A Lesson Learned: Caddie Issues

By Kevin Weeks, PGA
Published on

One of the most talked about storylines coming out of Adam Scott's impressive four-shot win at the World Golf Championships - Bridgestone Invitational was of course, about his caddie Steve Williams.

Now I will be the first to admit, I don't know the details on the relationship Steve had with Tiger and even more, the apparent ending of that relationship, but it obviously left some lingering hurt feelings. That said, many who claim to know what really went on between the two are merely guessing as well.

What I do know is that Williams' record as caddie speaks for itself. 145 wins is actually kind of mind boggling. The list of golfers he has caddied for shows his skills as a caddie are obviously in demand.

So for this week's "A Lesson Learned," let's talk about caddies.

For Tour pros, the caddie serves in many functions. They carry the bag, they walk off yardages, they serve as cheerleader, coach and psychologist and at times, chauffer to and from the course as well. The argument that caddies 'never hit a shot' is true, but a good caddie can still save his player a number of shots.

I've always maintained that on Tour, a caddie's role is to save the player from making or compounding a mistake, not necessarily help them pull off a great shot.

I remember the 2009 U.S. Open when Lucas Glover came to the final hole with a small lead. The tees were moved way up but Glover's caddie, Don Cooper, encouraged him to NOT hit driver and hit something way less so that he would hit into the green with the club he had been practicing hitting into that green with all week. So Glover teed off with a six-iron. And he went on to win the U.S. Open. That's how a caddie provides great value.

Now if you arrive at Pebble Beach, Whistling Straits, Pinehurst or any other great venue that has caddies, you may be thinking - "Well this caddie doesn't really know my game, how's he going to help me?"

You'd be surprised. Rely on these caddies as they will help your score, your enjoyment and possibly your skills. If they watch you warm up on the range, they will get a great sense of how your skills will translate to their course. They can read greens, give you distances, help you avoid trouble, really guide you around and maximize your time on the course.

Will they help you in the same way a Tour caddie can help their player? Probably not. But if you trust that they are professionals and can help you in your round, the overwhelming majority of the time, they will.

I'd encourage everyone who loves golf to play one round with a caddie. It's a pure and truly enjoyable experience. It may not win you a World Golf Championship or a major championship - but it still may become the best golf experience of your life.

One final note about caddies. This past week also saw the staging of the Western Amateur, perhaps the nation's premier amateur event. Revenue raised by this event and other events held by the Western Golf Association funds the "Chick" Evans Caddie Scholarship Program. If you get a chance to support these programs or other great caddie programs around the country, I'd highly encourage you to do so. Caddies are not only great benefits to golfers, they are an integral part of the game.

Kevin Weeks is the PGA Director of Instruction at Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Il. Weeks is a three time Illinois PGA Section Teacher of the Year and has been widely lauded for his work in golf instruction, from his junior programs to his work with several PGA Tour players.