10 Questions You've Always Wanted to Ask a Golf Caddy

Are all golfers rich? Or just pretending to be?

Jun 9 2018, 6:30am

Photo by Andriana

Working as a caddy usually doesn't make you the center of attention. Unless you're Riani Julianti, a former caddy and the third wife of Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, a lobbyist who was murdered in 2009. It was a high profile case involving a love triangle, a sexual assault and a meticulously plotted murder— and much of the trial coverage focused on Riani, who was portrayed as a seductress who helped send the former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chief Antasari Azhar to prison for 18 years.

VICE's Asad Asnawi talked to two caddies who work at a golf course in Pasuruan, East Java, to figure out which rumors about the profession are true—from the rich men they have to deal with and the stereotypes they get as caddies.

VICE: How did you become caddies?
Kiki: We knew about the job opening from our friends. They’ve been working as caddies for a long time. We has just graduated from high school, and it was hard to find a job. So we applied and got accepted. After that, we were trained for three months.

There's a special training for this job?
Nurul: Of course. When we applied for the job, we knew nothing about golf. So we had to learn everything from the rules and the ethics of the sport. They trained us how to be good caddies.

Were you uncomfortable by the job requirements, like having to be a certain height and be "attractive"?
Kiki: This job is just like any other job. There are requirements that should be met. Here, caddies have to be at least 156 cm tall, attractive, et cetera. We’re not uncomfortable because we can meet those requirements, but there are other things that we don't agree with. Like how we have to resign when we get pregnant. Though we understand the logic—you shouldn't have to walk around under the hot sun while you're pregnant. We can always apply again after giving birth.

The height requirement is very important when we're assisting the clients. Especially when we have players from abroad who are taller.

Watch: Training with the Strongest Man in Golf

Golf is typically a rich man’s sport. Are your clients all rich? Or just pretending to be? How can you tell the difference?
Nurul: It’s true that golf is a rich man’s sport. If you're not loaded, you won't be able to spend the money on all of this. Here, you pay Rp 600,000 ($43 USD) per round on weekdays and Rp 1.3 million ($93 USD) weekends. Some people who play here don't come from a lot of money though, they usually work at a big corporation so the company pays for their sessions.

What kinds of advice do you give the golfers and do they listen to you at all?
Kiki: They usually listen to us. Because there are things they simply don’t understand. For example, distance between the player’s location and the target hole. Or the tilt. In that case, they should really listen to us.

What type of golfers are the most annoying?
Nurul: The worst are the smart asses, and the rude ones. Some men will flirt with us, and even harass us. If we think they’ve taken it too far, we'll report it to the management. So the next time the player comes here, we don't have to be their caddies.

How much do you get from tips?
Nurul: Here we get around Rp 200,000 ($14 USD) from each player, but it varies. One time I assisted somebody who only played for only one round, but the he gave us Rp 2 million ($143 USD). I think the tips I make per month is bigger than my monthly salary.

Kiki: People think we get more tips from foreign players. That's not true. When it comes to tipping, the local players are much more generous compared to, say, Japanese and Korean players. They're a bit stingy. But sometimes they give us souvenirs from their country.

Have you listened any absurd conversations between golfers? Do they ever talk about money, affairs with women?
Kiki: Not really. I mean, if the player is a talker, we’ll talk. But never about those things. They usually talk about their kids and their achievements. Or about their last vacation.

There’s a negative stigma surrounding caddies. People think you’re "easy". What do you say to this?
Kiki: We’re chill about it. We never care about what people say. People just don’t understand what we actually do.

Nurul: Some of us had to lie to our families about what we do, because we didn’t want our parents to worry or get angry. But essentially, to hell what people say. All that matters is we have a job.

In 10 Questions , we ask people to answer the kinds of stuff you always wanted to know, but never got the chance to ask. Read more from this column below:

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