|Fluff Cowan, one of golf's most recognisable caddies|
I suspect that most readers of this blog play their golf without the luxury of a caddie to assist them during their rounds. However, for some of us there may be occasions when we might splash out when playing a ‘special’ course for the first time, or we manage to persuade a willing son, daughter or grandchild to help us carry our clubs for some extra pocket money, or we accept an offer from a friend when we are selected to play in an inter-club match. So, in this week’s blog I am going to highlight some of the Rules that apply to players who have a caddie with them during a round. This is from the Definition of a Caddie;
A “caddie” is one who assists the player in accordance with the Rules, which may include carrying or handling the player’s clubs during play.The Rules permit a caddie to give advice to their player. This includes; information on distances, topography of the course (e.g. slope and speed of fairways and putting greens), position of the flagsticks, club selection, type of stroke to be played, line of putts and direction of play. They may also provide shelter to their player from the elements, but not while the player makes their stroke. A caddie may also give advice to their player’s partner in four-balls or foursomes.
The wording of Rule 6-1 is interesting;
The player and his caddie are responsible for knowing the Rules. During a stipulated round, for any breach of a Rule by his caddie, the player incurs the applicable penalty.So, in match play if a caddie picks-up the ball in play of their opponent, without authorisation, their player is penalised one stroke and the ball must be replaced.
Here are a few other interesting rulings concerning caddies;
- A caddie does not have the authority to make a concession, so any purported concession made by them is invalid (Decision 2-4/3.5). Remember the incident in the 2013 Solheim Cup?
- A player may only have one caddie at a time, but there is no restriction on how many caddies a player may have during a round. So, a player may swap one caddie for another during their round (Decision 6-4/7). (Edit 12th September: I am reminded that Decision 8-1/26 rules that a player may not briefly change caddies for the purpose of receiving advice from the new caddie and would incur the general penalty for doing so).
- There is no restriction on a caddie competing in the same competition that they are caddying in. So a player may complete their own round and then caddie for another competitor (Decision 6-4/8).
- When one caddie is shared by more than one player, they are always deemed to be the caddie of the player whose ball is involved (Definition of Caddie).
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