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19th Hole

Caddie Corner: 14 questions with PGA Tour caddie Zak Smith (caddie for Martin Trainer)



In this new GolfWRX feature, called the “Caddie Corner,” we’ll be firing off questions to a different caddie every week on the PGA Tour.

Caddies, or “loopers,” as some call them, are the too-often-overlooked people who actually have a huge impact on players every week on the PGA Tour. They’re tasked with many objectives – everything from carrying the bag, raking bunkers and getting yardages, to playing psychologist on the golf course as their player competes for millions.

If you’re curious to learn more about the caddies, as well as their stories, lifestyle and insights, then welcome to the “Caddie Corner.”

In this week’s edition, we spoke to Zak Smith, who currently caddies for Martin Trainer on the PGA Tour. Want to learn more about Smith? Give him a follow @lumberzak on Instagram or Twitter.

Now, let’s get into the questions!

Want to read more Caddie Corner features? Check them all out here!

First question is easy. What’s your name, who do you caddie for, and who else have you caddied for throughout the years?

My name is Zak Smith, and I currently caddie for Martin Trainer. I’ve caddied for multiple players throughout the years. I’ve worked for Sepp Straka, Nate Lashley, Chris Baker for most of my career, Michael Gellerman, those are the main ones.

How did you end up being a caddie on the PGA Tour? What was your career progression to get there?

I graduated college, I saved up some money, I drove to the nearest Korn Ferry event, and then I asked 150 players if they needed a caddie. And I got 150 no’s. Then I went to the next event, and I got a yes. Then a 1-week deal turned into another 1-week deal. Then 4 or 5 weeks later, I got Chris Baker, and I ended up working for him for 3 years.

If you didn’t caddie, what job do you think you’d be doing right now?

I’d be an assistant pro at a golf course. That’s what I was doing before I started caddying. Brutal hours, brutal pay, no days off.

What’s the best restaurant you go during a PGA Tour season where it’s like, you can’t wait for that tournament so you can go to that restaurant?

There’s really good Indian and Middle Eastern food in Detroit. That’s always a pleasure. I don’t know the name of the restaurants, but they’re all good.

What’s your favorite sport aside from golf, and who are some of your favorite teams and players?

My favorite sport other than golf is probably disc golf. There’s a professional league out there. My favorite player is probably Ricky Wysoki, he’s number 1 in the world right now. Other than that, that’s about it.

What’s on your music playlist right now?

EDM. Some people call it techno, but it’s remixes and stuff like that. Festival music.

What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way about caddying or golf in general?

Patience. I’d say patience is huge. You wait around a lot. You travel a lot, and you have to be patient with delays and stuff. You just have to take it for how it goes and move on. You can’t get all uptight about something changing in your daily plan because it’s going to change. So just patience.

What’s your take on the slow play issue on tour, if you think there is one?

I think they are really putting slow play under the microscope and it’s getting a little too…I mean I think it’s fine. I think the slow play is definitely a problem on the PGA Tour. But, I don’t think it’s as slow as people think. Sometimes as a caddie there’s a lot of decisions being made and sometimes that extra 15 seconds really makes or breaks the shot. If you do it once or twice here and there it’s not that bad, but if you do it on every shot then, yeah, it brings down the momentum on the whole group honestly. So that’s where it gets bad.

If you have that one slow player in your group, it just brings everyone down. Then yeah, it’s a problem. But I don’t think necessarily it’s a huge issue for most players.

What caddie is the most fun to be around on Tour whether it’s on or off the course?

That’s tough. Irish Dave is probably one of the craziest, funniest dudes. He’s been out here for however many years, and he has the best stories. Whenever you’re with him, you know you’re gonna be laughing and hearing some story you’ve never heard. That’s always fun.

Who’s Irish Dave? You have to explain to the people who that is.

He caddies for Alex Noren. He caddied for Padraig Harrington for a long time. He’s from Northern Ireland. He’s just a treat to be around. He’s a legend. Everyone wants to be like him.

Caddies are known for having the best stories. Without incriminating yourself too much, what’s your funniest story you have from caddie life inside the ropes?

I’ll give you a story. This was a couple years ago. There was a rain delay on Saturday, and we’re finishing on Sunday. We had to play, I think, close to 36 holes on Sunday. We were making our turn after our 27th hole, so our last 9 of the day. My player was complaining about being hungry, so he stopped at a food truck for the patrons and ordered a pizza. I had to wait there for about 10 minutes until the pizza was done while he teed off on the next hole. Then I had to run across the range, all the way across the other fairway, to catch up with him. I delivered the pizza. Luckily the guy who was making the pizza decided to throw in a free pizza. So, I had two pizzas in my hand, give one pizza to my player in the fairway, and the first thing he says is, “Zak, you didn’t bring any napkins? How am I going to get all this grease off my hands with no napkins?”

Then he hits his shot, hits it to like 15 feet, and he looks at me and goes, “I probably would have made that if I didn’t have grease all over my fingers.”

Long story short is we ended up going par-par-par-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie. We shot 6-under on that 9. We went form like T44, to T14, and it was a good pizza. That was pretty funny. I’ve never carried a pizza down the middle of a fairway before in a big pizza box.

What’s your biggest, “Uh oh, I messed up” moment of your career?

Um, this was probably my first year caddying. I was caddying for a guy on the Korn Ferry Tour. We both walk off the number, and we both get the same number. He sets up, get the club right, hits the shot, and just lays the sod over it. He hits it fat. We’re like, “Ah great, this is going to be way short. It’s going to be a tough up-and-down.”

Then the ball lands probably 10-15 feet short of the hole and rolls up to pin high, like 6 or 7 feet. We both look at each other and we’re like, “What the hell just happened?”

We had both walked off the number wrong. Instead of subtracting, we added. We had the wrong number, but hit the perfect shot and ended up being OK. That was one of the times you’re just like, wow, that could have been real bad. We were off by like 16 yards.

What’s your favorite Tour stop to caddie at, whether it’s the course, or the perks, or the location?

Quail Hollow. That’s definitely the best. The Wells Fargo. They just take care of the caddies the best, and I live in Charlotte so it’s my home town. It’s always fun.

Last question. Based on working with PGA Tour players so closely throughout your career, what’s your best advice for amateur golfers trying to improve their games?

Practice your short game. I know it’s probably been beat in your head a lot, but it’s crazy how many times these pros get up and down from places where most amateurs would make double bogey, and the pros make par. That’s the big thing.

Want to read more Caddie Corner features? Check them all out here!

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

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19th Hole

‘You’re f***ing hilarious, aren’t you?’ – Shane Lowry snaps at spectator during WGC Match Play



It’s been a struggle for Shane Lowry throughout his career at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. Since 2019, the Irishman is now 3-6 at the event prior to the 2023 version of the event.

The struggles continued on Wednesday for Lowry as he found himself two down to Taylor Montgomery on the 17th hole when a fan said something to him after his tee shot.

The frustration finally showed through and Lowry snapped back at the fan.

“You’re f***ing hilarious ,aren’t you?”

Laura Davies on Sky Sports reacted immediately, saying “Apologies for the language.”

Lowry will give it another crack tomorrow as he faces off against Mackenzie Hughes on Thursday at 11:59 A.M. EDT.

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19th Hole

Ex-Golf Channel host Holly Sonders returns to sports in new NSFW venture



Holly Sanders, who was a host on Golf Channel working on “School of Golf” and “Playing Lesson with the Pros,” before going to Fox Sports until 2019.

According to her post on Twitter, the 34-year-old is about to be back in the world of sports in the form of a topless sports league.

Sonders also made an Instagram post about her new venture, saying she was still looking to “add talent” to the league.


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A post shared by Holly Sonders (@holly.sonders)

“I will be watching over all operations making sure the content is of the highest quality possible, and that the girls are safe, having fun and enjoying themselves. This league is owned by women and will be run by women. Feminists should praise this as it’s creating opportunities for women.”

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19th Hole

Nelly Korda responds to fans following ‘wardrobe malfunction’ in latest video



LPGA Tour superstar Nelly Korda recently signed a deal with both TaylorMade and Nike. In a promotional Instagram video for TaylorMade, Korda was hitting the Stealth 2 driver.

The post read: #Fargiveness with a view. ? #TeamTaylorMade is gearing up for a big week in Arizona and striping their #Stealth2Drivers around Superstition Mountain.”


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A post shared by TaylorMade Golf (@taylormadegolf)

However, the post didn’t go as planned, with some users comparing Korda to Rickie Fowler because of her wardrobe choice, while one user simply said: “Orange pants with red shoes? Bruh for real?”

Korda responded on Instagram shortly after, saying “Don’t hate me for my Orange pants and red shoes,” she wrote. “It was a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.”

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