New North Texas nonprofit provides mentorship through golf


NORTH TEXAS ( — North Texas has a booming junior golf scene, and a new nonprofit is working to help young players improve their game and develop life skills through a unique mentorship program. 

Caddies For Kids matches junior players with high school students to serve as their caddies. 

“When a junior player is out playing in a tournament, they have to have a caddy if they’re 12 years or younger,” said Shelby Tomaso, who founded the organization with her husband. 

They saw the need for such a program through experiences with their son Trey, who plays golf competitively. 

Caddies do much more than carry golf bags. They help players read the greens and figure out the next shot. Oftentimes, a junior player’s caddy is a parent, which can lead to high emotions on the course. 

“[My dad] would say it would break left and it would break right,” Trey said. “And I’d get mad and angry.” 

Trey said he was able to listen to feedback better from his high school caddy, Oliver Naumann.  

Oliver, now 19 years old, played golf at Jesuit Dallas. 

“It was really cool to be able to pass on what I’ve learned to a younger player,” he said. 

Bryce Cannon, a 17-year-old who plays golf at Panther Creek High School in Frisco, has had a similar experience working with Caddies For Kids this summer. 

“At first, I started looking at it as a job, and now I see it as an opportunity to come hang out with Urban and to spend time not only getting to see him grow, but for us to grow together,” Bryce said. 

Urban Haaugard, a 9-year-old from The Colony, plays golf two to four hours a day and started competing a few years ago. 

His caddy was usually his dad.

“It was rough, it wasn’t that good,” Urban said. “Just like fighting over a shot, getting mad.” 

Urban says having Bryce as his caddy is a much better experience. 

“At first I was a little nervous, but then I got to get to know him really well and have a good relationship with him, and now it’s just really fun,” said Urban. 

Caddies For Kids has clearly tapped into a need in North Texas. Since January, the nonprofit has grown more than 400%. 

“Sometimes taking the parent out of that, and letting them just watch from the sidelines, helps everyone have a good time out there on their round,” said Shelby Tomaso. “The thing I love the most is the impact we’re making on these junior golfers, their parents, high schoolers, their coaches—and just seeing happiness throughout all of that.” 

Right now, the organization has players from 45 different high schools across North Texas participating as caddies. They provide encouragement, coaching and mentoring. 

“He’s taught me just to stay calm with a shot, don’t get mad at it,” Urban said. 

He and Bryce say the experience has made them both better players, and even better friends. 

Caddies For Kids just launched in Austin and has plans to expand into Houston as well.