What Does a Tour Pro Keep in Their Golf Bag?
THE top tour professionals make a very nice living for themselves, thank you very much. There is prize money. After the US PGA Championship, Brooks Koepka had pocketed a cool $5,905,127. Not bad before the end of May. And that’s before you add in the club deals and the various sponsorship contracts.
Their caddies don’t do too badly either. The going rate is usually 10% of prize money when their player wins. To be fair, these guys deserve every penny they get. If they are lucky, they get to work for a decent human being - witness the relationship between Jordan Spieth and his bagman Michael Greller. They are friends on and off the course and have a brilliant rapport. But for every Spieth and Greller, you will find an employer who blames his caddie for everything that goes wrong on the course. A caddie can only give his player a yardage and highlight wind strength and direction. He can only urge caution when there is a 250-yard carry over a lake to be negotiated. He cannot play the shots.
And that caddie has to lug a massive tournament bag around while trying to keep up with his boss in usually sweltering heat. On average, they weigh 50lb. It got us wondering what the contents of the average tour professional’s bag might be when compared with the bags we cart around 18 holes.
Variety of Clubs
Like you and I, they carry 14 clubs, although the selection may be very different. There will be a driver and a three wood for sure, but few top pros carry a five wood. Instead there may be a two iron and a three iron. Some also carry driving irons. They know the importance of the short game, so the majority will carry as many as four different wedges.
There won’t be any used golf balls in there either. Tour professionals tend to change their golf ball after three holes, so that means a minimum of six balls. Like us, even the best of them lose balls from time to time, so your average tour pro will probably start his round with 12 new golf balls in the bag. And they will only ever see action on the driving range after being used on the course. Most of them also have personal markings on those balls.
There will always be food - it might be sandwiches, it might be fruit. And there will be water. Woe betide the caddie who doesn’t put enough bottles of water into his player’s bag.
Apparel & Accessories
Of course there will be a freshly-laundered set of waterproofs and an umbrella (to keep the player dry, not the caddie), but the chances are that there will also be a spare sweater, maybe even a back-up polo shirt.
There will also be an assortment of tools, everything from one of those devices to adjust a driver’s lie and loft (this cannot be used on the course) to a groove sharpener.
The player might get injured, so most caddies will carry an assortment of sprays and creams, as well as arm and leg braces.
And don’t forget the towel, the alignment sticks, the sunscreen, the wooden hat in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, the spare golf gloves, the tees, the pens and pencils, the plasters, the glucose sweets, the yardage chart, the lucky coins. Some even carry good luck messages in their bags.
If you are John Daly’s caddie, the chances are that you will also have to add a couple of cans of Diet Coke, spare packets of cigarettes and umpteen bars of chocolate. It may explain why he was allowed to use a buggy at Bethpage!
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