ONCE a rare sight on the LPGA Tour, women caddies have become more commonplace in the past decade.
golfer Julieta Granada keeps it in the family as her mother is her
caddie. Rosa, an architect by training, found the going tough at the
At regular-season events where
the field usually features 144 golfers, female loopers number between 10
and 15, or roughly 10 per cent.
This is a far cry from 10 years ago when it
was unusual to find more than one, said two-time Tour winner Heather
Daly-Donofrio, who retired in 2008 after a decade on the Tour.
Said Australian Kylie Pratt, 35, one of four
female caddies at this week's HSBC Women's Champions: 'When I meet
people and they find out I'm a professional caddie, they're genuinely
excited and really interested to hear our stories.
'It's a good job to have. I love the travel, I love golf and being involved in it and helping my player to succeed.'
She previously played on the lower tier
Symetra Tour for three years. Since 2008, she has worked with world No.
39 Park Hee Young and was on the Korean's bag when she won her maiden
Tour title, the US$1.5 million (S$1.89 million) CME Group Titleholders,
Working as a bagman in a male-dominated
environment can be intimidating initially, said Paraguayan Rosa Granada,
53, who has tended her daughter Julieta's bag since the 2006 season.
'It was hard at the beginning and it took a while to be accepted by the men,' said Rosa, an architect by training.
But they saw how hard she tried and were
eventually won over, added Julieta, who is currently tied-20th at the
Tanah Merah Country Club.
Lugging around a bag - packed with golf clubs, balls and bottled water - that can weigh up to 15kg is physically demanding.
Said Park, joint-fourth and three strokes
behind the leaders heading into the weekend: 'I did worry if carrying
the bag would be too heavy for Kylie. But she has never complained. As a
former player she's also a big help to me.'
She had worked previously with male caddies but found that they were too intense inside the ropes.
'They really want to win and if you hit a bad
shot, they can get really upset and I can see it on their faces. It
makes me even more stressed out,' she said.
Male golfers, however, have remained unreceptive to hiring the opposite sex to help read lies and check yardages.
There is Fanny Suneson, previously in the
employ of six-time Major winner Nick Faldo and now with Swede Henrik
Stenson, and Janet Squire, who works with Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh
and was on his bag when he won the 2008 Barclays Singapore Open. But
they are a minority in what is firmly a men's circuit.
Said Pratt: 'There's going to be a little bit
more pressure if you're a girl instead of a guy... but if you do all the
right things day in, day out, you'll gain the respect of the caddies