We have asked questions to a number of people from golf associations to provide advice on our program. These people have been very generous with their time, interest and have provided great responses. We have summarized many of the responses below. Please take the time to read their advice and learn from them. We have learned from their advice and are making changes to improve the program.
What do you feel are the most important things in training a caddie?
Manners, keeping up, showing up, shutting up, learning distances, being nice and positive.
Teaching service, respect, integrity and honesty of the Game.
General golf etiquette.
Understanding his/her responsibilities and learning how and where to be in order to attend to them.
Keep up and shut up, as they say. Learn all (and there are so many) little nuances of caddying: tending the pin so there is no shadow falling in the ball path, raking traps quickly and neatly, being quiet (no jingling change in pockets), courtesy (a “thank you” is appreciated if the golfer purchases lunch and/or snacks on the course …this is not required by the golfer, but most do it), and MOST IMPORTANT, if a golfer asks on teeing off if a caddie can “read” the greens, don’t say yes unless he/she actually can do a read. (And of course, learn how to follow a golf ball in flight.) NEVER laugh at a missed shot (probably one of the harder things to learn).
To be quiet and out of the way of the golfers.
Put up, Keep up and Shut Up
Courtesy, timing, basic rules.
Good customer service applies to this business as all businesses. Teach them to be thick skinned with difficult customers and to “out nice” them.
Do you think that caddying is a good opportunity for kids and can it help them in their career?
Most definitely. It teaches them how to act and gives them contacts and puts them in a good environment.
Yes. A first-time job experience, plus to work for successful people, may lead the caddies to emulate those people and try harder.
Yes it teaches the value of hard work an allows them to interact with various personalities and social classes.
Caddying is certainly a great opportunity for kids IF they want to do it. Kids who do not want to be out there, should not be. It’s dangerous. If they cannot see the ball, they should find another way to work. Caddying certainly does build character among other things. Kids learn to keep their mouths shut, not an easy task for today’s kids. It’s a great opportunity to make really good money and they can learn that hard work is rewarded.
One of the best things going.
Yes. If they learn people skills they’ve learned a lot!
Is it reasonable for the Caddies to ask questions to golfers about career advice?
It depends on the golfer and the situation.
99.9% of the time it is NEVER reasonable for a caddie to ask questions to golfers about career advice. Caddies are “part of a golfer’s equipment” and speak when spoken to. (I know, this sounds horrible, but that’s the way it is.) If addressed, caddies can respond, and as they become more expert in their job, they will realize where and when suggestions and/or advice can be offered. It’s not supposed to be a gab fest out there.
That depends on the golfer. I think if the time is appropriate most golfers would be eager to help out a youngster.
Only if familiar with golfer and definitely needs to know appropriate time to ask. Not during round or match.
If the “customer” seems open to this and is conversational. Some golfers prefer not to “chat” while playing so the caddie would have to be intuitive to the customers’ needs.
When should the career related questions be asked?
After a caddie and a golfer have a relationship – so maybe on the back nine or after the round or whenever the caddie feels comfortable walking down the fairway.
Hard to say. Best time would be when the player initiates the conversation.
If asked, probably later in the round.
Career related questions are out of line on the course, unless … and that’s a big “unless” … the caddie has become very comfortable caddying for a particular golfer. It really sounds like a caddie is looking for a position if questions like this are broached. A definite “thumbs down” on this whole thing. Caddies are out there to help the golfer, not get a job.
Probably later in the round after they get to know each other better or after the round.
After a few holes and a relationship has been established…
If waiting and the player has initiated conversation, at the turn or after round. If waiting and the player has initiated conversation, at the turn or after round.
Later in the round when and if a rapport has been established.
What do you feel is the appropriate dress code for Caddies?
Golf shirt and khakis or nice shorts
Dress code is a tough issue because if a club provides uniforms for caddies, then the caddies could lose their independent contractor status based on IRS rulings. If they are club employees instead of independent contractors, then they would have to pay taxes, etc.
White collard shirt and Khaki shorts.
Casual slacks, shorts and shirts with collars. No tank tops, jeans or cut offs.
A neat tee-shirt and decent looking shorts or long pants, depending on the weather. As the mother of 2 former caddies, I do not feel that collared golf shirts are necessary as the rubbing of bag-straps tends to ruin the golf shirt. (Needless to say, inappropriate “sayings” on tee-shirts are a no-no.)
Caddies should be neat and clean. Several clubs give them a bib or tee shirt to wear for uniformity. Blue jeans are often not allowed. I think dress is important. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Docker like shorts, clean collared shirt and tennis shoes.