Sounds like fun doesn’t it? Even a little glamorous. Travel around the country, maybe Europe, Australia even Asia. Making tons of cash. Chasing that little white ball around. No time clock to punch. No evil, eternally critical boss breathing down your neck. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?
Here’s the real scoop.
First of all you live out of a suitcase most of the year. On the road 7-9 months a year. One motel after the other. Some times you fly but mostly you drive. Usually 20,000 miles or more per year. That’s a lot of asphalt to watch going by. Remember this is the Ladies Tour. We play for a fraction of the purses the men do so saving on transportation is a big key to surviving out here. Plenty of fast food for the same reason.
Don’t worry, you will always get work.
NOT! If you like a secure lifestyle, knowing you always have a paycheck coming at the end of the week, forget it. There are times, some say too many, that we have limited fields. If your player isn’t eligible you may go without work. If that’s the case you try to work the pro-am or work for TV to make expenses. Even if you have a regular bag don’t think for a moment everything is right with the world. We have a saying out here, “When you think you’re in, you’re out “. It means just when you think you’re solid with your player you get fired!
Believe me it happens plenty of times. It happened to me in the 2000 season within hours of winning a tournament! I know a few other guys that got the axe within a week or two of winning. There really is no explaining it. Those things just happen. We have another saying “You’re hired to be fired”. Expect it.
Now don’t get me wrong. There are a few very long term relationships. Some span over a decade, but most are short lived, from a week to a month or two. You just hope you have a good run before it’s over.
What about toting that sack all over creation.
Most people don’t realize how heavy those things are. 35-50 lbs, depending on the bag size and what it’s stuffed with. On those cold and rainy days you bring what you need to keep warm. It all adds up. During practice rounds a few extra clubs is not unexpected. Club manufacturers always want players to try the new equipment and the best place to try is on the course.
If you don’t think it takes a toll think again. There are plenty of sore backs, hips, feet and other body parts. For many, the availability of a chiropractor at the course is welcomed relief. For others, a few cold ones at the end of the day does the trick.
On my time off I get to see the sights.
Hey, what are you thinking! You don’t want weekends off. That’s when you make your money. They don’t pay for missing the cut. You want to work every weekend. The later the better. In fact, there isn’t much time off if you’re making cuts. When you’re done on Sunday, get in the car and head for the next tournament. Walk the course on Monday, practice on Tuesday and Wednesday or play in the pro-am, then start the tournament. If it sounds a little grueling it can be. A bit depressing also, if you keep missing cuts. When your buddies are in the hunt on the weekend and you’re sitting on your duff at the motel, it isn’t much fun.
It looks like a really easy going job.
Forget it! Most players are easy to work for. Nothing seems to bother them or they don’t let it show, but remember, this is a pressure packed profession. People are trying to make a living out here and the lack of success can be too much to bare. Some are living on a shoestring and need to cash early to take the pressure off. Others find the frustration of poor play tough to handle. You may be the emotional lightning rod that triggers the strike! Some players really beat you up. Most don’t mean to, but you’re the closest one around. A tough layer of skin is a great asset.
Then there are others who are just plain difficult to work for. No matter what you do it’s wrong! Wrong yardage, wrong club, wrong read, wrong expression on your face .The list goes on. Those players have a difficult time finding a regular caddie that will take the abuse. For many, they fall in the category of an “off week bag”.
Then why do I caddie?
I knew after my first week, over 25 years ago, that this is what I wanted to do. There’s just something about the job that keeps bringing you back. There are many caddies that have left the tour but come back one or two weeks a year, some during their vacation, to work. I have one last saying for you.” We have grass between our toes.” It means that we are not just part of the tour, but the tour is part of us.