The relationships between the top golfers and their caddies can win or lose major championships, and this also translates down to playing at an amateur level. If you are playing a course for the first time, then you may rely greatly on the information about the course from a loyal caddie. The etiquette of a caddie covers both the caddie and the player, it is quite an unusual relationship in many respects as the caddie may know the golfer’s best interests better than the golfer himself. So, there is a kind of etiquette also between the two.
The caddie is employed by the player and his primary function is to make certain the player plays the best he possibly can. To do this he has to:
- Carry the golf bag – carrying the golf bag brings many responsibilities such as ensuring no more than fourteen clubs are in it. Whilst carrying the bag the caddie must ensure the clubs don’t rattle around, and when reaching the green, place the bag down gently. These two acts prevent noise and damage to the course.
- Cleaning the golf clubs – the caddie should inspect the clubs regularly and clean them if necessary. This is normally done when the player hands back a club after a shot, the caddie ensures that it is clean and dry for the next shot.
- Cleaning the golf ball – if requested the caddie should also clean the ball.
- Taking care of the course – as the player damages the course with divots and so forth it is the caddy’s job to replace and repair, as well as any other blemishes they see on the course as they go around.
- Tending the flagstick – if requested to tend the flagstick then the caddies must behave like the players. The caddie must not step on any putting lines, keep their shadow away from the hole, and stand still when players take a putt. If the flag is asked to be taken out by the player, then it must be placed off the green and returned into the hole when play has finished.
- Keeping track of the golf ball – the caddie should keep an eye on all times where the ball is in flight and where it lands.
- Providing advice – probably the most important function of a caddie is to impart their knowledge of the course and the local conditions. A caddie should also give information on the rules, and to ensure the player does not fall foul of any.
How to Interact with a Caddie
Don’t hire a caddie if you are going to discuss important matters with your playing partner, it places the caddie in a very awkward position. Listen to the caddie with respect whether or not you choose to follow the advice. Always tip generously, remember he has been at your side four half of the day. The bond between a player and a caddie is an important one, and at the end of the day it all boils down to that of respect.