What About Caddies?

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(Photo by Greg D’Andrea)

Back at the start of the winter, I was putting with my 3-year-old son on the practice mat behind our living room couch. I wasn’t giving him serious lessons or anything (not that I’m qualified to do so anyway) – I was just trying to focus him on the basic putting stroke. And I certainly didn’t mention anything about caddies. Yet at one point when it was his turn to hit, he grabbed his toddler-sized putter and said to me: “The club boy brought me another club.”

Club boy? Who’s the club boy? “The boy that gives us our clubs” was his answer. This surprised me since he knows nothing about golf caddies (he’s never even watched the pro tour on TV). And while he was probably just saying silly things that 3-year-olds say,  I wondered if there could be more to this.

Here we have someone at the very beginning of his introduction to the game of golf…yet already he seems to consider that part of this game should include someone that hands you clubs. This leads me to the following question: Are caddies meant to be part of this game?

If the pro tours are any example, the answer is yes. Everyone has a caddie on tour. And the USGA rules allow for a caddie too – and in fact define “caddie” as “one who assists the player.” In addition, caddies have been part of golf for quite a while: One source even says “Mary, Queen of Scots, came up with the term ‘caddie’ in the late 16th century.”

So if it’s true that caddies are meant to be part of golf, then it stands to reason we’re handicapping ourselves when we don’t use one – right? It’s just another reason to site the popular GolfStinks PAF rule.

Of course, we average golfers don’t have access to caddies because most courses realized years ago that it would be cheaper to provide us with motorized golf carts instead. As fun as it is to drink and drive in those golf go-karts, they hardly replace the original. Sure – having a GPS in the cart will tell you how far you have to the pin, but where is the advice on how the putt breaks? Or the club recommendation? And perhaps most importantly, the moral support?

I say golf courses should consider bringing back an option to have a real caddie. I bet there are plenty of teens and retirees that would work for just tips – I’d be willing to pay more per round to have a caddie at my side – even if it was just once in a while.

Am I way off base here? Am I simplifying it too much? Why should the pros have all the fun?


  1. I grew up working as a caddie at a private golf course and I do think there is an advantage over golfers that do not use a caddy. I can’t tell you how many times I gave yardage and club advice that helped save strokes. Also on the greens, since I knew the course so well, I was able to help read the greens and saved strokes that way too.

    I would like to see courses offer more caddy programs and have days where carts are not allowed where you either have to walk or take a caddy.

    • Kevin – I think you’re onto something with the caddy programs you mention. And to have “walk-only” days (with an option to take along a caddie) is a great idea for more exercise. Thanks for the comment!

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