Just recently, Mike Krzyzewski became the first Division I Men’s College Basketball coach to reach 1,000 wins. Just before that, Bill Belichick won his sixth Super Bowl as an NFL head coach. Both of these coaches are considered some of the best in the world, but neither individual is as vital to their players as a caddie is to his golfer.
Everyone is aware of a caddie’s role. You’re aware of the physical task of walking four-to-five miles a day six days a week, while carrying a 50-pound golf bag.
However, that doesn’t even scratch the surface.
A caddie is much more the just walking bag stand. The overall importance of a caddie is to decrease the burden for a golfer—both physically and mentally.
What the common fan fails to quantify is just how large that burden truly is.
The great Bobby Jones once said, “Competitive golf is played mainly on a five-and-a-half-inch course…the space between your ears.” A caddie makes sure that five-and-a-half inch course is the easiest course that golfer has ever played.
The amount of time a golfer takes to actually swing the golf club is less than five seconds, meaning the other four hours of a round of golf is down time. That’s a lot of time for doubt, indecision, and distraction to creep into that little five-and-a-half inch course.
Point blank, caddies are there to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Does anyone remember the scene from Old School right before Frank “The Tank” is about to marry his wife? Vince Vaughn’s character, Beanie, tells him, “You get one vagina for the rest of your life. Real smart, Frank. Way to work it through.”
That’s what a caddie does. They’re the best man at your wedding lending their final words of advice before you make the commitment.
If you didn’t know, golf is hard. One bad shot is like a cancer, it can take over control of a golfer’s game and cause it to spiral out of control. When a golfer hits a poor shot, a caddie must immediately rebuild the golfer’s confidence before it gets exponentially worse. The golfer has no teammates to help rebuild his psyche.
He only has his caddie.
They keep the golfer calm when his adrenaline is pumping through his veins, and keeps him positive when things start to unravel. The caddie is the psychologist and the motivational speaker.
Sometimes a caddy has to be aggressive, as we saw when Stevie Williams was still with Tiger Woods; throwing cameras into lakes, screaming at spectators, among other things. Stevie Williams was an asshole, but that’s what he had to be in order to help the No. 1 golfer in the world win a tournament.
He was Tiger’s crowd control.
The common fan is just accustomed to seeing a caddie walking the course with his companion. However, behind the scenes a caddie may walk a tournament course multiple times, planning every possible shot his golfer may face.
If and when that shot arises during a round, the caddie is there to tell them the information necessary to execute the shot. In this instance, he is the play-caller.
Golf is an individual sport, but it’s a team effort. While one man does the swinging, his caddie does all the work. They are essentially the pieces that put together the golfer’s swing.
Coach K is a legendary coach, but is he out with his players enduring the same pain as them during a game?
Bill Belichick is a mastermind in calling plays, but if a fan gets out of line does he become the enforcer turned bodyguard, protecting his players?
In sports, teams have all kinds of coaches, specialists, psychologists, and trainers to decrease an athlete’s workload. In golf, there is one man to do those jobs.
We call them caddies and they are the Swiss Army Knife of coaching.
(Featured Image courtesy of Anthony22)