Caddy pointing out a hazard to the golfer on a par 4 fairway

What Caddies Say Behind Your Back

This article originally appeared on

For many of you, playing golf with a caddie is one of the most stressful and nerve-racking things you can think of.

And I'm not going to lie -- caddies can be judgmental and share some choice words when you're out of earshot.

You might be surprised, however, to learn exactly what they're saying...and the simple things you can do to ensure you both have a positive experience.

Yes, caddies talk amongst themselves about the players they carry for, but they're not commenting on your swing. The reality is, as ugly as you think your move is, they've seen worse. And as good as you think you are, they've seen better.

Rather, they are more likely griping about the three pounds of unnecessary "water balls" you didn't think to remove from your bag; your annoying iron headcovers they have to fiddle with; or that you didn't even ask if they wanted a bottle of water at the turn.

It's these and other things that cause tension and stress between caddies and players.

So, whether you use caddies often, rarely, or you're preparing for that inevitable first time, you will have a much better experience if you follow these three simple rules:

1. Relax.

Again, you're probably most stressed about someone watching, judging (or potentially laughing about) your swing, but caddies have seen it all.

More important is that you don't slow the group down. Not to take all the romance out of it, but like anyone else in business, time is money for caddies. They are just trying to get through the round as efficiently as possible so they can get paid and grab another loop...or get paid and leave for the day.

So, hit the ball as many times as you like (within reason), but do it briskly. Keep in mind, too, a caddie's sole purpose is to help you play well, so thinking of them as your teammate ("it's us against the golf course") can help settle you down.

2. Be Considerate.

This starts by acknowledging the caddie; a friendly introduction and small talk about the course will start things off on the right foot. (It's also a great way to gauge how much experience your caddie has, which is important for #3 below.)

And remember those water balls? Take them and everything else you don't need out of your bag to lighten the load. In a bunker? Try to minimize the amount of footprints your caddie needs to rake. Buying food/drinks at the turn? Offer something to your caddie. It will likely be turned down, but the gesture will be appreciated. And regardless of what you see on tour, always hand your clubs to your caddie; never toss or drop them on the ground for him/her to pick up.

3. Be Firm.

Don't misconstrue the above consideration for coddling. At the end of the day, your caddie works for you, so you have every right to expect service with a smile.

For a bag-carrying caddie (not a forecaddie) this includes providing distances, handing and cleaning clubs, reading greens, tending flags, washing balls, raking bunkers, and replacing divots. They should also honor your preferences regarding each.

It's probably best to allow caddies a few holes to prove themselves before you decline or disregard their services or advice, but if you'd prefer not to have their help with, say, green reading or club selection from the outset, definitely say so (politely) before you tee off.

Managing expectations instead of playing the guessing game will better serve everyone involved, especially when it comes to compensation. So, while a double-bag carrying caddie may expect $40-$80 per bag (or $50-$100+ for a single bag) you can adjust to reflect the amount and quality of services provided.

So...relax, be considerate, and be firm and the only thing caddies will be saying about you -- or to you -- is how much they'd like to accompany you on another round.

What's your best advice for playing with a caddie?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

Mar 19, 2014

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Sodapop's avatar
Sodapop wrote at 2017-04-24 12:19:35+00:00:

Remember guys one last thing. When you are going to a big resort. You pay caddie fees. These fees are divided three ways typically. The resort gets their about 15%. The caddie company, contracted by the resort gets about 45%. Then the remaining 40 goes to the caddie. So when your tipping your caddie remember they don't get all the fee.

Chris's avatar
Chris wrote at 2017-04-24 05:25:24+00:00:

I have Josh Parrish every trip at Pebble Beac for the last 10 years. He is often double and triple booked so you would be lucky to get him. .. I have had top caddies at the best courses and Josh is by far the best. He gives perfect information and takes lots of pictures.

Joe's avatar
Joe wrote at 2017-02-07 17:51:23+00:00:

I've played with caddies in several different countries and on numerous occasions always a pleasant day. Love the comment about treating the caddie as you would like being treated yourself.

If you are experienced don't be afraid to offer up a little advice to players that haven't used a caddie. All will appreciate it.

Jim's avatar
Jim wrote at 2016-11-21 15:14:50+00:00:

I had a caddie named Moze on a links course near Tunica MS, I hit a fairway wood on my second shot on a par 5 that was over a slight rise. Moze had told me to stay to right side of fairway. Not bad I thought, ball appeared to be heading down what should have been center of fairway. Moze asked 'your ball swim', he saw my puzzled look and added 'it better, it in da water'.

Cathy Allys's avatar
Cathy Allys wrote at 2016-08-30 08:03:47+00:00:

@Kathy H

At (Golfzoo) they treated well and assists you in a nice way they also offer affordable golf courses and golf packages try to visit their site its interested I also tried it :)

Kathy H's avatar
Kathy H wrote at 2016-07-26 15:07:29+00:00:

I like to tell my caddie exactly what I would and would NOT like from him/her. It is always appreciated. I DO try to be as generous and considerate as I can be, as per your suggestions.

I find that some of my playing partners, with whom I may share a caddie, are unhappy because the caddie "talks too much" or gives "tips". My theory is that unless you tell them what you want and need, they may continue to annoy you. So SPEAK UP! How can they accommodate you if they don't know your needs?

BKLooper's avatar
BKLooper wrote at 2016-07-21 07:19:50+00:00:

99.9999% of players are not good at this game. That makes the caddie's job difficult. When you magically flush that 160 club for a 145 shot uphill over the green and groan it was too much club .... Really? I wasn't over clubbing. I was allowing for

Error. Plus hitting more club and swing with control is the way to play. Also any amateur who really blames a caddie for bad reads is a jerk. You want to make

More putts? Practice. Also get the ball to the hole. Miss on the high side. If you miss

On the low side every time you will never make a putt

Ralph's avatar
Ralph wrote at 2016-02-13 18:02:43+00:00:

I played a late PM round at St. Andrews, and as a single, I had to tote my own bag because the caddy master had run out of loopers for that day. This was my first and only round at the Old Course, so of course I was disappointed. But one of caddies in our four ball volunteered advice now and then throughout the round and frankly saved me! Great young man. On the other hand, an older, experienced caddy at Pebble was about the worst caddie ever. He had a bad, grumbly attitude from the start, and even after I shared my average shot distances with him, dover-clubbed me every shot. He also gave me a terrible target on hole number 8, way left of where I should have been aiming. Then on my second shot on 18, I still kick myself for listening to him again. I took the 5-wood he gave me ("because of the wind") and hit it through the back left bunker and into the Pacific. Sometimes it's best to keep your own counsel.

Lien's avatar
Lien wrote at 2015-12-04 17:37:03+00:00:

Oh, there's all SORTS of things that could be done with this. Have the girls mark your drive (they stand in eneolsurcs at the ~225 yard point off the tee and go to spot your drive so you find it), they tee up your drive, they tend the flag...essentially, you have 'eye candy stations' around the course, where there are 'female experiences,' but you ride in the cart with your buds, where all the great conversation happens.I'm not sure I'd want a strange girl riding in the cart with me the whole time (though I'm sure some would), but bits and pieces would work well.Many courses do this to some extent with the 'drink cart' girl: they're almost always cute girls. This just takes it to a different level.

Tom G's avatar
Tom G wrote at 2015-07-16 23:48:07+00:00:

Had Jason Little on our bags at Bandon for all the courses and praise Jesus for that. What a lifesaver. We had such an enjoyable time and it would have been miserable without him. I'd recommend $150 a bag per round. He is a senior caddy and we also had another caddy who wasn't that good who was very negative and so we ditched that guy. Believe his name was Joey? Anyway he complained about pay etc. Jason little though really knew the courses and reads and made us look like much better golfers on each course.

Wes's avatar
Wes wrote at 2015-03-21 00:52:18+00:00:

I played a short while on tour in late 80's and met my longtime caddy while qualifying for the Houston Open.His player didn't show and my caddy spent the night in jail,so we kinda found each other in desperation. The one rule we agreed on was to"keep everything light". He helped me by keeping everything on the course light and in perspective,"it's just a game Wes,but remember it's the only game"he love to tell me when things were going the wrong way.I had a 5 footer to make the cut at New Orleans on the 18th and asked his advice and was told "I don't care how you play it because you can't miss it,impossible,".Jay was right we had a good tournament that week.

Rob's avatar
Rob wrote at 2015-01-13 14:57:35+00:00:

I love playing golf with a caddy, especially on a very good course. As a youngster I caddied for three summers so I knew what to expect and how to treat a caddy.

I have always had a caddy on trips to play in Scotland and Ireland and generally they are "characters" whose jokes and attitude add much to the experience.

When they are betting with one another on their golfers score (and in the UK they often do that even when the golfers do not have a match with each other) then they have a special interest in making you successful that day and you will no doubt get sage advice on where to aim your shots, what club to use and which way the greens break.

I have played about 18 great courses in Ireland and Scotland and had only one bad caddy experience that at the Old Course from a young guy with a bad and unpleasant demeanor and I thought about not tipping him, but did eventually tip 15 Quid. Have had great caddies at Bandon Dunes and at Cabot Links, the latter one of my best golf experiences ever. At Pebble Beach I shared a caddy and he was overworked because the other golfer was terrible and he wanted the caddy to do everything but hit the shot for him.

Frank N's avatar
Frank N wrote at 2015-01-07 02:42:23+00:00:

I've had good caddies and bad caddies but what I resent is paying a large green fee for a course and then being told that I have to take a mandatory caddie. And since I'm playing as a single (though I say I'd be happy to be paired up with someone) I need to then pay the caddie extra. Streamsong in Florida was the worst for that- made me take a caddy, then sent me out as a single for both rounds- the caddie cost me an additional $180 on top of the high end green fees!

Gerry Stratford's avatar
Gerry Stratford wrote at 2015-01-06 23:32:07+00:00:

Tony Pioppi is a regular contributor to Supervisor Magazine (a sounding board for the Golf Course Maintenance Industry) and last summer he travelled to Scotland and hired out as a caddie. In his November submission to GM, he made an honest confession: “I lied to you, it’s what Caddies do.”

One of golf’s lesser-known secrets is that caddies frequently engage in wagers about the outcome of matches on their loop. And, they find ways to adjust bespoke handicaps and make the battle balanced even when the respective players are just playing a “friendly” and may have no expressed contest between themselves.

It usually takes only a couple of holes before the caddies have made an assessment of the relative abilities of their respective employers and the bet is on.

From that point it is very much in each Looper’s interest to assist his player as much as possible, and one of the best ways to do that is to misrepresent the reality facing the golfer. The fact is that most amateur golfers have an unrealistic appreciation of their capabilities.

Being told that the flag is 150 yards away and that you should hit your seven-iron fits perfectly into your inflated self-image. Would it disappoint you to know that the caddie knew not only that the actual yardage was about 135 yards, but also had seen what you were actually capable of doing with a seven-iron?

Or, perhaps in twenty years of play, you have not realized that on long putts your longer takeaway opens up the face so much that you never get it back to square, and that you invariably push the ball to the right. That’s why Tony would line you up a foot to the left on long putts, even though there is no break at all.

Tony, however, did not divulge my favorite lie of all. One day, after a round at Carnoustie, where my playing partners and I had discussed a post-round visit to the pub across the road, I was surprised to look up from a single malt to see my caddie come through the door and wave to me. “So glad I found you, Mr. Gerry,” he said. “I discovered I had your spare ball in me bib, an’ I wanted to gee it back to ye.” My subsequent purchase of two pints of beer and a wee dram a’ dorris for the fellow was my “thank you” for the return of a ball I would not have missed. The fact that he had not overlooked it, but rather had slipped it discretely into his pocket while the clubs were scrubbed and my partners and I shook hands on the porch gave a whole new meaning to the phrase, “pre-shot routine.”

Bob's avatar
Bob wrote at 2015-01-06 16:26:05+00:00:

I am a professional looper, a few years on the LPGA Tour, and for the past 25 at very high end country clubs. When you meet your looper, if you say "you have a great are outside, get plenty of exercise.." Those are code words for, there is no way we are going to tip you. Also, if you ask a looper if you can play additional holes...the clock is running. Thanks

MTR's avatar
MTR wrote at 2015-01-05 13:34:09+00:00:

Walking with a caddie is the most enjoyable golf experience IMO. If you are nervous, just remember that your caddie is your best friend that day and trust him. That means distances, clubs, putting lines, when to go/not to go for it, sharing some jokes, golf conversation, etc. He will know that a shot plays longer or shorter than what the yardage says, so swing what he gives you with confidence. Chances are you will probably score better than expected that day. Some advice: if your caddie is double bagging and you and your buddy's balls lay a mile apart, take a couple clubs and a wedge and say, "see you at the green". Also, don't pull clubs or redeposit clubs while your caddie is on the move with 2 bags. Either hand a club back, or carry it to the next shot, or ask for a new club and he'll pull it for you. Lastly, walking with a caddie allows you to take in the scenery, take some deep breaths as you shake off that chunked wedge, enjoy the nuances of the course architecture, and share stories with them and your buddies. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Matt's avatar
Matt wrote at 2014-03-29 19:14:05+00:00:

I have played the open rota in Scotland and many great US courses with caddies. Never had a bad experience although some were certainly better than others. Far and away the best was my 4 days at Bandon Dunes. Shout out to Chubbs!! Made a friend for life and the experience so much better!

paul motta's avatar
paul motta wrote at 2014-03-20 22:14:25+00:00:

These are too funny. Never had a caddy. Except a 1949 one.

Steve's avatar
Steve wrote at 2014-03-20 19:32:28+00:00:

I was playing with a buddy at Bandon and he decided mid trip to quit using caddies. He had not had a bad experience. Rather, it just took some of the fun away. He felt like a robot rather than the challenge of determining what club to hit based on wind, elevation, pin position, etc. It's stuck with me ever since. My competitor my have an advantage but I think I have more fun caddy-less.

Bill's avatar
Bill wrote at 2014-03-20 19:29:49+00:00:

I had a caddie at Carnoustie who told me there was a green side trap on the left of the eighteenth green, so I aimed for the right side. When we got there my ball was in the green side trap on the right. I asked the caddie why she didn't tell me about the trap on the right. She said "I didn't think you needed to know." Her tip reflected her attitude.

Alan Bernstein's avatar
Alan Bernstein wrote at 2014-03-20 14:08:46+00:00:

I am a new golfer at 66 and am "capable but inconsistent". Had a caddie at the Ritz in Orlando and he asked what my goal was. I said " play in the Senior open"

He said "did that last year" He was a former tour pro who was now a Caddie but kept very mum about his past.

we were alone and we had a great round together. I damm well listened to what he had to say.

When he played the SO he had no support at all and I told him that if he qualifies again, I would support him if I could caddie for him.

Bobby B's avatar
Bobby B wrote at 2014-03-20 13:27:09+00:00:

My only caddie I've had was at Royal Troon in Scotland. With wind howling and rain coming at us sideways, my caddie asked what type of shot I normally hit. "Normally a draw" to which he replied, "Hit the ball towards the ocean". What? I followed his advice and watched as the ball returned to the middle of fairway. Second shot, same thing. Out over the water only to return to left edge of green. Now the greatest advice I have ever gotten: "Putt the ball here and the wind will blow the ball uphill to the hole". You gotta be kidding me. As the ball almost stopped below the hole a strong blast of wind kept the ball rolling, and yes, uphill to the cup. BIRDIE! What a day. Caddies are the best in Scotland. What a crew we had.

Tony's avatar
Tony wrote at 2014-03-20 04:46:54+00:00:

My friend was having the round of his life 1 over the card after 12 holes (off a 14 handicap) and he asked his Filipino caddy of many years what she thought and she looked him in the eye and said you are not this good sir!!!

James Y's avatar
James Y wrote at 2014-03-20 00:58:14+00:00:

Very, interesting. Being a learner at present I found the stories most educational and the etiquette very bennifical. I caddied when I was much younger. The humor of some is priceless.

LarBud's avatar
LarBud wrote at 2014-03-20 00:18:26+00:00:

Back in the 80's, my first caddie, Raymond, in Panama commented on one of my better shots..."You hit that one just like Jack Nicholson!" I did a double-take after realizing that he said Nicholson vs. Nicolas! He read every putt perfectly, all I had to do was hit the line.

Mike's avatar
Mike wrote at 2014-03-19 23:09:23+00:00:

I've been a caddie for years and worked all over, including a season at Augusta. I've caddied for both Tiger and Annika a few times. I've also caddied for resort golfers who hit their first golf shots EVER on the first tee, and everything in between. I think your article is dead on. Definitely don't be nervous because most of us have seen it all. I don't care how good a player anyone is, I just like it when they have a good time and interact with me. And yes... Tiger is a good tipper and a nice guy.

Randy's avatar
Randy wrote at 2014-03-19 22:42:21+00:00:

So on the 18th fairway the caddie, who was pretty bad the entire way, asks me "so how am I doing so far," obviously looking for a sizeable tip."To tell the truth," I told him, "you must be the worst caddie I've ever seen." He replied, "I doubt it sir, that would be too much of a coincidence."

Alan Cooper's avatar
Alan Cooper wrote at 2014-03-19 22:07:51+00:00:

For anyone coming to Australia - don't expect a caddy! I've played at many courses all over Australia and have never been offered a caddy. It is normal to have a golf buggy for your bag or ride a cart if you're not fit enough to walk the course. The use of a GPS, course maps and playing with a local member have all contributed to make caddies as redundant as typewriters. Sad but true.

Brian's avatar
Brian wrote at 2014-03-19 22:04:22+00:00:

Always, always laugh at your friend whose caddie at Peachtree gives him a yardage to the middle of a pond, and he's still stung by it 5 years later. And avoid a caddie at Cypress who has been on vacation for 2 weeks and has forgotten his distances on the course. And avoid the kid at NGLA who wouldn't even rake bunkers.

Good caddies are fantastic. Bad caddies can spoil your day and often it's a lottery which one you will get. I think point 3 in the article is excellent advice.

Ralph's avatar
Ralph wrote at 2014-03-19 21:56:44+00:00:

Had a great rapport with my caddie at St And Old course last summer, until about the 14th hole when he handed me a driver. Instead I listened to my son's caddie and asked for my 5 wood to lay up. He was very quiet the rest of the round. I should have been more discrete about changing clubs.

Howard Groopman's avatar
Howard Groopman wrote at 2014-03-19 20:42:50+00:00:

Golfer: "I'd move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course."

Caddie: "Try heaven, you've already moved most of the earth."

Golfer: "Do you think my game is improving?"

Caddie: "Yes sir, you miss the ball much closer now."

Golfer: "Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?"

Caddie: "Eventually."

Golfer: "Please stop checking your watch all the time. It's too much of a distraction."

Caddie: "It's not a watch - it's a compass."

Golfer: "This is the worst course I've ever played on."

Caddie: "This isn't the golf course. We left that an hour ago."

Golfer: "That can't be my ball, it's too old."

Caddie: "It's been a long time since we teed off, sir."

Golfer: "Think I'm going to drown myself in the lake."

Caddie: "Think you can keep your head down that long?"

Golfer: " Before I hire you, caddie, tell me, are you good at finding lost golf balls?

Caddie: "Yes sir, I am the best.

Golfer: Caddie, how would you have played that last shot?

Caddie: "Under an assumed name."

Tom's avatar
Tom wrote at 2014-03-19 20:37:01+00:00:

Have had great experiences with caddies but one not so great caddie day was at the Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda. It was early in the season and I brought my brand new, never used Titleist blades to the club. We were introduced to a gentleman in a long trench coat, who had to be no younger than 80. He immediately took my bag and lost the grip and all the irons slid out of the carry bag and most hit the macadam pavement, pocking the beautiful faces. He never even apologized, just put the clubs back in. He then rooted through the pockets ( remember, it was a carry, or Sunday bag) and tossed aside an extra glove or two, all but three or four balls, and said 'you shouldn't need more than this'...

He wasn't a bad looper, after that....hard to believe, he kept up, despite Mid Ocean being really hilly...

Chris Robinson's avatar
Chris Robinson wrote at 2014-03-19 20:14:42+00:00:

I had a caddy at Muirefield Scotland quite a few years ago.

I was playing badly.

After about three bad holes I hit a lovely drive middle of the fairway.

I turned to the caddy and said what do you think I should hit.

He replied - Oh I don't know laddie you hit them all badly !

He did not get a tip !

Hank's avatar
Hank wrote at 2014-03-19 18:08:02+00:00:

Golf is meant to be walked.

Golf Carts & Cart Paths suck.

Golf real estate overdevelopment & their sh*t designs are thankfully dying.

God bless loopers, to hell with the industrialization of golf.

Caddies and Caddie Programs will make a resurgence this century thanks to our ever increasing have and have not society.

This is a good thing, you know why?

Cause the coolest golfers... the most interesting characters and their golf swings came from caddy yards.

See for yourself ->

Rachelle's avatar
Rachelle wrote at 2014-03-19 17:47:51+00:00:

The first time I ever had a caddy was @25 years ago at La Costa. Our caddy was over 80 years old and carried my bag plus my husband's bag. That was the only job he ever had in his lifetime - he was a real sweetheart. It was a wonderful experience for both of us...

D's avatar
D wrote at 2014-03-19 17:01:53+00:00:

We had Oliver Horwitz the author of an American Caddy come to our club, for a book signing. He caddied at St. Andrews for 5 to 6 years. The back stories about caddies and what they do is humorous and amazing

Good read

JimH's avatar
JimH wrote at 2014-03-19 16:57:51+00:00:

I had a caddie one year at Pebble Beach who when giving me the yardage into a green early in the round noted "...and whatever you do keep the ball to the left of the flagstick". Well of course I end up pushing the shot to the right and as he's putting the club back in the bag he says " do realize that the one with your watch on it is your "left" arm, correct?" I turned around ready to give him a piece of my mind for the smart*** comment but found him standing there with a grin on his face and we both started laughing. It certainly broke the ice early in the round and we had a great time the rest of the day.

Dave's avatar
Dave wrote at 2014-03-19 16:52:35+00:00:

Having been on the bag back in the day I have two pieces of advice. Treat the caddy like you would want to be treated. And don't be bashful about asking him or her how long they've worked at the particular course that you're on-if it's less than two seasons-read your own putts!

Larry's avatar
Larry wrote at 2014-03-19 16:50:30+00:00:

My advice to those who love and respect the game (regardless of ability) is to use a caddy whenever possible, especially on a world class course. Unless the caddy is brand new, over the course of several hours you should gain some great insight into the history and nuances of the golf course and club. Plus there is always the possibility of experiencing something that will stick with you for the rest of your life. An example: on our dream golf trip to Scotland we started at Glen Eagles. The first hole is a par 5 and I killed my drive to the point that I was 40 yards in front of my buddies. I had already decided to go for the green in two and, just as my friends walked up to my shot, I asked my caddy if he thought I could get a 3 iron there. He thought a moment and then said "aye lad, eventually....". My three buddies fell on the ground and their caddies chuckled as well.

JQ's avatar
JQ wrote at 2014-03-19 16:49:53+00:00:

I've used caddies many times in the US as well as Scotland and Ireland and would say almost all were great experiences except a pair we had at Lahinch who were the worst ever. They seemed more interested in everything except us and at one point even went two holes over to watch the clean up from a car wreck on the road adjacent to the course while we continued to play. My best experiences were with caddies who know a bit about the history and architecture of the course and want to engage in good golf conversation. I always try to treat them as a partner who will help me get the most enjoyment out of a course, especially if it's my first time on it.

Larry's avatar
Larry wrote at 2014-03-19 16:32:10+00:00:

Had an interesting and not favorable experience at Pebble Beach involving caddies. We had a mixed group, one guy walking with caddie, two sharing a cart and caddie and me alone in a cart, no caddie. I have a physical problem that stops me from walking the course anymore.

I was the best golfer in the group by far and thought having such a mixed bag distracted from the overall experience. I thought our group lost its camaraderie and attention to usual golf etiquette. PB is cart path only and by the time I got in and out of my cart and walked to the ball, the others were often basically moving on, especially the walker with caddie, It was not unusual for the walker and caddie to be walking in front of me before I even got to my ball, especially since I often was the longest hitterl. They often were 100 yards down the fairway after hitting second shots before I even got to my ball.

The caddies paid strict attention to their employers as they should but my partners lost all perspective about who they were playing golf with. Just having two more people in the group added to the potential for problems. I had to step away from my ball on more than one occasion because of conversations between caddie and golfer, usually initiated by the golfer. I had to ask on more than one occasion for the group to stop and pay attention to avoid hitting into them. I chalk this up to their inexperience rather than any fault of the caddies. Usually, this group is very mindful of etiquette but the bucket list trip to PB and having caddies along trumped their usual behavior. So I suggest, when all are not using caddies, especially at any course that you cant take the cart on the course, that you have a frank discussion about etiquette and remind each other why you are there with your each other. Do not become absorbed by the caddie experience at the expense of you and your joint experience.

Lex's avatar
Lex wrote at 2014-03-19 16:27:09+00:00:

I have had good and bad experiences with caddies; in recent years, unfortunately, many bad. At Bandon, one complained bitterly about the weight of my bag. We went through it, and, yes, I had rain gear and 3 extra sleeves of balls. The previous round, I had lost 7 balls, playing in rain and wind, so I wouldn't have taken anything out had I been carrying myself. He also was double-bagging, and the other bag and I weren't always hitting 'em in the same place, so perhaps running back and forth had something to do with his bad mood. It certainly meant that he rarely had time to relax, look at the shot, and give me any worthwhile advice. He did wait until I was over the ball once, then blurted out "you'll really have to hit that club" -- leading to a cold sh***.

On the other hand, generally great experiences with Scottish and Irish caddies, who are often club members themselves and love to be genial hosts. There was one at Troon, however, who blew his nose on the towel. Needless to say, I didn't let him clean my ball afterwards!

Fitzy's avatar
Fitzy wrote at 2014-03-19 16:21:42+00:00:

Make your caddie a team mate, not a servant and you will have a chance to play as well as you can. At St. Andrews (Old Course) I sprayed a week drive on the first hole and had 175 left with the pin tucked right behind the burn. Caddie: "What do you hit 175 Sir?", Me: "Whatever I hit 175 won't stop, hand me my wedge." 90 yards now left. Sand wedge to 12 feet. Made the putt. Caddie: Oh we're playin' golf sir!" Best day ever! Coached all the way around and away from trouble to a best ever 82. I was a 17 handicap then and the Caddie saved me at least 8 shots.

Chris's avatar
Chris wrote at 2014-03-19 16:21:39+00:00:

I treat a caddie like my personal servant. They get paid a generous wage to do a job they chose to do. Go wait tables if you don't like being my bitch.

golfer1john's avatar
golfer1john wrote at 2014-03-19 16:20:49+00:00:

I like caddy stories. One golfer was in the rough, inspecting the lie, pushing the grass behind the ball, and asked the caddy "What do you think, 3 wood?"

"Not yet, sir".

In Ireland, an American dubbed his drive off the first tee, and teed up another ball, saying "In America, we call this a Mulligan. What do you call it here?"


Dick Culhane's avatar
Dick Culhane wrote at 2014-03-19 15:52:30+00:00:

I seldom use caddies, but I am often in a foursome with caddies present. Many golfers think that caddies must be golfers, and pretty good ones -to spend so much time on golf. And ,therefore, must know all the rules. Thus, they use the caddie as the final arbiter in a sticky rules situation. I think this is a mistake. It has been my impression that caddies, in general, have no special knowledge of the rules and should be left out of any discussion.

Ed's avatar
Ed wrote at 2014-03-19 15:49:37+00:00:

Good article! I have a suggestion for a another. Stories on caddy experiences. There are some great stories/quotes to be had. (My brother lining up his putt on the then brand new Kingsbarns course turns to his caddy and asks for the line. The caddy careful examines the putt and says "You're on your own.")

Shanky's avatar
Shanky wrote at 2014-03-19 15:39:02+00:00:

Bad caddies act interested in you and your round, but you can tell they're just after a big tip.

Good caddies are genuinely interested in you and your round.

Great can't tell.

Matt's avatar
Matt wrote at 2014-03-19 15:32:54+00:00:

We have a strong caddie program at my home club and one thing that I know bothers them is walking out in front. Of course it's OK when chatting up the foursome, but when its just you and he heading to your ball it is insulting to silently walk ahead of him rather than walking up together in conversation.

Old Caddy's avatar
Old Caddy wrote at 2014-03-19 15:31:04+00:00:

I love caddy programs, and wish, even pray, their were more. Caddies are human beings, working for tips. They need to offer a service, and perform well. However, sometimes we get he runt of the yard, or the rabbit that will be more helped by me, then I will be by him. Enjoy the company, use the caddy as a sound board but always understand these 2 things. Ultimately the decision is the players, and commit to the shot.

Additionally read up on the Etiquette of the Game.

Scott's avatar
Scott wrote at 2014-03-19 15:28:01+00:00:

When at St A old I really could not afford the caddy, but I was fortunate to play with two British PGA pros (club, but good) and the three of us played from the back. The young caddy from St A college found out I had caddied in my youth, and while he was in employ of the 4th in our group ( a very surly american) he took great pleasure in helping the whole group if it did not detract from his own player. He was considerate, and at the end when the yank didn't tip him, the 3 of us chimed in with 10-20 bob each just to help him out. I will try to employ caddies in future, but it is a big $$ sometimes. The only time I did, unfortunately the guy was a total boob, it was at a big name US course, and frankly was only interested in the $$. The UK guys seem more fun, characters, and worth it, but my experience is granted, limited. More courses should try to run caddy programs, few do.

Mike's avatar
Mike wrote at 2014-03-19 15:22:33+00:00:

I had caddies on a dream trip to Scotland. If you treat them like a playing partner they will be your best friend for the entire round. It's only a game have fun and enjoy the day.

Greg's avatar
Greg wrote at 2014-03-19 15:19:08+00:00:

I play at Golf Club of Houston where we have a caddy program, and caddies are required for non-members playing the Tournament course. I always tell them before we start that I want to handle my own clubs. Having them worry about picking them up or handling them while I am in a bunker or on the green messes up my mental routine. If I want a club cleaned, I'll ask.

I also tell them if I want help reading a green, I will ask for it. They appreciate the heads up before a round. I also always offer them something when we make the turn... drink, food, whatever. It is a 7.2 mile hike around the Tournament Course in Houston heat... better to hydrate them than have to carry them in. :-)

clloydm's avatar
clloydm wrote at 2014-03-19 15:17:27+00:00:

I was once told by a very worldly guy that if you are using a Caddie on a course with Carts/Cars you should tip at least twice the Cart Fee. Probably still holds.

Steve Pearson's avatar
Steve Pearson wrote at 2014-03-19 15:17:09+00:00:

Share the quality of the experience with the caddie master,outside services supervisor or pro shop. Your input will assist the facility in improving their caddie program

trevor's avatar
trevor wrote at 2014-03-19 15:09:49+00:00:

I caddied for tour pros and the rest, and here is the best thing. Hit the ball to the middle of the green and keep going, your caddy will keep you out of trouble with distances, and lastly only one group is making money playing golf.

BradO's avatar
BradO wrote at 2014-03-19 15:06:41+00:00:

If my caddy can laugh me on course, that's great for my game. I once chunked a 3 hybrid about 90 yds on the 2nd hole, and the caddy broke the embarrassed tension with "Huh. I didn't know they made a 60 degree hybrid." We had a great time for the rest of the round. I got back at him by aiming for every bunker on the course!

Kent's avatar
Kent wrote at 2014-03-19 15:05:06+00:00:

I caddied during college and this article is dead on. Follow this advice and the caddie will be your best friend and provide more enjoyment to your round than taking the cart.

Craig Better

Staff Writer

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine,, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.