Why Did Caddie Bow At Masters? – The Masters’ Tradition Unveiled

Justin Sheparovich

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Caddie Bow At Masters

The Masters Tournament, held annually at the illustrious Augusta National Golf Club, is renowned not only for its world-class golf but also for its rich traditions and unique customs. 

Among these time-honored rituals is the moment when Masters caddies, those unsung heroes of the golf course, bow before the gallery on the 18th green. This act has become synonymous with the Masters, raising questions about its origins and significance. 

In this blog post, we delve into the intriguing tradition of caddies bowing at the Masters and answer five frequently asked questions to shed light on its history, meaning, and importance.

Why Did Caddie Bow At Masters?

Caddie bowing at the Masters is a tradition rooted in golf’s history and etiquette. The Masters Tournament, one of golf’s most prestigious events held annually at Augusta National Golf Club, places a strong emphasis on sportsmanship and tradition. 

When caddies remove their hats and bow on the 18th green, it’s a sign of respect and gratitude towards the golf course, the players, and the patrons.

This gesture reflects the Masters’ commitment to upholding the spirit of the game and maintaining a sense of decorum. It’s a nod to the past, evoking a sense of reverence for the sport and its traditions. 

The caddie’s bow is a symbolic way of showing appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of this storied tournament and is a reminder of the values that golf embodies, such as respect, humility, and honor.

Responsibilities of Caddies in Golf

Caddies play a crucial role in golf, providing support and assistance to golfers during their rounds. Their responsibilities include:

Carrying Clubs

Caddies carry the golfer’s bag of clubs, ensuring that the right club is readily available for each shot. This includes cleaning and maintaining the clubs.

Yardage and Course Knowledge

Caddies provide yardage information, helping golfers gauge distances to the green and hazards. They also offer insights into the course layout, including where to aim and avoid.

Club Selection

Caddies help golfers choose the appropriate club for each shot based on distance, course conditions, and the golfer’s abilities.

Reading Greens

Caddies assist in reading the contours of the greens, advising golfers on the direction and speed of their putts.

Raking Bunkers

Caddies rake sand bunkers to ensure they are in good condition for the next golfer and to smooth out footprints.

Maintaining Pace of Play

Caddies help ensure that the round progresses at a reasonable pace, which is essential for an enjoyable golf experience for all players.

Managing Equipment

Caddies keep track of golf balls, repair tools, and other accessories, making them easily accessible to the golfer.

Providing Moral Support

Caddies offer encouragement, provide moral support, and help maintain the golfer’s focus and composure throughout the round.

Keeping Golfer Hydrated and Informed

They carry water, snacks, and other necessities to keep the golfer hydrated and informed about their progress on the course.

Local Rules and Etiquette

Caddies are knowledgeable about the rules of golf and enforce local course rules and etiquette, ensuring that the golfer adheres to them.

Carrying the Flagstick

On the putting green, caddies often tend the flagstick, removing it when requested by the golfer and replacing it once the hole is completed.

Assisting with Decision-Making

Caddies provide insights and advice, but the final decision on club choice and shot execution lies with the golfer.

Caddies can significantly enhance a golfer’s experience by offering valuable assistance and insights.

How the Tradition of Bowing at Masters for Caddies Started?

Masters for Caddies Started

The tradition of caddies bowing at the Masters Tournament has a long and storied history dating back to the early years of the tournament. 

While there isn’t a single documented origin for this tradition, it is believed to have evolved over time as a sign of respect and appreciation within the context of golf’s longstanding traditions and etiquette. Here’s how it likely began:

Respect for the Game

Golf has always been a sport steeped in tradition and respect for the game itself. Augusta National Golf Club, the host of the Masters, is known for upholding these traditions.

Caddies as Integral Participants

Caddies have always been integral to the game of golf, providing crucial support and guidance to players. Their role in assisting golfers was recognized and valued.

Golf’s Gentlemanly Roots

Golf has a history of gentlemanly conduct, and bowing or tipping one’s hat as a sign of respect has been a customary practice in the sport.

The Influence of Augusta National

Augusta National, founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, has been dedicated to preserving the customs and traditions of golf. As such, they likely played a significant role in formalizing and perpetuating the caddy bowing tradition.

Over time, as the Masters Tournament grew in prestige and stature, the act of caddies bowing at the 18th green became a symbolic gesture of respect, not only for the golf course itself but also for the tournament, the players, and the patrons. 

It reflects the tournament’s commitment to sportsmanship, honor, and tradition.

Symbolism and Significance Behind the Caddies’ Bow

The tradition of caddies bowing at the Masters Tournament holds several layers of symbolism and significance, embodying the values and traditions of golf. Here are some key aspects of the caddies’ bow:

Respect and Gratitude

The caddies’ bow is a symbol of deep respect and gratitude. It signifies their appreciation for the opportunity to be a part of the prestigious Masters Tournament, which is one of the most revered events in golf. 

This gesture acknowledges the privilege of working alongside some of the world’s best golfers on a hallowed course.

Honoring the Golf Course

Augusta National Golf Club, the venue for the Masters, is renowned for its beauty and immaculate condition. The bow is a way for caddies to pay their respects to the golf course itself, recognizing the pristine fairways, manicured greens, and overall excellence in course maintenance.

Embracing Tradition

Golf is a sport steeped in tradition and etiquette. The caddies’ bow is a nod to these longstanding customs, reflecting the importance of upholding the spirit of the game. It reinforces the idea that the Masters Tournament is not just a competition but a celebration of golf’s rich heritage.


The Masters places a strong emphasis on sportsmanship and decorum. The caddies’ bow is a symbol of the tournament’s commitment to these values. It serves as a reminder to all participants, including players and spectators, of the importance of displaying good sportsmanship and respect on the golf course.

Unity and Humility

The act of caddies bowing fosters a sense of unity between caddies and players. It underscores the collaborative effort between golfer and caddie and reinforces the idea that success in golf is often a team endeavor. Additionally, it reflects the humility that should be exhibited by everyone involved in the game.

Spectator Connection

The caddies’ bow is also significant to the patrons (spectators) of the Masters. It highlights the inclusive nature of the tournament, where everyone, from the players to the caddies to the fans, is part of a shared golfing experience. It deepens the connection between those on the course and those watching.

How Much Does a Caddie Make at the Masters?

Historically, caddie earnings at the Masters have ranged from $1,500 to $3,000 or even more. However, it’s essential to consider that caddie compensation can be influenced by factors such as the golfer’s performance, their agreement with the caddie, and any bonuses or tips provided by the golfer.

The amounts mentioned are approximate and should not be considered fixed or guaranteed. Caddie earnings can fluctuate from year to year and are subject to negotiations and individual agreements between the caddie and the golfer they are working for. 

Additionally, caddies often receive a percentage of their golfer’s winnings, which can significantly impact their earnings, especially if the golfer performs well in the tournament.

For the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding caddie compensation at the Masters Tournament, it’s advisable to consult official sources or refer to reports from the tournament organizers and the Professional Caddies Association.

Significance of Caddie in Golf

Caddies hold significant importance in the world of golf, serving as invaluable members of a golfer’s team. 

Their role goes beyond simply carrying clubs; they contribute in various ways that can profoundly impact a golfer’s performance and overall experience. Here are some key aspects of the significance of caddies in golf:

Club Selection and Yardage

Caddies are skilled at providing precise yardage to the green and helping golfers select the right club for each shot. This guidance is essential for accuracy and distance control.

Course Knowledge

Caddies often have an intimate knowledge of the golf course, including its layout, hazards, and subtleties of the terrain. This information helps golfers make strategic decisions.

Reading Greens

Caddies assist in reading the contours of the putting greens, helping golfers determine the line and speed of their putts, which is crucial for sinking those critical birdies or par-saving putts.

Moral Support

Caddies provide emotional support and encouragement, helping golfers stay focused and composed, especially during challenging rounds or high-pressure situations.

Course Management

They offer advice on course management, suggesting conservative or aggressive strategies based on the golfer’s abilities and the circumstances of the round.

Keeping Equipment in Order

Caddies ensure that clubs are clean, in good condition, and readily accessible. They also manage golf balls, tees, and other accessories.

Pace of Play

Caddies help maintain an appropriate pace of play, ensuring that the round progresses efficiently and that golfers are aware of their position on the course.

Enforcing Rules and Etiquette

Caddies are knowledgeable about golf rules and course etiquette. They help golfers adhere to these standards, fostering a sense of fair play and respect for the game.

Physical Support

Carrying the golfer’s bag lightens the player’s load, reducing fatigue and allowing them to focus on their swings and shots.

Team Dynamics

The caddie-golfer relationship is often described as a partnership. A caddie’s understanding of their player’s personality, preferences, and strengths can enhance the overall experience and performance on the course.


While the golfer makes the final decisions, caddies provide valuable input, helping golfers make informed choices that align with their skills and objectives.

Experience and Wisdom

Many caddies have years of experience in professional golf, and their insights can be invaluable, especially for younger or less experienced players.

Caddies are essential figures in golf, offering a combination of technical expertise, course knowledge, emotional support, and strategic guidance.


What is the Masters Tournament, and why is it so significant in the world of golf?

The Masters Tournament is one of the four major championships in professional golf. It’s renowned for its pristine course, prestigious history, and iconic green jacket awarded to the winner.

When did the tradition of caddies bowing at the Masters begin, and who started it?

The tradition of caddies bowing at the Masters dates back to the early years of the tournament. While there isn’t a single documented origin, it evolved as a sign of respect and appreciation within golf’s traditions.

What is the significance behind caddies bowing at the Masters?

The caddies’ bow symbolizes respect and gratitude for the opportunity to be part of the Masters, honors the golf course, and upholds the values of tradition, sportsmanship, and humility in golf.

Are caddies required to bow, and how do they execute the bowing gesture?

While it’s not mandatory, caddies traditionally choose to bow. The bow is a simple, dignified gesture where the caddie removes their hat and nods their head as a sign of respect.

How does the caddie bowing tradition connect with the broader customs of golf?

Caddie bowing at the Masters is an embodiment of golf’s gentlemanly roots, emphasizing respect for the game, its history, and the shared experience among players, caddies, and patrons.

Wrapping Up

As we unravel the mystery of why caddies bow at the Masters, we gain insight into the deep-seated values and traditions that make golf a timeless and cherished sport. 

This tradition, rooted in respect and gratitude, not only pays homage to the game itself but also reinforces the essence of golf—sportsmanship, camaraderie, and the preservation of a rich heritage. 

The caddies’ bow is a symbolic reminder that, amid the competitive fervor, the Masters Tournament remains a celebration of the past, present, and future of golf. Best of luck. 

Photo of author

Justin Sheparovich

I have always loved sports and I have played golf since I was a little kid. I was a very talented golfer in high school but I decided to go to college for basketball. I graduated from UC Santa Barbara playing Division 1 golf and got my degree in business administration. After college, I continued to work on my golf game by playing tournaments all over the world. LinkedIn

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