Caddies at Golf Clubs: Yea or Nay?

Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times

Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times

“Caddying is very much like a mirror of life,” he said. “It teaches kids how to be around adults. It gets them out of their shells, and they learn a trade. We’re taking kids and turning them into young adults.”These are the uplifting vignettes often used to justify mandatory caddie rules, but are they the real motivations? Here the men are given the preferred tee times and the women are given the binary choice of taking a caddie — if one is available — or riding in a cart. Perhaps the rules are poorly considered? Or worse self serving.Many in the private golf club demographic are fitter than in times past. For a variety of reasons (not least playing better), they might prefer to walk.
Despite high unemployment, especially in the younger caddie demographic, spending 4 or 5 hours at an arcane task is declining in popularity leading to the “all the club’s caddies were usually snatched up by the men who tee off early on weekends” problem encountered by the two women golfers in the story.The uplifting vignettes rarely include the idea that quite a lot of caddies are not worth the cost and might, in fact, detract from the experience.Letting players “carry their own” or — horrors, use a pull cart — are choices left out by the binary rule makers. Is the correlation between “rule-makers” and “caddie-users” high enough to suggest the real motivation? “You have to take a caddie so that there are enough caddies available for me at the price I want to pay.”Likely there is also a correlation between golf club rule makers and free marketeers, but these rules don’t show it.True, the Republic will likely survive this challenge.

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