Indonesia Expat
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12 Tips for Playing Golf with a Caddie in Indonesia

One of the biggest golfing luxuries is to hire a caddie who can spot your ball and help you look for it in the rough.

Caddies are trained for about three months to increase their knowledge, so they know the right line for drives and slopes on the greens, whilst helping a golfer with things like club selection. For golfers who have never experienced the joys of hiring a caddie, remember they aren’t judging, but finding ways to help the golfer feel their swing. This checklist will help “Caddie newbies” feel more at ease and help them to enjoy the experience.

LIGHTEN BAG WEIGHT BEFORE YOU PLAY
Most golfers’ bags are stuffed with way too much extra weight. Do your caddie a favour and lighten the load. Don’t have them complaining about the extra pounds of unnecessary “water bottles” you forgot remove from your bag: instead look at what you can take out to make your bag lighter. Empty your bag of excess content (balls, tees, etc.) before the four-hour round!

REMEMBER YOUR CADDIE’S NAME
You will find yourself conversing with your caddie and other players: remembering names is important. As you gather at the first tee, nerves can jangle just a little bit more with the problem of not knowing your caddie’s name! Caddies in Indonesia are predominantly young women: they assist the golfer in navigating course challenges and you’ll benefit from their presence.

LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU’RE EXPECTING
Some caddies will try and do everything – give lessons, pull clubs, guide you around the course, read every putt – others will just carry your bag. Try to find what works best for you and then lead them that way. If for you, having a lesson is out of the question, and you don’t want them telling you which shots to play, making that clear early on helps set some useful ground rules.

LISTEN TO INSTRUCTIONS ON THE TEE AND LET THEM HANDLE THE FLAGSTICK
A good caddie will get up on the tee box and tell the foursome where to aim. Listen up the first time so they don’t have to repeat themselves. Your caddie can be invaluable, especially in determining the line for tee shots. In addition, why not let the caddie handle the flagstick – the flagstick is a caddie’s domain.

FOLLOW THEM IF THEY CAN READ THE GREENS
An experienced caddie can make your round. Many of them will have seen each green a thousand times: they will know every break and every slope so use this to your advantage. Consider asking the Caddie Master before a round to get you a caddie who is great at green reading: it can be important.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT HOW YOU ARE PLAYING, JUST BE YOURSELF
There’s no reason to play or act any differently because there is a caddie carrying your bag. Try to chat to them for a while – but not to the exclusion of your playing partners. The caddy should make you feel at ease immediately: remember, the day is about “your game.” Don’t throw clubs or throw a mini-tantrum, instead smile and laugh it off! Caddies have seen all kinds of horrors on the golf course so don’t blame your caddie for a bad shot or missed putt.

ESTABLISH WHEN TO TALK DURING THE GAME
Caddies dislike the silent treatment, so employing banter will make the round more fun for everybody. Their knowledge could make the day more enjoyable, however do establish boundaries. Nobody likes someone telling them how to play golf, so if your caddie won’t stop talking, or giving unsolicited swing advice or critique, politely state when is a relevant time to talk during the game.

TREAT YOUR CADDIE WITH RESPECT
Everyone knows that carrying a golf bag and walking alongside golfers for more than four hours is an exhausting ordeal, therefore treat the caddie as you would expect to be treated yourself. If you are friendly, they will reward you with loyal service. Don’t ask your caddie to put his or her life on the line for a lost ball by sending them into risky terrain just to find a replaceable golf ball.

IF YOU ARE UNCERTAIN OF A YARDAGE, ASK FOR ADVICE ON A SHOT
Caddies know the course, so why not use this to your advantage. They not only give yardages but also give advice on different ways to play the hole, things to watch out for, lines to go for, and these tips can be really valuable. Don’t force the caddie to read every putt. A good caddie will only read the putt if asked, so only ask them for help if required on a key putt or a tricky putt.

ALLOW THE CADDIE TO RIDE ON THE BACK OF YOUR CART
Most forecaddies want to ride on the back of your cart on holes with long distances between tees and greens. It’s only polite to offer to buy them something from the beverage cart or the halfway house. Your caddie deserves to finish the round with relatively good energy levels.

RECOMMEND YOUR CADDIE TO OTHER PLAYERS
If you like your caddie, then recommend them to your friends. You’ve just guaranteed them a steady stream of income. Caddies only get paid if they loop – that is play 18 holes – so the more loops, the better chance of a tip. Good caddies can add a higher level of service and enjoyment to any foursome. A great caddie makes for a great day, no matter how you play!

FIND OUT WHAT THE EXPECTED TIP IS FROM THE CADDIE MASTER
For an 18-hole round, it’s common to tip the caddie Rp200,000. Check in advance to find out what the charge is as there is often a fixed fee or recommended tip. You can simply give the tip and say, “thank you,” or pass it over discreetly as you shake the caddie’s hand. Either way, your caddie is happy!

See: Fun! Golf Societies in Jakarta

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