Playing a round with a golf caddy is an awesome experience. Getting advice on every shot from a golf expert will certainly help you shoot lower scores.
Unfortunately, unless you are on the PGA Tour the majority of the rounds will not include a golf caddy.
Most golf courses do not have a golf caddy program and even if they do, it can be expensive.
Is there a different way to get the same results? We believe the answer is “yes”. You can learn to be your own golf caddy.
There isn’t anything a golf caddy does that you can’t learn to do, but it will take time and practice.
Below we explore 7 things that a golf caddy does for you and discuss how you can do them when you play alone. Let’s get started.
What Is A Golf Caddy?
First, let’s make sure we are all on the same page. A golf caddy carries your clubs instead of you strapping them on your back or renting a cart.
This definition is true but it is the bare minimum. An experienced golf caddy will do so much more to improve your round.
They give you advice on what club to hit and how to hit it. They tell you where to aim. They provide moral support. They learn your strengths and weaknesses.
Professional golfers often use the same golf caddy for years or even decades. When they stop working together it can feel like a bitter divorce.
Now that you understand the role of a golf caddy let’s talk about how you can learn to play this role for yourself.
7 Skills You Need To Learn To Be Your Own Golf Caddy
#1: Transport Your Golf Clubs
This is the most basic golf caddy skill, but it can be physically challenging. The good news is that you have plenty of options.
You can buy a walking golf bag and carry them. You can invest in a push cart and save your lower back.
If walking is a challenge, you can always rent a cart from the pro shop. That being said, part of the “caddy” experience is walking the course.
Did you know that golf fitness programs exist to help you improve your strength? Exercises specifically designed to help you play better golf.
Find a TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) certified instructor. They will assess your physical limitations and develop a plan to improve them.
#2: Maintain Your Golf Equipment
A great golf caddy will always ensure your golf clubs are in the best possible shape before each shot.
This means that they clean the clubface, scrub the grooves, and make sure the grip is dry. They prepare your equipment for each shot.
Dirt, grass, and grains of sand on your club can cause your ball to hook or slice and reduces the chances of your ball spinning when it lands on the green.
Slick grips can cause your hands to slide at impact and cause wild golf shots. We never want to see a ball fly out of bounds because of an equipment issue.
There is no reason you can’t do the same before and after each shot. Quickly wipe down your club before you put it back in your golf bag.
Before each shot, check your club and make sure it is ready to perform well.
There are so many things on the golf course you can’t control. You can control preparing your clubs for each shot.
#3: Assess Weather Conditions
Golf is not played in a dome. Every shot you hit is impacted by wind, rain, humidity, etc. You need to learn how to measure them and assess how they will impact your next shot.
The most critical is wind. To be your own golf caddy you need to measure the direction and the strength.
The simplest technique is to toss a little grass into the air and observe the direction it flies. You can also look at the flag on the green.
Think about the strength of the wind in terms of how many clubs you will need to address it. In other words, if you need to hit two extra clubs, it is a “two club wind”.
If the yardage dictates you would hit a 7-iron, but you are hitting into a “two club wind” the correct selection would be a 5-iron.
Great golf caddies calculate this information in seconds. It will take practice, but you can do the same.
#4: Pack Your Bag (Golf Gear)
Golfers love to buy and collect golf gear & equipment. Wind jackets, rain paints, umbrella, winter golf gloves, mittens, etc.
The problem is that all of these items add weight to your golf bag. You don’t want to carry extra equipment when you play.
For example, you don’t need your umbrella if there is zero chance of rain. Another job of a golf caddy is to pack your bag before your round starts.
This is a critical role. You want your bag to be as light as possible, but you don’t want to be stuck on the course missing an important piece of your golf gear.
Before leaving the house, determine what you need for today’s round. Confirm all of that gear and nothing else is in your golf bag.
#5: Know Your Yardages – Know Your Game
How far do you hit your pitching wedge? How far do you hit your 7-iron? If you aren’t sure, you have some work to do to be your own golf caddy.
A significant difference between a scratch golfer and a high-handicapper is the scratch knows how far they hit every club in their bag.
You can make a perfect swing, but you won’t get a good result if you have selected the wrong club.
It might help to track some shots on the driving range and write down your “stock” yardages. You can reference this “cheat sheet” while on the course.
The next question – what types of shots are you comfortable playing? Do you like to hit all of your clubs full or do you prefer “taking a little off”?
Most shots you encounter on the course won’t be perfect numbers. A golf caddy would help you decide between a hard 8-iron or an easy 7-iron.
The more you understand your golf game the better decisions you can make.
#6: Read The Greens
This is a BIG one. Understanding how to read greens is a skill that golf caddies have developed over years of working.
If you want to make more putts you need to understand the speed and break.
There are several different techniques. Some players use “Plumb bob”, while others trust the AimPoint process.
We don’t care how you do it, but you will need to practice. Learn to see the slope and visualize the break.
This is the most important skill for a golf caddy.
#7: Pep Talks – Mental Game
A great golf caddy knows what to say and what not to say. Golf is hard and it is easy to get frustrated after a poor shot or a bad break.
This might be the hardest item to replace. How do you give yourself a “pep talk” following a bad hole?
The key is to remain calm. Re-focus and don’t let the last shot impact your next shot. To be your own golf caddy you will need a strong mental game.
Do your best to avoid “snowballing”. This is when 1 bad hole leads to 3 more. Your ability to recover from poor play during your round will directly impact your scorecard.
You probably don’t want to talk to yourself (your playing partners may think you have lost your mind) but develop a strategy to re-focus when you feel yourself getting frustrated.