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A Philadelphia Golfer’s Connection to the movie “Caddy Shack”?

Harold “Reds” Ridgley was born in Philadelphia in 1913.He grew up next to the Brookline Square Club in Havertown where he learned to play golf as a caddy. When the Brookline Square Club closed in 1927, he caddied at Merion GC, Paxon Hollow CC and the Main Line GC. Ridgley was runner-up in the 1957 British Amateur; and later played an important role in what may be your favorite golf movie.

When the U.S. Open was played at Merion in 1934, Ridgley caddied for Harry Cooper. At the same time he was playing golf anywhere he could. By the late 1930s he was in money matches against the best golfers in Philadelphia, like Billy Hyndman and George Fazio. In 1942 he was drafted into military service, and ended up in the Army Air Force as the tail-gunner on a B-17. He was stationed in England and on his 23rd mission his plane was shot down over Germany. He parachuted from the plane and was captured, spending the rest of World War II in a POW camp.

Back home in 1945, he was sent to a hospital in Atlantic City for rehabilitation. That summer he won the Bright Memorial Tournament at Wildwood and reenlisted in the Army. His golf continued to improve. In 1951 Ridgley entered the U.S. Open and made it through qualifying at Llanerch. For some reason, he gave up his spot in the tournament to the first alternate, Henry Williams, Jr.

Ridgley was sent back to England where he set course records at various clubs, along with winning military and local tournaments. In 1953 he entered the British Amateur, winning three matches, and the following year he lost in the fifth round to the great Joe Carr. In 1957 Ridgley made it to the finals of the British Amateur, losing to Reid Jack, 2 & 1. He made one more run at the Amateur title in 1959, where he lost to his old friend Billy Hyndman in the fifth round. Ridgley had caddied for Hyndman at Merion 26 years before in the 1933 Pennsylvania Amateur, and now they were playing each other 3,500 miles from home. A year later he was back in the states and stationed at Andrews Air Force Base. That year he won the 1960 Maryland State Amateur Championship.

After retiring from the military, Ridgley moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and joined the Rolling Hills Country Club. The movie “Caddyshack” was filmed at Rolling Hills in 1980. Rodney Dangerfield starred in the movie. He was a good actor, but he was not a golfer. Any golf shots by Dangerfield seen in “Caddyshack” were played by Harold “Reds” Ridgley.

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Peter C. "Pete" Trenham
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