Road Hole Shorts

Golf Design, golf, golf, GOLF

Guest Commentary: What it takes to be a good caddie

By Mary Armstrong / For the Sun-News

Posted: 01/28/2011 01:03:01 PM MST


Through the years I have learned that I should never offer myself as a caddie. It’s not a simple job and the physical part is the easiest of all. Sometime ago, I came upon a book written by professional caddie Anderson Craigg.”Professional Golf Caddie Secrets Revealed” can truly put you on the path to becoming a professional caddie. But it’s also a great resource for learning better behavior on the course as a player – how to be efficient in your movements and wise in your actions.

Let’s say you decide to help out a friend and caddie for them at a Sun Country Tournament. First of all, you should check that caddies are permitted. Secondly, you and your friend should have a clear understanding of what your “caddie” duties will entail and then not vary from that commitment. My suggestion would be not to do anything but carry their bag. The rules for caddies are not necessarily the same as if you were playing and you can easily put your friend into a bind if you don’t know what you are doing. If your friend wants to chitchat, great, but I would steer clear of talking to the other competitors. One wrong sentence such as, “Hey Chuck, what’d ya hit there?” could add penalty strokes to your boss’ score.

But if you insist on doing the whole gig, I suggest a lot of studying and doing a trial run. If there is a practice round for the event, I wouldn’t use that as your first time around the course because you need more experience to get to know the elements and for strategizing. 

From Craigg’s book, here are the topics I would concentrate on:

  • You are there to do a job and you should put your friendship aside for four or five hours in order to provide proper caddie service. Perhaps the biggest boo-boo you can commit is talking too much – the best policy when caddying is to speak only when spoken to. A suggestion or reminder might not be a welcomed interruption by “the boss.”
  • Make sure your player brings everything they require, but don’t depend on them to bring what you need. Unless you know that your player has certain items always in their bag, you should bring a copy of the Rules of Golf, a golf towel, a divot repair tool, toilet tissue or napkins, a wrist watch, scorecards and pencils, a small note pad, a yardage book (if available), pin sheets (if provided), a range finder or GPS (if permitted), tees, a permanent marking pen, ball markers, a golf club brush, sunglasses and an umbrella. You should dress in layers so that you can remove or add clothing as necessary.
  • Before starting the round, clean all the club heads and grips. Count them to make certain there are no more than 14. Always know where the clubs are – it’s your responsibility to take care of them.
  • During the round use proper etiquette. Always be mindful of the other players in the group. Avoid making any kind of noise or movement while they are preparing to play and during their stroke. Perhaps the most valuable thing you can do for your player is to keep a close eye on their ball. Always visually mark and remember the location where you believe the ball stopped rolling. During your “get acquainted” round, decide whether you will attend flagsticks, repair ball marks, rake sand bunkers, serve as a forecaddie when tee shots are blind, replace divots, provide yardage or advice on shot selection, and read putts. If you decide to do all this, you’ll need to hustle.
  • After the round make sure all the clubs are clean and that there are the same number you started with. Bring the clubs to the car or locker room and put them away. This concludes your caddying duties for the day.

This only brushed at the edges of what it takes to be a good caddie. Craigg’s book is 136 pages of serious instruction. He covers everything from reading greens to reading the scorecard. You can purchase “Professional Golf Caddie Secrets Revealed” at Amazon or at

A golf architect in New Hampshire for over 20 years, Armstrong brought her craft to Las Cruces in January 2010. She is the founder of Armstrong Golf Architects, which provides planning, designing, permitting and construction monitoring services for golf course projects. You can comment on her writing and view past articles at her blog:


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