Starting a Caddie Program
Caddie program guidelines
The WGA believes a common formula for a successful caddie program includes well-trained caddies, an intuitive caddie manager, a proactive head golf professional and staff, an active caddie chairperson and influential WGA Directors. However, there is no one correct caddie program formula that is all encompassing.
It is important to determine the number of caddies needed prior to recruiting new caddies. By establishing the correct number of caddies on the roster, a caddie manager can eliminate turnover and maintain a group of quality caddies. You can eliminate many problems by understanding the demands of your caddies and golfers. Accepting too many caddies will result in high turnover and low standards. Turning away too many caddies will result in disappointed golfers.
Many caddie programs have no need for recruiting because their word-of-mouth promotion provides ample new caddies every year. However, there are some techniques to recruit the right individuals if necessary. Contact local schools in order to promote caddying at your club. Contact the guidance counselors in order to identify qualified applicants who excel academically, come from modest financial background and are of outstanding character. Also, there are caddie programs that require caddie applicants to bring in their report card to apply. This allows the caddie manager to identify the students who qualify academically for the Evans Scholarship.
Many caddie programs have elected to work with nonprofit organizations that benefit young people. By associating with organizations such as the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, programs can increase the number of qualified caddies and Evans Scholarship applicants.
It is important to involve the parents of caddies in this process. Parents should be aware of what is expected of them and their child. A caddie parent meeting should be held at the beginning of golf season to answer any questions the caddies or their parents might have. Also, this serves as a great time to communicate the rules of the caddie program. This allows the parents to have a level of buy-in to the program and will increase chances of success.
In order for the caddie program to add value to any club/course, the caddies in the program need to be well trained. Each caddie applicant should be well-acquainted with the WGA issued Caddie Training Manual, Caddie Orientation Video and have successfully completed the WGA issued Caddie Exam. The Caddie Training Manual should be understood prior to the first training session. The WGA promotes both classroom style and on-the-course training.
The caddie manager should head the training with assistance from the course professionals, members/golfers and experienced caddies. Some caddie programs require two days of caddie training, while others require a week or more. Many caddie managers teach in a classroom-style atmosphere on the first day of training. Many of the applicants may not have any experience with golf or a golf course. Pre-training is vital in order for on course training to be effective.
Caddie managers may take large groups onto the course at one time, while others will assign one caddie trainee per one caddie trainer. Once again, the caddie trainers are usually golfers who often take caddies, the most experienced caddies, or professional staff. The desired approach is to have one trainer per trainee.
It is the belief of the WGA that training should be thorough and continuous. Immediate feedback should be given to caddies in order to assist them serve the club and its golfers. Training continues well after an applicant becomes a certified caddie. Most caddie programs have pay tickets that are equipped with a caddie evaluation section. Considerable thought should be given in completing the evaluation sheet prior to turning it into the caddie manager. Once the caddie manager has the evaluation it is his job to take corrective action to remedy any issues a caddie may be having.