Caddies: golf’s unsung heroes Martin Chikwana

Brandon Moyo, b[email protected] 

Many perceive the men and women who traverse the lush greens of the golf course alongside the players as mere kit carriers. It’s a common misconception that their role is limited to shadowing golfers, lugging their bags, handing out clubs and ensuring they’re clean.

Golf is undoubtedly an individual sport and when a player clinches victory, the spotlight naturally falls on them, showering them with praise for their exceptional performance on the greens. Yet, it’s essential to recognise that there’s an entire team of dedicated individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes to support and enable these golfers to achieve their goals.

A golfer’s entourage typically comprises five key roles: the coach, dietician, trainer, psychologist and the often not appreciated caddy. While some may simply view the caddy as a kit carrier, they are, in fact, the unsung heroes of the golfing world. 

Among the entourage, the caddy holds a unique and pivotal position, standing by the golfer throughout their time on the course.

Caddies play an indispensable role in golf, both as a sport and in the lives of individual golfers. 

They possess an intimate knowledge of the course that often rivals that of the players themselves. They assist in helping players orient themselves on the course, provide invaluable insights into wind direction, and contribute to the critical decision-making process when selecting the best club for a particular shot.

As a golfer himself, Martin Chikwana, President of the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA), deeply understands the significance of caddies. 

He recognizes that their contributions extend far beyond the professional realm, impacting every golf enthusiast and the sport as a whole.

“They are one of the most critical elements to a player. They provide all the necessary information to the player, like wind direction to letting the player know where they are at a particular time. A caddy takes over from everyone and gives more insight, he or she knows the golfer and their game. 

“Caddies are not trained as psychologists but they know the golfer more than anybody else. They are experienced in their own right and are a very critical part of golf,” said Chikwana.

Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA) president Martin Chikwana

Having played and flew the Zimbabwean flag high at some of the biggest stages in the world, celebrated professional golfer Brian Gondo also said caddies play an important role in the sport.

“A caddy is not just a kit carrier but is more of an advisor. He or she is like your next guy, your assistant, they play that important role. If you are a beginner, they might help in managing your game, and decision making under pressure. A caddy is more of your right-hand man, no matter the circumstances, they will always be there regardless of the pressure,” said Gondo.

 Midlands Provincial Golf Union (MPGU) chairperson Alecs Mawere also shared similar sentiments with Chikwana and Gondo, adding that caddies’ golf knowledge is unmatched and they help relieve pressure. He said some caddies are infact professional golfers hence their advice is very important.

After a tournament win, a caddy gets 10 percent of the winnings due to the effort they put in.

“In the sport, the men and women who are around the course with players are not just bag carriers, they have a very important role of assisting players,” said Chikwana.

Some of the roles performed by caddies include watching the ball when its hit to see where it lands, and knowing the distance to the greens. Caddies are truly golf’s unsung heroes. — @brandon_malvin

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