Last week my brother-in-law, Matt Beauchamp, had the unique opportunity to caddy on the LPGA Tour. Matt is a Calgary-based writer and avid single-digit handicap, who is proud to now include professional caddying to his vast list of skills. We thought you’d all find his experience and how it came to be interesting, so here it is in his own words:
This year I have been fortunate enough to be a member at one of Calgary and area’s best courses, Priddis Greens Golf and Country Club. This year, Priddis Greens hosted the LPGA’s CP Canadian Women’s Open. You may recognize the event as the one that Lydia Ko has owned since she was 15 years old (four win’s, two of them as an amateur).
As a member of the course I had volunteered to be a marshal on the 18th hole. I had also put my name into the ring to caddy for any girl that needed it should the opportunity arise. At the time of applying I was told they would only need a handful of caddies and it was unlikely my services would be required. As the Sunday before the tournament week approached, I resigned myself to being a marshal for the week as my phone had not lit up with calls from Michelle Wie, Lydia Ko, or Brooke Henderson to caddy for them.
Then, Sunday night, I got an e-mail.
“Matt, are you still interested in caddying? We have a girl that needs a last minute caddy.”
I jumped at the opportunity, and boy am I glad that I did. What followed was one of the best weeks of my life.
It all happened so fast. Monday morning I was at the course bright and early to meet my player. Her name is Amy Anderson.
After playing golf at North Dakota State University and breaking the record for most career wins with 20, Amy joined the LPGA in 2013 and since then has recorded a number of top 10 finishes and currently sits 261 in the world.
Before I even knew what was happening we were playing our first practice round. As we walked to the tee I saw we were playing with Jaye Marie Green, who I had just met in the players dining area, and none other than Michelle Wie.
24 hours earlier I had been lying on my couch watching baseball. It’s crazy the way life turns sometimes.
We played 9 holes together, where Michelle and I talked about Harry Potter and Snapchat, while I got to know Amy and figured out how to caddy.
It’s worth mentioning here that I don’t have any previous caddying experience. And I don’t mean professional caddying experience, I mean literally NO caddying experience. I’ve never carried anyone’s bag that wasn’t my own. Ever.
I consider myself incredibly lucky that I was paired with Amy. She was kind, independent and offered me helpful advice and constructive criticism that allowed me to quickly grow as a caddy, and allowed me to not look like a dummy on the course. I’d also like to give a shout out to Jaye Marie’s caddy, Matt, who was also a big help to me.
Weather cut our first day short, and would turn out to play a big role in the week overall. I was often in my rain gear for hours only to peel it off briefly before quickly putting it back on. I had hoped that we would be able to showcase the beauty of Canada without falling into the cliché of cold weather, however it was not to be.
Before I knew it, it was Thursday morning where we were the very first tee time of the tournament – 7:10 am. Like most professional players, Amy likes to warm up about 1 hour before her tee time. This meant I was driving to the course around 5:30 am to make sure I was ready to go at 6:00 am. We were in a group with Holly Clyburn and Ashlan Ramsey. Holly’s caddy would turn out to provide a great deal of entertainment for us throughout the first two days.
Once again weather played a key role in the morning wave of tee times. We made it through 16 holes, cold and soaking wet, only to have a lightning delay called as the sun started to come out. This would turn out to be a really cool experience, as the three-hour delay allowed me a glimpse into the players lives. I sat in the player’s lounge after getting something to eat and watched Amy take on every single player and caddy that dared play her in ping pong. At the end of three hours, her record was approximately 30-1. And since I know you’re all wondering, yes, there was free frozen yogurt. Life was hard.
We got back out and played the final two holes in even par, however it was still a disappointing 76 to start the tournament. Amy would need a stellar Friday round to make the cut.
Friday’s weather was much improved. I took a gamble and didn’t even bring a jacket. After all everything I brought with me, I had to carry for 18 holes.
Amy’s Friday round got started with a bang, and we made the turn at two-under par. However, after a 3-putt at the 10th and some incredibly bad luck at the 11th, things weren’t looking good. After a par at the easy par 5 12th hole I could feel our chances of making the cut slipping away.
That’s when we walked to the 13th hole only two find a 3 groups waiting on the tee ahead of us. Things were about to get interesting.
The LPGA has some very strict rules. It’s a running joke amongst the players that most of these rules are simply in place to find reasons to fine them. That being said, some of the rules are in place for obvious reasons. As we sat on the 13th tee waiting to tee off with two other groups, and our entire group staring a missed cut in the face, things got a bit silly. Suddenly phones were out and people – who shall remain nameless – were snap chatting pictures. Then the idea was proposed of getting some adult beverages — another rule breaking infraction. These drinks were procured, and we continued to have a great time while waiting to tee off. I soaked it all and loved every moment of it.
As we made our way to the 18th tee, I tried to soak in every last second of what I knew was likely my last professional caddying experience. A birdie on the 18th hole made a disappointing final round a little better, as every birdie made on 18 equaled a $5,000 donation to charity.
My week as a professional caddy will go down as one of the best weeks of my life. Amy is a wonderful human being and I wish nothing but the best for her in her career to come. I learned so many things about myself and the game of golf in this one week, and was amazed at how narrow the margin is between winning a tournament and missing a cut.
I’m also incredibly impressed with the LPGA. It really is like a second family for a lot of these players, and everyone was incredibly friendly and welcoming even to a guy that was an obvious outsider. They have definitely made a fan for life out of me.
If you have any questions for Matt about his professional caddying experience — fire away!