Golf is back. Although it may be a little different than the golf we’re used to. We are already seeing the effects of a new normal on the PGA Tour as players took part in their first virtual press conferences throughout the day. This new reality is sure to take some getting used to, but compared to the world we lived in for the past 13 weeks that had no pro golf, it is a small price to pay.
Just as we in the recreational game have had to come to alter how we navigate the game of golf, those on the pro level will have to make similar adjustments. But those adjustments are not just reserved for the players, as caddies will have to alter how they go about their business, too. Here are five ways caddies’ jobs will be different this week.
1. No caddies in the locker rooms (or golf bags!)
Caddies are typically afforded some limited access to the locker rooms throughout the week, but now they are strictly prohibited from them. The only exception is at the conclusion of their player’s week (i.e. Friday after a missed cut or Sunday after the round), but they must be accompanied by their player. Also, golf bags will be prohibited from the locker rooms. Some players elect to leave their bags at the course each night, but now that will not be an option. Presumably, the loopers will be responsible for schlepping the clubs to and from the course.
2. Caddies will be tested for Covid-19
Because caddies are considered “essential staff,” they will be required to undergo Covid-19 testing just like the players. This means they will be tested when they arrive on site and will take place in routine questionnaires and temperature checks. Once caddies pass their initial Covid test, they will get a bracelet that grants them more access to various areas throughout the grounds. You can read more about the testing procedures here.
3. High fives are strictly forbidden
Really any form of contact between players and caddies are forbidden. Gone are the days of pre- and post-round handshakes and pleasantries. It will be quite odd to see air fives exchanged after a big shot or putt, but can it be any weirder than the eerie quiet that will accompany it? Additionally, players and caddies are allowed to wear face masks or coverings, but it is not required.
4. Sanitizing will be a priority
When you think about it, caddies have a lot of mutual touch points on the golf course — rakes, flagsticks etc. With that in mind, they will be expected to sanitize these mutual touch points thoroughly. Caddies will be supplied with sanitizer and disinfectants, and there will be hand washing stations throughout the course.
5. Social distancing will be key
According to the PGA Tour’s participant resources guide, “players and caddies must have social distancing requirements in the forefront of their minds, always staying at least six feet away from others.” Be on the lookout for some strange scenes on tee boxes and greens are players and caddies try not to break any of the other participants imaginary six-foot halo. Don’t expect caddies and players to be reading the yardage books over each other’s shoulders for quite a while.