Caddying for a Day

Caddying for a day is not golf – it’s just golf with a caddying job thrown in. And if you’re going to caddie, why not do it at a prestigious course? That’s what I did: I caddied for Augusta National.

It was fun. The players were nice. I got to wear an outfit that looks like a jockstrap and carries the logo of the Masters in my pocket. And I got to play with TaylorMade clubs, which are just awesome.

But it wasn’t golf: there were no holes, and no rules. It’s kind of like skeet shooting, or playing pool in a dress, but with less booze and fewer opportunities to get arrested.

Caddying for a Day

Monday, February 4, 2009

It’s the day before I caddie for the first time. I’ve been on the job for two weeks now and I’m ready to write about my experience. I didn’t realize how much of a culture shock it would be to get caddied. In part it is due to the fact that I expected it to be something like a new job, but no one told me that. Instead they talked about how you should feel more like a friend than an employee. They also talk about “seeing the game through different eyes” and being out there with your friends rather than just being in your box.

The biggest difference between this golf course and last is the options from a caddie’s point of view. On every hole there are two club choices. If you are playing your normal game (e.g., as I was today) then you can tell them you want to take whichever club gives you the best chance at making birdie or par with your ball-striking and course-reading skills; otherwise, you can ask if they want to play safe or go for broke. But if you want to change up your game (e.g., as I did today), then

You do not need to know anything about golf to caddie for a day. You only need to be willing to carry a bag at the start of the round, bring it back with you when you finish, and stay out of the way.

The basic problem is that there are too many people in this world. It is hard enough to play golf in one place, but when you multiply that by four or five places, it becomes impossible.

Golf is not a sport for the faint of heart. It can be dangerous, and it’s easy to injure yourself. Many golfers are naturally athletic, but even those who aren’t will get in shape for the game by doing push-ups, sit-ups, and crunches. But many other people would feel out of their element if they tried to play golf for a day. And no one knew that better than the people who caddied for a day at Augusta National Golf Club.

The caddies, like everyone else at the club, had all been asked to leave their cell phones behind. They were forbidden to take pictures or video of the course and its surroundings. At 1 p.m., they found themselves standing on what looked like an ordinary green lawn in front of a clubhouse that was bigger than most peoples’ houses. An armed guard told them not to run off across the green because he would shoot them if they did. He didn’t actually have a gun, but that’s how it seemed to the caddies standing there on neutral turf with him pointing menacingly at them through his rifle sights.

I’m a caddie. I’m the caddie who caddies for this blogger. After a long day at the course, I’ll write about what happened and what I learned. This is one of the ways I keep my hand in golf, and it’s a fun way to give back to the blogosphere.

I’ve written about my experiences with other people’s rules, rules you don’t always understand when you are learning how to play golf. I’m going to try to write about something even harder: rules that you don’t understand if you aren’t a caddie or a pro.

For example, there is a rule in golf that says if your ball is on the green and there is no one as close as an inch from where your ball will go, you can putt anywhere on the green as long as you have enough room between you and where your ball will go. That rule would be hard for me to explain because I never had any experience caddying for anyone else’s shot before. But it would be easy for a caddie like me: after all, he doesn’t have to worry about causing someone else’s ball problems by standing too close while they are lining up their shot.

So here are some

Caddying is a surprisingly difficult job. You have to be properly dressed; the golf clubs have to fit properly; and you have to be able to explain how something works without making it sound stupid.

I got a caddieing job at a country club because they were desperate to help out with the course record. It was an easy but boring 9 holes, and I had no trouble explaining what the options were. I didn’t know what my handicap would be at the time, but it was low enough that I got the job anyway.

The first hole was played across the street from the club house, which had a pretty good view of an island green. They gave me two balls and told me to hit one into the water hazard, which was just a little lake with a couple of trees around it.

It’s tempting to make fun of people who get caddies, but I don’t think that’s fair. Caddies are fun for all kinds of reasons: I’ve made some good friends by going out in the morning with them before school; sometimes we’ll talk about stuff like why women get married or how lying is wrong; and there are lots of ways you can use your handicap without getting caddies: cadd

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