Volunteer caddy call for New Zealand Open
With more than 30 years of playing golf under his belt and at 62-years-old, it’s clear that South Island club player and six-handicapper Tracy Tatom loves the game.
Five years ago, he decided to see what a major tournament looked like from ‘inside the ropes’ and volunteered as a caddy for the New Zealand Open in Queenstown.
And last year, purely by chance, his name was plucked from the caddy pool to get on the bag for a young Australian he’d never heard of, one Daniel Nisbet.
The thrill of helping keep Nisbet focussed while on the ball (“we talked about yardage, club selection and wind direction”) and talking about everything but golf between shots as he stormed to a historic win on the final day is something Tatom says he’ll never forget.
This year he’ll be back, as the defending champion looks to hold on to his title at the 100th New Zealand Open at Millbrook Resort and The Hills from February 28.
And the tournament is calling for volunteer caddies to join him from around New Zealand by putting their names forward for the big event.
“As a volunteer caddy I’m just a bag carrier at the end of the day, not even a particularly fit one, and Daniel played good solid golf throughout and didn’t need a huge amount of input,” says Tatom.
“But it was an amazing
experience to be inside the ropes for four days and watch
Daniel absolutely blitz the course in his final
“I’d thoroughly recommend the whole caddy experience to anyone who loves the game. I’m really looking forward to this year and I’m back at the gym to make myself a bit fitter!”
Having caddied at five
previous New Zealand Open’s, he’s fully aware that
caddying is like “rolling the dice”, never knowing who
is going to be on the best bag.
“Heck, for a caddy from the tournament caddy pool to be on the winner’s bag is simply incredible as top players bring their own professional caddies. For a club golfer like me, this was an amazing thrill.”
Realistically, the odds for caddying for the winner are pretty slim but regardless of who caddies end up with, the experience is priceless.
More than 80 caddies are still needed to sign up for the tournament and Caddy Master Andrew Whiley is also keen to register 12 local golfers to be reserve caddies.
“Caddying for young professionals, the odd celebrity or amateur players is the perfect opportunity to get an insiders’ view of the event and meet some pretty interesting people from all around the world,” says Whiley.
Unlike volunteers, caddies are paid for their work by their golfer, which can mean anything from $75 a day up to a nice bonus for good performance.
There is a $39 cost to register as a caddy, and all caddies are given a New Zealand Open golf shirt and hat to wear whilst caddying. Caddies should be social or serious golfers with a good level of fitness to carry the golf bag around the courses.
Registration is easy by visiting http://www.nzopen.co.nz/caddies-signup.html
The New Zealand Open is a NZ$1.3 million Tier One event co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour, and in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour. The 2019 event will be played in Queenstown at Millbrook Resort and The Hills from February 28 to March 3.
For further information, latest updates and to book tickets go to www.www.nzopen.co.nz