The role of a golfer caddie is more than carrying a golfer’s clubs. Great caddies need to understand the golf course, keep the equipment clean, know the weather conditions, and give definitive answers when their golfer needs it. Whether you are on the PGA tour with one of the most famous golfers like Tiger Woods, or you are caddying in your local amateur league, you should be familiar with the role. Here is everything you need about a caddie’s duties in the game of golf.
Caddie Etiquette Rules to Know
Golf is a game full of history and tradition. Being a caddie is a great honor in the game, a fantastic way to network, an excellent form exercise, and a way to make money. Here are some things to remember to respect the game and position of being a caddie.
A caddie must have a clean and professional look along with having their clothes tucked into their shorts or pants. Whether you are working with an amateur or a professional golfer, you want to respect the game of golf. Also, you should remove your hat off when you greet your golfer with a handshake before they start for the day.
Another part of the caddie presentation is making sure the ball and clubs are always clean. Ball marks should not be present during a game, so it is up to the caddy to clean off any blemishes. The same goes for any scuffs that can occur on the golf club.
Be Prepared with Extra Materials and More
Before the game, a good caddie should know the golf course and the weather conditions. In addition to knowing the course and weather, they should carry extra tees, golf balls, pencils, scorecards, and have a rangefinder. When in doubt, you should always have extras of everything just in case.
Also, you might need to get the golf clubs of the golfer before the start of the day, so it is your responsibility to ensure there are 14 clubs in the bag. You don’t want to create a penalty for the golfer if they have too many. Finally, a caddy should have a slightly wet towel to clean clubs and wipe off any dirt on a ball for the next shot.
Be a Morale Booster
Not every day is going to be the best day for a golfer. When that is the case, your job as a caddie will be more critical than ever. You want to be there for the golfer if they vent, need encouragement, or have someone there to talk to if they are having a stressful day. Being a caddie is similar to working for a boss at a company and having a great relationship can make the golf outings better for both sides.
Tips and Payment
After a long day on the golf course, you will receive a tip from the golfer. The proper etiquette is to take the money and directly put it in your pocket and shake their hand. You shouldn’t count the money in front of the golfer under any circumstance.
What are the Game Rules to Know for a Caddie?
Whether for professional golf or an amateur setting, being a good caddie should know their expectation for the game. Below are some of the most common things a caddie should handle during a round of golf.
Knowing the Yardage to the Hole
Good golfers want to know how many yards to the hole, which a caddy should know. Caddies can use a rangefinder if the conditions are suitable to call out the yards to the hole but should also use the markings around a tee shot to explain the distance.
Not only does the caddie need to know the yardage, but they should be ready to grab the right clubs for the golfer. If the golfer asks what they recommend, you should be prepared and direct with your answer.
Knowing the Golf Club Selection
Caddies need to have a strong knowledge of the different types of clubs a professional golfer can use. For example, after the ball goes onto the green via short gameplay, the caddy should already have the putter out for the golfer to take. Once the caddie gets the wedge or iron from the golfer, they should clean it and properly put it back in the correct spot in the bag.
Know Where the Ball is at All Times
One of the duties of a caddy is following the ball on the fairway. A good caddy should look for a landmark to place the ball. For example, the caddy should look for a tree and mark it to know exactly where to go to get the ball. After everyone has hit the ball, the caddy should be the first person to locate the ball and wait for the golfer to get there before giving out a new club.
Fixing Divots and Cleaning out the Bunker
During a game of golf, there will be minor cosmetic fixes that will need to occur. For example, chunks of grass might come out during a shot, or the sand traps might need raking after hitting the ball. One of the responsibilities of a good caddy is fixing those minor issues without delaying the action of a game.
A caddie should hold the flag post during putts and not cast a shadow over the hole. As the ball approaches the hole, the caddy can slowly move the flag out of the hole. In addition to that, you should never walk in front of a golfer as they line up a put. Always walk behind them if you need to move in the putting area.
Being Direct with Communication
One of the great traits of a golf caddy is being direct with their communication. Sometimes a professional golfer might ask the caddy what they think of a particular strategy. The caddy should be straightforward with their assumption and not waver in their answer. The caddy should only give their opinion when the golfer asks as well.
How Much Do Caddies Make?
Professional caddies in the PGA will have a separate agreement with their golfer, but they tend to make a base salary of a few thousand dollars a week. However, a caddy can make even more money when the golfer wins prize money during the match.
Do Caddies Pay for their Own Expenses?
Caddies are independent contractors in the PGA, covering their expenses. That means things like hotels, food, flights, and more come out of the caddie’s expense. Since this is all done for work, these independent contractors can write that off on their taxes.
However, the PGA recently began covering the health insurance of a caddie.
Is there a Caddie Hall of Fame?
The Western Golf Association runs the Caddie Hall of Fame. The three eligibility levels are junior caddies, caddie advocates, and professional caddies. As of January 2022, there are 123 members of the Caddie Hall of Fame. You can visit the official website to learn more about the hall of fame!
Conclusion: What is a Caddie in Golf?
In summary, a golf caddie is more than a person who carries a golf bag. They are integral in helping the golfer know about the course, ensuring they have the best equipment, holding the flagstick to help with puts, and more. Whether you are a PGA Tour caddie for a professional golfer or someone working as a caddy over the summer at a country club, understanding what makes a good caddy is essential.