Billy Foster - 15 Best Tour Caddie Tips

Billy Foster is a professional tour caddie with over 40 years of experience. He shares 15 tips that he's acquired in his career

Billy Foster - 15 Tour Caddie Tips. Image with Billy Foster and Tiger Woods (Left) and Billy Foster and Matt Fitzpatrick (Right)
Billy Foster has caddied for some of the greatest names in golf
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Billy Foster has caddied for some of the world’s best players, including Seve Ballesteros, Tiger Woods, and Sergio Garcia.

Now on the bag of Matt Fitzpatrick, the pair claimed a first Major Championship at the 2022 US Open. In this article, Foster shares some of the insight he’s built up over 40 years on tour...

1. Work your strategy back from the pin

Matt Fitzpatrick approach shot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before you hit your tee shot, you need to consider the pin position. There's no point hitting it down the right side just because there's more room there, as you might not be able to access the pin from that side. If the pin is back right, hit it down the left side of the fairway and give yourself the best possible look at the flag.

2. Fairway bunkers are not all the same

If you are playing a hole with penal fairway bunkers, the safest thing to do is lay back and take them out of play. This isn't always the best approach, however, as there are holes where you will want to be aggressive – especially if it's quite open beyond them.

My advice is to always check to the depth of the bunkers, make a note and pre-plan your strategy. Maybe even go as far as writing down, "If I go in there I am chipping it out" or "That one's a splash bunker so I know I can get on the green".

3. Know where you can’t afford to miss

Tom Watson always said you win golf tournaments by limiting your mistakes. He won a lot of tournaments!

4. Do you know how far you hit a 7-iron?

Lee Westwood with caddie Billy Foster at Augusta National

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When I was caddying for Lee Westwood, his 7-iron went 175 yards. Not 170-175, or 175-180, but 175. You need to know to the yard how far you hit each club.

5. Be aware of your landing spot

If you’ve got 180 yards to the pin, but you need to be ten yards short to give yourself the best putt, that will change the club you select to hit. Likewise, on a firm green, your landing spot is not 180, it’s 165. It’s not about the total number, it’s about your landing spot and working out where you want to be to give yourself the best birdie chances.

6. Don’t get wrapped up in technique before your round

Avoid going to the course with lots of swing thoughts in your head because you will not play good golf. Head to the practice range and hit a few shots, shape shots and get a feel for the swing before you play, but don’t get too technical. Overthinking your golf swing on the course is one of the reasons you aren't improving.

7. Work on your wedge game

Luke Donald hitting an approach shot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You may never be a Dustin Johnson or a Brooks Koepka, hitting it out of sight, but remember Luke Donald and Zach Johnson? One got to World No. 1 and the other won a Green Jacket and a Claret Jug. Why? Because their wedge play was outstanding. Prioritise improving your short game over anything else.

8. Get your wedge distances dialled in

For every single one of Fitzpatrick’s wedges, he has a shoulder to shoulder swing, a chest to chest swing and a chest to shoulder swing – each of them delivers a specific yardage.

This enables him to become more consistent and, because the yardages overlap, he can then choose the shot he wants to play to suit the conditions, whether that’s a low shot that runs or a high one that stops.

9. All pros feel pressure

While it's true all pros feel pressure, the best in the world have their game plan and don't change their mind on impulse. By creating a plan, you are less likely to be affected by the emotion of a situation. On occasion, you might need to take 30 seconds to slow down and think about the process. Take a deep breath and stick to your pre-shot routine.

10. Know where the uphill putts are

Nick Faldo reading a putt in front of Tiger Woods

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nick Faldo once sent me out on a Sunday morning asking me to find where all the uphill putts were to each pin. His theory was that he would often ignore the flag and hit into the area that would leave him the easiest putt, which is always a straight uphill one. By doing that he’d be eliminating bogeys and double-bogeys.

Clearly there are certain hole you can be aggressive on, but when faced with a hard to access pin you need to stay disciplined – this could just help keep a double off the card. Play away from the flag and you could sink an uphill 10-foot birdie putt that is more straightforward than that horrible downhill slider.

11. Attitude and mental strength are huge parts of the game

Bernhard Langer, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell might not be the best ball-strikers to play the game, but as competitors, there have been few better. What they all have in common is great attitude. They are mentally strong, they plot the course they are playing meticulously and they have great short games.

12. When you next practise chipping, avoid too much loft

Seve Ballesteros with caddie Billy Foster

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The great champions – Ballesteros, Greg Norman and Langer in particular – used different clubs for chipping. Don’t always try and land it close to the flag. Try and chip with a 7-iron, 8-iron, 9-iron or pitching wedge.

13. Never hit a shot you are not 100% committed to

If there is any doubt, it will find you.

14. Use simple putting drills

Any time Tiger plays a round, he throws down five balls, puts tee pegs in the ground to make a tight gate and putts one-handed through that gate. That’s to get it in the sweetspot every time – he does that every single day of his life.

15. Let your attitude dictate your golf game and not your golf game dictate your attitude

Tiger Woods and Billy Foster plotting their next shot

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You’ve got to have a strong mental attitude and keep fighting, even if you make a double or a triple.

Sam Tremlett
E-commerce Editor

A golfer for most of his life, Sam is Golf Monthly's E-commerce Editor.

Working with golf gear and equipment over the last six years, Sam has quickly built outstanding knowledge and expertise on golf products ranging from drivers, to balls, to shoes. 

He combines this knowledge with a passion for helping golfers get the best gear for them, and as such Sam manages a team of writers that look to deliver the most accurate and informative reviews and buying advice. This takes the form of buying guides, reviews, supporting gear content as well as creating deal content.

This is so the reader can find exactly what they are looking for, at a good price.

Sam now spends most of his time testing and looking after golf gear content for the website, whilst he is also responsible for all content related to golf apparel. 

Additionally Sam oversees Golf Monthly voucher/coupon content which seeks to find you the best offers and promotions from well-known brands like Callaway, TaylorMade and many more.

Unfortunately, Sam is not a member of any club at the moment but regularly gets out on the golf course to keep up the facade of having a single-figure handicap. 

Sam's What's In The Bag: 

Driver: Cobra LTDxLS (9 degrees) 

Fairway Wood: Ping G430 Max (15 degrees), Nike Covert Tour 2.0 (19 degrees) 

Irons (4-PW): Titleist AP2 

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 54˚, 58˚ 

Putter: Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 

Ball: Srixon Z-Star Diamond

Shoes: G/FORE Gallivanter/Nike Air Zoom Victory Tour 3/Cuater The Ringer
(For off the course he goes for Nike Jordan 1 Low G shoes as well)