Caddies...they aren’t just there to hoof an oversized staff bag around a golf course….most have other duties.
For the less skilled, a typical refrain for a middling caddie, “Keep Up and Shut Up”
Watching Erik Anders Lang try and tame Kiawah, one of the more striking bits of the production was the immediate rapport he had with very experienced local caddie, Mark Bloomer.
- Sage advice all around the course to try and get Lang home in his target score of 90
- Bloomer knew the wind was going to be biggest factor and would kick Lang’s tail
- The best bet to break 90 score was play safe/layup, rely on chipping and putting
While Lang’s results didn’t quite measure up to his expectations, we wondered how the average golfer would fare with a Mark Bloomer-type on the bag:
- How much, if any, would their overall scoring improve
- Would addressing course strategy, the changing elements and/or reading greens help
- Does having a sounding board when things went sideways help get a player re-focused
This has been discussed on a few separate forums and the points made and people’s thoughts generally fall into a few distinct categories:
- Low handicap - 2 to 4 shots difference, especially if the course was unfamiliar
- High handicaps - 5 to 6 shots difference, independent of the course
Another oft discussed theme was higher handicaps figured mishits, tops and other poor swings cost them more strokes than a caddie would save. What isn’t taken into account is:
- Caddies see the clubs/shots you are playing “well” and tailor their advice accordingly
- Even with topped drives and mishits, most strokes are gagged away 100 yards and in
- Focusing on getting up and down in fewer strokes and consistent putting always helps
- Not compounding a bad swing with a subsequent bad decision
An often understated side of having the caddie is the resetting of expectations and not taking yourself so seriously.
The good caddie will tell you the truth about your game, despite your blinding lack of self-awareness. While the truth does hurt sometimes, it is critical in a game like golf to have that caddie’s perspective of your own game, whether it’s you or some jovial chap carrying your bag around.