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The Aquilian

Robert Trent Jones Caddies Review

Gonzaga varsity golfer strikes a tee shot in recent match.

You hear that voice in the distance after the ball drops into the cup, that voice murmurs “Great putt; nice read.” The confidence boost you feel is exuberant, and you’re on cloud nine. You turn and realize the person who said that is your caddy.

In competitive golf, your caddy is more than just a companion walking by your side with a deep depth of golf knowledge. These men and women, in my opinion, are a golfer’s biggest fans and a person who keeps him or her level-headed in the biggest of moments. Golf knowledge is vital, but a positive voice is more important. 

After a recent spring break trip with the Gonzaga Golf team to Robert Trent Jones Golf Club (RTJ) in Virginia, for the first time, I was on the other end of my summer job. At this course, we were required to play with a caddy, and it was an eye-opening experience. In the summers, I work as a caddy at another course in the area, so being caddied for was not something I had ever experienced before. 

I have witnessed and seen great caddies do their jobs, and I have seen poor caddies attempt to do their jobs. At RTJ, the two caddies who worked for me and the other three players in the group just coasted through the round with a visible lack of effort and care. 

When I caddy, I am well spoken and ready to talk and be a companion if that is what the player wants for his or her round. I offer to read a putt or clean the ball as often as I can, these RTJ caddies do not operate on the same system as I myself work on. 

I feel that the membership of RTJ should come together and encourage their professional golf staff to train these caddies more extensively. In a business model where the caddies are acting as independent contractors, making only tips in cash, I feel they should be working to the best of their ability to make the most they can. Not knowing the greens walked on every day is not helpful to the guests or members of the club. 

With the cold, wet, and rainy conditions and the poor help from the professionals, I put together an alright score and played pretty well. Student athletes and collegiate golfers are not allowed to have caddies in conference tournaments; we either carry our bag or use a push cart. Private clubs with caddies are the only situations where caddies are used and the player is required to tip. I now know what not to do when I am back on the other side carrying bags this summer.

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