To start, I have lots to say on new USGA rule on playing alone, but lots of people have already made lots of arguments for and against it. I am happy that Golf Canada did not institute this change in the handicapping system. For some good commentary on this topic, I recommend checking out this post on the 36 A Day blog
The reason I missed the boat on getting a blog out was I have been on the road for work. When I fly I do one of two things, watch movies or read. I rarely work on flights. On this particular trip I was reading An American Caddie in St.Andrew’s. The book itself is an interesting perspective of the St.Andrew’s, both the community and the golf course(s). But while reading the book my mind has been wandering more and more to the theme of Caddie Programs and specifically Junior Caddie Programs and what role they currently play in the golf system and what role they could play in the golf system.
I grew up playing in a time when the idea of a caddie for an average golfer on an average golf course had seen its day. I have never caddied, nor have I ever had a caddie outside of tournament play. Most people I know who have played a round with a caddie its normally at a place like St. Andrew’s or Cabot Links, where taking a caddie is potentially required (i.e. you need someone to route you around the course), or “part of the experience”.
I am much more interested in the notion of caddie programs at “average” courses, whether private or public, and also focusing on the role of the caddie program for the caddie, not necessarily for the golfer. The argument of caddie programs for the benefit of the golfer or the course are doomed to fail because they will always land on the notion of increased costs and thus driving people away from the game. But if the caddie program is viewed as the benefit to the caddie, there are much more substantive arguments as to why they may be good or “worth it” if you will. A case in point being the Evans Scholars Foundation, which encapsulates what I see could be the role of junior caddie programs in the golf system.
I am interested to hear your feedback on whether you see junior caddie programs as something that could ultimately help grow the game golf?Does your course/club have a caddie program?
See you at the turn,