How golf games can help to understand the role of caddies

An overhead view of the famed Road Hole at St. Andrews in EA Sports’ Rory McIlroy PGA Tour.

Caddying is a unique art in golf in that you play the role of teammate, assistant coach and course reader. Studying each layout and having a strategy in place on each hole is critical in the world of caddying and instrumental in the success of both looper and player.

One interesting way to understand a key part of the role of a caddie, is to play some of golf’s top simulation video games. This is an underrated way to not only understand the role of a caddie better, but to understand the world of golf as well.

Studying and mastering each hole’s layout and yardage is key, and this is one thing that you can do in some of these games. When playing the Tiger Woods PGA Tour video games, for example, you’ll be able to zoom in and see how far your club will go.

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Although you’re playing as a golfer, factoring in yardage is distinctive in the art of the caddie, hence making you somewhat of both a golfer and a looper in-game. And with many of these games featuring real-world courses, you’ll be able to understand the ins and outs of some of the most famous layouts, just like PGA Tour caddies do.

A bird’s eye view of the fourth green at Merion in The Golf Club 2019.

Aside from zooming in on each shot to check your yardage, one of the more spectacular ways to read each hole is with the bird’s-eye view feature. This is a perspective that is in Rory McIlroy PGA Tour (EA Sports’ last golf game to date, released in 2015).

This view gives you a yardage-book type of angle, showing the distance in certain spots on each hole. What’s cool about this is that it allows you to read each shot and strategize accordingly, just like you would on the real course.

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You’ll need to be factor in the wind as well, which adds another strategic element to the mix, as you play the role of player and caddie. Some of the games even feature authentic winds for each famous course.

For example: from Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 to Tiger Woods 14, Augusta National’s famous swirling winds were replicated at Amen Corner. And like at the Masters, if the player and caddie can’t properly read the winds, their ball will likely be swallowed up by Rae’s Creek like a holiday dinner.

The second shot on the 10th hole of the fictional Lighthouse Pointe in Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, viewed from the opposite side. You can see the green grid which determines the slope of the green. Mieczkowski used his created golfer, Ghost Panda.

Another game series of note is The Golf Club which has a more traditional golf feel, as opposed to the EA games which have a little bit of quirk to them. One thing that makes The Golf Club games interesting is that you can play many different layouts made by community members.

You’ll see a ton of original designs, but also some very good remakes of real tracks such as Pebble Beach, Merion and Chicago Golf Club. It’s this rich variety that allows you to test your strategic caddie approach on numerous courses.

And similarly, in the other games mentioned, you can get a bird’s-eye view of each hole, helping you understand which clubs could be the best choice. You can loft your clubs as well to help get that perfect yardage.

On the fourth green at Merion East in The Golf Club 2019. Here, you can get a great look at the grid, where the beads were sloping left which is where the putt will break. You can turn off the grid altogether to make things very interesting.

Once you reach the green, you’ll see a grid that’ll help you read putts. This can be turned off, really making you put on your caddie cap and bib to read the slope of the green.

With the greens being so realistic in the game, reading the undulations could be a good little form of practice. There’s also a putt preview feature that will show you where your ball will roll. This is a great way to test your ability to read each putt and give you a general idea when at the real course.

There are a lot of elements to being a caddie, but reading the yardage, winds and greens play a massive role in this. Playing certain golf video games can give you a taste, giving you a better understanding of golf course design and the power the looper has in tackling each layout.

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