Goat caddies at The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch.  (Courtesy of Silvies Valley Ranch) Llama caddies have been available at Talamore Golf Resort in North Carolina since 1991.  (Courtesy of Talamore Golf Resort)

Goat caddies saddle up at Oregon's new Silvies Valley Ranch

Touring McVeigh's Gauntlet at The Retreat & Links at Silvies Valley Ranch last summer, it was clear to me that this seven-hole course would be extremely different than most golf experiences.

It was billed an "extreme" course with a collection of par 3s and short par 4s cut from the Oregon outback of sagebrush and pines. Holes twist through valleys with greens sitting precariously on ridges. You need a sense of adventure to play.

So it didn't surprise me when the resort revealed that the caddies used on this rugged trek would be, well, different - American Range Goats born, raised and trained on the ranch.


Yep, goats as your sherpa guides. They are being outfitted with special packs designed by Seamus Golf (an Oregon-based company) that carry drinks, balls, tees and a few clubs.

"We're truly redefining both goat and golf operations at the ranch," said Dr. Scott Campbell, veterinarian and owner of the ranch.

Video: Silvies Valley Ranch adds goat caddies

This isn't the first time caddies have gone animal. The Talamore Golf Resort's New Course in the North Carolina Sandhills has been offering llama caddies since the Rees Jones course debuted in 1991. In fact, the resort plans to add more llamas this year to gear up for several "special events" in 2018. What's next? Camel caddies in the Middle East? Elephants in Asia?

Hyping up goat caddies fits with the motif at Silves Valley Ranch: Remote ranch-style golf with a bit of whimsy. It's only the second resort in America with a regulation-sized, reversible course, the Hankins and Craddock loops. The reversible courses designed by Oregon's Dan Hixson feature bunker rakes decorated with sayings to make you laugh (or cry) for finding the sand.

Silvies Valley Ranch rakes

And it's not like the ranch - located three hours east of Bend - could bus in a bunch of professional caddies from Bandon Dunes Golf Resort seven hours away for your round. Maybe it's for the better. The goats won't talk back if you hit a bad shot. And they won't hand you the wrong club. Tipping depends upon their performance (wink, wink).

Interested in using the goat caddies? Is this too much of a gimmick to take seriously or too much fun to ignore? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Feb 13, 2018

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Jim Mesite's avatar
Jim Mesite wrote at 2018-02-16 00:52:08+00:00:

sure! It’d be fun! - we don’t have to post our score to the GHIN, do we?

JimP's avatar
JimP wrote at 2018-02-15 23:09:08+00:00:

Should use this idea on the pro tour, it would cut down on the conversations between caddie and pro golfer. It would truly improve the game, more golf and less talk. Should also have one in the booth for commentary.

kgsgolf@yahoo.com's avatar
kgsgolf@yahoo.com wrote at 2018-02-15 21:52:31+00:00:

In Jamaica we use da goat for the caddie an if he no good we make da curry mon. Irie irie every ding all right.

David's avatar
David wrote at 2018-02-15 21:20:06+00:00:

I tried this. The goat always said naa anytime I asked if I should use a certain club.

bobpope1@sbcglobal.net's avatar
bobpope1@sbcglobal.net wrote at 2018-02-14 15:27:17+00:00:

Goats--Great Idea--Smart Thinking---If I ever get within 500 miles of the place I will spend the night---

Peter Worley's avatar
Peter Worley wrote at 2018-02-14 15:16:15+00:00:

On the plus side, the goats could eat your card after a bad round, a variation of the dog ate my homework!

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Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 700 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.