The US Kids golf tour requires caddies for players below the age of 8 and, although not required for older players, parent caddies are prevalent in all US Kids tournaments. This article gives some ideas on how to be a good parent caddy.
The first thing to understand is that being a dad or mom on the bag can be extremely rewarding but most certainly not an easy thing to do! You get to experience all the joy, fun, frustration and despair that naturally comes with any competitive golf. Here is some advice from our experience on being a good caddy to your junior golfer.
Knowing how to stop being a parent and start being a caddy is key to a happy “on course” relationship with your child.
This is A LOT easier than it sounds. It is critical to try to minimize emotional responses and expectations and rather to be an organized, supporting caddy that understands the practical and emotional needs of the player (not the child) and is encouraging and supporting regardless of what happens.
The caddy WILL be blamed for bad green reads, poor club selection, bad bounces etc. — as all professional caddies know, the player is never wrong or never to blame! I have discussed and often feel it would be good for dads to caddy for another child to put in perspective how they would and should caddy differently for their own child. At the end of the day you get to spend a large amount of quality time (as good as you make it) with your child, win or lose, and experience an emotional bonding that you can only get from such experience. As hard as it may seem at time, the most important thing is to keep the results in perspective and enjoy the journey!
Some thoughts on being a good parent caddy:
- The player knows he/she has made a bad shot – they do not need you to tell them.
- The player knows he/she has made a bad shot – they do not need you to say it was good or ok or it will be fine.
- The player did not make the bad shot on purpose.
- If you have nothing good to say, don’t say it.
- We need to be less invested in how well or not our child plays. Think about it, can you watch a bad shot and not really care? If not, how can we expect our child not to, especially if he/she knows we care a great deal? The less he/she worries about how we feel, I bet the better the round will be. Our approach and attitude is critical.
David Feherty sums it up well: