What A Caddie May Do For A Player

Backswing Pivot Drill
December 19, 2012
Mike Fay Named U.S. Golf Kids Top 50 Teacher Honorable Mention
January 1, 2013
Show all

What A Caddie May Do For A Player

Playing By The Rules According to the definition  in the Rules of Golf, a caddie is one who assists the player in accordance with the Rules, which may include carrying or handling the player’s clubs during play.  Caddies are covered under Rule 6 The Player, and most specifically under Rule 6 – 4 Caddie.

While the Rules do not expressly so state, the following are examples of duties the caddie may perform for the player without the authority of the player:

1.)    Search for the players ball as provided in Rule 12 – 1.

2.)    Place the players clubs in a hazard – Exception 1 under Rule 13 – 4.

3.)    Repair old hole plugs and ball marks – Rule 16 – 1a(vi) and Rule 16 – 1c.

4.)    Remove loose impediments on the line of putt or elsewhere – Rules 16 – 1a and 23 – 1.

5.)    Mark the position of a ball without lifting it Rule 20 – 1.

6.)    Clean the players ball – Rule 21.

7.)    Remove movable obstructions – Rule 24 – 1.

The player may have a caddie carry his clubs and have additional people carry items other than clubs like a rain suit, cap, umbrella or food and beverage.  The additional people would be considered outside agencies, and any items carried by them would also be considered outside agencies while in their possession.  However, the Committee may prohibit the use of such people in the conditions of a competition.

An interesting caddie/player incident on this year’s PGA Tour took place in the first round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.  A television viewer called PGA officials after they thought they saw Nick Watney’s caddie, Chad Reynolds, testing the putting surface of the seventh green.  Tournament Officials reviewed replays and what they saw was Reynolds hands hovering over the grass, but his hands did not touch the surface. Had Reynolds hand touched the green, it would have violated Rule 16 – 1d Testing Surface and  Watney would have received a two stroke penalty.  Lucky for Watney and Reynolds, the replays proved what they had said all along, that Reynolds never touched the surface of the green.

Frank Guastella, PGA Rules Official Michigan Section PGA
Staff Writer, Mike Fay Golf
If you have a question for Frank here’s where you can contact him.
Email:  fguastella@franklin-golf.net
To “follow” Frank on Twitter click here
To “like” Frank on Facebook click here


  1. Robin says:

    I did not see the broadcast of this incident, but regarding the potential situation of Watney’s caddie touching the green with his hand, your explanation is somewhat misleading or needs more detail regarding the situation.

    If he had touched the line of putt he would certainly be in breach, but if it was not on his line of putt, Decision 16-1d/4 says otherwise. And if the caddie was hovering his hands and did touch the green I am not sure how he might have scraped or roughened the surface, had his hands touched but again, I didn’t see the broadcast.

    I only bring this up to prevent other’s down the road from assuming that a caddie is guilty if he touches the green with his hand for any reason with exception to acts he can perform under 6-4/10 and also under 16-1 a. 6 of the 7 times a line of putt may be touched cover the caddie, as he is authorized by the player. 16-1 a (ii) would be the exception, as a caddie can not address the ball. However if he or she did simulate that action, as some caddies do, and touch the green behind the ball and not in front, there would be no penalty.

  2. Frank Guastella says:

    Thank you for the comment. Glad to see that people are reading my articles. The viewer that called in thought they saw Chad Reynolds touch the line of putt of Watneys and that is why they called in. You are correct, Rule 16 does not allow you touch the line of putt except: (i) the player may remove loose impediments, provided he does not press anything down. (ii) the player may place the club in front of the ball when addressing it, provided he does not press anything down. (iii) in measuring – Rule 18 – 6 (iv) in lifting or replacing the ball – Rule 16 – 1b (v) in pressing down a ball marker (vi) in repairing old hole plugs or ball marks on the putting green – Rule 16 – 1c (vii) in removing movable obstructions – Rule 24 – 1 With regards to indicating line for on the putting green see Rule 8 – 2b. I hope this clarifies or gives more detail with regards to the situation. It was proven that Reynolds only hovered his hand over the line of putt and did not touch the line of putt or test the surface of the green. Reynolds was adamant that he knew he could not touch the line of putt.

  3. ganga raju rayapudi says:

    my caddy removed the holed out ball on the putting green in a four ball stroke play. My co players wants to penalise me with a stroke as my caddy removed the ball instead of me. My contention is after holed out the ball is a dead ball and the caddy can take the ball from the hole. what do you say

  4. Ken says:

    I have just played in a matchplay final and my opponent’s caddy took a club and addressed the ball in order to “assess” the potential shot. Is this allowed?

  5. Reese Bucher says:

    You never see a caddy hand a club to a pro what’s the story?

  6. Ade says:

    How does a caddy line up a player?

  7. Ronald Hough says:

    Kang caddy marked his ball and lifted off the green is that ok?

  8. Weezy smith says:

    Can a caddy swing a player’s club to show them how to swing it?

  9. Alec ward says:

    Can a caddie remove loose impediments on a green by brushing the surface back and forth with a towel

  10. Peter says:

    Can a disabled players caddy tee his players ball up on the tee box. Player cannot bend down.

  11. Wyatt says:

    I am about to play in my big first qualifying tournament and need to know what the limitstions are for a caddie reading a putt with/for me, could you help?

  12. Wale Olagoke says:

    Hi Frank,
    Can a caddie clean worm casts on a green with his hand or leg without pressing the casts down?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *