DENVER — It all started years ago over a pair of hiking boots.
“My dad and I had an issue over an expensive pair of hiking boots. He figured that I could buy my own hiking boots and when I said, ‘Well I don’t have any money,’ he took me down to the caddy shack and got me a job caddying,” said Geoff “Duffy” Solich.
His brother, George Solich, was 13 at the time.
“My brother Duffy dragged me to the club to caddie,” Solich said.
The boys caddied at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs – learning life lessons over a 9-iron.
“It really taught me how to deal with adults and how to talk to adults. You come to understand what adults you want to emulate and what adults you don’t want to emulate,” “Duffy” Solich said.
All their hard work earned both men the Evans Scholarship and a chance to go to college. Both brothers call it a pivotal moment that changed the course of their lives.
Years later, wanting to give the same opportunity to other Denver kids, they founded the Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy to help underprivileged young people develop leadership skills and build character through caddying.
“It gives kids an opportunity and introduces them to the game of golf. It gives them a chance to do something they wouldn’t otherwise do maybe learn the game and all the different things the game can teach you and all the opportunities it can afford you,” “Duffy” Solich said.
The brothers went to Common Ground Golf Course in Aurora. The facility is owned by the Colorado Golf Association and their mission is to help the community, so teaming up with a program to help local kids was a hole in one.
Rookie caddies are paid by the course and teamed up with golfers a few days a week, throughout the summer. They have weekly leadership meetings and community service events.
“I’ve learned about leadership and communicating with all types of people and I’ve learned a lot about golf,” Alexa Montesinos, 14, said.
She says the experience has given her confidence.
That same level of confidence is shown by another caddie in the program, DeMarco Randall, who today was giving his golfer tips.
“Be lose, like the wind.” DeMarco Randall, said, “That’s why I’m in this, to go to college. I want to be a successful person in life.”
It’s here on the fairway at Common Grounds, that DeMarco is paving his road to success one step at a time.