It may surprise some readers (especially the non-golfers) that golf is an activity I’d classify as pleasure. Even if I’m not playing well, it’s a good walk and there’s generally some entertaining banter with the rest of the four-ball.
I’m one of those golfers who is happy to be carrying his own clubs, but my companions often employ caddies for their rounds. These men generally have single-figure handicaps (that would be the caddies, not the golfers!) – last time one of them was a scratch golfer – and offer invaluable assistance in getting around the course with the lowest score. While I’d always want to make the final call myself, their reading of the possible breaks in a putt is based upon an intimate knowledge of the course, and can make the vital difference whether one sinks that birdie putt. Or not.
One unquestionably gets caddies that are bad (which goes for all professions), but one would have to regard caddies as being skilled labour.
The going rate for caddies is R130 for 18 holes, and R20 for halfway refreshments, which makes a grand total of R150. Given that it takes anything between four and five hours to play a round of golf, the caddy is unlikely to get a second round, so his earnings will be R150 for the day. Unskilled gardeners and other casual workers would typically earn a similar amount for a day’s work!
A caddy can, admittedly, augment his earnings with tips, but that’s not going to be a huge sum, and probably not sufficient compensation for the pain of watching really bad weekend golfers hacking their way around the course.
It seems more noble to campaign for a better deal for teachers and nurses, but when we’re through with that, perhaps we can give the caddies a hand.