JT.

James Tanner has an innate ability to read people based on his own “street smarts” and common sense. Over the years he has passed along his observations to those in the caddy yard. He would advise us that golf could teach a lot of lessons. He’d say that those who cheat at golf probably cheat in other aspects of their lives too. He showed us that golf teaches discipline and respect. A proper caddy always had to know the rights of all players in his group and when to talk and when not to. He would reward those of us who came regularly and on time by assigning us to the more generous tippers. If you missed a few days with no reasonable excuse you’d likely have to sit all day the next time you showed up and not get out to caddy at all. In his way he was teaching us to be responsible and ready for the working world.

Because of JT, being a caddy was not just a simple summer job. It was a good way to earn some money and be outdoors, but it also offered an opportunity for much more. The life lessons I learned from JT are still with me. I believe I tap into the “street smarts” I learned from him on a daily basis as an Associate Justice of the RI Family Court. JT is one of those rare individuals who is able to enhance someone’s life just by knowing him.

Thanks, JT!

Tanner wears many hats

By Les Kennedy Jr. Former PCC caddy

I grew up at Pawtucket Country Club in the 60’s and 70’s as the son of the golf professional. My earliest memories always had PCC in the picture and the one constant through out that time was Jimmy Tanner. Les Kennedy, Sr. was the golf professional at Pawtucket for 40 years and hired JT as a teenager. JT became the asst. Pro and then caddy master and my Dad had his own special relationship with Jim that lasted his entire life. It seemed JT always had time for Les Jr. and I began to develop my own relationship with JT. When it came time for me to enter the work force JT got the unenviable task of fitting me into a very diverse group that were the caddies of Pawtucket Country Club.

I was a small, skinny 13 year old and a single looper at best and JT was always able to find a member or two who would put up with me. One loop early in my short lived caddying career, I was with a member (Cliff Crowther) who liked to smoke a pipe. It was the old style like Sherlock Holmes smoked and it was his favorite. On hole #12 as I struggled pulling the bag away so he could hit his shot I inadvertently stepped on and broke the pipe in two. I received my $3.00 for the loop with no tip and my caddy career was in jeopardy. JT bailed me out with a suggestion that I move up to the bag room to sell candy and soda to the caddies. My Dad agreed and my relationship with Jim Tanner began to grow as we now worked together in the back room. I eventually moved into the golf shop and worked the counter through my high school years. JT was now a co-worker but he always looked out for me and helped me whenever I struggled.

My senior year in high school was when my relationship with JT blossomed. I returned home from Florida a month ahead of my parents because my high school was closed due to race riots which resulted from the forced integration of schools in 1971. I stayed with friends of my parents (The Mahoneys) on Blackstone Blvd. in Providence. Once again JT was called to duty to look after Les Jr. He would pick me up every day and bring me to Seekonk High and after school I would take the bus home and walk to the Club. JT would bring me back to Providence each evening and we would do it again the next day for the month of March. That spring and summer Jim Tanner became a much bigger part of my life, he became a mentor, a big brother and most importantly my friend. We talked about things a young man struggles to talk to his Dad about, he taught me how to make a cross corner shot at the Blvd. Tap, took me on my first safari, he helped me grow into a man.

I went away to college that fall and when I returned I moved out onto the course to begin a new career in golf. Our friendship grew during those next few years and when I left the club and moved away I took all the life lessons learned from JT and applied them to my new life..

I get “home” to PCC once or twice a year and when I arrive at the club the first person I seek out is Jimmy Tanner. His warm smile and firm handshake let me know that my mentor and big brother is still my good friend. I very much look forward to July 6, 2010 to seeing JT again and playing in the Jim Tanner Caddy Classic.

Ex-caddy recalls ‘loops’

By Clint Dailey Former PCC caddy

Clint Dailey graduated from Bryant College (now Bryant University) in 1977 and has worked for Amica Insurance ever since. Lived in Pawtucket until graduation from Bryant. Moved to Manchester NH in 1983 and then to Cincinnati OH in 1992. Married for 31 years, Clint has 2 children, Bryan who is 24 and Kristen who is 21.

There aren’t many certainties in life but finding Jim Tanner around the pro shop at Pawtucket County Club is one of them. Jim was there every single morning as long as I can remember

I remember going to Pawtucket Country Club for first time with friends who had already discovered the looping scene in the cold weather months of 9th grade.

It didn’t matter what the temperature was, as long as there was no snow, there would be play. And in those days, more members walked than not. PCC is the perfect layout for a 3 and ½ hour walking round of golf.

I recall that many boys gathered at the back of the pro shop, under the willow tree in hopes of a loop. How does one get to be a caddie and actually make some consistent money? I soon learned that Jim knew to put you out with a member with patience when you were new, and an experienced caddie that can show you the ropes. Jim had a way of knowing which caddies were best pared with which members. Some had favorite caddies.

I also learned that Jim had a fair way of deciding who gets out when, and an excellent memory. You had to work hard, show up, be dependable and many

times wait and wait for a loop. If you did this, your reward was a loop.

Over time, I got to know when my “turn” would be. You had to earn it, but I could look around, see who was there and get a feel for when I was going to get out.

I think we all knew exactly the order Jim would use to assign loops. Show up consistently, stay out of trouble and be someone that can be counted on and Jim would reward you. What a lesson to learn in your teenage years. And I think all of us must admit that those early lessons learned in our Jim Tanner caddying days, are lessons we have benefited from and remember today.

I liked to do two loops on weekends, so I had to get there early to get an early loop of players who played fast. That way I could get done in time for an afternoon loop. It was a lot of walking but a caddy that got out twice on each of the weekend days could make $40.00 or a little more if you got an additional tip from those that rode in a cart.

I don’t know how he did it, but Jim seemed to have a way to give most every caddy a loop that would be unforgettable. I remember caddying for the brothers Quigley, Matt and Paul. While their bags were heavy to carry, there was never any doubt of where each of their shots would go…….long and down the middle. It was a pleasure to watch these two men play. I had a loop that included a medical doctor who was a guest of one of the members. Through conversation I learned that he had worked with my mother at Pawtucket Memorial Hospital and had delivered both of my sisters. An extra large tip was included that day!

One of the benefits of caddying was to develop relationships with members.

You got to know them, and they you. I caddied for an insurance executive a few times named Dave Bisset. Dave would be instrumental in starting my career in the insurance business when I interviewed at Amica. My resume talked about my work and caddy experience at PCC. Dave knew exactly who to go to for more information about my character and work ethic. While I will never know exactly what was said in the conversation between Dave and JT, I have no doubt that Jim gave Dave a fair and accurate assessment of me. So Jim has had a direct and positive influence on me even 35 years later!

I played in the Jim Tanner golf classic last year and the first person I saw and talked to was Jim. How fitting was that? It was like going back in time.

I kind of expected him to say, “Take this one and this one” but he stopped short of assigning me a loop.

Thanks Jim, for all you’ve done for me, and for all of us.

Father’s Day Gift

Get yourself a copy of  “Think Like A Caddie, Play Like A Pro,”  written by James Y. Bartlett and the Professional Caddies Association Team .   The book has a forward by Arnold Palmer and a preface by Ben Crenshaw.

You can order the book and have it shipped in time for Father’s Day.

James Bartlett and Jim Tanner will be available on Monday July 5, 2010 at PCC reception to personally autograph.  The book is a collection of stories of the special relationship between golfer and caddies.  A special page announcing the 2009 PCA Caddie Hall of Fame inductees including Jim Tanner will be included.

GO HERE> » http://www.thegolfwire.com/stories/215479

Go to the PCA Foundation secure link and donate $25 to be a Friend Of PCA.  Send us an e-mail ( say friends of JT’s ) and tell us who to sign to and where to ship.  If you prefer, Jim Bartlett will bring the evening of July 5th and also sign and get a photo.


20% of the purchase will be donated to the Jim Tanner Scholarship Fund.