You don’t have to be a great golfer to become a professional caddie, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Former professional caddie Michael Collins gives us the low down on what it takes to caddie for the best golfers in the world. Following is a transcript of the video.
Michael Collins: You don’t have a written agreement with your player. So a player literally can fire you at will and then you are done, you’re out of work. So it’s an extremely volatile job that’s out there. A lot of people think, oh it’s so glamorous, and it’s really not.
I caddied on the PGA Tour for 10 years, on and off. The way that I got into caddying was totally by accident. I was doing stand-up comedy, and started hanging out where the tour was, and doing shows when the tour was gonna be in the town, so I could perform. One of the guys that I got to be good friends with, Robert Gomez, called me one day and said, I’m not having fun on the golf course, would you caddie for me? So I did, and I fell in love with caddying. So, then I wanted to keep doing it.
But how it works payment wise is, you get weekly paycheck. As a caddie, your paycheck is tied to the performance of your player. A lot of times bonuses are built in. So, once we hit the million dollar mark, then your weekly salary can go up, or your percentage will go up, or sometimes both.
That’s one of the things the general public is really confused about. They think that, number one, caddies, that the player pays for everything and that caddies just make 10% or whatever, it’s not like that even a little bit. Caddie’s pay all their own expenses. Airfare, hotel, rental car, food, they’ve gotta pay their own way. There was a big lawsuit between the caddies and the PGA Tour, because players have a retirement fund and they have like health insurance and what not. It’s not that way for caddies on the PGA tour.
If you look at it like baseball, how it works is the South American Tour and the Canadian Tour, that would be like single A ball, and the European Tour that would be like maybe double-A ball and the LPGA tour even would be like double-A and the web.com tour that’s like triple A and then you get to the big dance which is the PGA tour. So, basically, just follow the money.
The hardest part, and the part that I love the most is the mental aspect, you know? Every golfer out here, the best ones in the world, they all talk about my team. Because it’s such a team effort, there’s so much more pressure on caddies to know what to say, and when to say it, and sometimes when not to say anything, and that’s always been the hardest thing about caddying. And then doing all those other jobs, as well. Keeping the clubs clean, making sure your players hydrated, and has enough energy and eating the right foods, and getting up early, knowing what the forecast is. Like, it’s all those little subtle things that makes caddying really hard, but then it’s also what makes it so rewarding. You know? You don’t just talk golf with the player. You talk about plenty of other stuff when you are out there and you want to be on the golf course with someone who enjoys your company and who you enjoy being around as well, because you’re gonna be with them for so long. You get to be so involved and that’s also why, like, when caddies and players break, it’s like ending a marriage.
I’m a horrible golfer. I’m terrible. But I can understand how to work my way with a pro, around the golf course. Like if a caddy is great at playing golf, so what? I’m never gonna get to hit the shot for the pro. They still have to hit the shot no matter what. I have to be good at getting them to hit their best shot.