Caddies in the Mist

Greg RowleyContributor IMarch 10, 2009

I’ve spent a lot of time with caddies. Some of my best friends are caddies, and I used to manage the program at both The Quarry and at Black Rock. Although not a caddie myself, I feel like Dian Fossey studying the gorillas.

I’ve been accepted into their culture and have seen things that few outsiders could ever experience. A recent trip to Palm Springs gave me a chance to re-connect with some of my caddie friends, and it was an interesting look into this strange subculture.

We’ll call it Caddies in the Mist


Feb. 13, 2009: I arrived in Palm Springs and was met at the outpost by Sonny, an average specimen of the species. Approximately one in four of all caddies appear to be left-handed Canadians, and Sonny is no exception.

These strange migratory creatures follow the geese south every winter to warmer climates, driving their cars in regimented lines, taking turns being the leader and honking “Eh, eh…” on their journey south.

The Spring Caddie Run as they all return north with their pockets flush with cash, can leave a swath of destruction like that left by stampeding herds of buffalo in the wild west days.

We spent the evening with Sonny and his companions at a local ‘watering hole’. It was interesting to note their unsuccessful attempts to attract females. I have learned that in the caddie culture there are definitely two classes of males.

The ‘alpha’ males are those who caddie for PGA Tour players, or have one or two very wealthy clients. They are able to purchase nice cars with their earnings, and generally attract the majority of the females.

The ‘beta’ males eke out a living playing with whomever they can get a game or ‘loop’ with. They generally don’t purchase cars; they live in them.

These secondary citizens, or Mr. Betas, do not receive much interest from the ladies, but they generally seem very content and relaxed. Perhaps some local flora that is a part of their diet induces a calming effect? We retired early for the night and prepared to resume our hunt in the morning.


Feb. 14, 2009: We arrived at the agreed upon rendezvous and began our preparations for the day’s activity. Although we intended to partake of the local sport, a strange custom called ‘golf’—it was also an opportunity to observe the ‘loopers’ in their natural habitat, toiling for their daily sustenance.

As we observed the caddies with their groups, we found that these hard-working beasts provided a great deal of assistance to the players. They seemed to be doing many of the chores involved in the game and dispensing advice and wisdom.

This allowed the players to more thoroughly enjoy themselves.

After a great deal of study, I believe that I have finally begun to understand the communications patterns of these majestic creatures. It’s important to remember that a large percentage of the things that come out of a caddies mouth are complete nonsense.

This may be a defensive strategy, or a way to confuse their prey. However, occasionally your caddie might need to deliver bad news. It helps to be able to quickly sift through the subterfuge customary to caddie-speak and decipher the true meaning of the message being sent.

Here are some examples.

Caddie: “Oh shucks! I’m not sure, but it looked to me like the ball just didn’t spin. I thought you caught it clean. Did you? I’m afraid it may have scooted past the flag, and might have even gone near that sneaky bunker back there.”

Translation: Grab a wedge. You skulled it into the trash, eh.


Caddie: “Nice drive. It started right-center and was cutting.”

Translation: You fanned it, hack. Way right. Off the map even. I’ll be lucky to find it. If I’m not back in five minutes, send a search party.


Caddie: “Swing smooth. Think tempo. Make a good pass at it here.”

Translation: Control yourself, man! Slow down. The only thing that didn’t move during that last swing was your bowels, and even that’s questionable.


Caddie: “This hole tends to play long for some reason. Why don’t you take two extra clubs and make sure to get it there?”

Translation: You’ve been short all day, and obviously don’t hit it as far as you think. Let’s try a new strategy, eh.


Caddie: “Oooaahh, nice putt. It looked good the whole way. That’s my fault for the bad read. You gave it a good run, though. Good on ya.”

Translation: Textbook jab. It never had a chance. You missed the mark I gave you by three feet, and it was only a five-foot putt. How’s that possible?


Caddie: “Here it is! Found it. A pretty clean lie, too. You were playing a Titleist 2, right?”
Translation: I found a Titleist 2 and kicked it out into the clear. I know it’s not yours, but if you wanna claim that it was, I’ll go along with it...wink, wink.


After the round, we returned to the caddie’s humble den for a night of ritual games involving cards and/or dice. Much can be learned by observing the habitat of any creature—the large screen TV endlessly showing a sport called ‘hockey’ (played on ice with sticks, frankly it was incomprehensible to any civilized being) belies the otherwise shabby furniture and general squalor.

These hunter-gatherers appear to have an innate desire to horde as the vast quantity of liquids stored up appears to signal the knowledge of an eventual drought. The endless search for female companionship continues.

This can often be a difficult search, as the female caddie is a very rare and beautiful creature indeed. If it was not for the caddie’s ability to cross-breed with other species, I would fear for their eventual extinction.


Feb. 15, 2009: After a late start, we made one last ‘loop’ in this exotic locale. I returned to civilization with my heart heavy. The carefree, joyful life of these delightful creatures has an appeal that cannot be denied as I return to my home and my office.

I can only hope that I receive a visit from these magnificent beasts as they thunder by in the spring.


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