“We’re weathermen. We’re psychologists. We’re bartenders. We’re scapegoats,” Caddie Master says.
By Yoko Minoura
In his 20-plus years as a caddie, Lane Weidman jokes that he’s never had a client hit a bad shot.
Miss a putt or watch your ball sail into a bunker?
“It’s my fault,” Weidman quips.
Scapegoat is just one of many roles a caddie must be willing to play, according to Weidman. As president and caddie master of High Desert Loopers – looper being slang for caddie – he provides caddies for Tetherow and Pronghorn Resort, and hopes to serve Crosswater Club, Brasada Ranch and Black Butte Ranch in the future. Tetherow and Pronghorn both use the forecaddie system, where one caddie takes care of a group, although individuals may also request a personal caddie.
On the course, Weidman said, “we wear a lot of hats. We’re weathermen. We’re psychologists. We’re bartenders. We’re scapegoats.”
But in his opinion, a caddie’s job encompasses far more than just golf-related services. A good caddie will also make dinner reservations, call a car service, set up recreational gear rental or fulfill virtually any other request a player has during and after the game.
While Tetherow members are not required to have a caddie to play the course, Weidman said it’s a necessity the first time – even for experienced golfers. Very few players are familiar with the rolling topography of a links-style course, and Tetherow’s greens are exceptionally firm and fast. It’s part of the reason why caddies are mandatory for non-members.
“Tetherow is unique in that you truly need a caddie here your first few times playing it,” he said. “(Otherwise,) you would get destroyed. It’s so difficult; there are so many blind shots.”
Even golfers that consider Tetherow their “home course” can get a boost from a good caddie. Burning Bush, Tetherow’s premier annual golf tournament for teams that pair one member with a guest, is a prime example.
“Every season, out of 60-plus teams, I would say 10 caddies go out. Not very many,” Weidman said “Out of those 10, every year, about eight of those groups go to the finals.”
And because High Desert Loopers serves more than one golf course, members who want to play at another local course can request the same caddie. Weidman said he fielded more than 200 such requests in the 2016 golf season. (While Pronghorn is open year-round, caddies are only required May through October).
Establishing personal relationships comes with the territory. Caddying is one of the only service jobs where you spend roughly five straight hours with the same people, Weidman pointed out, adding that he takes great care in trying to match the caddie to the group – whether it’s guys on a bachelor party or retirees from Florida.
“From the moment you meet the guest in the parking lot to the moment you shake their hand on the 18th green, you’re buddies,” he said. “You become friends.”