What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Nicholaz Pagelz and I'm originally from Sweden. These days I spend about half of my time in Stockholm, and the other half in Marbella.
When did you first start playing golf?
I started playing when I was in 2nd grade. My best friend in school played with his parents and they took me with them to learn.
You're trying to play professionally - Can you tell us a little about your journey as a golfer? When did you decide to try to play competitively? What made you want to do so?
When I was 29 years old, I got a job offer in Zürich, Switzerland. I was supposed to move there in April 2020, but because of the lockdown I was stuck in Sweden. However, there was a silver lining to all of this! Thanks to Sweden's no lockdown policies, I became a member at Bro Hofs Slott and started to play everyday. I started off with a HCP of 9.8, playing about 15-20 rounds annually. I played my first mini-tour event after 4 months and came 46th in a full field. The next day I got an email asking if I wanted to play the Swedish PGA Championship.
I finished second to last in that event, but I had a blast and decided to give professional golf a shot. I moved down to Marbella, Spain, to be able to practice year round. I started working on my swing with my coach, and working on building more speed with my trainer. I´ve become a good ball striker, but my mental game hasn’t followed and I am struggling a bit more than I thought I would with the score.
When did you start looping? Is there a particular reason why you started looping? Did it just seem fun, did you want to be around the game, it’s good money, ect.?
After moving to Marbella, I got a 1-year membership at Los Naranjos GC who hosted the LET (Ladies European Tour) final in November 2020. So I applied as a volunteer caddie for the event, and I couldn't even dream about whose bag I got.
Do you remember your first loop?
So, I had no clue about women's golf, I had barely watched men’s golf before. It was on a Tuesday, I met up with this lady outside the clubhouse and we walked down together to the driving range for some warm-up before our first practice round. She barely had time to hit any balls after all the other players walked up to her to say hello and chat. Even other caddies came up to me and asked me how I knew her and how I got her bag. I told them I was a local volunteer, and their faces were in shock.
It went well, we had a good time on the course and talked a lot. Afterwards, we had lunch with other players and board members from the LET Tour. That night when I came home I had to google her to understand who I was working for and who was she?
No other than the legendary European Solheim Cup captain, Catriona Matthew.
How long have you looped at your current course, or for your current player? Have you caddied anywhere else or for any one else?
I don't loop at a specific course, I´ve looped for different players on the LET and Challenge Tour.
This coming season, 2024, I´ve been asked to help a player on the LET and will go with her for maybe 4-6 events that will be played in Europe.
What is your role when you’re caddying for a pro vs what is your role when you’re caddying for local am?
I´ve noticed that pro players like to talk a lot about the shot, the lie, and the best place to land the ball for the easiest putt. I've also noticed that a lot of times the pro players just go with what I tell them to do. Maybe it helps them take some pressure off, or if the shot is bad it's my fault and not theirs. It really is a team sport between the player and the caddie.
With amateurs, it's different because they don't want to listen and think they know better.
When looping for an amateur it tends to be just carrying the bag and moving the flag out of the hole.
What is your favorite course to loop at? Are there any interesting differences between the courses?
Looping on the DP World Tour/LET event on my home course Ullna G&CC was a special feeling. Seeing friends and family in the stands, knowing that I know the course like the back of my hand, the hidden swirling wind gusts and so on. Being able to help out with green reading where a lot of the field struggled.
You have looped for multiple pros - Were there any differences, as far as your role and responsibilities with each player?
Normally it´s the same, at least for the ones I've worked with. The only difference is about green reading. Let's say it's been 50/50 if they wanted help or not. With one player, I did all the green reading straight from hole 1 on Thursday. During the practice round I didn't help her at all, so imagine how shocked I was when she called me in to read a 4 footer for birdie on hole 1. She made it.
If you’re caddying in a 72 hole, Thursday-Sunday event, what are you doing on Monday-Wednesday? Are you paying for everything yourself, and just hoping your player makes the cut?
I haven't had the need to travel. Monday to Wednesdays are full days. There´s practice time and practice rounds, but also fun time - Chatting and laughing on the range. I´ve been lucky enough to never have to pay for anything myself (except the yardage book) and always had a fixed fee before entering a tournament.
Has caddying improved your own golf game?
This is a funny question, because you think that it should have, but my head works differently.
When I play, I don't think as I do when I caddie. When looping, I think rationally, strategically, and about risk-reward. When I play myself, all of that disappears, I try to hit the ball as far as possible without thinking of the risk. I hit everything at the flag and short-side myself, instead of hitting the bigger area on the green.
I don't know why. Maybe because I don't have the professional yardage book with all the numbers and data. But I should be thinking more of a caddie when I play myself.
What are some typical things that players do that drive you nuts?
Not committing off the tee.
What are some typical things that players do that you love?
The magical way they have to move on from a bad swing or hole. It's impressive to see how they can just move on and forget about the past.
How do you deal with tough conditions when you’re looping?
Many layers of clothing, and always go two clubs more than you think when hitting into the wind. Sometimes you have to give the player a wrong yardage number so they can commit to the shot. This is also something I don´t do myself since I know the actual number and can't commit, so I hit it short.
Do you have any one-liners you like to use on the course?
Haha, maybe the classic “winner-winner chicken dinner”. As I begin stepping out of the zone before the player hits their shot I say, “Full commitment and easy swing”. Even the best tend to swing it too hard and get out of timing sometimes.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve found in a player's bag?
I found a pink teddy bear once.
How do you help your players play better? How do you help them have a good time?
I just try to be myself and show the player that I'm having a good time. I want the player to know that we are a team and I will be there for them in whatever way they need.
Since I am a pro myself, even though not on their level, there's been times where we have been standing on the practice area, and I've shown my player a couple of things. Helping them out if they're struggle with something.
Do you like to focus completely on golf or more on the social aspect of caddying?
At the professional level it's important to do both. When coming up to the ball, we're completely focused on the shot. In between shots, a caddies’ job is to know the players mood. Sometimes the player is in the zone, focused, and we're both quiet. But more often, my job is to get the player to stop thinking of the round or the bad shot before. Then comes the social aspect. In this situation, my job is to make the player think of something else other than golf.
Overall, what is your favorite thing about looping?
My favorite thing about caddying is to be inside the ropes and be part of something great!
Do you have a favorite caddie story?
Something that made me very happy and proud happened after the last round at an event we played in. We were having lunch in the players lounge with other players and families. My player came over to me, thanked me and asked if I wanted to caddie for her in some events the following season. She explained to me that she had gone through different caddies, such as family, friends and other professional caddies. She told me the teamwork we had was good and easy, and better than any of her previous caddies. Nothing is written in stone yet, but I´m waiting for the call when the season starts.
Have you gained/learned anything from caddying?
A lot! It has made me see golf in a different way.
Feel free to add anything else.
I don't think that caddies get as much respect as they deserve from the tour. We are not treated “equal” to the player at the tournaments, even though the caddie and player are a team.