What Is A Caddie’s Responsibility Under The Rules of Golf?


In this post we discuss what a caddie’s responsibility is under the rules of golf.  Rule 6, The Player, is one of the Rules that deals with a players responsibilities during a stipulated round of golf.  Rule 6-1 specifically states: “The player and his caddie are responsible for knowing the Rules.  During a stipulated round, for any breach of a Rule by his caddie, the player incurs the applicable penalty.”

According to the Rules of Golf definitions, “a caddie is one who assists the player in accordance with the Rules, which may include carrying or handling the players clubs during play.  When the caddie is employed by more than one player, he is always deemed to be the caddie of whose ball (or whose partners ball) is involved, and equipment carried by him is deemed to be that players equipment, except when the caddie acts upon specific directions of another player (or the partner of another player) sharing the caddie, in which case he is considered  to be that other players caddie.”

So, what is the meaning of “Specific Directions” in the definition of a caddie.  Let’s say players A and B are sharing a caddie.  Player A asks the caddie to bring him a club.  The caddie takes the club out of A’s bag, places both bags behind the green and walks toward A to hand him the club. While doing this, Player B now plays and his ball strikes one of the bags.  Player B incurred a penalty stroke under Rule 19-2 (Ball in Motion Deflected or Stopped by Players Equipment).

The definition of a caddie provides that, when a caddie is shared by more than one player, the equipment he carries is deemed to belong to the player whose ball is involved in any incident (in this case, B).

The only exception to the above provision occurs when the shared caddie is acting upon the specific directions of another player (or partner of another player) sharing the caddie.  In this case, although A asked the caddie to bring him a club, he did not instruct the caddie, when complying with his request, to place the two bags in a particular location.  In placing the bags where he did, therefore, the caddie was not acting on “specific directions” of A within the meaning of that term in the definition of caddie.  Before playing, B could have asked the caddie to move the bags if he thought his ball might strike them.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
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