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Forecaddie vs Caddie in Golf

In the game of golf, the terms forecaddie and caddie are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different roles on the golf course. A forecaddie is responsible for keeping track of the golf ball during a round of golf, while a caddie is responsible for carrying the golfer’s clubs and providing advice on the course. In a tournament setting, a forecaddie may be employed to help with the pace of play by tracking the golf balls of multiple players in a group.

The rules of golf allow for the use of a forecaddie, and their duties may also include spotting golf balls, maintaining the condition of the golf course, and providing yardage to the golfer. On the other hand, a walking caddie is typically hired by an individual golfer to carry clubs, offer strategic advice, and help with decision making on the course.

While a forecaddie may use a golf cart to assist in their duties, a walking caddie is expected to traverse the golf course on foot. Both roles are crucial to the overall experience of playing a round of golf at any golf club. 

Forecaddie in Golf

A forecaddie is an individual provided by the golf course whose main responsibility is to track each player’s shots during their round. Armed with detailed knowledge of that specific golf course, the forecaddie serves as an extra set of eyes to mark where golf balls land, provide yardages, spot lost balls, and give recommendations on shot strategy based on pin placements and terrain.

Forecaddies also help maintain pace of play by advising players on when it is safe to hit their next shot without endangering fellow competitors.

Key Duties of the Forecaddie

As touched upon in the definition, the forecaddie provides many useful services for all players in the group they are assigned to. Here is an expanded overview of the typical duties performed by a forecaddie over the course of 18 holes:

Spotting Ball Landings

Using keen eyesight and deductive reasoning from hearing/seeing the ball’s flight, the forecaddie locates where every tee and approach shot finishes. This helps speed up play.

Providing Yardages

Forecaddies pace off distances to offer advice on club selection. Their familiarity with the course allows for very precise yardages.

Identifying Golf Balls

To prevent confusion, the forecaddie takes note of the brand name and number sequence on each golfer’s ball. This allows assignment of proper strokes and scores.

Finding Lost Golf Balls

When the rough is thick or wayward shots occur, the forecaddie searches for balls that players cannot easily locate themselves. Their understanding of trouble spots aids ball recovery.

Offering Shot Recommendations

Based on their vantage point and course knowledge, the forecaddie suggests aim points, trajectory, and club selection. However, it is only advice for players to consider.

Maintaining Pace of Play

Forecaddies remind groups when it is safe to hit shots and where to drive carts to avoid delays. They help keep the round moving efficiently.

Providing Scoring Confirmation

At the end of each hole, the forecaddie validates the number of strokes taken by each player and may clarify any questions on scoring.

Repairing Course Damage

As they traverse the course’s length, the forecaddie performs minor maintenance by replacing loose divots, raking bunkers, and repairing ball marks on greens. This care keeps conditions top-notch.

What are Caddies?

In golf, a caddie is an individual who carries, transports, and manages a single player’s equipment and provides assistance/advice for that specific player over the course of a round. Caddies are not employed directly by the golf course but rather by players themselves to be their personal aide for that given day.

Carrying the player’s bag from shot to shot, the caddie’s primary focus is catering to the needs of that one golfer.

Caddie vs Forecaddie – What Is The Difference?

When it comes to golf tournaments, it is important to understand the distinctions between a caddie and a forecaddie. A caddie is an individual employed by a player to carry golf bags, provide assistance with club selection, offer strategic advice, and perform other tasks such as replacing divots and navigating the course. On the other hand, a forecaddie is typically employed by a group of players to scout the course ahead of the players and provide hand signals to indicate the location of the ball or warn of potential hazards such as water hazards.

Both caddies and forecaddies play a crucial role in the caddie program and are integral to the experience of playing golf in a professional setting. 


As touched upon already, forecaddies are staff members supplied by the golf course while caddies are hired directly by a player for a single round.

Assigned Group vs. Single Player Focus

Forecaddies provide aid, advice, pace guidance and scoring help for all golfers playing in an assigned group. Caddies concentrate on just one player’s needs rather than the entire group.

Carrying Equipment

A caddie shoulders the burden of lugging around the full golf bag for their player over all 18 holes. Forecaddies may help transport items short distances but do not carry full bags.

Main Purpose

Forecaddies primarily assist with scorekeeping and course management. Caddies take care of individual player needs like equipment cleaning, mental support and club delivery.

Benefits Provided by Forecaddies and Caddies

Hiring a forecaddie or reserving a caddie comes at an extra cost to players. But the services they provide offer benefits that can enhance the golf experience:

Advantages Offered by Forecaddies

  • Faster Play: With their guidance, groups complete rounds quicker by limiting time spent searching for balls and determining yardages.
  • Reduced Scoring Errors: Accurate shot tracking and closer inspection of ball placement lowers the chance for players recording incorrect scores.
  • Course Management Guidance: Advice on aiming points, club yardages and terrain trouble spots helps players strategize and lowers frustration.
  • More Mental Energy: Not needing to stress about keeping pace or scoring allows players to save mental energy for execution.
  • Well Maintained Conditions: Careful raking, divot repair and observance of cart rules minimize course damage from play.

Advantages Offered by Caddies

  • Equipment Transportation: Carrying the full golf bag leaves players unencumbered to walk freely and focus only on swinging.
  • Increased Focus: Without equipment responsibilities, players can devote complete mental and physical effort into playing their best.
  • Consistent Club Cleaning: Keeping club faces groove-free of debris maximizes contact and shot performance.
  • Personalized Advice: Caddies study a player’s tendencies over 18 holes to offer tailored suggestions rather than generic tips.
  • Course Management Expertise: Regular play gives most caddies incredible knowledge of greens, fairways and hazards to advise strategy.


What is a forecaddie job?

A forecaddie is an individual provided by the golf course to go along with a group’s round and offer services like marking ball spots, providing yardages, helping pace of play, and confirming scores.

How do you use a forecaddie?

To utilize a forecaddie, you request one when booking your tee time. The forecaddie will then introduce themselves to your group on the first tee and provide their various services over the course of the full 18 holes.

What is a fire caddy?

A fire caddy is slang for a cigarette caddy that holds cigarettes, matches, and other smoking accessories. It is not related to a golf forecaddie or caddie.

What is the difference between a caddy and a forecaddie?

The main differences are that a caddie works directly for and assists a single player while a forecaddie works for the golf course and aids entire groups. Caddies carry clubs, clean equipment, offer personalized advice, etc. while forecaddies help with scoring, pace of play, finding balls, and providing general course management guidance.

In Closing

Understanding and differentiating between the roles of forecaddies versus caddies helps golfers know what services to expect when reserving either for their upcoming tee time. Recognizing those differences also enables players to determine which type of support staff would most benefit their needs during a round. Forecaddies fulfill an assisting function for entire groups while caddies cater to individual players. Both provide advantages – but in very distinct ways. So the next time you prepare to hit the links, give strong consideration to hiring a forecaddie or caddie. Their guidance could pay dividends towards improving your golf enjoyment and performance.

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