You have seen these guys on TV who carry these huge colorful golf bags wearing these hideous looking bibs following like a puppy this impeccably dressed individual who hits the golf ball a half mile. They are called Caddies..with a Capital ‘C’ because they truly are the unsung heroes of Professional Golf. How do I know..well I joined the ranks as a professional caddy yesterday at the HP Byron Nelson Classic Golf Pro-AM.
Let me preface this by saying I was not one of the guys carrying a huge colorful bag walking behind a guy impeccably dressed who hits is golf ball a half mile…..Nope, I was this guy in this hideous colored golf shirt strapped to a small travel bag stuffed with 13 clubs because 14 clubs would not fit, walking ahead of a great guy who was impeccably dressed and who was having a hell of a great time playing golf with his fellow executives from HP (the title sponsors of the Byron Nelson).
So, lets jump ahead to telling you what the heck a caddy does. Naturally a caddy does all the things you see them do on TV…racking bunkers, cleaning the mud or sand off the golf ball, handing the golfer the club to use, helping the golfer line up putts..yada, yada. If you have not seen them do this on TV then it is just to say that is not all the stuff they do.
No, that is not even half of what a caddy does for the golfer. The list of sundry duties a caddy has to do is long, and the list of things he should do (which is different from the list he has to do) is just as long.
I am sure most people who have seen the stereotypical caddy on TV standing with his golfer in the middle of the fairway tossing up a piece of grass and watching it intensely until if drifts to the ground. Then chat with the golfer on what he sees as the challenge he has in the shot he has to make. Well, that scene is real, but for me and the other puke green shirt wearing caddies in my group…well, the fairway was something walked across as we chased down our players’ ball.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were a few moments of glory when I did get to stand in the fairway with my golfer, but there was none of the glamour of taking the time to chat about what was dinner. No, those glorious few times were spent looking around behind us and from the side to make sure we where not standing in someone else’s line of fire..which in a few cases we were..so we had to stand in the rough until it was safe to run out to the fairway and hurry up a shot.
But enough of comparing what you see on TV and what you would have seen out on the Four Seasons TPC of Las Colinas (which, technically is in the city of Irving since thee is no city of Las Colinas…but why they want it known as Las Colinas is for another blog someday). The life of a Pro-Am caddy is nowhere glamour’s as the life of a touring pros caddy. Again, this is not say their duties are different, it is just say that the tour caddy walks a much shorter straight line to their players ball than the Pro-Am caddy.
The TPC course at the Four Seasons if one of those golf courses build for the real estate opportunities around the course and was designed with the course meandering around through neighborhoods and office complexes which means once you leave the 1st tee you don’t see the clubhouse until the 18h hole.
This means, when a golf tournament does a front back start (which means half the field starts their play on the front and the other half starts on the back) on this type of course..someone is going to have to walk out to the 10th hole to start and then have to walk all the way back from the ninth hole to get back. Yep, and with me being the rookie caddy of the Caddy Club’s crew of caddies for the day, where do you think I was assigned? You guessed it..starting on the Back Nine.
Fortunately, the Salesmanship Club was gracious enough to have shuttle vans available to drive us over to the 10th tee…which I personally was grateful and brings me to the next thing about the TPC that made the day of playing Army Golf even more daunting.
The TPC can be set up to be over 7800 yards long and on this day it was at 7799. If you do the math that is a few feet shy of 4.5miles. That is if you are walking in a straight line. When you take into consideration that 90% of the time I was not walking in a straight line to the hole, I have about 40 pounds of clubs strapped to my back in a single strapped golf bag and very seldom walking on flat ground…well, this is the part that most people don’t see on TV. This is not a walk in the park,.. people! This is a entry level marine boot camp. If you threw in heat or rain doing this walk up and down hills a caddy should receive his Navy Seal badge.
But alas, the weather was perfect which did make the duties of carrying the bag for nearly 7 miles not really that daunting..that is until about three hours afterwards when I got home and the ol body started to shutdown from the lack of nourishment and exhaustion.
My hats off to these guys who caddy everyday of the week…they are what I consider unsung athletes and deserve more consideration of what they do…and a true golfer does understand it because what a caddy does is much more than what they would do if they carried their own bag.
OH, I am OK and after sleeping a few hours and drinking a few gallons of water under a ceiling fan all night I am back here ready to do what I can to help golf survive. It was a great experience and I would do it again..but not anytime soon. I have seen caddie worked and have had caddies on my bag so doing the duties of a caddy became instinctive to me. However, until you are called “Caddy” you never realize what pressure is on that person to do things Right Then.
All hail to the caddies of the world and I recommend that every golfer hire a caddy for two rounds with two different caddie. Why? The 1st time you get the enjoyment of not having to do much but walk and swing the golf club. And the 2nd time you get the opportunity to learn more about what the caddy does or did not do for you. This is when your appreciation of what a caddy does or does not do makes the experience of golf MUCH MORE pleasurable. Seeing different caddies styles provides you a glimpse at the benefits of having a caddy can have on the level of golf you are able to play. It is a much better experience than driving a golf cart and is closer to how golf actually was designed to be played.
Next time you get the chance ask for a caddy and enjoy the game of golf as it was created to be played…just don’t call me anytime soon to be your caddy. I am not sure there is enough money in the economy right now to cover my fee to strap another bag on anytime soon. But I will be back..so keep me in mind if you need a Pro Caddy.
Until then, let me know how I can help.