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Ron Colby has always held a soft spot for caddies. That's only natural, since Colby himself caddied as a boy on Long Island.

At age 12, Colby began carrying bags for his father at Brookville Country Club. Two years later, the youngster struck out on his own, looping at nearby Fresh Meadow Country Club. Colby's most memorable customer? That would be Tommy Armour, the legendary "Silver Scot" whose victories included the 1927 U.S. Open, 1930 PGA Championship and 1931 British Open.

"He was an elderly gentleman by then," Colby recalls, "but I remember well both him and the clubs in his bag, especially the stunning finish on his persimmon woods. I was so inspired I started swinging one.

"After observing me for a time, he left his Scotch and soda at the snack hut at the 11th tee, came over and told me, ‘You've got a beautiful swing, but move your right hand over a little.’ He returned to his drink, and I glowed for days with his compliment and my new knowledge."

Colby played often and landed a spot on his high school team. He soaked up other Scottish traditions, too, while tagging along with his father, President of the local Robert Burns Society and an officer in the St. Andrews Society.


Colby would experience Scotland firsthand while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Air Force, using leave time to make a pilgrimage to St. Andrews, Muirfield and North Berwick. The links left an indelible impression, as did the caddies -- just not on the course.

"I couldn't afford to hire a caddie," Colby says, "but I did rub elbows with some at the local pubs and listened attentively to their colorful stories."

Colby eventually found his way to Hollywood as an actor, producer and writer. He even penned a screenplay based on Michael Murphy's classic novel, Golf in the Kingdom. After years attempting to get a film version made, Colby was heartened when Warner Bros. purchased his adaptation for Clint Eastwood. The project languished on Eastwoods desk, however, and a different treatment of Golf in the Kingdom was later produced.


Colby made another visit to Scotland in 1999, alongside sons Trevor and Dylan. This time, he notes, "We could afford to take caddies."

"We were impressed by their wit, attitudes, and dedication to the job," Colby adds. "Several caddies told us tales from their experiences and in particular, one caddie by the name of Jimmy Kelly at Gleneagles shared some amusing stories about Sean Connery and Jack Lemmon.

"Although I didn't fully realize it, at that point an idea began taking shape."

That idea, of course, was Scotland's Caddies. Colby's inspiration took form in 2009 when his filmmaking partner and fellow golf enthusiast Patricia Van Ryker suggested a vacation. "I'll take time off," he told her, "if we go to Scotland and make a documentary on caddies. And we did."

Released in 2010, Scotland's Caddies features 69 minutes of footage from their treks to the country's most hallowed golfing ground: The Old Course at St. Andrews, Royal Aberdeen, Royal Dornoch, Turnberry, Brora, Machrihanish and more.

"Miraculously, filming just seemed to fall into place," Colby says. "The caddies were very forthcoming, regaling us with jokes, insights on the game, and stories about celebrities who gave them bad tips."

It's the kind of stuff only a fellow caddie could capture.