To become a caddie on the PGA Tour wasn't on my list of New Year's resolutions for 2016
But if you followed the action at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui, you would have seen a familiar face in a very unfamiliar position. It wasn't completely foreign territory. I had caddied for Vijay Singh many times back in 2004 and 2005, but I never planned on becoming the Brett Favre of caddies and coming out of retirement to carry the clubs. Life happens, though, and when Dustin Johnson's brother and caddie, Austin, went down with an injury, you do what you have to do.
Last year, I wrote a blog about the physical requirements of being a caddie and how some of the most fit folks on The Tour might actually be the guys on the bag.
Now, though, I literally had to walk the walk. And talk about getting thrown right into the fire -- at 7,400 yards and with a crazy amount of elevation changes, Kapalua is one beast of a course!
If you know anything about me, you know I'm a fitness fanatic. I like to work out. If you follow me on Twitter (@coachjoeyd), you'll see that one of the first things I do when I get to the latest stop on The Tour is to find a local gym where I can spend some serious time. In addition to letting me keep up with my own very intense training regimen, it's allowed me to meet and make friends with some truly amazing fitness professionals all over the country.
That said, no amount of running, biking, swimming, squats, or deadlifts can completely prepare you for logging the number of grueling hours a caddie puts in on a weekly basis -- especially on a course like Kapalua. Maybe because Wednesday's Pro-Am round was pretty relaxed, my body didn't realize the insanity that it had signed up for. After Thursday's first official round, though, I could barely lift my legs. The muscles along the side of the leg that help stabilize you in the side-to-side plane -- the IT band, the tensor fasciae latae, and the gluteus medius -- were completely shot from having to keep myself upright and stable while carrying a 52-pound bag.
Obviously, going up hills added to the difficulty, but -- surprisingly -- it was going downhill that could be just as nasty.
It's one thing to fight against gravity when you're going up an incline, but to fight against momentum and be in control on a decline is quite another. I did not want to make it onto SportsCenter for being the coach-turned-caddie rolling out-of-control down a Hawaiian hillside with irons and wedges flying wildly from my bag.
You're also battling the elements. Over the course of a five-hour round in a tropical climate, you're burning a lot of calories and you're losing a lot of water. Both of these things will drain your energy. To keep up your strength, you need to be constantly fueling yourself properly. To do this intelligently takes careful planning; there aren't any Whole Foods out on the course. Slow-burning carbs, lean proteins, and good fats are what will keep you going for the entire round.
As far as hydration goes, I've always been a fan of Amino Vital amino acid drink mixes. I'm very careful about what I put into my body and Amino Vital's plant-based amino acid blends are the rare supplement that I do choose to put into my system. (As a disclaimer, I'm also very careful about whom I publicly endorse and Amino Vital is one of the few companies that I'm a paid spokesperson for.)
I didn't head off to Hawaii expecting to do double-duty as both biomechanics coach and caddie, but it ended up being a very eye-opening experience. On a professional level, it reaffirmed my belief that the caddies are probably the fittest people on The Tour. And on a personal level -- once I was able to move my legs again -- it even further heightened my respect for the guys on the bag.
© 2016 joeydgolf.com