As it turns out, there are two types of people who will help you with your clubs on the golf course: caddies and forecaddies. And, believe it or not, there is actually a difference between what a caddie does and what a forecaddie does.
So, we thought we would explain a caddie's job and duties as compared to those of a forecaddie.
A caddie is a person who is hired to carry clubs and provide other assistance for a player, which could include advice about the course, the clubs players hit for each shot and reading greens. Of course, that duty is more detailed at a professional level, including traveling with a player, getting them food on the course, scouting courses before a tournament and maintaining a yardage book.
Typically, a caddie works for just one golfer during the round, though they're not limited in doing so under USGA rules.
What makes a forecaddie different? A forecaddie doesn't work for any one particular golfer. In other words, a forecaddie is a caddie employed by a group of golfers. (No, not like Airbnb.) The forecaddie, then, doesn't give each golfer the full set of caddie services. Rather, the forecaddie is basically supposed to find their golf balls for them. They aren't supposed to offer advice in a tournament but typically do in a country club/friendly setting.
If a group of players transports their clubs on golf carts, the forecaddie isn't then required to carry the bags, opening them to perform more traditional caddie services for each player, including raking bunkers, replacing divots, tending flagsticks, cleaning equipment and more.
Of course, forecaddies cost less per player than caddies, and most top-tier facilities offer the option to hire either.