With the Masters Tournament kicking off this weekend and Pro Golf season in full swing, I thought it might be interesting to take a further look at the caddies behind the players. Ask any pro golfer about the importance of their caddie and you will hear them say, “My caddie is a part of every shot I make.”
Expanding on that, British golf writer and broadcaster Henry Longhurst once said, “A good caddie is more than a mere assistant. He is a guide, philosopher, and friend.” This is observed in the fact that many top pros have the same caddie their entire professional career.
One of my good buddies is one such pro caddie – it’s been fun watching him on TV for several years. When it came time for the Phoenix Open, he invited me to follow his team for 18 holes. I must admit – it was cool to have a lanyard that read “all access.” I stood only 25 feet away from every shot, and listened to the important conversations between my buddy and his pro. I was so impressed with how the pro constantly asked him for information and opinions. I quickly realized that the caddie’s role was far more than just carrying the clubs.
They talked about the direction of the wind, distance, club selection, the angle of the green, how fast the greens were, and so much more. I noticed the caddie taking on the role of a coach. He reminded the pro of his attitude, he was an encourager, he knew every detail about the course, and most importantly, was trusted.
As I reflected on that awesome experience I came up with a list of the things a caddie might say to his pro that translates into my coaching at Slingshot Group.
Things A Professional Caddie Says on the Course:
- “We’ve been here before. 100 yards to the pin is the same distance no matter where you play.”
Coaching Lesson: Previous successes give us confidence. Recalling similar situations from the past can encourage us in what we are dealing with today.
- “Remember, you’ve hit this shot many times.”
Coaching Lesson: Skills learned pay off. Practice, practice, practice!
- “Don’t pay attention to that loud roar of the crowd on the other green.”
Coaching Lesson: Comparing yourself to others can be a huge mistake. Stay unique. Galatians 6:4: “Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others.”
- “Don’t wish bad shots upon your competition.”
Coaching Lesson: Taking delight in others’ failures in order to win is the wrong attitude. Proverbs 24:17: “Don’t take delight in your competitions’ failures”.
- “You can do this. I’ve seen you do this one thousand times.”
Coaching Lesson: An encouraging word can cause a person to bring their best skill to the moment. Proverbs 12:25: “An encouraging word builds a person up.”
- “Appreciate and be aware of the gallery and what they expect.”
Coaching Lesson: The crowd is sacrificing time and money. They expect to see great skill and professionalism at its best (Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson are among the most popular pro golfers because of the way they treat and respect the crowds.).
- “The right clubs in the bag will help you win.”
Coaching Lesson: Skill depends on the tools. “It’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.”
- “Focus on this shot. Picture it leaving your club, headed for the pin.”
Coaching Lesson: Focusing on clarity and vision will pay off.
- “Pay attention to the wind.”
Coaching Lesson: Don’t allow external circumstances to hurt your execution. Learn to adapt and to always be flexible. The most spontaneous people are the most prepared.
- “Your personal life affects your game.”
Coaching Lesson: Manage your personal life well so you aren’t carrying extra baggage to the course. Psalm 37:5: “Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”