Over £6000 has been raised in less than 48 hours by on online appeal from St Andrews Links Trust caddie manager Fraser Riddler to back caddies who work the links and are struggling due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Fraser, acting outwith his job with the Links, established a GoFundMe site to try to help caddies missing out on the start of high season at the Links, with a large proportion of visitor golfers due to start the summer months.
Anything up to 3600 to 3800 rounds would have been expected across the links’ seven courses during April, which would also have included the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews Spring Meeting, where most St Andrews caddies have regular bags with competing members.
In May, visitor traffic was expected to rise to nearly 6000 rounds, showing exactly how many earning opportunities for the full-time loopers have been missed.
“The closure of golf facilities as a result of the Covid19 pandemic has had a huge impact on so many businesses and people within the golf industry, but unfortunately, this is particularly true of the caddies who regularly stride the fairways at St Andrews Links,” said Fraser.
“With no play possible for the foreseeable future and international travel set to be badly affected for the remainder of the summer season, caddie’s livelihoods are being seriously impacted.”
Most caddies have sought alternative employment in the interim but the wider economic implications of the lockdown meant that only a few had been successful.
“Many people from across the global golf community have indicated they would like to offer help and support to the caddies during this difficult period so I have established a GoFundMe account where donations can be made,” continued Fraser.
“Myself and the caddies have been blown away by the initial response and would like to thank everyone of their support. All monies donated will help to ease concerns over financial hardship that might face many caddies in the coming weeks and months.”
There are traditionally 210 caddies working at the courses in St Andrews on an annual basis. The monies raised will be awarded to caddies who apply for financial assistance through Fraser.
Fraser has been Caddie Manager at St Andrews since February 2016. He has amassed thousands of rounds himself at St Andrews in a career which included stints with bags on the European, LET and Challenge Tours.
You can donate at www.gofundme.com/f/st-andrews-caddies