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. First year caddies generally start after completeing their 8th or 9th grade. Te number of caddies is based on membership demand. The goal is to provide an opportunity for caddies to work 2-3 times per week throughout the summer, with some of our caddies working 30+ loops from May to October. The program is supervised by our Club Professional, John Wallrich, 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. Most new caddies need more exposure to the game of golf. To prepare our first-year caddies, the professional staff requires the caddies attend 3-4 on-site training sessions and successfully complete a written examination. Preparation for the exam requires knowledge of a detailed Caddie Manual.
For more information about the Caddie Exam, click here, for more details about caddie procedures.
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. In addition, parents are encouraged to support and monitor the participation of their children in the caddie program.
On the Job Training. Despite the significant amount of time and attention devoted to training, there is no substitute for experience. New hires become excellent caddies only by caddying and experiencing on the course duties. When assigned an inexperience caddie, a reasonable frame of reference is to think back to the initial days or weeks of your first job, remembering how uncertain, scared and at times inept you were, not withstanding your strong desire to please and succeed. Also, remember 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 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. Caddies that demonstrate an appropriate level of courtesy, character, integrity, and skill will move up the caddie ranking.
How Caddies are assigned. Making caddie assignments is a judgment that considers the member's needs, 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 online 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 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 needs 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 primary areas of duty. Completing 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 for greater emphasis in our training programs.
Thank you for taking the time after each round to complete the caddie-rating card as thoroughly and objectively as possible.
What to Expect from Your Caddie. The first and perhaps most important lesson we ask all of our caddies is to “Serve with Pride and Distinction.”
Other 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. Loose fitting clothing, gym shorts, swimwear, jeans with holes, and frayed bottoms are not permitted. Shoes should be of a basketball shoe nature. The Club is very traditional when it comes to the appearance of its caddies, as we try to encourage them to dress for success.
Attitude. We consider a good attitude an essential trait in all of our caddies. You may have already noticed that caddies who develop a bad attitude toward their job responsibilities, peers, the Club management or the membership do not remain in the caddie program for 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 adequately to your question or comment.
Cleaning Clubs. Caddies inventory your clubs at the beginning of each job ensure 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. Caddies are expected to clean your clubs 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 a golfer's putting line and should not mark a golfer's ball unless instructed. However, they should offer to wash your ball without you ever having to ask.
Locating Ball. One of the most fundamental 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. However, even the caddie's best concentration and intentions will not find every ball.
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 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. Swiftly and quietly, caddies 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 essential 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 so other players are not disrupted. 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 you may have on the course.
Although our most experienced caddies become more proficient at playing the game, 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.
Caddies are expected to maintain pace to the best of their 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. In addition, 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. You may also offer a caddie to use a push-cart.
Knowing where to position themselves is another important duty of our caddies. Caddies should set the bag down on the side opposite to the player. When the player selects a club, the caddie should move far enough away to be outside 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 by someone’s shoes, shadow or movements during your backswing.
Caddie Discipline. There is an old saying in golf that you should treat your caddie like you would expect other to treat 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 the 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 like 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. This is a great opportunity for our caddies
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 should 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. The caddie rate is $25 regardless of the caddie's rank. The Club also charges a service charge which is returned to the caddies in the for of bonuses for Caddie of the Month awards and year end celebrations.
Although tipping is up to the members' preference, we ask you tip a "B" caddie a minimum of $25, an "A" caddie a minimum of $30, and an "Honor" caddie a minimum of $35. An outstanding tip would be approximately $5-$10 over the minimum gratuity. If a foursome hires a forecaddie, one member will be charged $80. This member will be responsible for collecting appropriate money from their playing partners. Thus, gratuity is included, but players may tip extra for outstanding work. Members using a caddie for only nine holes will be charged the caddie fee. For nine hole loops, the tip is optional for "B" caddies, $5+ for "A" caddies, and $10+ for honor caddies.
Players' tips should always 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. Pine Hills caddies should be rewarded for hard work and excellence.
Caddies make it a point to become very knowledgeable about the tipping practices of each member. 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 gratuities 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 disrupt our system and do not reflect well on the membership.
When Using a Forecaddie. Although it is not required, using a caddie in conjunction with a cart or four players walking with push carts speeds up play and makes the round more convenient and enjoyable. A forecaddie can be a great option!
Although a forecaddie will not carry your bag, the caddie is expected to perform all other basic duties. For example, the caddie will help locate errant shots, rake bunkers, replace divots, tend the pin, and clean players' clubs and golf balls, as reasonably expected.
Our caddies may not drive carts. If you request your caddie to drive a cart, he or she should politely decline.
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 rapidly. During the summer months, many caddies spend their lunch and dinner hours working for us on the course. Recognizing this, members may purchase a snack and beverage for their caddie throughout the round. This modest gesture is appreciated by the caddie and 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. Caddie 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. The Caddie of the Month and First Year Caddie of the Month given in June July, and August, also receive a bonus.
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.
The Western Golf Association awards and administers the Evans Scholarship. A letter of recommendation from the golf professional and caddie records are sent to the WGA. Scholar finalists 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, 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,
Ben Cleveland and Tony Gentine or your PGA Golf Professional John Wallrich.