8 Qualities Every Good Golf Caddy Should Have

By Bradley Turner Keiser University College of Golf Director of Online Golf Instruction, MBA, PGA 

Playing golf with a superior caddy is the best way to enjoy a round of golf. One of my favorite caddy experiences just so happened to take place at one of the world’s great golf courses Cypress Pointe on the Monterey Peninsula. I did not know the caddy, but I sensed that he had a lot of experience caddying. He quickly assessed my golf skills with the help of a good drive, an iron shot onto the green, and then making a 20-footer for birdie to start the day. On the second tee, he explained that he would be happy to help me read greens if needed, but I politely declined the offer. He was cool with that but added, “if there is anything unusual, I will let you know.” On the par 3 third hole, he told me to add half a club more because it plays uphill. It looked perfectly flat to my eye, but I did what he suggested, resulting in my second birdie for the day. He provided yardages and important information on almost every shot throughout the round but never read any of my putts. On the 13th hole, as I was reading another 20-foot birdie putt, he said, “you are reading a break from left to right…but it is a straight putt.” This was the first time he spoke up when I was on the green. I could not possibly see the putt rolling straight, but I did what he asked and holed my third birdie of the day. I ended the day shooting a 68, the second-best round he had ever experienced as a caddy at Cypress Pointe, and he had been there for 13 years. Yes, a superior caddy can make a difference in your golf performance.

An experienced caddy provides many benefits to the player other than toting the golf bag for 18 holes.

What is a Golf Caddy?

Caddying is like any other profession. It takes time to gain the knowledge and experience to become very good at the craft. Here are eight qualities every good caddy should have, starting with the essential qualities and progressing to the highest qualities of a superior caddy.

Essential Caddy Qualities

1. Know the Caddy Protocols

The old-school rules of caddying suggested three things a caddy should do; show up, keep up, and shut up. While there is some truth in these suggestions, knowing where to stand, when to tend the flag, and how to care for the course are examples of basic caddy protocols that must be learned before venturing onto the golf course with a player’s bag on the shoulder. Keeping the clubs clean and the player’s ball in sight at all times are expectations for even a rookie caddy.

2. Know the Golf Course 

A caddy must be able to guide any player around the home golf course. Understanding the routing of the golf course is learned the first time on the golf course. With the use of range finders and yardage books, it is expected that a caddy will be able to provide any yardage to any target requested by the player. Providing accurate information to the player is important, yet understanding the unique aspects of the home golf course and the challenges players must overcome may take many rounds before a caddy is confident in profound knowledge of the golf course.

3. Know the Rules of Golf

Caddies are not expected to be golf rule officials, but it certainly is an advantage if the basic Rules of Golf are understood. Guiding a player through appropriate drop scenarios and free-relief situations is appreciated by most golfers. Since a caddy should know their golf course very well, they should also be familiar with typical rule situations that arise during a round on the home golf course.

Excellent Caddy Qualities

4. Strong Understanding of the Game

A strong understanding of the game takes experience on the golf course. There is no other way to truly understand the nuances of the game without numerous rounds of golf, either playing or caddying. The effect of wind, turf conditions, green speeds, and elevation changes are just a few examples of how an excellent caddy can help players navigate their way around the golf course.

5. Understand the Skill Level of Each Golfer 

This is another differentiator in an excellent caddy. A caddy will be confronted with a wide variety of golfers with different personalities and a wide array of golf abilities. An excellent caddy should be able to quickly assess a player’s golf handicap along with the distance they can hit a golf ball. Knowing what to say and how to say it to a player will take time and experience working with many different golfers.

6. Excellent Problem-Solving Skills

For a caddy to be an excellent problem solver on the golf course, the first five qualities of a good caddy must be mastered. Golfers will find themselves in all kinds of difficult situations on the golf course. A caddy that knows the game very well and is keenly aware of the golfer’s skill level will be able to provide sound problem-solving advice for their player.

Superior Caddy Qualities

7. Be Decisive with Your Player

I enjoy watching the interaction between a PGA Tour player and their caddy during golf telecasts. One of the essential qualities of a tour caddy is getting their player committed to hitting a golf shot. A high level of commitment in any athletic sport is key to superior performance. A caddy must be decisive in the belief of the best shot to play in a given scenario. The more decisive a caddy is, the more likely the player will commit to hitting a great shot.

8. Good Motivator and Coach

The game of golf can be very frustrating for every golfer. It is easy to become pessimistic if things are not going well for a player. A caddy can never be a pessimist and must be a positive voice for the player to listen to. Essentially, a caddy can become a surrogate golf coach during a round of golf. The ability to motivate and encourage a golfer is a challenging task at times, but something a superior caddy will do every round, and with every bag they carry.

How to Become a Golf Caddie

Caddies are not miracle workers, but they can make a round of golf better for their players. Caddying is a lifestyle occupation for those that appreciate the comradery with other golfers and enjoy the great outdoors. Most private club caddy programs have been replaced because of the use of motorized golf cars. However, some clubs continue with the traditions of introducing the game of golf to youngsters by learning to caddie. For those seeking opportunities in the caddying profession, companies like CaddieMaster will train and help candidates secure employment at some of the top golf facilities in America. For the right individual, caddying can be a great opportunity to unplug from the daily grind and embrace a stress-free lifestyle helping golfers enjoy the game they love.

1 comment

  1. Can you email this to me I’m a former graduate, and I love Keiser university so much!!! I have lots of thank you letters to send out this year.

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