One of the most unique jobs that an individual can perform is that of being a golf caddie. Besides helping you stay in good physical condition, it also has some other perks. You get to meet many influential individuals from around the area. Remember the old saying, “it is not what you know, but who you know.” It can also pay you pretty well, too.
Still there is a good deal of etiquette that goes along with being a golf caddie. First and foremost, your job is to assist the golfer as he plays. Always have a smile and a positive outlook on things. Be friendly. You have a number of responsibilities that we will cover as we go along.
A good golf caddie should meet with his golfer before any play is started. You review your responsibilities with the golfer and any other extra jobs that the golfer might need. Try to find out if the golfer is a talker or likes to be left alone. Each individual is different. You need to find that out before play even begins. Some golfers like to be left only and only given advice when they request it. Get a clear understanding before you start. Review the course you are about to play with the golfer. Let them know if there are any obstacles or bad weather coming their way as they prepare to play their game. Review the rules of the course and the game. Make sure that you both are on the same page in this area.
A golf caddies responsibilities are listed but not limited to those that I will go over below.
The number one job of a golf caddie is to keep improving the pace of play for the golfer. A golfer is ready to move after a shot, so a caddie has to be ready to move quickly. A caddie must help maintain the course. This can be anything from picking up trash along the way or replacing a divot.
Calculate the golfers yardage. Let them know how far they have to go to the hole or green. Do not dwell on the golfer’s last shot. You might say nice shot, if it was. A golfer is looking ahead not wanting a history of their performance.
Rake out bunkers. If a golfer just hit out of a bunker, rake the divot area quickly and move on with the golfer.
Read Putts. This is probably one of the most important jobs that a golf caddie can do. Be familiar with each green. Communicate with the golfer about how the ball will break. Is the green fast or slow? A golfer will need to know these things. Many great putts are determined by a caddies knowledge of the course.
Keep the clubs and ball clean. There are tools along the way to help you. Always be sure that a golfer uses a new, clean, or good ball before they hit their tee shot. Some golfers prefer to use the same ball over and over again. Be sure you have an understanding of this before you play. Use a dry rag to keep debris off the clubs. It is easy for them to pick up mud and grass. A dirty club can affect the way a ball is hit.
Watch and locate the ball after it is hit. This is very important. Line yourself up with the hole or at least the first ball hit so that you can view it’s flight. Many golf caddies make the mistake of not being able to identify the ball. Know the ball. Sometimes several golfers might use the same type of ball. If this happens, use an ink pen and slightly mark your ball for identification. Place a mark inside a ball indentation.
Attend the flag stick. When a golfer is putting, stand at the stick and remove it when the golfer asks you to. Some golfers want the stick to remain until their club has hit the ball on the putt. Be sure you know their desires.
Keeping score. In most cases, this isn’t your responsibility. However, in some cases, a golfer may request your assistance. Remind the golfer to sign their card at the end of a round. You should stay with the golfer until this done.
Other rules of etiquette. Never talk while others are playing. When you do talk, do it very quietly and out of ear shot of the other players. If another golfer asks for assistance, you can do so but, in moderation. Your main responsibility is to your golfer. Be observant for balls that are hit your way and be prepared to warn your golfer(s). Know where the boundaries are on a course. There are some that might be unmarked. You are responsible for the golfers equipment. Take good care of it. Don’t leave things unattended.
Across the United states there are often golf caddie clinics and classes that are held. These come in handy in teaching how to be a good Caddy. There are even scholarships available for golf caddies to go to College. Probably the biggest perk though is getting to caddie for different individuals. It is not unusual for a caddie to get a large tip for their services and even a portion of the prize money in certain tournaments. The skill and knowledge of being a good caddie comes with repetition and general knowledge of a course and the game.