You Did It!
You’ve finally secured a tee time at that fancy club you’ve always wanted to play or booked a bucket list trip to a great golf destination. But now a little panic has set in because caddies are required. You’ve never had a caddie before, and you’re not sure what to do.
Relax. We’re here with some straightforward advice about how to enjoy the experience and shoot a great round.
The number one concern of people who have never used a caddie is, “What if I play badly?” My answer is, “Don’t worry about it.”
Anyone who has been caddying for more than a month has seen some truly awful golf, so you’re unlikely to be the worst they’ve seen. More importantly, they don’t care how you play. Your caddie cares way more about your pace of play and your general demeanor than how well you score. If you’re a good person, your caddie will be happy to loop for you again.
If “forget about it” doesn’t work for you, then be up front with your caddie. Let them know you’re nervous so they can help you relax. Part of caddying is managing your attitude, and they can do a better job if you’re honest about how you’re feeling.
Now that we’ve calmed your nerves, please pay attention to the most important rule: treat your caddie like your own son/daughter/friend.
Your caddie is there to carry your bag. They are not there to absorb your frustration with how you’re playing and all the bad breaks you’re getting. This may seem obvious, but unfortunately it needs to be said.
Lighten Your Load
If you typically carry your own bag when you play, you can probably skip this section. However, if you always ride, pay special attention.
Get the extra junk out of your bag. Try my advice about carrying fewer clubs (check it out HERE). Switch from your staff bag to a lightweight carry bag.
At many courses, if you show up with looking like Al Czervik in Caddyshack, they’re going to put your clubs into a carry bag anyway. Unload the three dozen extra balls, the eight tubes of sunscreen, and your eighteen favorite ball markers.
Follow Their Advice, Ask for More
Your caddie wants to help you play well. Take their advice.
The biggest value that a caddie provides, in my opinion, is their knowledge of the course. Especially if you’re at a new track, heed their advice. Only a local will know that a certain hole plays more uphill than it looks or that you can’t be left of a certain pin.
Also, don’t wait for your caddie to throw out suggestions. If you want to maximize their value to you, ask for help. Once you’ve signaled that you want their knowledge, they’ll be more forthcoming with ideas about what shots to hit.
Go Beyond Golf
Dylan Thaemert offered a tremendous addition to this list: don’t limit your caddie interactions to golf. When we went to Bandon Dunes (much content HERE), we had a tremendous caddie, Dane. Dylan reminded me that the best part of having Dane with us wasn’t his reads or his yardages – though both were otherworldly – it was his collection of stories. He educated us on the history and culture of the place and told us stories that I’ll be retelling for years.
Especially when you travel, let your caddie be your personal historian. Your caddie may know the history of the place – both the written and unwritten – better than anyone.
Don’t Be Cheap
Finally, call ahead and find out what the expected caddie fee and gratuity is at the course you’re playing. Make sure you have at least that amount in cash.
When you stop for snacks, make sure to offer something to your caddie.
Finally, if you’re not taking a caddie, don’t expect any service. The guy who is constantly asking someone else’s caddie for yardages and reads is the worst. It’s not only disrespectful to the caddie, it’s also rude to whoever is paying him or her.
What Did We Miss?
Do you regularly golf with a caddie? What advice do you have for your fellow golfers? Share it in the comments section below.