Golfers that want to get inside the ropes of a major event are in luck this year as New Zealand will be hosting two such events in which caddies will be needed.
The first is the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open (September 28 – October 1) at Windross Farms Golf Course in south Auckland.
The second is the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Wellington Golf Club (October 26-29). This event will feature the leading players from the 41 Asia-Pacific Golf Confederation countries and is the world’s most televised amateur golf tournament, broadcast live to more than 160 countries including New Zealand on Sky Sport.
In addition to these events caddies will also be required for next year’s New Zealand Open which will be back at Millbrook from March 1-4.
Andrew Whiley, a Golfer Pacific columnist, has been the caddymaster for the New Zealand Open for the past six years and has met many people who have been great caddies. Unfortunately, some haven’t done as well due to over-confidence or have lost interest halfway through the job.
Whiley has, on average, more than 120 caddies (men and women) at the NZ Open caddying for the professional or amateur players and as a previous caddy at Pebble Beach in the United States, he is fully aware of how a good caddy should perform.
“The first rule of caddying is to keep up and shut up,’’ Whiley said.
When looking at the annual caddy reviews from the NZ Open – that is reviews provided by the players — Whiley said one of the key negative comments is that some caddies haven’t been paying attention to the shots, don’t know where to stand, are on their phones or chatting too much at the wrong times.
“If you watch caddies on any golf course at any pro tournament, you will quickly see what an asset a good caddy can be to the player.
“If you are interested in caddying, follow a tournament and watch carefully what each caddy is doing rather than watching the player.
“Where is the caddy standing, where have they positioned the bag? What are they doing when the player hits a bad shot? How do they behave when the player is playing poorly or when the player is playing well?
“So ultimately, what does a good caddy do? Firstly, they are there for the player. That is everything you want as a player from your caddy.
“When you are handed the golf ball, clean it every time so that it looks brand new when the player puts it back into play.
“After every shot, every speck of dirt from the grooves of the club is removed and there should be no sand in the name or number of the iron head or hybrid.
“You are also thinking one step ahead as to what is the approximate yardage going to be, will the ball be played downwind, into the wind or from what direction is the cross wind coming ?
“Very importantly, what is the position of the pin? Where are the hazards? On arriving at the tee of a par four or five, you have the head cover off the driver so it is easy to hand over. There is an extra water bottle in the bag and you are also standing in the right place and are ready to engage with your player.''
Whiley said a great caddy is positive and engaged, even when the play isn’t going well. They follow the golf ball and track it on the good and bad shots; this reduces the chances of it being lost which saves the player shots. A good caddy will also leave the bunker with no trace of the golfer having been in it and they are effective in attending the flag without interfering with another player’s putting line. Plus they need to understand the rules of the game.
The negative comments that regularly came back about poor caddy performance related to clubs not being cleaned after each shot, clubs rattled in the bag as they are walking or rattling as the bag is moved when someone was preparing to play a shot, Whiley said. Major problems are when a caddy has talked too much and not paid attention to what was happening or was poor at raking the bunker. The big no-no these days is using a cellphone on the golf course and either taking photos or texting a mate.
Whiley’s suggestion to any golfer that wants to caddy at any of these upcoming major events was to try out caddying for a few of the better players at their own golf club. Get involved in the senior club championships, pennants or talk to one of those crusty old veterans who used to be on scratch for 10 or 20 years and who have their names blasted on the senior club champs board. Ask them if you can caddy for them and have them share their tips and wisdom with you. And guess what? The fundamentals of caddying have not changed in the last 50 years!
Approximately 40 caddies will be required for the New Zealand Women’s Open (September 28 – October 1). Contact Andrew directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
More than 100 caddies will be needed for Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Royal Wellington (October 26-29). Caddies can register via the Royal Wellington website: www.royalwellington.com. (caddies at this event can use a trundler).
Caddy registration for the men’s New Zealand Open opens on November 1 so organise your holiday time and come to Arrowtown for the week of February 26 to March 4.