I once had a acquaintance, a man-child who lived in his parents basement into his third decade (and may still be there) slyly admit to me the he “carried other men’s golf bags for money.” It seemed an odd admission at the time, but when I learned that he actually ventured from the basement to shag a bag for a pro on the sub-PGA, Nike Tour and that his cut of the winnings amounted to thousands of dollars, I found a new appreciation for caddie. I can’t say the caddie/writer Oliver Horovitz has done much to elevate that opinion with his new book, An American Caddie in St. Andrews, but he has spawned an appreciation for his ability to create a career out of an I don’t wanna grow up approach to life.
While other caddies have penned books they mostly fall into one of three categories; a pure golf tip guide, a tale of shagging a bag for a pro and a critical championship round, or shagging a bag for a pro who turns out to be real a-hole. Horovitz gives us a different take with his insights into classic St. Andrews, Scotland, Old Course and the crusty world of veteran caddies, trainees and the pursuit of acceptance in an insular world.
While golf is a steady focus throughout the book and the Old Course characters play primary roles in the tale, An American Caddie in St. Andrews is really a coming of age story. It’s a fish out water tale full of personal growth, humor and real life Caddyshack antics.