For 50 years, the Masters Golf Tournament has had the honor of employing the same African-American Caddie. His name is Carl Jackson, a.k.a. “Skillet,” the Caddiemaster. Jackson has owned the record of the most Masters caddied since 1995. Last year’s Masters marked Jackson’s 50th anniversary.
Jackson’s career started at age 11 in Augusta, GA. As a kid he would peek through the gate at the golf course in his Sand Hills neighborhood. The son of a poor single mother of nine children, Jackson took on the job to assist with living expenses. He made 75 cents shagging balls and up to $1.25 for a shag bag at the course. After two bags, he could afford to buy dinner at the local grocery store for the family.
In the first year of joining the course, Jackson had to quit school because he couldn’t afford the uniforms. This caused a problem with his job qualifications. With the help of golfer Jack Stephens who talked to the club owner and then club member, President Eisenhower, Jackson got his GED and was asked to join the PGA Tour. His life changed for the better; from then on, Jackson saw more money than he had ever seen in his life – earning up to $350 per week.
By 1976, Jackson had connected with golfer Ben Crenshaw on a recommendation and caddied for him for 35 years. They ended their relationship in 1991, but it was re-kindled when Jackson was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2000. A year later, the team reunited on the Masters course after Jackson had been treated in South Africa with crenshaw’s help.
While on the course, Jackson thinks of his band of brothers called the Augusta National caddies, or rather "the old boys," with whom he worked with from 1961 to 1983. Most of his fellow caddies, Willie "Pappy" Stokes, Nathaniel "Ironman" Avery and Willie "Cemetery" Perteet have passed away. After his 50th Masters this year, Jackson says quote: I'd like to sit under that oak tree and have a mint julep to the memory of the boys."