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In the game of golf, being a caddie is considered to be quite an important role. In fact, pro golfers will tell you that while on the course, caddies are a much-needed lifeline to the game.
Whether you’re touring the great circuits or just having a few games at your local Mandurah Golf Course, it’s a good idea to spend some time with a caddy.
Understanding the Role and Reason for Using a Caddy
If you’re new to golf, you might not be sure if you really need a caddy when you start playing at other clubs or courses. After all you can surely carry your own golf bag, right?
It’s worth noting that golf caddies do a lot more than just carry the bags that contain your clubs. Let’s take a closer look at their various responsibilities.
History of the Term Caddy
While there are varying stories about the origin of caddies, the most popular involves Queen Mary. It’s widely believed that the term was created by Mary, Queen of Scots.
She was an avid golfer in her early adult years and spent a lot of time playing the game during her stay in France. Designated French military cadets would carry her golf clubs around the course.
It’s thought that the Queen took the custom of using young cadets with her when she returned to Scotland. She also coined the term “caddy” to be used in reference to these golf helpers. Since Queen Mary was the first woman to play golf, this story is a firm favourite in golf circles.
Responsibilities of a Good Caddy
Many people unfamiliar with the game of golf might only see a caddy as a person carrying bags, but, as we’ve mentioned before, there’s more to it.
Caddies have several key responsibilities which we’ve listed below.
1. Have an Extensive Knowledge of Golf
Caddies need to know golfing rules as well as the terminology of the game. They should know the types of equipment needed as well as how best to use them. For example, a caddy can be called on to provide golfers with advice about the type of clubs to use for specific shots.
2. Know and Understand the Golf Course
Caddies should be familiar with the type of golf course. Professional caddies make the effort to learn the details of the scheduled course. They will need to know where potential traps and bodies of water are situated.
It’s also essential to find out where the out-of-bound markers are. A caddy can’t provide advice if they themselves aren’t familiar with the course.
3. Hand the Golfer the Right Clubs
The caddy is also responsible for handing the golfer the right club for each shot. This means the caddy should know the difference between wedges, irons, woods, putters and hybrids. They must also understand the various numbering configurations used such as the difference between a 9-hybrid and a 9-iron.
4. Maintain and Clean Golf Equipment
Another crucial responsibility the caddy has is to ensure that the clubs, balls and other equipment are clean throughout the game. The main reason for this is that dirt and grit on a ball or club have a negative impact on the golfer’s swing. It’s not uncommon for caddies to carry around towels and cleaning products.
5. Know Distances to the Greens
Caddies need to know how to calculate the distance from the ball to the green. They do this by using the various distance markers on the golf course.
6. Rake Bunkers and Sand Traps
In the interest of fair play, the playing conditions have to be the same for all players. A good way to ensure this is for caddies to clean and rake up bunkers and sand traps. Leaving the area exactly as it was found, creates fair play for the next player.
7. Become Familiar With the Golfer’s Style of Playing
Some golfers prefer to use the same caddy for every game. This could be because they’ve found a caddy who understands their way of playing and gives them beneficial direction. Understanding how a golfer plays makes it easier for a caddy to successfully identify which club will be better for a particular shot.
8. Ensure All the Necessary Clubs are In the Bag
You might think it’s unheard of for professionals to need clubs that end up not being in the bag. However, this exact thing has happened several times on different PGA tours over the years.
It affects the player’s game and embarrasses the caddy. A bad day all around! Pro caddies are known for being paranoid and checking the bags several times before heading out to the course.
It’s evident that being a caddy involves a considerable amount more work than just carrying a bag. Make no mistake, despite the many responsibilities, being a caddy is still a fun experience.
It’s a brilliant way for a person who loves golf to be part of the game they might not ordinarily qualify for!
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