"It took me a while to recover from the shock," says Team Titleist member Keith Belshaw. "At first I wondered if it was a joke, but then I saw the email address and realised it was genuine. That's when a big smile spread across my face."
That was the reaction from Keith when he found out that he had won the Team Titleist sweepstakes to caddy for Titleist ambassador and all-round nice guy Rafa Cabrera-Bello in the pro-am at the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club. There's a video of Keith's day at the end of this post or just click here to watch.
Keith, a member at Longhirst Hall near Morpeth in Northumberland, and his guest Graham Chambers drove to Wentworth last Tuesday morning and, after being greeted, were given a tour of the Titleist Tour truck. Some of the afternoon was spent discussing football memories with former player and BBC pundit Mark Bright, who also popped onto the truck to say hello!!
Keith and Batts wait at the first tee for their man
Late in the afternoon Keith was introduced to Rafa and his caddy Mike "Batts" Batty on the putting green and arrangements were made for the following day.
The next morning Keith and Graham watched some of the morning pro-am, before Keith reported to the range to pick up Rafa's bag. Batts talked Keith through the yardage book and what else Rafa would be looking for from his new caddy.
After a quick bite to eat, it was time to go to the clubhouse to be picked up and taken out to the fourth tee where Rafa would join his pro-am team mates - Golf Monthly's senior staff writer Paul O'Hagen and two Golf Monthly prize winners!
Getting ready for the right club selection at the par-3 14th
"I normally use a trolley at home," says Keith. "So as soon as I found out that I was going to picking up Rafa's bag, I started carrying my own in preparation.
"But I'm not sure it was enough preparation," laughs Keith. "I struggled a little to get the bag balanced and the weight is unreal. It's testament to Batts that he's able to meet the physical demands of being on the bag, as well as providing the precision of advice and support that he does during any given round!"
Keith and Rafa check and re-check yardages during the pro-am
What followed was an afternoon filled with laughter, some great golf and an experience that will live with Keith forever more.
"I can't begin to express what a fantastic experience this has been - it's one I'll never forget," enthuses Keith. "Rafa and Batts were phenomenal and couldn't have made me feel more welcome and involved."
Well, we're glad that Keith enjoyed his time at Wentworth and extend our thanks to Rafa and Batts for giving Team Titleist a sight "inside-the-ropes" that most golf fans only dream about!