One word that is synonymous with The Masters is tradition. With the possible exception of the Open Championship, The Masters may be the most traditional of any other event in golf.
The little things seemingly make The Masters special, unique, and traditional. One of those things includes the caddie uniform worn at Augusta National and during The Masters.
The iconic Masters caddie uniform was instituted in the 1940s. It consists of a white jumpsuit and a green baseball hat. These uniforms are not only worn during The Masters but year-round by Augusta National’s club caddies. During The Masters, the back of the uniform is adorned with the player’s name and number.
Today I will share more on the iconic Augusta National and Masters caddie uniform. You will learn:
- Design and details of the white caddy jumpsuit
- Brief history of The Masters tournament
- Evolution of the caddie at Augusta National and The Masters caddie uniform
- The importance of the caddie in professional golf and at The Masters
Design and Details of The Masters Caddie Uniform
Like many things living in the lore of The Masters and Augusta National, many traditions are uniquely theirs. One of those traditions is the Masters caddy outfit.
The Masters caddie uniform consists of:
- An all-white jumpsuit, similar to what a painter would wear
- The right chest has The Masters logo velcroed to it
- The left chest has the player’s number velcroed to it
- The back has the player’s name velcroed to the top portion of the uniform
Other than some slight color changes to the logo and the introduction of more lightweight and breathable materials, the overall design of the Masters caddy costume has remained the same since the 1940s.
Unlike most events on the PGA TOUR schedule, The Masters offers something unique. That is in the issuing of the player’s caddie’s white jumpsuit. Other than an event caddie bib, the caddies of the PGA TOUR are not usually required to wear anything specific.
Each jumpsuit is assigned a number, with uniform No. 1 going to the defending Masters champion. The remaining numbers are issued in the order each player registers on-site for the Tournament.
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Brief History of The Masters
The Masters Tournament is one of golf’s four major championships. It takes place the first week of April each year at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA.
Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts founded the Augusta National Golf Club. Jones and famed golf course architect Alister MacKenzie designed the course itself. It opened for play in 1932.
Jones is widely considered one of the most influential figures in the sport’s history. Part of his mystique today, and popularity during his time, was the fact he remained an amateur throughout his playing career. Roberts, who served as chairman of the club from 1931 through 1976, and along with Jones, co-founded The Masters tournament.
Since 1934, Augusta National Golf Club has hosted the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four men’s major championships in professional golf. It is the only major played each year at the same course.
Evolution of the Caddie at Augusta National and The Masters Caddie Suit
Introduction of a Caddie Dress Code
The white caddie jumpsuits haven’t always been alongside golf bags at The Masters tournament. In the 1930s, for the most part, caddies dressed how they saw fit. A problem with this is they didn’t stand out from the gallery watching the event.
The idea of a more formal Masters caddie outfit came from club and tournament co-founder Cliff Roberts in 1940. However, it was not until the late 1940s that the white jumpsuit would be introduced.
Before this, club caddies were mostly outfitted in blue jeans and a green hat adorned with a yellow button during regular member play.
An interesting fact not often discussed today was the widespread practice of players using the host club’s caddies in major championships and regular tour events. Like most private clubs, Augusta National had a robust caddie program going back to its inception. With that, Augusta had players use their club caddies during The Masters tournament.
This practice started to die out during the 1970s. The Masters was one of the last tournaments to change its policy on caddies. It wasn’t until 1983 that The Masters allowed players to utilize their own caddies.
Modern Caddie Uniform as a Sign of Tradition
After this policy changed, one thing remained the same regarding the caddies: the uniforms.
Over the last two decades, it has become commonplace to see the tradition and pageantry of Augusta caddy uniforms on full display at the Wednesday Par Three contest during tournament week. Players’ wives, parents, and children of all ages strut down the fairways of Augusta National’s par three course in custom Masters caddie uniforms.
This practice has magnified the lore and tradition of the golf caddy costume at Augusta National and The Masters.
You can actually purchase your own custom Masters caddie costume at Caddieuniform.com.
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The Importance of the Caddie in Professional Golf and at The Masters
One of the most essential parts of a professional golfer’s team is their caddie. If you ask any professional, they will tell you this to be true. A caddie is more than someone carrying a player’s golf bag and cleaning their clubs.
Caddies play a vital role in the success of their player. A caddie is part strategist, green reader, swing coach, mental coach, cheerleader, health advocate, and so much more. The golfer may hit the shots, but the caddie sets them up to be successful in the outcome.
Augusta National has long had a profound place in the game’s history and on many fronts. The caddies of Augusta National and The Masters have long helped to elevate the role, importance, and image of the caddie within professional golf.
As someone who has spent many, many hours on the grounds of Augusta National for 11 Masters tournaments, I can tell you this; you can feel the history of the club at every turn.
Part of what gives both the grounds of Augusta National and The Masters tournament that feeling of history and reverence is the indelible image of the caddie, complete with the iconic white jumpsuit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Numbers on Caddy Uniforms at The Masters?
Each Masters caddy jumpsuit is assigned a number, with uniform No. 1 going to the defending Masters champion. The remaining numbers are issued in the order each player registers on-site for the tournament.
Do Players Use Their Own Caddies at The Masters?
Since 1983, The Masters has allowed players to have their own caddies. They were one of the last events in the game to change the rule of having to use the club's caddies.
The Masters caddie uniform standardizes caddie attire for the tournament. Previously, caddies could wear more or less whatever they wanted, which somewhat ruined the image of professionalism at the Masters. So we can confidently say the switch is a positive one.
The smart white jumpsuit, complete with green markings, brings a great sense of tradition and class, which only helps elevate the tournament’s prestige. It really separates the Masters from other high-profile golf contests and has helped it climb to be one of the most highly anticipated events of the year.
PGA Professional Brendon Elliott is the founder of Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He is the winner of 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development award. Brendon is a respected coach, businessman, writer, and golf industry expert.