New caddie documentary 'Loopers' shines in its focus on golf's unsung heroes

New caddie documentary 'Loopers' shines in its focus on golf's unsung heroes

Golf

New caddie documentary 'Loopers' shines in its focus on golf's unsung heroes

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Most great sports documentaries must address a fundamental question from the onset and handle the balance with great care.

How much does the audience already know about the topic at hand, and how much should they be brought up to speed on the fundamentals?

That’s where director Jason Baffa succeeds most in “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” a new 80-minute ode to golf’s unsung heroes that will appeal to golf nuts and novices alike. There’s just enough background to get everyone caught up to speed and invested in the stories that follow.

Narrated by Bill Murray and featuring stunning visuals from iconic courses stateside and beyond, “Loopers” is most memorable when its focus is honed on individuals. There’s some interesting overall insight on the evolution of caddies from a group of rag-tag troublemakers to professionals capable of earning seven figures, as we see with a later look at Jordan Spieth’s caddie Michael Greller.

Perhaps most compelling is the study of those left behind at Augusta National once the Masters did away with a rule that players must use local caddies.

We see how Willie “Pappy” Stokes served as the caddie master and created a training ground of sorts for Augusta’s all-black caddie contingent. We hear from several of these caddies armed with an immense knowledge of the intricate twists and turns at Augusta. It’s astutely noted that Fuzzy Zoeller was the last player to win his Masters debut in 1979 with caddie Jariah Beard, four years before players were first allowed to bring their own full-time caddies.

Exploring the relationship between Nick Faldo and female caddie Fanny Sunneson is another highlight. Admittedly tough to work for given his icy exterior, it’s explained how this rare male-female team worked so well thanks to Sunneson’s unmatched work ethic, patience and ability to connect with her player.

That’s the message “Loopers” continues to hammer home throughout the film – a caddie’s job isn’t really about giving yardages or raking bunkers. A successful caddie needs to make that personal connection to bring out the best in their player, whether it’s someone they’d choose to hang out with outside the ropes or not.

That’s why “Loopers” is at its best exploring those personal relationships, painting a clear if not glorified picture of the caddie trade in the process.

Watch one of the trailers here:

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