Ask the Looper is a weekly piece we like to do to help answer questions from our Bunkers Paradise Forums. This week, we’re going to go over how to use loopers on the course, why loopers are becoming more rare, reading greens, and high stakes golf plus much more. Remember to join our forum and leave a question if you have something you want us to answer.
Whats your #1 tip for the average amatuer golfer when it comes to playing a looper type of course?
When a guest comes to the course, this is what I always would tell them:
I will give you the distances, and you choose your clubs. If you’re unsure about what to hit then ask me (after I’ve seen you play a couple of holes).
I prefer never to get involved with a golfer’s choice of club. However, when it comes to the greens, that’s my playground. Ask before you can go use the swings.
I’d like to know why you thinks caddies are becoming less,and less common?
Caddying for X amount of years isn’t impressive on a resume if that’s been your only work experience and you’re trying to find another job.
I first started caddying at the age of 14. When I joined the shack, there was 30 new guys to start. Four years in, only 10 of us remained. School counselors in grade school warned us that if you were able to get an internship over just some summer job, you take the internship. If you could afford working at an internship during the week and then caddying on the weekends like I did, then more power to you. Alot of guys I knew couldn’t handle all the work. But I can’t knock them for that, most of the guys I came up with are now all doing amazing well. They’ve become army rangers, airforce pilots, wall street brokers, artists, chefs, personal trainers, teachers, marketing and advertising executives.
And then there is the other side of the coin, Darwin’s Theory, survival of the fittest. My first year at a country club there were a good 30 new caddies plus another 30 veteran caddies on top of that. By the end of the season, only 10 or so of us remained. That following year, only a handful of second year caddies return. It’s sad to say that we live in a era where golf in general is becoming a dying sport. We are losing golfers left and right. Private clubs are either shutting down or becoming public. And a result, when there are no golfers, there’s no work for us.
So you either a. stick it out or b. look for other work. As a teenager I stayed put because it was only a summer job, so it didn’t matter to me as much. As an adult, when you go home from work with nothing in your pocket, it’s not a great feeling. So that’s why we are forced to look for other work.
Do you use aimpoint for reading greens? Or have you ever used it? Thoughts?
Reading green was something I learned at a very young age when I began to caddying. If you weren’t able to read greens by the middle of your second year you were either given the worst loops or asked to leave. Not being able to read greens as a caddy won’t get you very far.
I learned from the vets how to read the slopes. Another technique I used was actually playing Tiger Woods PGA Golf on Playstation 2 (Yes kids, there was a PS2 at one point). I would spend hours playing at night focusing solely on the putting aspect. You really do learn alot if you pay attention.
Then in the shack, if the TV was working we’d watch the tournaments on TV and bet on the way the putt was breaking. That was alot of fun, especially when you’re watching the older vets go at it.
Where I caddied, there was a three level system. Red/Yellow, Green and White bibs. Yellow was for first year caddies. Green was for second + caddies. White was for Master Caddies. At the time, earning the white Bib took a fella 5 years. You had to earn you bib. Master Caddies are green masters.
I’ve never used aimpoint. I’ve heard about it, but just really don’t get myself heavily involved with apps and stuff. Alot of regional tournaments, especially MGA really cracked down on apps and gadgets. Only thing you can really get away with having is a Bushnell.
Do you know any difference on how they treat their caddy and their fans?
Well they have to be social with their caddies, they do have to converse with them on yardages, greens, etc. It’s really amazing how they have the ability to block the fans out during a round. Until people get out of line.
It all depends on what player you are talking about.
For example Bubba Watson, one of the most charitable guys on the planet. One of the nicer players on tour. He gets into it with his caddy now and then, but when you him hear him speak to the press box afterwards, he’s always thanking his caddy and praising his caddie’s effort. He always thanking the fans and doing stuff for the fans. And when he knows he’s wrong or has acted unruly, he will admit to it and apologize.
When Bubba is playing, he is so focused he hardly acknowledges the fans at all, unless they are being unruly, with photos and chants, etc. But what’s cool is that he admits to that. He said it’s not that he’s ignoring them its just that he likes to remain focused.
I think all of us would probably reach the same way. There’s a time and place for everything at the tournaments, especially interactions with a pro.
What alot of pros out there are worried about, which I’ve seen and had to intervene with are the autograph hounds. The guys who are there to make profit not for enjoyment. I’ve seen some messed up interactions between players and those guys. What those hounds do is completely unacceptable.
What is the highest stakes you have seen on the course?
Hahaha. This is a loaded question. I’ve legit seen guys write out checks for hundreds to thousands of dollars on one hole. And they would have to write out the check on the spot. Some guys don’t mess around.
I will have to say the coolest betting story I’ve been involved in was when I was fifteen. I was asked to guest caddy at a very prestigious club in Westchester County, NY. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Turns out I had two men go pink slip for pink slip on two rare classic convertibles. I ended up caddying for the guy who won. He got to parade around the lot in the car after he won it. And guess who got to drive it! It was a 1959 Classic Cadillac Convertible. Money Green white trim and interior. The car was mint. I was so afraid to drive it. I never told the golfer I was only 15 and didn’t have my license.
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