Volunteers wanted to caddy at NZ Open

Caddie Tracy Tatom (left) and last year's New Zealand Open winner Daniel Nisbet are all smiles after winning the tournament at Millbrook last year. Photo: Supplied
Caddie Tracy Tatom (left) and last year's New Zealand Open winner Daniel Nisbet are all smiles after winning the tournament at Millbrook last year. Photo: Supplied
The call has gone out for more caddies for the New Zealand Open.

And someone who puts their hand up could be carrying out a repeat of last year.

Five years ago, Christchurch golfer Tracy Tatom decided to volunteer as a caddie.

Last year, he hit the jackpot, teaming up with Queenslander Daniel Nisbet to win the event.

Having played golf for more than 30 years, six-handicapper Tatom (62) loves the game.

Last year, his name was drawn from the caddie pool to get on the bag for a young Australian he had never heard of - Nisbet.

The thrill of helping keep Nisbet focused while on the ball - we talked about yardage, club selection and wind direction - and talking about everything but golf between shots as he stormed to a historic win on the final day is something Tatom says he will never forget.

This year he will be back, as the defending champion looks to hold on to his title at the 100th New Zealand Open at Millbrook Resort and The Hills from February 28.

The tournament is calling for volunteer caddies to join him from around New Zealand.

''As a volunteer caddie I'm just a bag carrier at the end of the day, not even a particularly fit one, and Daniel played good solid golf throughout and didn't need a huge amount of input,'' Tatom said.

''But it was an amazing experience to be inside the ropes for four days and watch Daniel absolutely blitz the course in his final round.

''I'd thoroughly recommend the whole caddie experience to anyone who loves the game. I'm really looking forward to this year and I'm back at the gym to make myself a bit fitter.''

Having caddied at five previous New Zealand Opens, he is fully aware caddying is like ''rolling the dice'', never knowing who is going to be on the best bag.

''Heck, for a caddie from the tournament caddie pool to be on the winner's bag is simply incredible, as top players bring their own professional caddies. For a club golfer like me, this was an amazing thrill.''

More than 80 caddies are still needed to sign up for the tournament and caddie master Andrew Whiley is also keen to register 12 local golfers to be reserve caddies.

''Caddying for young professionals, the odd celebrity or amateur players is the perfect opportunity to get an insider's view of the event and meet some pretty interesting people from all around the world,'' Whiley said.

Unlike volunteers, caddies are paid for their work by their golfer, which can mean anything from $75 a day up to a nice bonus for good performance.

There is a $39 cost to register as a caddie, and all caddies are given a New Zealand Open golf shirt and hat to wear while caddying. Caddies should be social or serious golfers with a good level of fitness to carry the golf bag around the courses.

Add a Comment