Caddies keep golfers focused, university study finds

A recent study conducted by the University of Lincoln alongside other universities from across the UK and Australia found that caddies aren’t just someone who carts round the golfing clubs – instead they play a vital role when it comes to golfing performance, Liam O’Dell reports.

University of Lincoln sign

(Photo: Gregor Smith)

The research conducted has shown that caddies can have a positive impact on a golfer’s focus and performance.

The study, which took data from the performance of ten European Tour golfers, found that caddies can often provide motivation, positive feedback and even help golfers to keep relaxed and concentrated.

In particular, researchers wanted to explore how a golfer’s flow state – a term used to describe the moment when players are fully immersed and in control of their chosen sport – could be influenced.

Dr Christian Swann, the study’s lead researcher from the  university’s School of Sport and Exercise Science, said: “Previous research identified factors which are believed to help athletes get in the zone, and this study moved a step beyond that by exploring the specific ways in which golfers’ flow states are influenced by such factors, including the caddie”.

Alongside Dr Swann, professors from Leeds Beckett University, St Mary’s University and the University of Canberra in Australia also contributed.

For students at the University of Lincoln, the findings seem to resonate with fans and players of the sport.

Michael Barwise, a second-year student at the university, said the study is nothing new to anyone who plays golf. “From my own experience I appreciate the benefit of someone being there to keep your confidence up when you are not having a great round,” he explained.

Upcoming Lincoln student Elliot Hawkins added: “Caddies are not just there to carry a bag and hand out clubs; they give the player encouragement, pointers, and personal knowledge to aid their performance.

“I think that professional golfers would not be able to achieve what they do without a knowledgeable caddie, teacher and friend, on their bag.”

The study has since been published in the journal “Psychology of Sport and Science”, with Dr Swann saying the research could lead to “optimising the golfer-caddie partnership.”