Golf is different from most other sports. For most kids, their parents stay on the sidelines and there is a coach-to-kid ratio of perhaps one or two to twenty. In golf, in most cases, there is a one-to-one coach-to-kid ratio. As caddy for a young golfer, you are their coach. What a fantastic way to spend time with your child. Aside from perhaps target shooting, I can’t think of another sport where you get to work as a team like this with your child. Most other times, unless you coach, you are a spectator. Caddying with my son on a beautiful golf course has given me some of my greatest memories.
However, do not underestimate the challenge of this role. Every dad and mom who has caddied for their child and reads this will be immediately nodding their heads … caddying for a child golfer can be a real challenge! If we all didn’t invariably have to run to support other children’s activities, or do our honey-do list, the nineteenth hole (the clubhouse bar) would be full of daddy caddies, and mommy caddies, after every tournament. The dads often joke that there should be a therapist standing by for us after every round. Please be sure though, caddying for your child can be one of the most fun and heart-warming things you can do, when you approach it the right way.
When you decide to caddy for your golfer, you make a commitment to act as their assistant, cheerleader, agent, parent, and finally coach. This commitment is not unlike coaching in any other sport. In fact, most coaches for young athletes understand this well, and you do too if you’ve volunteered to coach for children before. If you haven’t, then it’s important to understand that is your role as caddy. You are their coach during play.
Before I give you some nitty-gritty on being a child golfer’s caddy, I want to share with you one thought. Perhaps the most important component to your role as caddy is by far the role of parent. Your oversight as a parent must guide the string of circumstances leading up to any shot, hole, and even tournament. Which events to play must be checked by the parent’s view of priorities such as school work, family, or even faith commitments; many tournaments are on the weekend. How to handle your child’s behavior after her bad shot is best governed ultimately as a parent. How to handle your child’s reaction to another player’s potential penalty or behavior is best governed ultimately as a parent. The values and lessons you want your child to learn will have plenty of “face time” during the course of becoming a golfer. Parent is job one.
I am happy to tell you that I learned A LOT over time as a daddy caddy. I credit my growth and improvement as a caddy to my willingness to learn and be reflective, to keep focused on my role as a parent over that of assistant, cheerleader, agent, etc. I now always try to give priority to what the parent should do as that is what matters most, not the score on any given round. It was hard at times admittedly, but my growth also enabled noticeable improvement in my son’s game. Now you and your golfer may have the perfect storm of traits needed to be just awesome on the course, and if that is so, congratulations and go on and skip ahead. My experience tells me otherwise though. The variety of kids, parents, and ages, brings different challenges.
Have no doubt, you won’t be alone regardless of what you are experiencing with your child golfer.