Oct 12, 2022
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

What Is a Forecaddie?

A forecaddie is a person who assists the players of a golf match by carrying clubs, tracking balls, and maintaining the game's pace. Country clubs or golf-related businesses often employ forecaddies, but you won't use one for every game.

Learn about the duties of a forecaddie and get answers to the most common questions on the subject so you can determine if adding one to your next match could improve your game.

Forecaddie in the Rules

The United States Golf Association previously had several mentions of forecaddies in the Rules of Golf. One of these rules explained that the forecaddie is an outside agent, ensuring players would face no penalty if a forecaddie moves a resting golf ball or deflects a ball. 

However, in 2019, the USGA eliminated the forecaddie from its terms in the rules. The reasoning was that the term was not necessary to interpret the rules.

That’s not to say that forecaddies don’t continue to play a vital role. Indeed, many golfers rely on them. 

Duties of the Forecaddie

The primary duties of a forecaddie are to carry clubs, track balls, and maintain game pace. They may tend the pin or help with any other tasks on the course. Forecaddies must be aware of all the rules and regulations related to their job to assist players properly.

Forecaddies are not the same as caddies, who play different roles. Unlike forecaddies, caddies play a more active role, providing refreshments and cleaning clubs and drivers. They offer more personalized service, acting as a personal assistant, typically for just one player. Their invaluable service is why some caddies have achieved legendary status, like everyone’s favorite Mike “Fluff” Cowan.

While not as famous as Fluff, forecaddies are still essential to the game. Let's explore the various roles of the forecaddie:

Carrying Clubs

One of the primary duties of a forecaddie is carrying clubs for players. This task includes picking up and putting clubs at each hole as needed. 

Forecaddies should always be sure to handle clubs with care to avoid damage. They will take your clubs after you finish using them and carry them back to the cart, ensuring all clubs stay organized throughout the round.

Tracking Balls

Forecaddies must keep track of all playing balls during a round to provide accurate information to players. Ball tracking is their primary and most important job, which includes locating balls hit into difficult areas such as under trees or bushes. 

The forecaddie may mark the spot where the ball landed with a red flag to minimize the time it takes for a player to get to the ball without having to look for the shot themselves.

Since spotting balls from long distances can be difficult, the forecaddie often stands in the fairway ahead of players, off to the side around the 200-yard mark, so they can keep their eyes peeled for the ball.

Maintaining Game Pace

A big part of the forecaddie's job is to help maintain a good pace of play. By tracking and pointing out the location of the balls, they help players save time so the game can move along smoothly. 

Forecaddies can keep up the game's pace by eliminating wasted time searching for balls that went into the woods, bushes, or brush.

Tending the Pin

Forecaddies may also be responsible for tending the pin, which means they will remove the flagstick from the hole as each player approaches the pin. They will replace the flagstick in the hole before the next player hits their shot. 

Tending the pin isn’t as common anymore, however. The rules of golf no longer penalize a player with a 2-stroke penalty if their ball hits the pin. You can leave the pin where it is today, but some players prefer to have a forecaddie remove it before making their final hit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Forecaddie or Forecaddy?

The correct spelling is forecaddie, with an "ie" at the end. You will frequently see amateur golfers, fans, or non-golfers use the incorrect spelling with a "y" on the end. These misspellings are even beginning to make their way into golf publications. Still, the two governing golf bodies, USGA and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews clarify that the correct spelling does indeed end with an "ie."

Should I Tip a Forecaddie?

While it is not required, it is customary to tip your forecaddie if they provide good service throughout the round. Since caddies provide more services than forecaddies, you can tip them a bit less. A typical tip is around $25-30 for a forecaddie.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced golfer, having a forecaddie can be beneficial. They can help save time by tracking balls and keeping up the pace of play. They can also assist with carrying clubs and removing the flagstick from the hole. Be sure to spell their name correctly—it's forecaddie, not forecaddy—and consider tipping them if they provide good service.

For more tips on golf technique, course terms, and golf attire, check out STITCH Golf.