70 Years On Course

, Posted in Sports, Posted: Mon, June 17 2013 at 12:36 PM, Updated: Mon, June 17 2013 at 12:51 PM

Pinehurst, N.C.

It's been said that North Carolina's Pinehurst Resort is home to championships, traditions and legends.

In the history that echoes through the pines there you can hear the voice of legendary caddy Willie Lee McRae.

"It's a way of life, it's a job, but it's a good job," McCrae says.

It's been his way of life for 70 years now.

Since he was ten Willie has carried the bags of presidents, legends of the game, celebrities and athletes, from President Eisenhower to Michael Jordan.

He says it doesn't matter who he's with, they're all stars to him.

"Everybody is somebody," McRae says, "and that's they way you got to look at it, treat everybody just alike...you've got to enjoy it for them to enjoy it." And he does enjoy it.

It's one reason he's roamed the legendary fairways at Pinehurst for so long.

"I've probably walked every blade of that, backwards and forwards," he laughs.

Though he doesn't walk quite as much anymore, Willie is the only caddy who's ever been allowed to take a cart onto the fairways of the famed Number 2 course at Pinehurst, a nod to the aches and pains that come with age and decades on the bag, but also a reminder of what he means to the course and his craft.

Still, perhaps more enduring than his legendary career is McRae's legacy at the course.

The lead instructor at the Pinehurst Golf Academy is Paul McRae, Willie's son.

"Coming here every day with my dad and and seeing the people he touched in his life is so great," Paul says.

His dad introduced him to the game and the course.

His lessons focused a little on golf, and a lot more on life.

"I got that same attitude from my dad, you need to treat everybody as special, so I try to treat everybody the same," Paul says.

They're the same values that guide another McRae, Darick, who's following in his grandfather's footsteps as a caddy at Pinehurst.

Willie says it can't get much better.

"I just feels my heart with joy," he says.

Enjoying a little bit of Father's Day, everyday, at a place he loves.

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