The Old Coot needs a caddy

It finally dawned on me (I’m a slow learner) that professional golf is a team sport! The role of the caddy has changed. The job is not simply to carry the bag and hand a club to the pro. It’s become a consultation job.

The courses I play on have a marker at 200, 150 and 100 yards from the green. It’s how I, and the guys I golf with that aren’t using a golf watch, select the proper club for the journey from the tee to the green. But using the right club doesn’t even matter much if you forget to keep your head down and shank the ball a pitiful distance forward.

The guys with the golf watches scuff the ball, just as much as I do.

The caddies handle all that stuff; he or she tells the pro, how far it is to the pin; a more precise measure than a hacker’s estimate. Sometimes you will see a golfer and the caddy spend several minutes arguing about which club to use.

They both have notebooks that let them know about every hazard ahead, but don’t agree on how best to execute the shot. They have to take into consideration the wind, the rise and fall of the green, whether to put spin on the ball, hook it or slice it, and several other variables.

Sometimes this discussion takes longer than the walk to the ball. Often, you’ll see a club pulled from the bag, put back, another taken out, followed by more discussion and yet another club selected to finally whack (my term) the ball.

The caddy also acts as a cheerleader, ego-booster, and psychologist; all to get the pro out of a funk after a bad shot. It’s a team: caddy and pro. Off the course is additional support staff: swing coach, psychologist, publicist, agent, and tournament booking secretary. But none of the secondary team is as important as the caddy.

I do the same thing that caddies do, but I do it myself. And not just when I play golf. I go through a checklist, every time I leave the house. I have to make sure my shirt is on right side out, my pants aren’t on backwards, my hair is combed, my shoes are tied, and I have keys and ID in my pockets. I also remind myself what day of the week it is and who is our president.

Lastly, I make sure my arm is positioned to cover the stains on my shirt. I could use a caddy just to get out the door!   

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