Ryan "Sal" Salerno-Ocean Course

Where are you from?
Ballston spa, New York 
When did you first start playing golf? 
The age of 14 
When did you start caddying? 
The age of 17 
Do you remember your first loop?
At the ocean course, yes. I was on the first hole of my first loop, and my guy was about to hit his second shot. I tell him 147 yards, into the wind, with a front pin location. The wind was blowing pretty hard. I told him it’s ok to be slightly long considering the front pin location (it was 160 to the middle, so he had room behind the pin). This guy clubs up even more than that, like his 180 club, and skulls it. This ball went 210 yards, flying over the green and onto the next tee box. It slammed into a guy in the group in front of us right in the head, on the fly. I thought that was going to be my first and last day at the Ocean Course. 
How long have you caddied at your current course? 
3.5 years 
Do you live close to the course? 
Nope. I live about an hour and 15 mins away from the course, depending on traffic. 
Has caddying improved your own golf game? 
100%. I still play way too aggressively, but my course management has improved a lot.  
What are some typical things that players do that drive you nuts? 
Ask for a yardage before we get to our ball. Like dude, do you not see me digging into my pocket to get my range finder right now? Another annoying thing is asking too many questions if you are a high handicap. The less you know the better. "Keep it left, 150 club, swing smooth.” That’s all the information a high handicapper needs. 
What are some typical things that players do that you love? 
Let me know where I can improve on my end. I know I’m not perfect and love to improve. I love when the players have fun and enjoy the experience. Telling stories and having laughs.
Are there any indicators that a golfer will be a good player or bad player? 
Normally, you can tell by the clubs and outfit but I find its best not to judge a book by its cover. I always make sure to check the players and bags out on the range before the tee time. That way I know what bags I want in the group. 
Do you have any one-liners you like to use on the course? 
Yea, I’ve got some one liners that I love to use. But you need to feel out the group before you start making jokes. Nothing worse than making a joke that offends someone on the 3rd hole and then having to pretend like it’s not awkward for 4 ½ hours. My go-to one liner is when a guy hits a bad shot, drops another ball immediately, and then hits the second ball perfectly. When that happens I like to say “2nd guy flies private.” It’s actually pretty incredible how often this happens. I think it’s definitely a mental thing with golf. The golfer is almost trying too hard on the first shot, he or she cares too much. As silly as that sounds. And then they drop the second ball and swing freely without a care, and pure it. There's a mini lesson there. 
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve found in a player's bag?
Funny you ask that. One time I asked a player if he could take some stuff out of his bag before we teed off because, ya know, sometimes I don’t wanna carry refrigerators on my shoulders. When we were taking stuff out I opened the side pouch and his wife’s panties were in there… He grabbed them from me, sniffed them, and said “These are my goodluck panties. My wife put them in my bag one time and I never took them out.” I thought that was hilarious. You see some crazy things at the golf course.
How do you help your players play better? How do you help them have a good time? 
Course management. Some players wanna play safe, some players want to be aggressive. You just have to play to their needs and wants. As far as helping them have a good time - I like to joke around, if you couldn’t tell. 
Do you like to focus completely on golf or more on the social aspect of caddying? 
I’m a little bit of both. As much as I love being out there all day, I wanna get around that course as quickly as possible. I want the players to be happy and have a good time. If they play well and shoot a score they're happy with, that’s even better. And hopefully a bigger tip. 
What is your favorite thing about caddying? 
I like meeting new people on a daily basis and love the outdoor aspect of caddying.
What is your favorite caddy story? 
I mean the stories are endless. I think my saddest story was when a grown man at the age of 70 years old brought his dads ashes because he never got to play the course with him. That was pretty sad, but it’s crazy that a special course like OC can bring grown men to tears and have such a great impact on people’s mood and life.  The ocean course is a beautiful place. As far as the craziest thing I’ve seen out on the golf course, that was when one dude took his clothes off and jumped into the pond on 17. Pretty legendary moments and memories are made out there. It’s a special place for sure. 
Have you gained/learned anything from caddying? 
I have learned that everyone is different. There are tons of different types of characters and personalities out there. You really can’t judge people by their swing, or clubs, or outfit. You can judge them by their golf bag. Just kidding (but seriously). I’ve heard plenty of stories from successful men and women, and have gotten unreal advice from golfers. I like to ask my players if they could go back in time and be my age, what would you tell yourself to do or not do in your life? The things that come from that question are crazy. 
Is there anything you would like to add? 
One thing I would like to add is some people don’t understand the rates for a caddy. 
If you have a bad caddy who is giving minimum effort, give them the minimum base rate.
But, on the other hand, if you have a caddy that goes above and beyond for you and your group, gives you great reads, and busts chops all day, that’s a different story. You should give them a little more. If they give you good reads and good yardages and are upbeat, that should be reflected in the tip. Think about this. You are spending 5 hours with your caddy, and he or she is doing a lot for you. Carrying 2 golf bags…( 2 heavy bags because y’all wanna have 20 balls and ur rain gear in there when it’s 80 and sunny.) Caddies do a lot more than just carry a bag, so be aware of that. 

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