MASTERING THE CADDY ROLE
QSteve, you were caddy for a number of golfers and I wonder how different they were as people to work for. How easy is it to adapt to working for someone new? You had a few long stints with some of the golfers so obviously you worked well together but when that ended and you moved on, how easy was it? I am supposing every golfer has individual things about their personality and the way they approach their golf you have to a) find out about and b) get used to.
J Anderson, Wellington
Having been fortunate to caddy for some great players, it’s interesting comparing them. Each player has a different temperament, different values and different ideas on the game. When you enter into a new partnership there are so many things you need to learn about the player, which takes some time. You have to learn all their tendencies: How do they react under pressure? What sort of shots do they tend to hit under pressure? Are they a morning person or not? You need to know when they like to be aggressive and when they prefer not to be.
The list is long, but to be a successful team you have to experience many different situations more than once and note the outcome for future reference. A player might want the honest truth on how you feel he is playing whilst another wants positive feedback only, nothing negative.
The relationship between a player and a caddy is indepth and quite unique, and whilst it takes time to adapt to a new player it’s important you earn their trust in your judgment immediately. The player relies on the caddy for so much and expects their judgment to be correct from the get-go. You even have to work out what is the best pace for the player to walk at, where he can mentally prepare for the next shot with a best thought process.
As far as moving on, as a caddy it’s generally very easy. You know there are no guarantees or contracts in place and you can be fired at any time, which is part and parcel of being a caddy.
It’s easy to get stale with a player, or for a player to want a different voice or opinion, and you have to respect that. It’s interesting, you generally have a feeling when your time is up with a player so it comes as no surprise when you’re let go.
Generally, there is no ill-feeling when caddies are fired or in the case of when a caddy leaves a player. However there are some exceptions when it ends on bad terms, which I can attest to.
Email your questions to Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org