Twitter: GeoffShac
  • The 1997 Masters: My Story
    The 1997 Masters: My Story
    by Tiger Woods
  • The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    The First Major: The Inside Story of the 2016 Ryder Cup
    by John Feinstein
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    Playing Through: Modern Golf's Most Iconic Players and Moments
    by Jim Moriarty
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    The Captain Myth: The Ryder Cup and Sport's Great Leadership Delusion
    by Richard Gillis
  • The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    The Ryder Cup: Golf's Grandest Event – A Complete History
    by Martin Davis
  • Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    Harvey Penick: The Life and Wisdom of the Man Who Wrote the Book on Golf
    by Kevin Robbins
  • Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    Grounds for Golf: The History and Fundamentals of Golf Course Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Art of Golf Design
    The Art of Golf Design
    by Michael Miller, Geoff Shackelford
  • The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    The Future of Golf: How Golf Lost Its Way and How to Get It Back
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Lines of Charm: Brilliant and Irreverent Quotes, Notes, and Anecdotes from Golf's Golden Age Architects
    Sports Media Group
  • Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    Alister MacKenzie's Cypress Point Club
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Golden Age of Golf Design
    The Golden Age of Golf Design
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Masters of the Links: Essays on the Art of Golf and Course Design
    Sleeping Bear Press
  • The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    The Good Doctor Returns: A Novel
    by Geoff Shackelford
  • The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    The Captain: George C. Thomas Jr. and His Golf Architecture
    by Geoff Shackelford
« Roundup: USA Wins 2017 Walker Cup 19-7 | Main | R.I.P. Don Ohlmeyer »
Monday
Sep112017

Tradition Unlike Any Other Files: Walker Cup Caddies

My Golfweek column from the Walker Cup focused on the role of club caddies last week, a tradition that has become one of the more charming aspects of this team competition.

A few of my favorite player-caddie shots from the week:

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (17)

Still coming down off the high of attending the Walker Cup. You captured the essence of it perfectly, especially the fact that the captains were in the background (the cart riding is totally silly). Love the fact that they used the local caddies. Not only is the Walker Cup the best amateur event, it is the best spectator golf event for fans, slightly nudging out the Masters.
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Sabino
John Sabino
+1
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterLynn S.
Lets not get too carried away, John. Although the Walker Cup is superb event to attend, there isn't a nonexistent waitlist for a badge or a ticket lottery.
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterD. maculata
Shack, when I see a piece like this and call you "old school", please consider it a big compliment. I love seeing original content like this. Too many of your generation (like at The Golf Channel) think retweeting a golfer's Twitter feed is considered "golf journalism" today. Keep up the great work!
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterAkronGolfMan
Did GB&I use professional caddies again? Not that it would have helped!
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterScott Perez
Sabino++
09.12.2017 | Unregistered Commentergg
Thanks for posting the articleGeoff....a nice tribute to the caddies.....one of the great aspects of our game that is often overlooked....sadly, I feel that the rising cost of caddies at the club level may be one of the reasons that some players are reducing their number of rounds played while others simply decide that they will pass on golf and play tennis at a fraction of the time required and the cost incurred. For the avid player, caddie fees can easily run $1,000+ per month/per bag here in metro-NY and golf carts (forget pull carts) are not an option during prime tee times in order to maintain a robust caddie program.
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
Goes right in line with the Evans Scholars Caddies being used this week at the BMW Championships
09.12.2017 | Unregistered Commentermark
@Keith...I'm not disagreeing with you, but here in LA at least, anyone who can pony up the 200K initiation fee plus dues and assessments (Brentwood has assessed over 50K in the last decade alone), the extra money for a caddie really shouldn't be an issue, should it?

I mean, you don't join a club to save money...even if you play twice a week, 52 weeks a year (which is way more than the average member), the effective per round cost at most clubs is going to be 200+, and that's not including the opportunity cost of the initiation fee! It's probably closer to $500 per round for the average member, if not higher.

No one ever said country club living was cheap!
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterManku
@Keith: From a fellow NYCer, your estimates of cost are probably correct, and I'm not sympathetic. Caddie programs, when they bring young people into the game, are a vital way clubs and their members can give back. The MGA is making a point of emphasis that clubs should train young caddies and members should ask for them. http://www.metgolferdigital.com/i/858490-aug-sep-2017/70
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Neuman
I wonder how the GB players felt about their caddies.

At the Walker Cup six years ago, After one of our USA players missed a short putt to either lose or not win the hole, the USA player stayed back to practice the putt, but his caddie had better things to do than watch his player practice. The caddie promptly replaced the flagstick and strode off the green. Our USA player proceeded to re-remove the flagstick and continue putting.

If I had been the USA player, I would have been really, really pissed! (one really for missing the putt and one really for my caddie)

I suspect the Brits don't have great caddie programs like we do here.

Those LACC caddies were awesome, and cu doz to FOX for sticking those microphones in there.

I loved the interaction between Stewart and his "bag-man".
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterZimmer
Manku and Jeff -- agree with the comments you make....and I'm all in on supporting caddie programs...my only point was that golf expenses can put the squeeze on some of the young families who are already fighting their 15K+ monthly cash burn here in NY metro to cover the mortgage, real estate and school taxes, autos, nannys, etc etc --- and so some of them have to make compromises to keep the club bills manageble....same for some of the seniors who don't or no longer have unlimited spending power.....while for others a couple of grand a month for caddie fees is pocket money.....I don't think there is an easy answer since we all know that carrying two bags for 18holes is 4 hrs of tough work and deserves good pay for a good job.
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC
Played Royal County Down a few years ago (perfect day..clear blue skies!). One of my partners hired a caddy. He told us during the round that he had caddied during the famous 2007 WC -Rors, DJ, Rickie, Webb, Danny Wilett, Billy Ho, Colt Knost etc etc were on both teams which USA won. Anyhow..Team GB & I declined the offer of using the local RCD caddies in favoiur of their own - brothers, cousins, friends etc etc. Buddy hired the local team of Senior Caddies and couldn't believe his luck!
09.12.2017 | Unregistered CommenterIrish Golf Nut
As an occasional visitor to top US clubs I would have no objection to being obliged to pay $100 for a caddy but unfortunately I have yet to play at a club that doesn't have its caddies double bagging - PV, Merion, Baltusrol, WF - all double bag. The service you get is so poor, they barely spend any time with you discussing the shot (I play off 2 and would quite like to get input from the caddy) and just leave a variety of clubs (often the wrong ones) on tees and walk ahead down the fairway. It's always a deeply disappointing experience and handing over my $100 begins to feel like a rip off not a pleasure. Nice for the caddies who earn twice as much per round, but poor value for the player.
09.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob S
By the way I'm not saying the caddies themselves aren't great caddies, just by double bagging it dilutes the value so much.
09.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob S
"...your estimates of cost are probably correct, and I'm not sympathetic."

Jeff, can you explain this?
09.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKPK
Rob - your're correct that the baseline expectation at the clubs you mention and many others is minimum $100 per bag and virtually always it is a double looper (except for the younger kids who are summer hires and get single bags but most lack course knowledge).....the issue, as you say, is that for the most part the good double looper at the club level is forced to become more a 'bag carrier' and/or 'ball spotter' and less of a guide or source of local knowledge....the exception is in Club Championships events when the A-level single caddie is almost always used and the expected fee is usually doubled...of course, one can always request a single senior caddie on any day and it will be provided if available but again the fee expected will be double....bottom line is that the guys who caddie for living want $200 a loop and often will do 2 loops a day particulary on Sat and Sun. - the goal is to bring in $1600 to $2000 per week (tax free)....again, I love the caddies and I'm 100% all in on supporting caddies and the associated programs in my Section.... but it can get expensive and cause some guys to play less rounds per week/month....especially if you have other family members that play regularly.
09.13.2017 | Unregistered CommenterKeith - NYC

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.