WHAT TYPE OF CADDY ARE YOU?
Wow – I have seen some interesting stuff in junior events when parents are on the bag. Sure, there are some great moments, but also some odd/interesting/scary ones as well. Have you caddied for your junior golf? What type of caddy are you?
- The PERFECT caddy – provides great golf advice and is always supportive — truly helps the player enjoy the day and shoot the lowest possible score
- The SARCASTIC caddy – tries to stay calm when things don’t go as planned, but slips in negative remarks about their player (“wow”, “you have played before, right”, etc.)
- The SUPER-POSITIVE caddy – everything is great – all the time – every mishit is an awesome shot – happy, happy, happy 🙂
- The RAGE caddy – this one can be scary — yells at their junior (maybe curses) — makes the entire group uncomfortable
- The CLUELESS caddy – stays positive and probably has good snacks, but doesn’t play golf and doesn’t know the rules
- The QUITTER caddy – this one typically starts as the RAGE caddy — gets frustrated with junior’s play and walks off/disappears. This one can be followed by the Drinking caddy while the junior finishes their round alone.
- The HUMBLE-BRAG caddy – loves to share stories to ensure you know either his or his junior’s full golf resume
I have caddied for my boys in 100s of golf tournaments and I have seen all types. Personally, I like to strive to be the PERFECT caddy, but as Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy says – “perfection is unattainable”. On a positive note, I would say that I give solid golf advice and know the rules, but my boys would probably highlight that I sometimes become the SARCASTIC caddy. I try to fight it……I typically avoid RAGE and have never QUIT. SUPER-POSITIVE is probably not my nature :). That being said, I know there are rounds where I made it harder on my sons — this was never my intention.
WHY CAN IT BE HARD TO CADDY FOR OUR CHILD? WHAT CAUSES THE BAD BEHAVIOR?
The fundamental question – why can it be hard to caddy for your child? On the surface, it seems like it would be easy — enjoy 4-5 hours outside, give your golfer the yardages, carry their clubs, help them shoot a low score, and have fun.
So why have I seen a father curse out his 10-year old? Why have I seen a caddy tell his player he sucks? Why have I heard a father tell his son that he will be practicing for 3 hours following the round because he can’t watch this crap anymore?
This is complicated and all parent-child relationships are different, but I think it starts withe ego — do you have some of your ego wrapped up in how your child performs on the course? It is natural to want them to do well, but its not life or death. A 3-putt doesn’t ruin their life. A duffed chip doesn’t mean they won’t be successful in the future. A drive OB doesn’t mean you are a bad parent (or caddy).
I think some parents believe “tough love” is the right way to motivate their player. Tiger’s dad was rough on him, right? Maybe a firm conversation will fix their swing on the back 9? Or asking your player “what is wrong with you?” will help them make the next putt? Seems a bit silly.
REFLECT, ASSESS, COMMUNICATE – VALIDATE YOU ARE HELPING
Caddying for your child is truly a great experience — no other sports offers you a chance to help your kid perform. A knowledgeable, thoughtful, calm, positive caddy can be a huge advantage to your player.
If you caddy, what do you struggle with? If you get frustrated, how can you handle in a positive way? Observe other parent/player interactions on the course.
Talk to your player — let them give you a grade after each tournament round. My boys have given me grades from A to D+ — it is helpful to get their perspective following an event. It allows me to consider — did I help or hurt them today? I wish I could say I have always helped, but I know that isn’t true. I know there have been days that my ego got in the way.
I simply try to do better each time I get the chance to caddy. I love wearing the bib, talking about different shots, reading the greens, and joking around while we wait for the group in front of us. My goal each time — be an advantage for my son. Help him do his best.
About the author
Mike Harris is a former college golfer and dedicated father of two talented junior golfers. With a passion for the sport that began in his own childhood, Mike now focuses on helping his children, Avery and Olivia, navigate the world of junior golf. He’s eager to share tips, advice, and insights with other families on their own golf journeys. Join Mike as he tees off into the exciting realm of junior golf, providing guidance to parents and kids alike.