The Caddy’s Struggle Behind the Green
A sea of white visors and khaki shorts stretches over a never-ending green blanket. It is the annual March of Dimes tournament at the Los Serranos Country Club of Chino Hills, CA, and hundreds of golfers have come to take a swing at glory. Two caddies, no relation to each other, wait for their golfers in front of the pro shop near the first tee-off. One is a brunette with a white polo shirt and a pair of tan capris. The other is tall with blonde hair, wearing a low-cut pink polo shirt and a short black skirt. Both women wear visors. At a quarter to 11 this morning, two 40-year-old men, both sporting black caps and similar Nike apparel, approach the girls.
“Hey Molly, you ready?” Bob, the taller of the two men, says with a friendly smile as he reaches to give the young brunette a handshake. His smugger counterpart, Jack, greets his caddy with his eyes followed by a handshake. He introduces himself on the spot, so it is clear that they do not know each other.
“Hi, I’m Candice! I’m looking forward to playing some rounds with you today,” she says playfully. Jack laughs in response, while Molly rolls her eyes and Bob just ignores it; the inappropriate innuendo does not go unnoticed. Following their introduction, the men hand the girls their clubs and the four head down toward the first tee.
Bob’s caddy for the day is 21-year-old Molly Stevens of Yorba Linda, CA. Molly, a member of the women’s junior golf team of Los Serranos Country Club, although now a paid professional, initially worked as a volunteer to raise money for her team. There are generally two ways to become a working caddy. One is by taking a certification test; passing this test lets people know that a caddy is certified and wanting work.
The other route is the one that Molly took, by being a friend of, or knowing the people that want to request you for the position. By getting exposure as a caddy, she would earn respect and would increasingly be requested and referred to others by people she had caddied for previously. Although Bob had met Molly on the green before, he didn’t seem to take her golf advice seriously at first, perhaps as a result of being influenced by his fellow player Jack. In contrast to Molly, Jack’s caddy, Candice, is not a golfer, nor does she know anything about the game. Candice represents a new trend in golfing, where hot young women who know nothing about the sport can be found on and contacted through a website such as CaddyChicks.com.
On the start of the third hole of 410 yards, it’s twenty till noon and the sun is beaming down upon the party, prevailing over the misty gloom of the morning. Trees line the side of the tee leaving a lane straight away which curves into a half oval where at the end, a red and white patterned flag on the putting green is fluttering softly against the breeze, awaiting the next golfers’ attempts to make under par.
Bob hits a 250-yard drive, ending up in the rough. He has only 160 yards remaining. By the time they arrive at his ball’s new location, Bob insists on “the five wood.”
Molly strongly suggests an eight iron. “It will allow you to cut through the grass easier than a wood, while giving you a safely moderate amount of power.”
“As I said, the 5 wood, sweetey” Bob replies haughtily, ignoring her advice and reaching for the club. After a few brisk practice swings, he takes aim for his next shot. He takes his back swing slow and full, and a fluid swing at the ball, which is caught deep in the rough. The ball quickly becomes a white speck as it soars into the air, slicing to the right and over the putting green by 10 yards, and ending up in a trench of white powder otherwise known as the sand trap. With two over par, this hole does not go as planned for an embarrassed Bob; some embitterment seems to surface toward Molly whom he now knows had a smarter strategy. The next few holes will be the same for Bob as he refuses to swallow his pride.
“They treat you like sometimes you don’t know shit. Like you’re just supposed to be pretty and don’t have any bearing or conception on the game at hand. … You’re just eye candy. Sometimes you are treated with respect, but unfortunately it mostly comes from women golfers. Most men just don’t take women seriously in the golfing world, so as a female caddy I have a constant battle against ignorant preconceived notions of my abilities and knowledge, or lack thereof.”
The other caddy of the day, Candice, represents everything that serious female athletes, golfers, and caddies are fighting against in order to be taken seriously within the golfing world. Molly actually verified from Bob discreetly late in the day of the tournament that Candice was in fact hired from a female caddying service. One such service is Caddychicks, which offers golfers beautiful young woman who meet them at a golf course and for the entirety of the game, carry his clubs and look attractive. Although the CaddyChicks website claims their mission is “to provide an opportunity for women to learn more about the game of golf through the eyes of the caddy” it seems that the company is more interested in appealing to the eyes of the golfer.
For example, one of the questions on the CaddyChick’s Web site is, “Will the caddies wear bikinis to the golf course?” (No). In the Q & A for potential caddies, one question is “What is expected of me as a caddy?” The answer is, “At the bare minimum, you should keep your golfers’ clubs and balls clean, the sand traps raked, divots filled and his beer glass filled!” The Q & A goes on to reveal that none of the caddies are employees of the CaddyChicks company, and that any woman can post her information and potentially be chosen for work by a golfer. The company’s revenue comes almost entirely from the golfers paying a monthly rate to gain membership to the website, which allows them to contact and book a caddy.
Another Web site that advertises for CaddyChicks is BadGolfer.com. One of the ads for CaddyChicks makes the appeal and point of the service pretty clear: It’s a video of a young woman dressed in a sculpting red shirt and very short shorts, playing miniature golf. Halfway through her game she takes her shirt off, and continues to play in a bikini. The clip finishes with the girl bending down slowly to retrieve her golf ball from the hole, while showing off her more obvious assets. A sign with the CaddyChicks insignia follows this.
Unlike Molly, who was trying to exemplify the duties of a professional caddy, Candice really only carried Jack’s clubs and looked pretty.
Beyond those given duties, there was merely shameless and pathetic flirting between Candice and Jack. “Nice hit Jack!” Candice cheered as Jack took his swing. The girl was nice and supportive of Jack, but acted more as a personal cheerleader than anything else. But the duties of a real caddy involve so much more than that. Most importantly, professional caddies need to know how to play the game of golf. They must be able to suggest the right club at any given time, in accordance to distance, the type of terrain that the ball lays, and the surrounding environment and elements, such as wind.
As stated by Molly, “Studying, no, knowing the course on which your golfer is playing is crucial to your performance and ability to give advice as a caddy.” Molly, who is not only a caddy but also a serious golfer, believes that women will not be taken more seriously as golfers until they begin to beat male golf records. Some women are already in pursuit of this goal. Young and promising players such as Carmen Bandea, Michelle Wie, and Isabelle Beisiegel have all attempted the US Men’s Open qualifying round, each with an average drive of 280 yards. For now however, golfers like Molly struggle against the CaddyChicks image as they seek respect in the caddying world.
A good caddy can be essential, as golfers don’t always think clearly and can be overcome by mental pressure. Caddies are a source of alternative advice and someone to help you keep a level head when playing the game. One stroke can make or break a game. Behind any great golfer is a great caddy.
By 1:30 p.m., the sun has risen higher across the clear blue sky. Bob stops to wipe his brow as beads of sweat roll down his neck. On the ninth hole of the day, he is on the fair, 120 yards away from the putting green. Bob takes a club from Molly, “I recommend the pitching wedge Bob, if you can’t believe that then you don’t know your own strength,” she advises him. Bob decides to listen without much hesitation this time, takes the club, and takes aim to swing. The white orb flew gently over head, deescalating until it bounced onto the putting green, five yards away from the hole. Bob, smiling, gives Molly a nod of affirmation.
As they finish the hole and begin to move on, Bob asks, “Molly, you wouldn’t happen to be available to caddy for a tournament next month in Diamond Ranch? I could use you, kid.” Molly agrees, having rightfully earned the respect of another individual, not only as a client, but also as a person.