Glen Peister and Sons commissioned me to carve this Golf Caddy for their INNERKIP HIGHLANDS GOLF CLUB in Innerkip, Ontario about midway between London and Kitchener.

Glen said he had an old Maple tree that was dying and they had to take it down. The tree is at least 150 years old and he didn’t want to just throw away all that history. He wondered if the tree could be carved, thus preserving the history. Of course I said “No problem, what do you want carved? “ Glen had a small statue of an English Golf Caddy in the pro shop at the clubhouse and wondered if I could do a scaled up version of that. Again the answer is “No problem that will be a blast to do!” This majestic old tree stands 12 feet in circumference, or about 5’ across, and the stump was cut at about 15 feet tall. There are two main trunks to the tree that split off at about 12 ft up the tree. God himself must have planted the seed for this tree with the intent of producing this golf Caddy for this course on this hole. I say this because when I scaled the statue to the maximum size I could, given the diameter of the tree, there was only one way the carving would work. The trunks in the tree lined up perfectly to allow me to cut the Golf bag at the right angle and the right place to fit on the Caddies back and still carve all appendages in the right places. The uncanny thing was the fact that the only direction I could possibly place the carving to take advantage of the maximum scale, was with the Caddy gazing down the #1 fairway at the Clubhouse! This grand old boy stands just to the right of the #1 green gazing down at the golfers as they approach the green as if waiting to offer his services. As Glen said “Just ask him, he’ll tell you were your ball went.”

I hope you enjoy looking at these pictures as much as I enjoyed carving the tree.

The Caddy Day one/two. Most of the days spent taking measurements and getting things lined up. Measure twice cut once? How about measure 100 times. Those first few cuts are the scariest, after all it’s over 150 years old! and you only get one chance at it.

The Caddy – Day3

After laying everything out, there is a big piece at the top that needs to be removed, however I don’t have a saw big enough to cut the top off. Do you know you can’t rent a saw bigger than 20″ in this area? Not only that but nobody sells one bigger than 25″ either. I had to order the saw and bar and now I have to wait.  In the mean time Glen is having the tree guys come in and remove the top for me. I need the saw anyway to finish the rest of the carving.

Caddy day 2

The Caddy – Day four (actually a week later) The top is off and roughing out the head and shoulders. I need the new saw to work on the Golf Bag and lower body.

The Caddy – Day 5 Yeah!!! and I got my new saw!!! Now I can get some BLOCKING done!

Oh Yeah, this is the ticket!!!! Nothing like having the right tool for the job! The blocking is moving along. I am a little worried about the tree, typical of Maple, there is rot up the middle of the tree. So far everything is ok and the rot is in all the places i don’t  need. hmm, makes carving a little easier. the wood just falls out. Started the roughing out of the head and upper body.

The Caddy – Day 6 – The major blocking is done and now I am starting on the rough detail. Bringing in all the different layers and figuring out where everything is going to end up. Have to be careful now. Measuring everything several times to make sure I don’t hit any bad spots but everything stays in dimension.

The Caddy – Day 7 Working on the upper body and head areas. Building on the rough detail of the vest, tie, bag strap, cap etc. Getting the depths of all the layers worked out.

The Caddy  -Day 8 or the fourth weekend as I have been crazy busy with the day job. My IT consulting business is going crazy and have been spending most of my time driving all over Toronto. Not that I am complaining, but this is more fun. The Golfers on the course are getting a big kick out of the carving, they just love it. I am working on the detail of the upper shoulders and head today. Everything so far has been Chainsaw work, however I am bringing out the chisels to do the Eyes.

The Caddy – Day 9  Working on the rough detail of the lower body and the golf bag today. The piece is really starting to come together now. I get goose bumps standing back an looking at the big guy. The scale is perfect for the location as anything smaller out here on the course just wouldn’t do. The golf bag was a little tricky to do as the trunk of the tree leaned in the opposite direction that I needed it. I had to picture the bag, the angles and size and fit it between the edges of the trunk. It’s fairly complex as the bag leans from left to right, but also slightly away from the shoulders. Anyway it was interesting because basically you have to picture a cylinder inside another cylinder , but laying at different angles and then cut it out.

The Caddy – Day 10 –  Today I ran into some trouble. It appears that the split from the secondary trunk of the tree (where the golf bag is) goes all the way to the bottom of the tree. Unfortunately while carving out the bottom around the legs, the split let loose and the bag dropped about an inch. Actually it scarred the heck out of me as I was carving right below it and I thought it was going to drop on me. Luckily one of the Peisters lives close by and had a climbing rope that we could secure the golf bag with, until it could be secured. In the mean time, I worked around the rope and applied the detail to the front of the legs, worked some more on the head and roughed out around the shoes. I have to be careful at the feet as I can’t take away too much wood due to the weight of the carving. I will have to leave the feet/shoes oversized for safety.

The Caddy – Day 11 – The guys at the course did a great job securing the golf bag to the Caddy. They ran two threaded rods through the body and the bag. It’s not going anywhere now. Today was the big push to get things done. Worked on the detail on the Golf bag and the back of the legs as well as the left side arm and pocket holding golf balls. Not quite done yet but getting real close.

Just to give some perspective here is a picture with me standing beside the caddy. Oh yeah, he’s big. Yeah and can you guess what I was doing most of the day? Sanding, Sanding, Sanding and oh yes……. MORE SANDING!!

The Caddy – Day 12 Well finally it looks like there is an end in sight. Today i worked on detailing the shoes and cleaning up all the loose ends and some more sanding. The caddy is pretty much done, other than filling in some over cuts and cleaning up some of the sections that have wood rot.

The Caddy is going to be stained with various colours etc, so we have to find the right product to do the job. I am hopping to get that done before Christmas. There is a little more cleanup to do and some minor sanding etc.

Click here for the finished pictures.

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