Three Generations Of Caspers At Soldier Hollow

Ashton Casper, grandson of two-time U.S. Open champion Billy Casper, is working hard at the APL as a P.J. Boatwright Jr. Intern for the Utah Golf Association

Three generations of Caspers have visited Soldier Hollow this week: three-time USGA champion Billy (center), his son Bob (left)  who hosts a golf radio show in Utah, and his grandson, Ashton, a P.J. Boatwright Jr. intern with the Utah Golf Associatoin who is assisting volunteers at the 2012 APL. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)
By Hunki Yun, USGA
July 12, 2012

Midway, Utah – For years, Ashton Casper has caddied for his father, Bob, a professional golfer, and his grandfather, three-time USGA champion Billy, in tournaments. But at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at Soldier Hollow Golf Course, Ashton is the main attraction among the Caspers.

Billy and Bob visited the course, where Ashton is helping to coordinate the volunteer effort at Soldier Hollow as a P.J Boatwright Jr. Intern for the Utah Golf Association (UGA).

“It was a great experience for me to feel like I had them on my home turf, to be able to show them around for once,” said Ashton, 28. “It’s great to have my grandpa around, with all the people that come up to him and tell him about how they’re big fans.”

Ashton is one of 122 members of the P.J. Boatwright Jr. Internship Program working at state and regional golf associations around the country in 2012. These internships are funded by the USGA, which has pledged $1.45 million to the program this year.  

Since the creation of the program in 1991, the USGA has provided more than $18 million in grants to fund more than 1,800 interns in order to help the golf associations serve golfers at the local level.

“We couldn’t do what we do without the Boatwright Internship Program,” said Bill Walker, executive director of the UGA. “I consider it a staff position. Ashton has been given a lot of responsibility. This program is where the golf administrators are coming from.”

Walker is a former Boatwright intern, as are heads of some other golf associations, including Mark Peterson of the Golf Association of Philadelphia and Matt Vanderpool of the Tennessee Golf Association. In addition, many USGA staffers got their start in golf administration through the Boatwright Internship Program.

“I am excited for [Ashton],” said Bob, co-host of “Real Golf Radio,” a syndicated weekly radio program. “That’s really where his desires are. It’s a great opportunity to grow.”

Growing up in Springville, Ashton wanted to be a professional golfer, the way his father and grandfather were.

“I learned a lot from playing with them, watching them and carrying their bags in tournaments,” said Ashton. “My grandpa taught me a lot about playing the game and course management.”

But after playing collegiately at Dixie State College and Utah Valley University, stints that sandwiched a two-year Mormon mission to Brazil, Ashton decided to focus on a different aspect of the game.

“Playing was always the dream,” he said. “But being involved in the golf industry is still a fulfillment of that dream. I absolutely love being on the administrative side. There’s a big difference between working to work and working while doing what you love.”

In May, Ashton received deeper insight into his job when he joined 80 other Boatwright interns during a three-day orientation session at the USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J.

“It gave me a great idea of the work that goes into governing the game,” he said. “One of my favorite things was going to the Museum. I was able to see, for example the golf balls of Harry Vardon, Ted Ray and Francis Ouimet from the 1913 U.S. Open.

“I saw grandpa’s name on the Hall of Champions, and I saw his Caliente putter that he used to win the 1959 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.”

That victory actually played a key role in bring Billy, who grew up in San Diego, to Utah. After the win, the Utah Golf Association invited Billy to play in the Utah Open at Oakridge Country Club in Farmington.

“There wasn’t anything there when we played it,” recalled Billy. “You can’t believe the growth. That all started it. That started a lot of things in my life.”

The Caspers moved to Utah in 1972, when Bob was 14.

“It’s just such a great place to raise a family,” said Billy, who has 11 children, 34 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. “I love the people and tranquility, and the beauty is almost unsurpassable.”

While Billy was playing golf around the world, Bob was exploring his new surroundings, both on the course and among the area’s numerous outdoor recreation options.

“I love the mountains,” said Bob. “This is where I learned to play golf and compete. There’s a lot of golf in this state. To have the USGA come here highlights the state’s golf.”

At Soldier Hollow, Bob seemed to know everybody as he walked around, while Billy held court while sitting on a cart near the clubhouse. While talking to a visitor, Billy acted as a de facto tourism spokesperson.

“The weather’s not good today,” he said. “There are a few clouds.”

When a Rules official that he knew walked by on his way to the first tee to walk with a match on the hilly Soldier Hollow course, Billy quipped: “With the shape you’re in, you’d better hope the match only goes 13 holes.”

All the while, Ashton was busy coordinating volunteers’ shifts and shuttling them to and from their posts. As he watched Ashton hard at work, Billy talked about how his recent visit to the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club engendered a high level of appreciation for the effort that goes into conducting a golf championship.

“I was amazed at the Open this year,” said Billy. “All the back-lot facilities were absolutely staggering. It was a community in itself.

“It’s amazing to me to have a grandson who is interested in getting involved in this end of this great game. I knew P.J. Boatwright well. He made such a great contribution to both professional golf as well as amateur golf.”

After getting to Soldier Hollow every day at 5:30 a.m. and putting in 16-hour days, Ashton doesn’t have much of a break before helping to conduct the Utah State Amateur next week at The Country Club in Salt Lake City.

The busy schedule leaves little time for Ashton to reflect on the role golf has played in his family, as well as the impact his family has had on the game. But his ongoing efforts and his passion demonstrate that you don’t have to win the U.S. Open to make a difference in the game.

“I have some big shoes to fill,” he said. “I feel I’m doing it in a different way, and I hope I’m pulling my weight.”

Hunki Yun is a senior writer for the USGA. Contact him at 

Follow the USGA
Become a Facebook Fan of the USGAFollow us on Twitter @USGA
World Amateur Golf Ranking
WAGR Counting Event
Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.

Rolex image

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website,, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit

AmEx image

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit

AmEx image
American Express

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit

AmEx image