New research from sports psychologists has found that the support offered by caddies can help professional golfers to improve their performance.
The study from researchers at the University of Lincoln, Leeds Beckett University, and St Mary’s University in the UK, and University of Canberra in Australia, found that caddies provide more benefit than just being bag carriers.
It is now believed that caddies help players achieve so-called ‘flow states’ by offering vital psychological support and encouragement throughout the round. These flow states is when the athletes reach a positive mental state, becoming fully immersed in their discipline and feel in control of what they are doing.
The study indicated that caddies influenced golfers’ flow states by helping their player select targets, maintain concentration and avoid distractions, and preserve confidence after setbacks such as missed putts.
Lead researcher Dr Christian Swann, from the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Lincoln, said: “The key finding was how much of an important role caddies can play when golfers experience flow.” For example, one golfer in the study described a particularly clear example of flow while he was in contention to win The Open. He remembered holing a long putt in the middle of the round which gave him the lead. Afterwards he said to his caddie, ‘Make sure you don’t stop talking to me from now on. Don’t leave me, and don’t talk about golf.’
The findings, published in the Elsevier journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, could lead to new ways of studying and understanding flow states within golf and sport more generally.
A certain Jordan Spieth must realise the importance of his caddie, Michael Greller, as it’s rumored he has been paid a total of $866,534 this year. That would be enough for Greller to rank 93rd on the PGA Tour money list this season, ahead of 159 PGA Tour members.
Whatever they are doing together, it is most certainly working.