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Opinion & Analysis

The art of the caddie

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THE CADDIE: a person hired to carry a player’s clubs, find the ball, etc. A caddie is so much more than its dictionary definition, however. I am a caddie, carrying for different members at a local country club, and it is a job I would not change for anything. Caddying is an art.

Caddies first appeared in 1817 in Edinburgh, Scotland. They were doing the same as we do now, carrying golf clubs and helping a golfer make their way around the course. The job of caddying really has not changed in 202 years.

In those 202 years, we have seen, in my opinion, the best golf movie ever made, “Caddyshack.” We have seen a 10-year-old caddie win the 1913 U.S. Open, carrying for the amateur Francis Ouimet. We have seen caddie races at TPC Scottsdale, and a TV analyst who has helped his player win five major championships (his name is Jim “Bones” Mackay). The golf caddie is so fascinating because it has such a deep and long history. It is a job where you can start as young as 12 years old, but where you can equally be 71, like Mike “Fluff” Cowan.

Speaking from experience, a caddie does so many more things than just carrying clubs and finding yardages. If you are a caddie who plays a lot of golf, you discuss different shots with the player you are looping for. How much will the wind affect the ball? Where do you want to miss? Do you want the ball coming out with a high or low trajectory? You also must read putts, and depending on the green, this can be extremely difficult.

However, more important than carrying the clubs and talking out different shots is the social part of caddying. As a caddie it is important to get to know your player. You must spark conversation for a full loop and keep your player in it mentally. I always say golf is 60 percent mental and 40 percent physical, and as a caddie, you must make sure your player is focused. The caddie cannot let their player get too mad when they are not playing well. As a caddie, you are the only person who can talk to your player and keep them under control so they can shoot their best score possible. On the other hand, when your player does well, you celebrate with them. For those four hours on the course, as you can see, a caddie must be a fantastic multitasker.

Caddying is a job that can open so many doors. It can teach a young caddie a multitude of life skills, and for professional caddies, it allows them to be around and interact with the best golfers in the world. To sum it up, a caddie must be different than every other person on the golf course.

For me, caddying is one of the best jobs in the world because I am doing the same thing as a boy my age 202 years ago.

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My name is Todd Daugherty, and I am a high school golfer that has an extremely large passion for the game of golf. Golf is a game of variety. Any aspect of it, whether it is shots, clubs, etc., involves variety. You can have a green-side shot that is just as difficult as a 200-yard 4-iron shot, and that is why I love the game. I currently have a YouTube channel named TMD Golf, where I upload a weekly golf podcast talking about the tour, new equipment, and anything in-between. I also upload a weekly vlog that could include videos of me playing, doing reviews, doing challenges, and just anything a golfer would love. I also have a passion for writing about this great game. There are so many different stories that can come from a simple, yet complicated game. Creating golf content is something I love doing very much, and I hope others can appreciate it as much as I do!

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. sam

    Jul 30, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    You bio at the bottom is longer than the first two paragraphs.

  2. christian

    Jul 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    You bio at the bottom is longer than the first two paragraphs. That says everything.

  3. christian

    Jul 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm

    This is barely a page so why even post it? I want to read more about being a caddie. How about interviewing caddies? Seeing what caddie life is like on tour. Off tour. In between tours. What caddies had the right advice on a shot and the player nailed it? or times when it went wrong like with John Rahm and the player didn’t listen. You could do so much with this article and instead its just basic generic information that doesn’t leave me wanting to know more. I WANT TO KNOW MORE. Don’t just write a story, tell a story. And theres literally no story here.

  4. Leezer99

    Jul 30, 2019 at 11:52 am

    > For those four hours on the course, as you can see, a caddie must be a fantastic multitasker.

    Four hours? LOL

  5. Geoffrey Holland

    Jul 29, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Just wanted to say that this was a very well written article and I enjoyed it. Also a very impressed with the lack of errors such as punctuation, grammar, and spelling that usually pop up in articles on this site.
    It’s nice to see an eighteen-year-old actually caring about proofreading and making sure an article is written correctly. Best of luck with your caddying and your golfing.

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Opinion & Analysis

Getting to know Payne Stewart

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Ever since that final putt fell in Pinehurst in 1999, Payne Stewart’s memory has enjoyed mythical qualities. A man of complex charm, but many of us who grew up without him recognize only his Knickerbocker pants, his flat cap, and his W.W.J.D. covered wrist wrapped around that United States Open trophy.

I had a wonderful opportunity to play a round of golf with two men that know a lot about Payne. One through friendship and the other through journalistic research.

Lamar Haynes was Payne Stewart’s close friend and teammate on the SMU golf team. He’s full of stories about Payne from the good old days. Kevin Robbins is an author who just finished a new book on Stewart’s final year of life, set to release to the public for purchase this October. He works as a professor of journalism at the University of Texas but has also enjoyed an impressive career as a reporter and golf writer for over 20 years.

We met at Mira Vista Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, to talk about Payne. Robbins is a solid golfer who spends time working on his game, which tells me a lot about his personality. He is one of us.  As for Haynes, the guy hasn’t lost much since those SMU golf team days. He can still swing it. Fantastic iron player. And both men are wonderful conversationalists. They offered a unique perspective on Stewart—the golfer I grew up idolizing but never really knew. There’s a good chance you don’t really know him, either. At least not the whole story.

“Most golf fans now know the story of his ’99 U.S. Open win,” Robbins said.  “What they don’t know is where he came from.”

Robbins’ book, The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Foreverchronicles Payne’s last year on earth with dramatic detail, covering his triumph at Pinehurst and the Ryder Cup at Brookline. And, of course, it tells the story of that tragic plane crash that took our champion from us. What the book doesn’t do is hide any of the blemishes about Payne’s life that have either been forgotten or pushed aside by brighter moments and memories.

“I thought that the other Payne Stewart books, while they have a place, they didn’t tell the whole story,” Robbins said.

The whole story, from what I read, was Payne being brash. A poor winner and sometimes a poor sport when he lost. He often said things he shouldn’t have said and then made those mistakes again and again.

“He had no filter,” remembered Haynes.  “Several close friends on tour had a hard time with him when he won his first Open. He didn’t take into account any of the consequences his words could create. He had a huge heart. Huge heart. But at times there was just no filter. But he grew a great deal over the last 2 or three years.”

It’s most certainly is a book about a change. A change in a man that was better late than never. But also a change in golf that began at the turn of the century and hasn’t really slowed down since.

“The 20 years since his death, to see the way golf has moved, what the tour looks like now,” Robins said.  “There was an evolution that was taking place in 1999 and we didn’t know how it would manifest itself. But now we do. So when you see Brooks Koepka hit a 3-wood in the US Open 370 yards, well that all really had its beginnings in 1998 and 1999. The Pro-V1 ball was being tested in 1999 and being rolled out in 2000. Fitness and equipment, sports psychology, nutrition. All of those things that a guy like Payne Stewart really didn’t have to pay attention to.”

But that change that occurred in Payne, culminating in his final year of life, is something worth learning. It’s a lesson for all of us. A guy on top of the world with still so much to fix. And he was fixing it, little by little.

“He was authentic,” Haynes said. “And he learned a lot later in life from his children. With their Bible studies. You saw a change in him. Very much. He had a peace with himself but he still would revert to his DNA. The fun-loving Payne. Raising children and being a father helped him tremendously.”

Payne was passionate about so many things in life but his children became a primary focus. According to Haynes, he would be so loud at his daughter’s volleyball games…yelling intensely at the referees…that they gave him an option: Either he wouldn’t be allowed to watch the games anymore or he needed to become a line judge and help out with the games. So, Payne Stewart became a volleyball line judge.

Lamar brought the head of an old Ram 7-iron along with him to show me. Damaged and bent from the crash, the club was with Payne on his final flight. He had it with him to show his guys at Mizuno as a model for a new set of irons. That Ram 7-iron belonged to Haynes and Payne had always adored the way it looked at address.

“Payne also used my old Mizunos the last year of his life,” Haynes said.  I had received the MS-4s 10 years earlier from Payne in 1989. They were like playing with a shaft on a knife. The sweet spot was so tiny on the MS-4. They made the MP29 and 14s look like game improvement irons. Payne used those. Then Harry Taylor at Mizuno designed him an iron, which later became the MP33. The 29 and 14s were very sharp and flat-soled. Well, Payne loved this old Ram iron set that I had.. He asked for my Ram 7-iron for Harry Taylor to model his new set. He liked the way it went through the turf. He had it with him on the plane. This is the club that started the MP33.”

It was Lamar Haynes, the man who seems to know just about everyone in the golf community, that set Robbins on this writing journey. Robbins had written one book previously: The story of the life of legendary golf coach Harvey Penick. But this book came a bit easier for Robbins, partly due to his experience, partly due to the subject matter, and partly because of Lamar.

“There’s a story here,” Robbins said. “With any book, you hope to encounter surprises along the way, big and little. And I did. I got great cooperation a long the way. Anybody I wanted to talk to, talked to me thanks to this guy Lamar Haynes.”

“Lamar said the first guy you need to talk to is Peter Jacobsen,” Robins said. “And I said ‘great can you put me in touch with him’ which became a common question to Lamar throughout the process.” Robbins chuckled.  “Literally 2 minutes later my phone rings. ‘Kevin, this is Peter Jacobsen here.'”

“Peter told me the story about the ’89 PGA championship in our first conversation. So literally in the first 10 minutes of my reporting effort, I had the first set piece of the book. I had something. Lamar made a lot happen.”

Lamar Haynes and Kevin Robbins

The book is not a biography, though it certainly has biographical elements to it. It is simply the story of Payne’s final year, with a look back at Payne’s not so simple career mixed in. The author’s real talent lives in the research and honesty. The story reads like you’re back in 1999 again, with quotes pulled from media articles or press conferences. Anecdotes are sprinkled here and there from all of Payne’s contemporaries. The storytelling is seamless and captivating.

“I was pleasantly surprised how much Colin Montgomerie remembered about the concession at the 1999 Ryder Cup,” Robbins said. “Colin can be a tough interview. He is generally mistrustful of the media. His agent gave me 15 minutes during the Pro-Am in Houston. This was in the spring of 2018. I met Colin on the 17th hole and he had started his round on 10. Just organically the conversation carried us to the fifth green. Just because he kept remembering things. He kept talking, you know. It was incredible. Tom Lehman was the same way. He said “I’ll give you 20 minutes” and it ended up being an hour and a half at Starbucks.”

The research took Robbins to Massachusetts, Florida, and Missouri—and of course, to Pinehurst. He met with Mike Hicks, Payne’s former caddie, there to discuss that final round. The two ended up out on Pinehurst No. 2, walking the last three holes and reliving the victory. It gives life to the story and fills it with detail.

“Part of what I hoped for this book is that it would be more than just a sports story,” Robbins said.  “More than just a golf story. The more I started thinking about where Payne began and where he ended, it seemed to me…and I’m not going to call it a redemption story although I bet some people do. People when they are younger, they have regrets and they make mistakes. They do things they wish they could take back but they can’t. So, what can they do? Well, they can improve. They can get better. That’s what Payne was doing with his life. He was improving himself. It was too late to change what he had done already. So what could he do with the future? He could be different.”

“It was accurate,” Haynes said.  “I had a tear when I finished it. I texted Kevin right afterward. I told him I couldn’t call him because I’m choked up so I texted him.”

So here’s two men who knew Payne Stewart, albeit in very different ways. They knew he was flawed in life but he got better. Was Payne Stewart that hero at Pinehurst, grabbing Phil Mickelson’s face and telling him the important thing is he’s going to be a father? Yes. But he was so much more than that. He was so much more than I knew before I read this book. Most importantly, Payne Stewart was always improving. A lesson for all of us, indeed.

If you want to hear more about my experience, tweet at me here @FWTXGolfer or message me on Instagram here! I look forward to hearing from you!

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Sam Bettinardi

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In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Titleist, Johnny chats with EVP of Bettinardi Golf, Sam Bettinardi. They discuss coming up as Bob’s son, the growth of the company, and why Bettinardi continues to be at the top of the putter conversations.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Mondays Off

Mondays Off: Sounding off on your favorite golf pet peeves!

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Steve and Knudson weigh in on your favorite golf pet peeves. From not fixing ball marks, to slow play, to guys telling you “good shot” when you make a quad! Knudson shot a 33 in his league and still thinks he isn’t a sandbagger.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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