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Jim Dent inducted into Caddie Hall of Fame

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Taking peeks over the fence at golfers playing at the Augusta Country Club got Jim Dent in trouble, but it eventually opened the door for Dent to pursue the career of his dreams.

Raised by his aunt, Dent got a “whooping” after his sister tattled on him for watching the game. His aunt told him that if he hung around golfers, he’d learn how to gamble.

 “That was the second thing I learned how to do,” said Dent, 84, who was inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame Friday at a ceremony at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History.   

MORE: Augusta National ‘Black Caddies’ to be honored at Lucy Craft Laney Museum

The first thing Dent learned to do, however, was play the game of golf. He worked first as a caddie, but later, he entered the professional golfing ranks and won 12 tournaments at the senior level.

 “It was a dream come true,” he said.

Early on, Dent learned from the better players even though they didn’t pay as well as some of the others. He was after the knowledge because he knew that would help him in the long run.

After caddying at the Augusta Country Club, he moved to the Augusta National and continued to learn from the likes of Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Bob Goalby.

Jim Dent’s memorabilia is part of an golf exhibit at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Jeff Harrison, of the Western Golf Association and former caddie, called Dent “a true student of the game” who had the right qualities to successfully do the job.

“He knew he had to be honest and had to work at it,” he said.

The Professional Caddie Association started the Hall of Fame in 1999 with the Western Golf Association taking it over in 2011. Dent joins several other Augustans and members of that Augusta National Black Caddie crew who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Dent said he was honored by the award.

“When you make your first birdie, that’s the way it felt tonight,” he said to a chorus of laughs from those attending the event.

Caddies do pretty well financially, Dent said, especially if they work for a winning golfer, but the job can be hard.

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“You’ve got to learn. You got to feel like it’s going to make you want to quit this game,” he said. “That’s when you’re getting good is when it makes you want to quit. You cannot leave this game and go home and say I’m not going to practice tomorrow. You’ve got to practice every day.”

Dent’s induction coincided with the golfer mixer for the museum’s annual golf fundraiser which will be held May 21.

Leon Maben, the golf tournament coordinator, said a sell-out of 22 teams including two all-women teams were slated to play in Saturday’s tournament.

Those who attended Friday’s reception also had the chance to view a documentary on the 50 years of Black Caddies as well as see the exhibition related to Augusta, African Americans and golf.

Other members of the Black Caddie group at Friday’s event included Other members of the corps to be honored at the reception Friday include Lewis Butler, Jessie “Main Man” Ross, Roy Dean, Horace Dent, Porky Dent, Bernard Dent, Carl Jackson, Jariah “Bubba” Beard, Robert “Cigarette” Jones, Tommy “Biscuit” Bennett, Marion Harrington, Carl Howard, Justin “Bud” Jackson, Richard Marshall, Leroy Johnson, Ike Choice and Tommy Smalley.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the managing editor of The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected] 

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