An understanding between golfers and caddies in Thailand can make the difference between a golfing round being good, bad or indifferent. It’s worth taking the time to consider how to improve this relationship. Here are some tips we hope will help.
First the Golden Rule! Always treat your caddie with respect and good humour. When you arrive at the Golf Course a Course Controller and caddies meet your vehicle. A caddie is then assigned and takes control of your bag and clubs. Find out your caddie’s name and introduce yourself before the start of play. Consider buying your caddie a drink when you call into a refreshment station.
Getting on well with your caddie may improve your play and will make the Round even more enjoyable!
Your Caddie’s Advice
Advice may include the best line for the shot, distances, how to avoid trouble, club selection and most importantly reading the putt. The slope of the green is often hard to gauge without Course experience. Caddies are typically experienced, knowledgeable and friendly. Although their advice is usually very good; it is only an opinion – the decision is always yours! Figure out early your caddie’s ability to read the greens.
Perhaps accept the early reads and see how accurate they are. If the reads are consistently off, laugh about it and make a mental note to rely more on your own judgment for the rest of the round. Each caddie’s knowledge of english language varies. Please don’t get upset about any misunderstandings, suspect advice or if you are just having a bad day! If your caddie becomes quiet and withdrawn you may need to ‘lighten up’!
About The Rules
First, Rule 6-1 specifies that, “the player and his caddie are responsible for knowing the Rules”.
This means that you incur a penalty if your caddie breaks the Rules. However be aware that a caddie’s knowledge of the Rules of Golf may be limited (perhaps because they have learnt from golfers!). Together with your marker, you decide where to drop the ball and when to apply penalty strokes. If in doubt check with your marker, don’t just believe the caddies they may encourage an illegal ‘free drop’. As long as you authorise the caddie to mark, pick up and replace the ball on the green, this is OK. You’ll never see this happen in professional competitions because if a mistake is made, it could result in a costly penalty. The caddie is likely to want to mark your card (up to your group!).
However if you are in competition mode the score recorded and signed for is your responsibility. Caddies have been known to be ‘helpful’ by underscoring, be careful. Another possible penalty relates to protection from the elements when a stroke is being played. An umbrella can be held over a player for protection from rain or shine during preparation but not during the stroke.
Tipping – How Much?
A frequently asked question by inexperienced golfers is how much should I tip? Of course the only real answer is; up to you!
The local etiquette is that a ‘par’ tip is the same amount as the caddie fee, typically around 300 THB. More is always acceptable however too much means that you are setting a precedent that other golfer may not appreciate. ‘A cheap Charley’ will not win the respect of either caddies or playing partners. Don’t hand over a 1,000 THB note and expect the caddie to have change; plan ahead.
Good Caddies / Poor Caddies
Many golf courses have a system for golfers to provide feedback by returning a rating of the caddie after the game, please take this seriously. If caddies need further training or have some deficiencies, the course management needs to know. A false rating could result in undeserved penalties or for that matter rewards for being cute (na laak) rather than being a good caddie. Just be honest and real! It’s a rare event but there have been justifiable requests from golfers for a caddie change mid round. This would need to be a serious incident or unacceptable behaviour.
In extreme circumstances go ahead and ask the course controllers. There have been reports made by caddies when a golfer’s bad behaviour has justified suspension from the Golf Course and Club Membership. Our congratulations to the caddie for being assertive and to the Course management for their supportive response.
One Request To Caddies!
If your golfer is having a bad round and still smiling, so should you. It wasn’t his fault that you made a somewhat foolish side-bet with the other caddies before he showed the day’s form!
Some Thai Words To Use On The Golf Course
Followed by Khrap (men) or Kha (ladies)
What is Your Name? khun chuu a-rai?
My Name is ……… phom chuu
Go Left ……… bpai leow sai
Go Right ……… bpai leow kwaa
Go Straight ……… tonk bpai or tonk-tonk
Go into the water ……… tok naam
Go into the sand (bunker) ……… tok sai
Iron ……… lek
Wood ……… mai
Joking poot ……… len
Stop ……… yoot
Help! ……… chuay duay!