You may be familiar with the person who followers golfers around while they play, setting their ball onto a peg before a shot or slinging the clubs over their shoulder. Those are the Caddies and while they are a long running tradition in golf not many actually know what they do.
The Caddie first became popularized in the 19th century within the game of golf but the name has existed since the 17th century. It generally referred to someone to did odd jobs but in the context of golf it referred to the person who would carry clubs for the golfer.
In recent times the responsibilities have expanded, Caddie’s are often at the whim of the regulations and ranks of a particular club, they are of course paid and also sometimes receive tips. The later has become more traditional.
So what exactly do they do? Well first and foremost the Caddie’s carry golf clubs. This was their original purpose, and at each hole the golfer will often request which type of club to use, the Caddie will be the one to remove the club and hand it to the golfer. In professional competition the Caddie can actually become an integral part of their play, helping the golfer pick the right club and give experienced recommendations. Caddie’s are highly respected and highly paid in the professional realm for that reason.
Caddies must be in shape, as a lot of times it can be more tiring than being a golfer. Might not be a bad idea to try something like stimukal, to help you get into the shape you are looking for:
Caddie’s also do something called “Raking” which means when a golfer hits their ball into sand traps or bunkers the Caddie must enter the area and return it to it’s original condition once the golfer has hit their ball away. They must also tend to any disturbance made to the course itself due to the golfers play, such as knocking away chunks of grass or dirt.
After a sandy interaction the clubs may become dirty, either from a sand-trap or general use. Caddie’s are responsible for cleaning clubs in between shots as even a small disturbance of dirt can throw off the play of the club. This is why you see their signature towel carried with them.
Caddie’s also must measure the yardage between the ball and the green. They have a few ways to do this, either but using a range finder or checking for range markers that are placed along the course. Knowing this yardage is very important as it will determine the golfers choice of club and amount of force used to hit the ball.
Finally you may have seen the image of a man holding a flag next to a hole on the green, while the golfer takes his shot. This is a common responsibility and the one people often see on TV, they will hold the flag, or “pin” while the golfer makes his put and replace it and retrieve the ball when they manage to score their shot.
As you can see the Caddie is a long running tradition in the sport of golf but is not a role to be understated. They can be extremely important during professional play and it is often that a golfer will specifically request or even hire a caddie they like, either due to their knowledge their personality or performance.