Tips for enjoying the CommonGround caddie experience
The first time I took a caddie at CommonGround, I handed her my golf ball on the first green and waited for a read. It took me a few holes to understand that she and the three other youngsters with our foursome were there to learn and not teach. It’s a caddie experience like no other, available between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and I highly recommend it!
Plus, there’s no charge: You’re contributing loops for those in the Solich Caddie and Leadership Academy to reach their goal of an Evans college scholarship. Here are five strategies for making the day win-win for you both.
- Reserve your caddie a few days ahead of your round, either by calling the course or using the online caddie reservation form. “We’re trying to make sure there are a few extra caddies on the course for golfers who decide late,” says Ellie Rodriguez, who joined the program four years ago, won an Evans scholarship to CU-Boulder, and this summer, at 18, is serving as assistant caddie manager. “But if you really want a caddie it would be better to reserve one at least 48 hours before your loop.”
- Lighten your bag. I switched out my cart bag to a nine-club Sunday bag. If you don’t have one of those, maybe you can leave out some extra golf balls, your winter gear and your rangefinder. (Your caddie will give you distances.) If you don’t have a bag designed to be carried, bring your cart and let the caddie push it around.
- Make a connection. Walk along with your caddie and ask about school, interests, hobbies, summer plans. Last month I had a caddie who plays soccer, not golf, but I learned that he worked 36 loops in 2022 and has gotten a pretty good feel for A-positions and green reads. No one else in my fun Sunday four-ball had a caddie, so we jokingly fought over his support and brought him into our game. Francisco told me, by the way, that he has his best days with golfers who “bring a good attitude.” This should go without saying: No tantrums or club-throwing, please.
- Expect mistakes, says Ellie. “The caddies aren’t perfect and they’re still learning the basics. They’re just in high school. A lot of them haven’t set foot on a golf course. It’s OK to correct them, just correct them in the nicest way possible and they’ll be sure to fix whatever it is.” Consider yourself their mentor for the day.
- Express your appreciation with a tip. Yes, the caddies get a monthly stipend of $600. Remember when you were 16? I’ve been told $20 is very well received at the end of four hours in the Colorado sun, no matter how much fun was had along the way.
Veteran journalist Susan Fornoff has written about golf for publications including the San Francisco Chronicle, ColoradoBiz magazine and her own GottaGoGolf.com. She became a CGA member when she moved from Oakland, CA, to Littleton in 2016, and ghost-writes as “Molly McMulligan,” the CGA’s on-course consultant on golf for fun. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.