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FORE May/June 2013 : Page 50

That may sound rare, but caddying is more about carry-ing a bag and wiping down clubs. “It’s really about service,” DiMeo said. “You don’t have to be a good golfer to be a good at caddying: Keep up, shut up, beat the player to the ball, and be quiet. I have guys who don’t know the course and you’d never know it. It’s not com-ing up with the right read on the course, it’s about making the player comfortable.” A Relationship There are many, many stories from avid golfers getting the opportunity to play some of the finest courses in the country – Pebble Beach, Cypress Point, The Los Angeles CC – only to come away with a less-than-stellar memory of the round because the golfer-caddie relationship got in the way. My experience suggests this happens more often with better golfers. The golfers think they can read a green or determine how far to hit an approach but the caddies give a different opinion. That can lead to confusion in the player’s mind and thus lack of confidence, and then bad numbers pop up on the scorecard. “We do questionnaires after the round,” DiMeo said, “and if it’s a bad experience for the player it’s usually because it’s a bad personality match. If the player’s quiet and he or she gets a chatty caddie, then their personalities don’t match.” That goes back to what Mittelstaedt said about golfers being comfortable and, for the most part, having grown up with carts. It’s what they know. But even he says the best way to play the game is by walking. “It’s really the experience of feeling the topography, and the caddie telling you tricks and tips about the course,” Mittelstaedt admitted. “But many feel that it’s about being 50 | FORE Magazine | MAY/JUNE 2013 slow and talking all the time, and yet they play faster with a caddie.” Neither of the two Pelican Hill courses are easy to walk, even with a caddie. Friedlander knows that. But what the caddie provides isn’t so much about knowing the yardages as it is allowing the resort guest to get more out of the experience. “We hire the attitude and then train the caddie on the specifics,” Friedlander said. “It takes a while to learn the nuances of the courses here, and then to learn to gauge the expectations of the guests. But golf is a social game. The act of hitting a shot takes 20 or 30 seconds, and then it’s walk-ing to another shot, and you’re socializing.” Therein lies the best way to enjoy the caddie experi-ence: Be up front with the person who is guiding you around the course. Do you need help reading greens? Any tricks to particular tee shots? But more importantly, let the day unwind in a controlled, enjoyable way. ■ SCGA.ORG

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