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Opinion & Analysis

The five types of caddies you’ll find at the golf course



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.

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Mark Donaghy is a writer and author from Northern Ireland, living in the picturesque seaside town of Portstewart. He is married to Christine and they have three boys. Mark is a "golf nut," and is lucky to be a member of a classic links, Portstewart Golf Club. At college he played for the Irish Universities golf team, and today he still deludes himself that he can play to that standard. He recently released Caddy Attitudes: 'Looping' for the Rich and Famous in New York. It recounts the life experiences of two young Irish lads working as caddies at the prestigious Shinnecock Hills course in the Hamptons. Mark has a unique writing style, with humorous observations of golfers and their caddies, navigating both the golf course and their respective attitudes. Toss in the personal experiences of a virtually broke couple of young men trying to make a few bucks and their adventures in a culture and society somewhat unknown to them... and you have Caddy Attitudes. From scintillating sex in a sand trap to the comparison of societal status with caddy shack status, the book will grab the attention of anyone who plays the game. Caddy Attitudes is available on Amazon/Kindle and to date it has had excellent reviews.



  1. DB

    Mar 1, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I am a caddie, currently. I have worked as a caddie only as an adult, from 22 until 33 currently. I worked at Whistling Straits, a private club in Naples, FL, back and forth between those two for 7 years, then to a private club in NJ, on NY harbor, then a private club on the north shore of Long Island, and now at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. I am very much a professional, I can be the “tour” caddie that a low single digit player wants, with as much or as little knowledge and advice as you want, I can be the scramble format fun gun drinking and telling jokes all day, I know when to shut up and when to laugh and have fun. I will openly admit that I don’t get every single read correct all the time, however there are WAY more d-bag players that want to blame a read for a poorly struck putt. Many many times those missed putts are the players fault, not the read they were given. That is maybe the only frustrating aspect of this business. I love my job, and love helping average golfers play their best rounds on the courses I’ve worked. I have had countless “best round of my life thanks to you” comments from satisfied guests/members. That makes it all worth while. I have seen 12 holes in one. I personally called the club for the player on 8 of them. There is a lot of pride in being a great caddie, knowing the course, knowing ball flights and how wind and elevation will affect shots, and syncing with a player and dropping putt after putt. There are 3 lines to make any putt on, the die line, the firm line, and the “normal pace” line. Knowing which style putter you are makes me a better caddie. If I say a ball out firm, and you die it, its gonna break across the hole and miss low EVERY SINGLE TIME. Same with a cup and half outside dying, if you firm it on that line, there is no chance it will move a cup and a half. Very few players will acknowledge this, those that do earn my utmost respect.
    End of rant haha 🙂

  2. Caddy K

    Feb 11, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Since you were a Shinny boy, its sounds like you wrote about Norm, Ray, and Alaskan Bob. As a long time looper on the East End of Long Island, remember to tip your starter, if you do, you will not just get a bag humper that is useless. Also, choose your guests wisely. The fast track to getting a terrible bottom of the barrel looper is to bring out a d-bag. Based upon this article, I guess that I’m a cross between Tim, Bruce, and Jim. It truly is the greatest summer gig that you can have as a youngster. You come across so many characters that it is a summer full of cash, craziness, and laughs.

  3. Scooter McGavin

    Feb 9, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    Caddies still exist?

  4. Sean

    Feb 9, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    I’ve never been on a course that has caddies, so I will have to take your word for it. 🙂

  5. Andy

    Feb 9, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Personally I tend to hate caddies at high end public courses. Almost every one of them thinks they know a players game before the round even starts, especially the younger guys. Many of them are just plain arrogant and have no problem saying…”you pushed that one a bit” when they totally miss a read. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some decent ones but they tend to be retired guys who want to get outside and work a little. At my home course we use forecaddies all the time and sometimes walking caddies. I prefer the high school/college kids that work hard to find balls, rake traps, and repair ballmarks over the high end course types that try to read putts and tell me what club to hit. I also hate when members treat the caddies like garbage by ignoring them or getting mad about a lost ball. If you play at a course where younger kids caddie make it a point every few holes to talk to them, find out about them, and make them feel included in the group just a little bit. It takes one walk to the fairway from the tee every four holes to show a kid some general respect. If they are making mistakes during the round try to help them by giving them a little feedback in a nice way so they can get better.

  6. Matto

    Feb 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    What about “Steve”
    Carries your bag and your 2 mobile phones; one for business, one for the ladies.
    Later on, pretends he knows nothing of this. Type A personality.
    May get a little racist amongst his piers or write a book about you.

  7. Tim

    Feb 9, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    This seems to be the 4 types of good caddies you get and the 1 bad caddie. You could identify the 5 types of terrible caddies in a separate article: Four-Eyes, Walter, Josh, and Bennie (who wont shut up about giving you his line right as you are standing over a putt and already know he’s wrong cause he blew the read on one)

  8. Allen

    Feb 9, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    What about Jill, Karen and Mary? Not all caddies are men.

  9. alexdub

    Feb 9, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Caddying was my first job. Started when I was 11 years old. I wish everyone who golfed had the opportunity to caddy. It teaches you to care—care about where you’re standing, care about being polite, and care about taking care of the course. It fine tunes your ability to be considerate. Wish these things were more common in the game of golf today.

  10. Double Mocha Man

    Feb 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Caddy story: Two days at Bandon Dunes Resort… same caddy. Day one was sunny, perfect. He gave good clubbing advice and could read the greens like Brandt Snedeker. Shared my flask of single-malt scotch with him. He still wouldn’t let me walk 5 feet into a sensitive ecological area to retrieve my brand new Titleist. Forgave him.

    Next day winds are 30 mph and the rain is coming down sideways at Pacific Dunes. Only 7 golfers venture onto the course, only one finishes. Caddy wanted to quit after 15 holes and walk in. Chastised him and said I would carry my own bag. He stuck it out. It was the Christmas season… tipped him $100.

    • Tom

      Feb 9, 2016 at 12:54 pm


    • dan

      Feb 10, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      $100 on top of the his regular pay i hope?! Cuz if it was”christmas season” that means the windchill was what? Somewhere near freezing?

      • Double Mocha Man

        Feb 11, 2016 at 9:20 am

        Yes, on top of. And in addition to the tip from the day before. Surprisingly, with all the rain and wind it was quite mild… in the 40’s, I’d guess.

  11. Former Pro Jock

    Feb 9, 2016 at 11:36 am

    I started Caddying when I was 11 and did it all the way through college. I cannot put into enough emphasis on how awesome those experiences were and how they influenced my life. I would love to be faced with more options to even GET a Caddie- Unfortunately these are as rare as US Ryder Cup victory these days. Can we get an Article or the catalyst of a movement to bring Caddying back!? yes I know too much revenue passed up by the courses etc. but the upsides far out weigh the negatives. Please take a caddie when ever you can! Someone has to pay for “Bob’s” vice!

  12. Tom

    Feb 9, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I always seem to get a hybrid between Lenny and Bruce

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Opinion & Analysis

Pick three golfers to build the ultimate scramble team. Who you got?



It’s officially scramble season. Whether it’s a corporate outing or charity event, surely you’ve either been invited to play in or have already played in a scramble this year.

If you don’t know the rules of the scramble format, here’s how it works: All four golfers hit their drives, then the group elects the best shot. From there, all four golfers hit the shot, and the best of the bunch is chosen once again. The hole continues in this fashion until the golf ball is holed.

The best scramble players are those who hit the ball really far and/or stick it close with the irons and/or hole a lot of putts. The point is to make as many birdies and eagles as possible.

With this in mind, inside GolfWRX Headquarters, we got to discussing who would be on the ultimate scramble team. Obviously, Tiger-Jack-Daly was brought up immediately, so there needed to be a caveat to make it more challenging.

Thus, the following hypothetical was born. We assigned each golfer below a dollar value, and said that we had to build a three player scramble team (plus yourself) for $8 or less.

Here are the answers from the content team here at GolfWRX:

Ben Alberstadt

Tiger Woods ($5): This is obvious. From a scramble standpoint, Tiger gives you everything you want: Long, accurate, and strategic off the tee (in his prime). Woods, sets the team up for optimal approach shots (he was pretty good at those too)…and of course, arguably the greatest pressure putter of all time.
David Duval ($2): I’m thinking of Double D’s machine-like approach play in his prime. Tour-leader in GIR in 1999, and 26th in driving accuracy that year, Duval ought to stick second shots when TW doesn’t and is an asset off the tee.
Corey Pavin ($1): A superb putter and dogged competitor, Pavin’s a great value at $1. Ryder Cup moxy. Plus, he’ll always give you a ball in the fairway off the tee (albeit a short one), much needed in scramble play.

Brian Knudson

Rory McIlroy ($4): I am willing to bet their are only a handful of par 5’s in the world that he can’t hit in in two shots. You need a guy who can flat out overpower a course and put you in short iron situations on every hole. His iron play is a thing of beauty, with a high trajectory that makes going after any sucker pin a possibility.
Jordan Spieth ($3): Was there a guy who putted from mid-range better than him just a couple years ago? If there was, he isn’t on this list. Scrambles need a guy who can drain everything on the green and after watching 3 putts to get the read, he won’t miss. His solid wedge game will also help us get up and down from those short yardages on the Par 4’s.
Corey Pavin ($1): Fear the STACHE!! The former Ryder Cup captain will keep the whole team playing their best and motivated to make birdies and eagles. If we have 228 yards to the flag we know he is pulling that 4 wood out and giving us a short putt for birdie. He will of course be our safety net, hitting the “safe shot,” allowing the rest of us to get aggressive!

Ronald Montesano

Dustin Johnson ($4) – Bombmeister!!!
Lee Trevino ($2) — Funny as hell (and I speak Mexican).
Sergio Garcia ($1) – The greatest iron player (I speak Spanish, too).

Tom Stickney

Dustin Johnson ($4)
Seve Ballesteros ($2)
Lee Trevino ($2)
DJ is longer than I-10, Seve can dig it out of the woods, and Trevino can shape it into any pin.

Andrew Tursky

Dustin Johnson ($4)
Jordan Spieth ($2)
Anthony Kim ($1)
Are all the old timers gonna be mad at me for taking young guys? Doesn’t matter. DJ has to be the best driver ever, as long as he’s hitting that butter cut. With Jordan, it’s hard to tell whether he’s better with his irons or with his putter — remember, we’re talking Jordan in his prime, not the guy who misses putts from 8 inches. Then, Anthony Kim has to be on the team in case the alcohol gets going since, you know, it’s a scramble; remember when he was out all night (allegedly) before the Presidents Cup and still won his match? I need that kind of ability on my squad. Plus AK will get us in the fairway when me, DJ and Spieth each inevitably hit it sideways.

Michael Williams

Tiger Woods ($5)
Seve Ballesteros ($2)

Corey Pavin ($1)

Tiger is a no-brainer. Seve is maybe the most creative player ever and would enjoy playing HORSE with Tiger. Pavin is the only $1 player who wouldn’t be scared stiff to be paired with the first two.

Johnny Wunder

Tiger Woods ($5): His Mind/Overall Game

Seve Ballesteros ($2): His creativity/fire in a team format/inside 100

Anthony Kim ($1): Team swagger/he’s streaky/will hit fairways under the gun.
A scramble requires 3 things: Power, Putting and Momentum. These 3 guys as a team complete the whole package. Tiger is a one man scramble team but will get himself in trouble, which is where Seve comes in. In the case where the momentum is going forward like a freight train, nobody rattles a cage into the zone better than AK. It’s the perfect team and the team I’d want out there if my life was on the line. I’d trust my kids with this team.
Who would you pick on your team, and why? See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.
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Opinion & Analysis

Is equipment really to blame for the distance problem in golf?



It’s 2018, we’re more than a quarter of the way through Major Season, and there are 58 players on the PGA Tour averaging over 300 yards off the tee. Trey Mullinax is leading the PGA Tour through the Wells Fargo Championship with an average driving distance of 320 yards. Much discussion has been had about the difficulty such averages are placing on the golf courses across the country. Sewn into the fabric of the distance discussion are suggestions by current and past giants of the game to roll back the golf ball.

In a single segment on an episode of Live From The Masters, Brandel Chamblee said, “There’s a correlation from when the ProV1 was introduced and driving distance spiked,” followed a few minutes later by this: “The equipment isn’t the source of the distance, it’s the athletes.”

So which is it? Does it have to be one or the other? Is there a problem at all?

Several things of interest happened on the PGA Tour in the early 2000s, most of which were entirely driven by the single most dominant athlete of the last 30. First, we saw Tiger Woods win four consecutive majors, the first and only person to do that in the modern era of what are now considered the majors. Second, that same athlete drew enough eyeballs so that Tim Finchem could exponentially increase the prize money golfers were playing for each week. Third, but often the most overlooked, Tiger Woods ushered in fitness to the mainstream of golf. Tiger took what Gary Player and Greg Norman had preached their whole careers and amped it up like he did everything else.

In 1980, Dan Pohl was the longest player on the PGA Tour. He averaged 274 yards off the tee with a 5-foot, 11-inch and 175-pound frame. By 2000, the average distance for all players on the PGA Tour was 274 yards. The leader of the pack that year was John Daly, who was the only man to average over 300 yards. Tiger Woods came in right behind him at 298 yards.

Analysis of the driving distance stats on the PGA Tour since 1980 show a few important statistics: Over the last 38 seasons, the average driving distance for all players on the PGA Tour has increased an average of 1.1 yards per year. When depicted on a graph, it looks like this:

The disparity between the shortest and the longest hitter on the PGA Tour has increased 0.53 yards per year, which means the longest hitters are increasing the gap between themselves and the shortest hitters. The disparity chart fluctuates considerably more than the average distance chart, but the increase from 1980 to 2018 is staggering.

In 1980, there was 35.6 yards between Dan Pohl (longest) and Michael Brannan (shortest – driving distance 238.7 yards). In 2018, the difference between Trey Mullinax and Ken Duke is 55.9 yards. Another point to consider is that in 1980, Michael Brannan was 25. Ken Duke is currently 49 years of age.

The question has not been, “Is there a distance problem?” It’s been, “How do we solve the distance problem?” The data is clear that distance has increased — not so much at an exponential rate, but at a consistent clip over the last four decades — and also that equipment is only a fraction of the equation.

Jack Nicklaus was over-the-hill in 1986 when he won the Masters. It came completely out of nowhere. Players in past decades didn’t hit their prime until they were in their early thirties, and then it was gone by their early forties. Today, it’s routine for players to continue playing until they are over 50 on the PGA Tour. In 2017, Steve Stricker joined the PGA Tour Champions. In 2016, he averaged 278 yards off the tee on the PGA Tour. With that number, he’d have topped the charts in 1980 by nearly four yards.

If equipment was the only reason distance had increased, then the disparity between the longest and shortest hitters would have decreased. If it was all equipment, then Ken Duke should be averaging something more like 280 yards instead of 266.

There are several things at play. First and foremost, golfers are simply better athletes these days. That’s not to say that the players of yesteryear weren’t good athletes, but the best athletes on the planet forty years ago didn’t play golf; they played football and basketball and baseball. Equipment definitely helped those super athletes hit the ball straighter, but the power is organic.

The other thing to consider is that the total tournament purse for the 1980 Tour Championship was $440,000 ($1,370,833 in today’s dollars). The winner’s share for an opposite-field event, such as the one played in Puerto Rico this year, is over $1 million. Along with the fitness era, Tiger Woods ushered in the era of huge paydays for golfers. This year, the U.S. Open prize purse will be $12 milion with $2.1 million of that going to the winner. If you’re a super athlete with the skills to be a golfer, it makes good business sense to go into golf these days. That wasn’t the case four decades ago.

Sure, equipment has something to do with the distance boom, but the core of the increase is about the athletes themselves. Let’s start giving credit where credit is due.

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Opinion & Analysis

Golf swing videos: What you absolutely need to know



Let’s start with a game. Below are 5 different swing videos. I want you to study them and decide which of them is the best swing. Take your time, this is important…

Please, write your answer down. Which one was it?

Now, I am going to tell you a little secret; they are all the exact same swing filmed simultaneously from 5 various positions. JM1 is on the hand line but higher, JM2 is on the hand line but lower, JM3 is on the foot line, JM4 is on the hand line and JM5 is on the target line. Same swing, very different results!

So, what did we learn? Camera angle has an enormous impact on the way the swing looks.

“If you really want to see what is going on with video, it is crucial to have the camera in the right position,” said Bishops Gate Director of Instruction and Top 100 teacher Kevin Smeltz. “As you can see, if it is off just a little it makes a significant difference.”

According to PGA Tour Coach Dan Carraher: “Proper camera angles are extremely important, but almost more important is consistent camera angles. If you’re going to compare swings they need to be shot from the same camera angles to make sure you’re not trying to fix something that isn’t really a problem. Set the camera up at the same height and distance from the target line and player every time. The more exact the better.”

For high school players who are sending golf swing videos to college coaches, the content of the swing video is also very important. You have 5-15 seconds to impress the coach, so make sure you showcase the most impressive part of your game. For example, if you bomb it, show some drivers and make sure the frame is tight to demonstrate your speed/athleticism. Likewise, if you have a great swing but not a whole lot of power, start the video with a 5 or 6 iron swing to showcase your move. Either way, show coaches your strengths, and make sure to intrigue them!

Now that you have something that represents your skills, you need to consider how to format it so coaches are most likely to open it. I would recommend uploading the swings to YouTube and including a link in the email; a link allows the coach to simply click to see the video, rather than having to mess with opening any specific program or unknown file.

When formatting the email, always lead with your best information. For example, if you want a high-end academic school and have 1550 on the SAT lead with that. Likewise, if you have a powerful swing, lead with the YouTube link.

Although these tips do not guarantee responses, they will increase your odds!

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19th Hole