Loopers don’t have to be 18 to begin learning the craft

| June 1, 2023 | 0 Comments

Anyone who saw Australian Hannah Green win the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro at Wilshire Country Club (WCC) April 30 had to notice her looper, Nate Blasko. Immediately after sinking the winning putt of the two-hole sudden death playoff, Green walked over and hugged the grinning Blasko.

GOLFERS AND LOOPERS prepare for the tee off at the first hole at Wilshire Country Club during the JM Eagle Championship.

GOLFER Hyo Joon Jang (right) with looper Ryan Smith at the first tee off during the JM Eagle Championship at Wilshire Country Club.

Of course he was happy; he’s been her caddie since 2018, and the last LPGA event she won was in 2019. Blasko was one of 144 loopers to work the tournament, and his earnings topped those of his fellow caddies that weekend.

As an unspoken rule, a looper receives 10 percent of the winning golfer’s prize money. The victory at Wilshire Country Club earned Green $450,000.

No wonder Blasko was smiling.

Loop de loop

Like most sports, golf has its own jargon, and the caddie subdivision culture is no different.

The word “loop” can be a verb or noun. As a noun, it’s a caddie’s round of golf service. Makes sense; the round begins and ends at the clubhouse, so the route golfers and caddies traverse is basically a loop. As a verb, “loop” means to lug a player’s bag around a golf course. Consequently, “looper” is slang for caddie.

Most caddies begin looping in their teens. Some do it strictly as an occupation, and some for the experience and proximity to golfers and the game because they want to eventually play professional golf themselves. Arnold Palmer began looping in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, when he was just 10. Lee Trevino started even earlier; he began at age 8 in Dallas, Texas. Nate Blasko, Hannah Green’s caddie, was a junior golfer living in Kingston, Ontario, trying to elevate his game before his golf coach suggested he loop for Augusta James, a Kingston-area professional golfer.

Family affair

Name a famous pair of brothers who were loopers when they were teenagers. Need a hint? They starred in the most famous movie about caddies ever made.

Way before appearing in the classic film “Caddsyshack,” Bill Murray and his brother Brian Doyle-Murray looped at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Illinois, along with their three brothers. Apparently, looping ran in the family. Their father had been a caddie in the 1930s in Chicago.

At the JM Eagle Championship last month, the event ended in regulation with a three-way tie among Hannah Green, Xiyu Lin and Aditi Ashok. Ashok is from India, and her father looped for her at WCC on the recent weekend. He also was her caddie at the 2016 Rio Olympics, although in Tokyo four years later, it was Ashok’s mother who carried her bag.

Another competitor at the JM Eagle Championship was South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai. When she initially played on the LPGA, her boyfriend David looped for her. That went on until just before their marriage, when they decided it was best if he caddied for someone else. Made sense; life can be difficult when a couple’s income comes down to how just one of them performs on the golf course. David now loops for Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom, and Ashleigh’s caddie is Tanya Paterson. At the JM Eagle Championship, Sagstrom ended in a tie for 17th and collected $35,608. Buhai finished lower, tied at 33rd, and earned $17,562.


Golf legend Ben Hogan, who was known as the Wee Ice Man, was a caddie as a teenager in Fort Worth, Texas. The first time he ever played Wilshire Country Club, someone jokingly challenged him to hit the Hollywood sign — which can be seen from the ninth hole — with his drive. Without missing a beat, Hogan replied, “Which letter?”

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