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Ireland Golf Courses – To caddie or not to caddie?

One of the most common questions we get from our guests is “do I need a caddie on my Irish Golf tour”? Need? Well, not like you need food and water but “Should you hire a caddie whilst playing on the best Ireland Golf Courses”? An emphatic “yes” to that question. If you are playing the best golf courses in Ireland such as Royal County Down, Doonbeg and Ballybunion Golf courses for the first time (hopefully not the only time!), a Caddie will greatly add to the experience on many fronts.
ireland golf courses colin byrne caddieFirst and most importantly from the Golf point of view, they will guide you around the links. Expect more from your caddie than just “to show up, keep up and shut up”. Many of these caddies will be locals and members of the course, so the basics – lines off the tee, green reading, where not to hit the ball will be covered. In fact some might even be future major champions like Graeme McDowell who looped at Royal Portrush as a kid. Remember the best of Ireland Golf Courses are Links which by their nature are challenging with the Irish weather, rough, contours, and potential blind shots to handle, so having a navigator on the bag will greatly help. 
Ireland golf caddie lahinchWe won’t say it – humility! – but many before us have; the best part of Ireland is its people! Your caddie will be great company for four hours and a source of many stories and quips (at least 1/4 of which might be true!).  Whilst doing our (ahem!) research for this blog, we came across this beauty from the 1899 edition of the www.spectator.co.uk  which explains it: “They read so little they have all the more time to cultivate the art of conversation”. Indeed! The caddie will greatly add to the overall experience, which really is what a golfing vacation in Ireland is all about – a total Irish experience.
Need some local knowledge away from the golf course? The caddie is a great source of best places to visit in Ireland; best restaurants, best pubs and where to find Irish music in the local area. He might even join you for a pint!  Just be careful not to blame the caddie for your errant shots or you might end up on the losing side, like the golfer who told his local Irish caddie “you must be the worst caddie in the entire world”, to which the caddie promptly retorted “I don’t think so sir; that would be too much of a coincidence”.
caddie ballybunion golf clubAlmost all of the best links golf courses in Ireland do have caddies available.  You can expect to pay approx   €40 per bag ~ $50 plus gratuity, typically between 10% – 20% but at your discretion. A forecaddie (highly recommended if don’t want to have Bag caddies) will cost approx €60 ~ $70 plus gratuity as above.
So back to the www.spectator.co.uk  for the last word on the Irish caddie: But he is, as a rule, very willing and occasionally most entertaining. When a stranger on the links at Newcastle, Co. Down, asked his caddie, “What do they get round in here?” meaning what was considered a good score by a local player, the boy sententiously replied : “They tries to go round in as few as possible, but they mostly takes more”.

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