Next time you’re out for a game and considering using the services of a caddy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember, this decision could make or break your round.
Caddies have been around since the game first began. They range from the humble bag carrier to the higher end of the food chain — tour caddies, or “yardage and wind consultants” as they prefer to be called. They come in all shapes and sizes, from all sorts of backgrounds and display a wide array of talents. But what makes a good caddy and how should you choose yours?
Well, I guess that depends on who is answering. From a caddy’s perspective, a good caddy has the ability to land a “top bag,” one that pays a premium price, and gets around quickly while doing the least amount of work and putting up with the minimum amount of hassle. And from the player’s point of view, it really depends on the balance of what you want versus what you actually need. Golfers are a fickle bunch so perception often beats reality.
A low-digit player looking to shoot a decent score will benefit from a knowledgeable and experienced caddy like Tim. Tim is as close to a pro tour looper as you are likely to get. He is enthusiastic without overstepping the mark and will give you accurate yardages to the pin, good reads on the green, local knowledge and course management advice all day long. He is dressed like a pro with a tour hat and wraparound shades and he knows every blade of grass on the course. He’ll tell you that he just missed out on landing Jordan Spieth’s bag but is still hopeful at looping on the PGA Tour next year. He is pretty confident that he could beat you with one arm tied behind his back and he has no respect for hackers whatsoever.
If you are an occasional golfer with low expectations and you are playing a fun game with friends on a prestigious course, then you will probably want Bob. He’s one of those older veteran loopers, and if he actually turns up, you are in for an experience.
Bob is one of life’s colorful characters. Yes, he may have a slight drinking problem, but he’ll navigate your round and give you and your partners something to laugh about and remember. He’ll regale you with stories and tales, tell you fascinating and mostly fantasized insights into the history of the course, mock your lack of ability, high five your better plays and at the end, you’ll tip him well and shake his hand. But you’ll make sure to wash your hands afterwards.
If you are out with important clients then you’ll want Bruce. He reads situations very well and knows when to shut up and back off. He is incredibly efficient and courteous and will keep you and your fourball on track. He will carry tees, pencils, a rangefinder and will know today’s weather forecast. He will clean your clubs and call you sir all day long. He wants to please and appreciates that a good round may land you some business. He may actually commit murder for you; you only have to ask. So treat him well.
If you are a regular then you will probably get Jim. Jim is like your wife; he’ll tell you what to do and is not afraid to speak his mind. Don’t question his club selection or reads or he’ll walk off on you. And don’t get on the wrong side of Jim; you are lucky that he decided to loop for you at all. Jim is a lifer and looping is his chosen career. He doesn’t put up with any nonsense and will tell you that he is the best jock on the ranch. He knows his worth and will probably demand a tip at the end. Just hand him your wallet and let him decide how much he takes out.
If you don’t care or you are a newbie, then you will probably get someone like Lenny. Lenny is a bag carrier and he also works down at the factory or is out of school for the summer. He cares less about you and your game and can normally be found at least 20 yards behind you throughout your round. His expectations are low, so yours should be as well. If you ask him if a 5 iron will be enough club, Lenny will give you a vacant, soulless stare that confirms that you are on your own. Just make sure you count your clubs afterwards as he may have left a few in a bunker on No. 16. But if you just want a servile and semi-mute bag carrier, Lenny’s your man. You’ll probably feel sorry for him afterwards and tip him so he can buy a burger to put on some weight.
A tip in helping you choose
Build a relationship with the caddymaster. Don’t underestimate the importance of his role. He is the recruitment consultant in this process. Yes, it turns out you are an employer for the day. Tipping him in advance to give you a good caddy will make a world of difference. Get on his wrong side and he has a host of Lennys to offer.
Remember that a good caddy is like a good waiter or landscaper. Choose wisely, treat them well and they will look after you. Treat them like garbage and they’ll give you the service you deserve.