Joe Cruz: PGA Dream Job


Cruz and PGA pro talking

Joe Cruz ’07 left a real estate job to be a golf caddy. Today, he caddies for PGA Tour golfer Adam Hadwin. “It’s a dream come true,” says Cruz. “I’m lucky enough to have fallen into a player who is so good and so talented, and been able to do well enough where he likes my services and keeps me employed.” Cruz played golf for CUI’s now-defunct golf team.

“I had an absolute blast,” he says. “I enjoyed every moment I was at Concordia.” After graduating he quit golf altogether to focus on a real estate career. One day a friend called and asked him to caddy for him at a PGA tour qualifying school. “I completely forgot how much fun golf was,” Cruz says.

“I had an absolute blast,” he says. “I enjoyed every moment I was at Concordia.” After graduating he quit golf altogether to focus on a real estate career. One day a friend called and asked him to caddy for him at a PGA tour qualifying school. “I completely forgot how much fun golf was,” Cruz says.

He quit real estate and moved to a small seaside community in Oregon to start caddying again. Caddying for the PGA Tour was always in the back of his mind. One day, after caddying for a friend in the Bay Area, Cruz hung around the parking lot offering to caddy for pros who were there.

Finally, after about two hours and twentyfive guys, a pro walked right up to me and asked if I’d like to work for him for the week, Cruz says.

That led to a two year partnership with the man on the PGA Tour. Then Cruz began working for Adam Hadwin, a PGA golfer from Canada. “It’s been an amazing run,” Cruz says. A caddy is more than a bag carrier. Cruz says he’s “basically an advisor for how far to hit the ball and where the wind is coming from. It keeps you busy, that’s for sure. You have to think of all twenty different things you have to be doing at once.”

He walks the course before Hadwin gets there, then shares what he observed the next day — wind direction, course conditions, distances and more. The job also requires raking bunkers, replacing divots and being a critical sounding board. “As a caddy, your job is to know your player, and know what kind of language works in keeping him calm, cool, collected,” Cruz says. “Some don’t want to talk any sort of golf between shots. Other guys want to talk about what just happened in the swing, what other guys are doing and what we think is the number to get into contention. You have to know your guy and what he likes to talk about.”

In his first year on the big stage, Cruz says he was taken aback by the grandstands, the crowds and the cameras. But now it excites him and pushes him to do better.

Like anything, you get used to it and you’re able to just play golf or just caddy and block out all the other stuff,

he says. Cruz resides in St. Petersburg, Florida, and travels to 25 or more tournaments a year, each lasting a week. His best friends today remain the guys he played golf with at Concordia.

“More than that it was the whole student body,” he recalls. “Everybody was always positive, always smiling, always happy. And it was really close to the beach. All those factors added up to having a great, great three years at Concordia.” Cruz says the atmosphere on the PGA Tour is upbeat and friendly, too. “All the caddies are so positive,” he says. “Once you make it to the Tour you’re basically in the club and all the guys welcome you. If you ever need a ride, or advice, they’re more than willing to help you out.”

Even when his player is not playing well or gets frustrated, Cruz reminds himself that “this is a game. We get to walk the most beautiful courses in the world and there are millions of people who would wish to do what we’re doing.” He still plays golf himself anytime he has “four hours and daylight,” but says caddying allows him to enjoy the sport at a much higher level. “I plan on caddying until my legs don't work anymore,” he says.

Back to top