Pine Hills “Caddie Program”
Everything you wanted to know about our caddie program…..
“The caddie is the lifeblood of the game of golf…a great companion, a friendly conversationalist and a smiling face. This is what the game of golf is all about.”
Charles “Chick” Evans, Jr.
Golf is steeped in tradition, and there is no older or more pleasing golf tradition than the use of a caddie.
Pine Hills Country Club enjoys a premiere caddie program. It has been an integral part of our Club for over fifty years.
Perhaps the greatest testament to the strength of our caddie program and its importance to the membership are the hundreds of rounds our caddies worked last year.
This information has been prepared by the Pine Hills Country Club’s Golf Professional Staff and Golf Committee and a few interested Members, to provide you with important background information about our caddie program, and to suggest things that you can do to help us maintain the quality of the program and maximize the benefits and enjoyment that you will receive from using a caddie. The Program. The caddie program consists of forty young men and women between the ages of thirteen and twenty. The program is supervised by our Club Professional, John Wallrich, and members of his professional staff and administered by a Caddiemaster. The Caddiemaster is appointed annually, typically from the ranks of veteran caddies. Although the job is considered “part time,” many hours are put in during the months from May through September.
Initial Training. Approximately thirty new caddies attend our first meeting and fill out applications. Most new candidates have little exposure to the game of golf. Consequently, they are not admitted to the caddie program until they master the contents of a detailed Caddie Manual, attend three on-site training sessions and successfully complete a written examination.
The Club Professional and his staff also hold an orientation program for the parents of new candidates. This program reviews what the Club offers to its caddies, and what it expects in return, including a strict compliance with the caddie rules and regular attendance during the summer months. Parents are encouraged to support and monitor the participation of their children in the caddie program.
On the Job Training. Despite the great amount of time and attention that is devoted to training, there is no substitute for experience. New caddies become good caddies only by caddying and experiencing on the course duties. When you are assigned an inexperience caddie, a good frame of reference is to think back to the initial days or weeks of your own first job, remembering how uncertain, scared and at times inept you were, not withstanding your strong desire to please and succeed. Also, keep in mind that almost all of our new caddies are early adolescents who only recently attended middle school.
Most new caddies need at least ten rounds under their belt before they develop a level of proficiency that begins to make their inexperience unnoticeable. During those initial rounds, and at times thereafter, they will need, and should receive, the constructive input, support and encouragement of both the older caddies and the members.
“Honor, “A”, and “B” Caddies. New caddies are initially classified as “B” caddies. The caddie begins at the B rate and works their way up to the Honor rate. The promotion of caddies is based on their performance. Rating cards are completed after each round by the player and recorded in the Golf Shop for review by the Golf Professional and Caddiemaster.
The Club Professional and the Caddiemaster evaluate the performance of each caddie on a regular basis and at year end to determine their classification. Those that demonstrate an appropriate level of courtesy, character, integrity, skill and commitment during the previous season rank very high.
How Caddies are assigned. Making caddie assignments is a judgment that takes into account the needs of the membership, the supply of golfers, the demand for caddies, motivational techniques and a desire to be as fair as possible under the circumstances. It is an art rather than a science.
The Caddiemaster makes assignments (known as “loops”) based off our ForeTees On-Line tee time reservations system which includes a portal for caddies to register. The members advance preference for a caddie versus walk or cart is important for the success of this method. Caddies are asked to be available throughout the weeks and on a regular consistent basis for our busy days of Wednesday mornings, Thursday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday mornings. If a caddie does not get a loop that day, they will be put at the top of the list for the following day.
As successful as our assignment techniques have been, the judgment of the Caddiemaster is always called upon to balance supply with demand, pair “A” caddies with “B” caddies and avoid assigning members with heavy bags to new or slightly built caddies.
Rating Your Caddies Performance. Every caddie pay ticket is also a rating card. The rating scale ranges from “Excellent” to “Poor” with a point rating system. Boxes are provided to indicate whether the caddie needs improvement in eight basic areas of duty. Completion of the rating card is a critical aspect of maintaining the quality of our caddie program. It alerts the Caddiemaster to individual problems and identifies areas where greater emphasis may be needed in our training programs.
It has not been uncommon for the Caddiemaster or the Golf Staff to receive a verbal complaint about a caddie, only to find that the member who made the complaint rated the caddie “Excellent” noted no areas in need of improvement and gave the caddie a good tip.
We need to do better job of taking advantage of the caddie rating system. Pleas take the time after each round to complete the caddie-rating card as thoroughly and objectively as possible.
What to Expect from Your Caddie. The bast way to understand what the Club expects from its caddies is to review our Caddie Manual. Loaner copies are available in the Golf Shop. The first and perhaps most important lesson in the Manual is entitled “Serve with Pride and Distinction.”
Another good way to understand the expectations that we have of our caddies, at least as to basic duties, is to review the duties listed in the “needs training” area of the caddie-rating card.
Those duties are as follows.
Appearance. Our caddies are asked to wear the caddie bib supplied to them with the Club crest on it. They are also asked to wear casual attire that which is common to golf attire. Not permitted is loose fitting clothing, gym shorts, swimwear, jeans with holes and frailed bottoms. Shoes should be of a basketball shoe nature. The Club is very traditional when it comes to appearance of its caddies, as we try to encourage them to dress for success.
Attitude. We consider a good attitude to be an essential trait in all of our caddies. You may have already noticed that caddies who develop a bad attitude toward either their job responsibilities, their peers, the Clubs management or the membership do not remain in the caddie program for very long. Courtesy is emphasized in our caddie training program. If your caddie seems quiet, it is because caddies are instructed to speak only when you address them first, and then only to the extent necessary to respond politely and properly to your question or comment.
Cleaning Clubs. Caddies inventory your clubs at the beginning of each job to make sure they return with the same number of clubs they started with and also to bring your attention to any missing clubs you may not be aware of from a previous round. Clubs are cleaned throughout your warm up time and your round of golf. They should be kept in an easy access order and handled with care.
Duty on Green. On the greens, caddies should be silent and invisible. They should work as a team to tend the flag, never letting their shadows cross the cup or standing within the peripheral vision of anyone who is putting. Caddies should never step in the line of your or anyone else’s putt, and should not mark your ball unless instructed to. However, they should offer to wash your ball without you ever having to ask.
Locating Ball. One of the most basic duties of a caddie is to watch your ball. Your caddie is trained to concentrate on each shot and use physical landmarks (e.g. trees, bunkers, mounds, etc.) to plot a mental image of where your ball landed. This technique usually works. However, environmental conditions such as the sun, clouds, leaves, tall grass, or other conditions such as the inaccuracy of your shot, contact with a tree or the caddie’s own visual limitations, sometimes defeat the best concentration and intentions.
Forecaddie. There are some holes where the risk of losing a ball is high if its line of flight is observed only from the tee. Our caddies are instructed to designate at least one “forecaddie” on these holes. A forecaddie’s job is to assume a safe position beyond the tee that provides a clear view of the area where the tee shots are likely to land, and to make a mental note of where each tee shot actually lands.
Bunker Care. Bunkers generally are not a very friendly place to be in, so it is nice to have a smooth surface to play from. In a swift and quiet manner, caddies are instructed to smooth the sand out after the player has played their shot. Caddies and Players should enter and exit at the lowest point of the bunker. Depending upon the situation caddies will work as a team in this area. Rakes are to be placed inside the bunkers.
Replacing Divots. Taking care of the golf course so others may enjoy is vital. Golf Course maintenance is an ongoing process and our caddies are an important part of it. Caddies are instructed to replace divots, even if they are not your divots. This is done in a swift and careful manner as to not step out in front of other players or be disruptive. There is an art to this as some caddies will catch on very well and have your putter in hand and ready as they replace the divot, pick up the bag, clean your club and continue the pace of play.
Extras. Our best caddies strive to offer services beyond the basics. In the caddie parlance, this is called “super-looping”. These additional services include anticipating every need that you may have on the course.
Although golf is an important part of their lives, many of our caddies are only modestly proficient at playing the game. Thus, if you ask a caddie to help you decide which club to use or read a putt, you do so at your own risk. Caddies should never volunteer this type of information, and if you insist that a caddie “club” you or help you read a putt, you should be prepared to accept the consequences without complaint or retribution.
A caddie is expected to maintain pace to the best of his or her physical ability. This means that, except when raking bunkers and other circumstances make falling behind inevitable, your caddie should endeavor to stay several steps ahead of you when walking down the fairway, and to anticipate your next move. Caddies must constantly be aware of other players in their group as well as players on neighboring holes.
Sometimes it is not possible for a caddie to maintain pace, such as when you are using a cart, when the caddie is carrying double for two erratic golfers, or when the caddie is working a second loop of the day. As much as we try to avoid it, it is also possible that your golf bag may simply be too heavy for the caddie. In which case, you might consider removing a few surplus balls or other unnecessary weight from your golf bag.
Knowing where to position themselves is another important duty of our caddies. Caddies should set the bag down on the side of the ball that is opposite to the player. When the player selects a club, the caddie should move far enough away to be outside of the player’s peripheral vision. Your caddie should know that it is hard enough to hit a golf ball well under the best circumstances, let alone while you are distracted during your backswing by someone’s shoes, shadow or movements.
Caddie Discipline. There is an old saying in golf that you should treat your caddie as you would your son or daughter. As with all general rules, there is a major exception. It is not your role to discipline caddies. That is the job of the Caddiemaster and the Club Professional.
Although your constructive suggestions to a caddie are welcome and encouraged, overt criticisms are not, particularly those made profanely, in anger, or with intent to embarrass. In fact, such conduct is expressly prohibited by the Club’s Rules and Regulations, and could serve as the basis for the suspension of a member’s golf privileges.
If you have a problem with a caddie, call it to the attention of the Caddiemaster or Club Professional, and they will handle it promptly and appropriately. They maintain detailed written reports of all caddie matters, and are uniquely situated, through parental contact and otherwise, to deal with these matters in a way that serves the best interest of the Club and the caddie.
What the Club Expects from You. The Club expects you to treat our caddies the same way that we expect them to treat you – with courtesy, respect, class, and a proper attitude.
You should never lose sight of the fact that one of the most enriching experiences of being a caddie at a private club is the chance to associate and become comfortable in dealing with highly successful people, many of whom are leaders in industry, government, and their professions. Not many adolescents ever have such an opportunity.
Caddies tend to place members on a pedestal. The impressions that you make and the encouragement that you give could make an indelible mark on many of their personal lives and careers. You thus should always strive to conduct yourself around caddies in an exemplary way, and to be a good role model.
Tipping. Tipping is a matter of personal preference. As a general rule, a basic tip will approximate 100% of the caddie’s flat rate (i.e. a $20.00 tip against a $20 flat rate), and an outstanding tip will approximate to $5 or $10 more.
The tip you pay the “B” caddie should generally be lower then the tip you would pay to an “A” caddie for the same services because of the differences in their flat rates and the same holds from an “A” to an “Honor.”
The most important aspect of tipping is that it should be based on merit. The amount of your tip should never be automatic or readily predictable. A caddie who works hard and does a good job should be paid more than a caddie who does neither. This is the way that life will be for our caddies when they permanently enter the work force, and we should not give them impressions to the contrary.
Caddies make it a point to become very knowledgeable about the tipping practices of each member. You will find that if you become a merit tipper, caddies will generally work harder for you, not only as a matter of economics, but also as a matter of pride and caddie yard bragging rights.
Despite the personal nature of tipping, the Club discourages the membership from paying tips that vary materially from the norm except in unusual circumstances, such as a victory in an important tournament or a caddie who deserves a small tip or no tip based on merit deficiencies. Unwarranted extremes in tipping in either direction is disruptive to our system and do not reflect well on the membership as a whole.
Doubles. The Caddiemaster assigns one caddie to two walking golfers only as required by supply and demand. Carrying doubles is limited to veteran caddies with strong physical builds.
Having a shared caddie is not as convenient as having your own caddie. That is why the flat rate that each member pays to a shared caddie is less than for a single caddie. Carrying doubles can also be a challenge for the caddie, particularly if the two golfers often hit their shots to opposite sides of the fairway or spend a lot of time in the bunkers.
There are a few steps that you can take to make a shared assignment more convenient for you and less difficult for the caddie. Most importantly, if you know what club you plan to use, request it from the caddie as far in advance of your shot as possible.
Also, understand that situations will arise in which both you and your partner will need the caddie services precisely at the same time. Be patient in these situations, and work with your partner and the caddie to develop a rhythm that will enable both of you to derive maximum benefits from the caddie’s services.
When Using a Cart. Although it is not required, you may find that using a caddie in conjunction with a cart speeds up play and makes the round more convenient and enjoyable. Shared assignments are the norm when a cart is involved.
Although your caddie typically will not carry your bag when you take a cart, the caddie is expected to perform all other basic duties, such as locating your ball, raking bunkers, replacing divots, cleaning your clubs and golf ball, tending the pin and forecaddying.
Our caddies are asked to not drive carts. If you request your caddie to drive a cart, he or she should politely decline to do so.
Treats. Caddying is a job that requires long hours and taxing physical labor. On a hot and humid day, a caddie’s adolescent metabolism can consume fluids and burn calories at a very rapid rate. During the summer months, many caddies spend their lunch and dinner hours working for us on the course. Recognizing this, members may choose to purchase a snack and beverage for their caddie throughout the round. This modest gesture is not only appreciated by the caddie, but also bolsters the caddie’s energy level, enabling him or her to do a better job for the member.
Caddie Tournament & Banquet. A highlight of the season is our annual tournament for the caddies and our season ending Banquet. Members from the club donate prizes or money which is used to purchase food and prizes. The tournament event is usually held in late July or early August while the banquet is in early November.
Caddie Bonus. At season end bonuses are awarded based on point rating throughout the caddie season. These monies are distributed at the November banquet. The money for the bonuses comes from the service charges on each caddie loop.
Evans Scholarship. Pine Hills Country Club boasts one of the most established and successful Evans Scholarship programs in the state. Our members contribute money through the Par Club.
Evans Scholarships are awarded through the Evans Scholars Foundation and are administered by the Western Golf Association. A letter of recommendation from the golf professional, along with caddie records are sent to the WGA, and those making the final cut are interviewed by a committee of forty or so WGA Representatives that typically includes two or three members from various Clubs. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated financial need, character and outstanding performance as a caddie.
Currently 910 students are enrolled at 19 universities, including 14 where the Foundation owns an Evans Scholar Chapter House. More than 10,000 men and women have graduated as Evans Scholars. The scholars reside in the Chapter Houses on a rent free basis, but are responsible for maintaining the House and paying for their own meals, utilities and other living expenses. Evans Scholars Chapters consistently produce leaders in all aspects of campus life, and regularly rank at or near the top of campus fraternal groups for scholastic achievement.
The Evans Scholars Foundation was “seeded” by Chick Evans, who is regarded by many as the greatest amateur golfer in history. Since that time, the WGA has raised funds for the Evans Scholarships primarily through Par Club donations made by members of golf clubs with active caddie programs. The Evans Scholarship includes tuition and housing for up to four years. The Evans Scholarship Foundation administers the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies in the country.
More about the Evans Scholarship Program can be received from our Western Golf Association Director’s;
Steve Skoronski and Keith Robel or your PGA Golf Professional John Wallrich.