Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....
, a caddy
) is the person who carries a player's bag and clubs, and gives insightful advice and moral support. A good caddy is aware of the challenges and obstacles of the golf course being played, along with the best strategy in playing it. This includes knowing overall yardage, pin placements and club selection. A caddy is not usually an employee of a private club or resort. He is classified as an "independent contractor," meaning that he is basically self employed and does not receive any benefits from his association with the club. Some clubs and resorts do have caddy programs, although benefits are rarely offered. Particularly in Europe, the vast majority of clubs do not offer caddies and amateur players will commonly carry their own bags.
The word caddie comes from the gascon
Gascon is usually considered as a dialect of Occitan, even though some specialists regularly consider it a separate language. Gascon is mostly spoken in Gascony and Béarn in southwestern France and in the Aran Valley of Spain...
, meaning chief
then younger boy
A cadet is a trainee to become an officer in the military, often a person who is a junior trainee. The term comes from the term "cadet" for younger sons of a noble family.- Military context :...
in French and refers to the Cadets de Gascogne
The Cadets de Gascogne, in English the Younger Sons of Gascony, were a French regiment under King Louis XIII. The regiment was mainly recruited from the youngest sons of the aristocratic families of Gascony....
, the captains serving in the French army in the 15th century were the youngest sons of the aristocratic families of Gascony
Gascony is an area of southwest France that was part of the "Province of Guyenne and Gascony" prior to the French Revolution. The region is vaguely defined and the distinction between Guyenne and Gascony is unclear; sometimes they are considered to overlap, and sometimes Gascony is considered a...
). The term caddie
first appeared in the English language in the year 1634.
Types of caddying
involves both the golfer
and the caddie
walking the course. The caddy is in charge of carrying the player’s bag, with the caddie out in front of the player. This is the most common method used in golf clubs and is the only method allowed in the PGA (Professional Golf Association) and LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)
The LPGA, in full the Ladies Professional Golf Association, is an American organization for female professional golfers. The organization, whose headquarters is in Daytona Beach, Florida, is best known for running the LPGA Tour, a series of weekly golf tournaments for elite female golfers from...
"Fore-Caddying" entails the caddie walking while the players ride in carts. The fore-caddy will give a hole description and then walk ahead to spot the players tee shots. The caddie then gets the players yardage (either with a laser, course knowledge, or sprinkler heads) while the players drive their carts from the tee to their shots. The caddy walks ahead again to spot the golfers next shots. This process is continued until the players reach the green. Once on the green the caddie will read greens (if asked per proper golf etiquette
Golf etiquette refers to a set of rules and practices designed to make the game of golf safer and more enjoyable for golfers and to minimize possible damage to golf equipment and courses. Although many of these practices are not part of the formal rules of golf, golfers are customarily expected to...
), clean golf balls (if asked), fix ball marks, and attend the flag if asked. The caddie is also responsible for raking traps on the course. Caddies will help with club selection, reading greens, weather variables, and marking balls on the green but should only do so if asked to by the player. More than anything else, the caddy is there to make the player's round enjoyable by taking care of menial tasks, speeding up play, and providing mental support if asked.
Most clubs use a ranking system. Caddies will start as a trainee, and be promoted through the ranks of Intermediate, Captain, Honor, and finally Championship. Many courses start their caddies off at the B level, and after a year move them to A, and on their fourth year (if they have earned it), they will receive the title of Honor caddy. The intermediate and captain ranks can usually be obtained within the first year of caddying, and the honor rank is usually obtained in the second or third year of caddying. Championship takes at least 6 years and often as many as 10 years to obtain. An alternative ranking system often used in the American Mid-West proceeds as B level, A level, AA level, Honor level, and Evans Scholar. Caddies often obtain a promotion in rank once a year, while often Honor takes two years to achieve and Evans Scholars are only produced by winning the venerable Evans Scholarship for university.
Caddies are most frequently employed at clubs on weekends, when the majority of country club golf takes place. Some (but usually not as many) opportunities to caddy exist during the week, as well. Additionally, caddies are often allowed to play the course at which they caddy for free, usually on a Monday (the day that most private clubs choose to close their course for maintenance). On pro golf tours, professional caddies accompany their player to all events, which usually take place from Thursday through Sunday. Additionally, the player may hire their caddy to carry their bag for them during training sessions and practice rounds.
At most clubs, caddies are paid at the end of the round by cash, or receive a payment ticket for which they can redeem their wages in the clubhouse. Generally, the player will tip the caddy based on their performance during the round, with extra money given for exemplary work. Most American club caddies earn between $35 and $100 per bag, though newer caddies will often earn less and more experienced caddies or caddies working during a tournament, high-stakes match, or 4-Day member-guest will often earn significantly more, upwards of $100 per round, per bag, at times. It is considered acceptable to ask a professional at the course what the average pay for a caddie is, as courses differ.
In a professional golf tour setting, a player often pays their caddy a percentage of their winnings, which can be as high as 10%. A common pay scale is 5% for making the cut, 7% for a top 10, and 10% for a win. The caddy also usually receives a salary, as the player is not guaranteed to win money at every tournament.
Typical attire and equipment
- Collared shirt
- Khaki shorts or pants
- Gym shoes or golf shoes
A smock-frock or smock is an outer garment traditionally worn by rural workers, especially shepherds and waggoners, in parts of England and Wales from the early eighteenth century...
- Towel, partly wet to clean the clubs and the ball
- Ballmark repair tool
- pencil, scorecard, and pin sheet
- Yardage book
- Yardage laser