So what do touring professionals keep in those big pieces of luggage hoisted onto their caddies’ shoulders? Some of their bags are big enough to fit a small child, at the least. And while there are stories about some pros who fill them to the top with everything imaginable, most players take a utilitarian approach. The necessities go in, the junk stays out.
Four-time European Solheim Cupper and one-time LPGA winner Caroline Masson is a perfect example. There are the usual items in her golf bag: a Sharpie, a quarter for a ball mark, Band-Aids, used gloves and rain gloves. She carries two new golf gloves, rain gear, an umbrella and a towel.
Training aids such as alignment sticks, a putting ruler and various targets and practice aids all have a home. She carries different types of sunscreen for face and body, plus water and electrolytes. For snacks, she typically has two protein bars, nuts and one or two bananas.
“I try to keep eating a little bit about every three holes,” she said. “. . . I’m really trying not to get hungry.”
Masson usually keeps at least 50 tees in the bag (she likes them white and unassuming, not in wild colors) and three sleeves of balls, just in case.
“I think that’s the German in me,” she said. “I just want to make sure I have plenty.”
How much does it all weigh? Before Masson’s bag ever hit the scale, her fiancé, Jason McDede – who is a tour caddie but isn’t her regular looper – correctly guessed its weight of about 34 pounds. And Masson is more conscious of that weight now because of McDede; she tries not to toss in extras and will stow unnecessary gear in the locker room when possible.
Still, some items – particularly bananas, it seems – have a way of getting lost in a tour bag. Once in a while, the whole thing needs to be cleaned out.
“This is like a suitcase,” McDede said. “A lot of times you find things in there that have been in there a couple weeks and you go, ‘I didn’t know that was in there.’ Rarely do you unpack it. More do you throw stuff in it.”
Here’s the inside scoop on what’s in the bag, and what McDede won’t go without:
Heads-up for Ace
Ace the headcover is a reminder of the couple’s 4-year-old Goldendoodle, also named Ace, who they brought home from a tour stop in Arkansas. The week Ace joined the family, McDede’s player at the time, Haru Nomura, made a hole-in-one, hence the name.
McDede and Masson typically do not work together. McDede most often carries Nelly Korda’s bag, and Masson’s regular caddie is James Longman. Still, it’s fun for the couple to pair up once, maybe twice a season. In 2019 that happened at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, where Masson finished T-9. “We were building a swimming pool at the time,” McDede said, “and we made a deal however much money we won as a group, that would go toward the pool.”
Rain gear: Take it or leave it?
Masson almost always keeps her rain gear – jacket, pants, umbrella – in the bag except perhaps in Arizona, where a zero-percent chance of rain is believable. “Other places, especially in the summer and anywhere in the States, they just pop up,” she said of frequent storms. “It’s just not worth it.”
McDede has no shortage of foul-weather war stories, from watching players who left umbrellas behind get soaked to feeling it himself. He remembers once, four or five years ago, taking the umbrella out of Nomura’s bag at Evian. “All of a sudden, it started hailing,” he said. “No umbrella, no rain gear, anybody in the group. Ever since that day, I’ll never, ever caddie without an umbrella.”
Double or single strap?
“The only time I would single strap is if I’m going from a green to a tee box that’s only 15, 20 yards away,” McDede said. “Sometimes if you’re trying to finagle with the bag or you’re drinking water you might have it single, but if it’s a long walk, I would say double strap.”
Toughest walk on the LPGA?
“Hands down, Evian. The mountain range, the sidehill lies, the ups, the downs. It’s brutal,” McDede said.
Tips for making the load lighter?
“Maybe looking at the weather forecast and try to convince the player to take some stuff out, but no, not really,” McDede said. “I don’t think it’s uncomfortably heavy. I think once you are kind of in mid-season form, it’s just natural.”
What’s in the bag that’s for the caddie?
“I would say water, snacks, nothing else really,” McDede said. “We have the bibs. … I think normally the caddies do a good job of drinking the water at the tee and throwing it away. They know they would have to carry that two pounds up the hill. I think there’s a strategic way to eat and drink as a caddie to lighten your load on the actual golf course.”
DRIVER: Ping G410 (9 degrees), with Fujikura Ventus 60-gram S shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Rogue (15 degrees), with Project X Hzrdus 65-gram S shaft
HYBRID: Ping G400 (19 degrees), with Alta 70-gram S shaft
WEDGES: Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth (50, 56, 60 degrees), with Nippon 95-gram shafts
PUTTER: Ping Sigma 2 Arna
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x