It’s the offseason – not necessarily the most wonderful time of the years for the intrepid junior golfer – but it’s a necessary break and time for consolidation. And if they're wondering what they should be doing - we have the answers in What Should I Do In the Junior Golf Offseason? Regardless of how unimaginable the past year might have been, it is the holiday season nonetheless and you definitely deserve some lightness, brightness and holiday gifts for caddies in junior golf under the tree.
Traditionally the caddie’s creed is : show up, clean up, shut up – although experience in the junior golf world with moms and dads on the bag shows that it is seldom followed, much to my younger junior’s chagrin when I have been his caddy over the years. It was never my style (the shut up part) although we would probably have had a better on-course relationship if it had been. Whatever your caddy style – chances are you are still blamed for everything from balls bladed recklessly over greens to a big slice into the woods off the tee.
Caddies too deserve some love come the holidays. And we are a practical people so – like the advice you should be doling out to your player – we keep this holiday gifts for caddies in junior golf list to the bare essentials.
Ball Identifying Markers
As a caddie it is important to remind your player in the beginning of a round to let his or her playing partners know what ball is being played. Of course, in junior tournaments chances are a ball will land in the water or be lost to the world at some point. This happened to us during one particular round. I handed my player a new ball out of his bag on the next tee box, a par 3 hole, and both he and his playing partner hit their balls on the green. We get up there to find out that they have hit identical balls pretty close to one another – not an identifying mark to be found – and we still don’t know if they proceeded to putt their own balls. In tournament golf, if you do not play your own ball it is a 2 stroke penalty and it’s easy to ensure it doesn’t happen. It does not have to be extravagant – just a little colored dot somewhere will suffice. Keep a few Sharpie Markers in your player’s golf pouch. You will be glad you did! This Golf Ball Alignment Kit is a great option and helps with ball alignment for putts.
Yes, I've used leaves and twigs to mark my ball on the green in ladies golf. My social group thinks its quirky, in a nice way. The junior golf world would not approve. Ball markers are easily lost. Have a few in your golf pouch and don't be constantly running back to your child's bag to retrieve one when you are on the green. That's what pockets are for - and even better a hat clip with magnetic markers.
Does your player keep ball markers, tee’s, pencils and other paraphernalia in a pouch which is impossible to find anything in? The problem is solved with this unique see through golf pouch that also comes in a multitude of colors.
A good range finder is imperative these days. As your junior player progresses club selection is less of a guessing game and more a technical aspect that has to be embraced. Read our article Best Rangefinders for Junior Golfers for a detailed breakdown of the whats and whys associated with the many options out there. Our favorite at the moment is the Bushnell Volt V4 JOLT.
You have enough to worry about without being cold and uncomfortable on the golf course. Layers are your friend and a golf vest is a perfect holiday gift for caddies in junior golf. Not too bulky and keeps the core warm – look for one that has front pockets too for the tools of our trade - pencil, tee and ball marker.
There’s nothing like a monsoon blowing in from nowhere on the golf course and not having an umbrella in the bag to offer at least a little protection. Be prepared. Golf umbrellas fit neatly into the bag and add little extra carrying weight. Rules preclude you from holding it over your junior player while they hit or putt the ball, but it may make walking down the rain soaked fairway a little more pleasurable.
Golf Ball Retriever
A golf ball retriever does more than just retrieve balls out of water or hard to reach hazardous places. Perhaps more importantly it is a welcome distraction while waiting on the players in the next group (pace of play is always an issue in junior tournaments) – poke around in the creek or lakeside for lost balls. Strangely enough it is a very satisfying experience to find balls on a golf course and potentially a light-hearted bonding moment too with your player! That in itself is the reason this is one of our favorite holiday gifts for caddies in junior golf.
Insulated Water Bottle
Water bottles are often provided for players in junior golf tournaments but not always. Carrying refillable water bottle that keeps water cold is an essential task of mom or dad on the bag. A good insulated, stainless steel one for you too that you can fill with coffee on a cold morning that will stay warm at least through the turn will help with the caddying experience more than you think it will!
Chewing Gum and Sunglasses
A parent caddy needs to be a caddy to their junior golfer out on the golf course, not a parent. The greatest gift you can give your player when you are on the bag is calm confidence.
A lot of the time you will have to fake this. Chewing gum helps – if you’re chewing chances are you’re not talking too much which is often helpful to your player and conducive to them working things out in the silence of their own mind and thoughts. It will also help to mask the occasional grimace!
If you’re wearing sunglasses you mask the pain or elation in your own eyes as your player learns to deal with triumph and disaster - and treat those two imposters just the same. The Oakley Flak Jacket are great all round sports sunglasses. Another fun option is high definition golf ball finding glasses.
So we hope you like our few simple holiday gifts for caddies – even if the actual role is often far from simple.
Further Reading on Being a Good Parent Caddie
Further reading on your role as a caddy for a junior golfer can be found here: