There’s more to being a caddie than “show up, keep up, and shut up,” according to the many golfers, caddied and writers interviewed in “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” a documentary that surely will be better appreciated by players of the game than those who don’t.
Director Jason Baffa finds some fascinating people to interview. He starts with the old men who guide guests around the links courses of Ireland and Scotland. He moves on to the caddy squad who know the secrets of Georgia’s Augusta National, and who for years were the only caddies allowed at The Masters.
There are lots of great individual stories. There’s the bond Tom Watson shared with Bruce Edwards, who was Watson’s caddie for decades and one of the first pro caddies who dedicated themselves to one player. There’s Greg Puga, who learned the game in east Los Angeles, worked as a caddie to get practice time, and worked his way to playing The Masters.
Baffa, who is also the film’s cinematographer, and writer/editor Carl Cramer paint a portrait of the caddie as the ultimate assistant: A technician, confidante, parental figure and psychologist, all in one. The movie repeats this mantra throughout the movie, either through the interview subjects or the narration — delivered with laconic humor by Bill Murray, an avid golfer and former caddie himself. (Thankfully, the “Caddyshack” references are kept to a minimum.)
Baffa captures some gorgeous footage of some legendary golf courses, from St. Andrews in Scotland to Pebble Beach in California. It’s one more way “Loopers” will appeal to those who love chasing that dimpled little ball around, but may leave the rest of us in the rough.