Be Your Own Best Caddie

by Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.

The best caddies in the world repeatedly exhibit two common traits that assist his or her player to perform consistently.   Two major characteristics that come to mind are informative and supportive.  Since many (if not all) rounds are played without the services of a caddie, however, some of the best players have learned to be “their own best caddie” to perform at a high level with or without a loyal assistant on the bag.  So how can the rest of us learn to take this message to the course as well?  Take a step back and think about what your caddie would say and do to maximize your potential and lower your score during the round.

Informative – There is such a thing as having too much information in your head before executing a shot, but there is also such a thing as having too little.  The best caddies seem to find just the right amount of information to get the player comfortable, committed, and ready to execute.  On TOUR, caddies are trained to give the player the physical distance, assist in reading and evaluating the lie, and taking into account the direction and speed of the wind.  These three factors contribute to the caddie and player establishing the total distance necessary for every shot.  Only after these three factors have been considered, and the total number calculated does the player pull the club and identify a target to execute.  Are you giving yourself the right amount of information for each shot?

Supportive – There are not too many long lasting player-caddie relationships that lack support (at least in the direction of caddie toward player).  Any caddie that puts down a player or critiques them critically during a round will certainly not be on the bag for any extended period of time.  The best caddies use phrases like “stay committed”, “we can do this”, or “let’s work to get one back here”.  Does that sound like the language you are using with yourself throughout a round…or does that inner caddie take on a different tone of voice?  It may be helpful to create a few key phrases that you would typically accept from a supportive caddie throughout your four plus hour, potentially rollercoaster round.  Become aware of your own voice and decide if it’s the voice of the hired caddie, or the fired one.

Being informative and supportive are only two examples of characteristics that strong caddies provide for their player.  Take some time to create the characteristics of “your own best caddie” and enjoy the 18-hole march without him or her there in a physical sense.  You may find that your round is a bit more enjoyable with a lower score to match!

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