Ailsa Roy is the Caddie Master at Carnoustie Golf Links, host venue of the recent Open Championship. Women & Golf had the chance to ask her some questions about her career and the challenges she has faced... find out what she said.
Q: Tell us about your career
My career technically began in 1984 (the year I was born) when my dad became caddie master. My dad would take me to his office before I could even walk, and gradually he roped me into helping with the day-to day running of the caddie department.
As time went on, my dad felt that I had gained enough knowledge of the game and could confidently organise the team, so he allowed me to share his responsibilities.
I was officially made caddie master assistant in 2005. Sadly my dad passed away in 2015. I was left to follow in his footsteps alone as caddie master but worked through it with the support and help of my caddie family which I am eternally grateful for.
Q: What is your day-to-day role and what challenges do you face?
A typical day as caddie master requires a lot of organisation skills. Luckily, I loved jigsaw puzzles as a child because it feels like I do one every day.
Making sure that we have the right number of caddies for the day’s rota; ensuring we have caddies reserved for last minute bookings that can run down at the drop of a hat.
Planning the caddie rota can be time-consuming, as I must take holidays, flexibility for doing a double round, and special requests into consideration. Unfortunately, last minute cancellations do happen, and my team members can sometimes be let down.
I love introducing my caddies to the visiting golfers fifteen minutes before their tee time so that I can welcome them personally to Carnoustie. Overall, my job is to ensure that all my caddies and the visitors have an enjoyable round.
Q: Tell us about the highs and lows during the Open Championship
I cannot think of any lows during The Open. My team and I were ecstatic about the buzz around town and at the course. During Open week the R&A appoint their own caddie master, but three of my caddies got bags with the pros including Australian Lucas Herbert, American Brady Schnell and Japan’s Yuto Ikeda, and they all did us proud. Seeing our little town of Carnoustie on worldwide TV channels was surreal. The BIGGEST highlight for everybody though had to be the glorious sunshine! It’s a very rare thing for us here in Scotland!
“I have female caddies that are personally requested due to their knowledge and personalities.”
Q: Throughout your career at Carnoustie, what have been your highlights?
I have had so many highlights throughout my career. When I was younger I was quite star struck by the visiting celebrities. Justin Timberlake... need I say more?
The many friends I have gained over the years, returning visitors and the relationships I have built with my team is also a huge highlight for me.
But looking back, seeing the respect my dad gained as caddie master would have to be number one.
Q: This role is generally male-dominated, but why would you recommend it to women?
My job role has always been male-dominated, but I have seen this change over recent years. More women are playing golf at Carnoustie. I have female caddies that are personally requested due to their knowledge and personalities.
I would recommend this role to any women that understand the game, love meeting new people and want to work in the industry to just go for it! My role as caddie master is my dream job and I am confident that my team is happy with the way I run things. If I can make it, anyone can!
Q: Do you play golf?
When I was younger I played golf and loved the concept, challenge and etiquette of the game. Once my family came along, this was put on the back burner. Now that I’m a busy mum to three children and working full-time as caddie master I have little time to spare. My two eldest children are playing golf now, so once the youngest is out of nappies I’m sure I will finally be able to get back into the game alongside her.