I Need A Full Time Caddie

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Posted by Dexter Francois | Posted in , , , | Posted on Monday, November 14, 2011

I was watching an episode of Golf Channel Academy today which featured Greg Norman and some of things he does on the golf course to be successful. The segment that caught my attention was when he was talking about visualizing his shots. Visualization and picking specific targets are aspects of the games that separate us as amateurs from the pros.

We have talked about visualizing our intended shots before and I do all I can to stay focused on the course, but sometimes there are just too many distractions that lead to poor shots. Norman talked about how amateurs see all the hazards and everything that can go wrong before a shot. Pros, on the other hand, have tunnel vision. It's like they have those horse blinders on. They don't see the trouble. I've heard pros say that they sometimes narrow their focus to something as minute as a leaf on a tree as an aiming point. We, however, see the entire tree.

The greatest advantage that professionals have over us in my opinion, is that they have caddies to help them stay focused on their targets. Caddies are meticulous when mapping out yardages and gaining overall knowledge of the course (s)he and their player are navigating. If I had a caddie, I would probably be a scratch golfer by now.

As I thought about it, my best rounds have been when I played on courses I had never played before, but was paired with someone who played it regularly. I remember playing at The Phoenician with Patrick Gibbons one afternoon, and even though I had played it once before, I couldn't remember how all of the holes played.

On one particular hole, like a caddie, he told me where I needed to hit it to have the best look into the green for my approach shot. I stepped up to the tee and hit exactly where he had told me to. He commented, "must be nice to hit where you're supposed to."

On another day, I played at Silverado Golf Club for the first time and  I was paired with a gentleman who knew the course like the back of his hand. He guided me through the course for the whole round and I produced some of the best shots I had ever hit in my career.

There was one par 4 that had a blind tee shot over trees in order to get to the fairway. My playing partner pointed out a pole that everyone used as an aiming point. He told me that if I hit it long and just right of the pole, I would end up in a good position. Again, I hit it just as I was instructed to do and was left with an 80 yard shot into the green.

If I always had someone telling me where to hit it, my scores would drop dramatically. It's almost like I didn't have to think about the shot, I just had to execute it, and I think this is a luxury that the pros have. Caddies take a lot of the guess work out of the game. They keep their player in a positive state of mind which translates into better quality shots.

I love when the producers mic a professional during a tournament and we get to hear the conversation that takes place between caddie and player. They talk about what they want to accomplish and it always ends with, "I like that shot" or "I feel good about that." After all the calculations have been made, they know exactly what they are shooting at and in their mind, they have already executed it.

Sure professionals hit poor shots from time to time but more often than not, they are dead on with what they wanted to do. While it is still on the player to hit the shot, a good caddie can be the difference between a shot ending up on the green or ending up in a hazard. This is why I want a full time caddie. Any takers? Have a great round and always hit your target.

Photo found here.


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Comments (9)

  1. November 15, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Interesting watch on the Golf channel :)

  2. November 15, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    It was. I like watching those learning shows. I learn a lot and then I try to mimic what the pros do during my own rounds. I'm becoming a good copy cat;-)

  3. November 15, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    I have been visualizing my putts, but I have found that I "like" to make it harder than they need to be.

    On the practice putting green, I pick two holes that have a good change in elevation, so I can practice uphill and downhill putts.

    I found that on the downhill putts I would visualize, and then putt, these great breaking putts that tended to look cool, but ended up either past the hole or stopping to the side, with a good four or five foot between me and the cup.

    Eventually, I aimed at the hole and I found that, yes, it was a double-breaking putt, but the putt ended either in the hole or within tap-in range.

    I have to step away from the dramatics and just aim at the hole. That's always a good lesson.

  4. November 15, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    I've been trying to keep my putting routine simple as well. I like to visualize the line it's going to take towards the hole. Once I do that I line up my ball and then focus on the hole.

    I've heard some instructors say to pick the apex of the break, focus on that point, and then hit it. This really never worked for me. I like to focus on where the ball is going to enter the cup. Since I already visualized my line, now all I have to do is hit it on its intended line and the rest should take of itself. I've been getting much better results. More tap-ins and less 3-putts.

  5. November 15, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Well, I'm going through a three-putt stage where you question your sanity and the whether the maker of the putter should have children.

    It's fine. It happens to everyone.

    I have watched videos of Steve Stricker putting. He lines up with the ball near the heel and the heel in the air. It works for him.

  6. November 15, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Steve Stricker is a good one to watch. I remember his shot out of the bunker that put him in a position to win the John Deere. Then he holed the putt from off the green to win it outright. So clutch. No wonder Tiger likes playing with him in team events.

  7. November 16, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    It's true Dexter the caddies do make a big difference. I have really worked on focusing only on the good spots to hit to when I approach shots on the golf course.

    I must admit though it is difficult to totally block out any hazards especially if you have OB on one side and water on the other.

    Cheers

  8. November 16, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    "OB on one side and water on the other." I don't think there is a more nerve racking shot off the tee. When I was in Miami, I faced a lot of these types of shots. It takes great focus to block out everything that could go wrong.

    Here in Phoenix, it's OB on one side and desert on the other. Fortunately for the most part, you are allowed to play from the desert. So at least there is a chance. Water however, is unforgiving.

  9. January 12, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    It is not a comment, just a question. I wonder, how many tour professionals come from Caddies ?

    Best regards, Michael from Cheap Ladies Golf Clubs.