Review: Loopers - The Caddie's Long Walk

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Loopers - The Caddie's Long Walk is a polished, straight down the fairway documentary narrated by Hollywood star Bill Murray.

Bruce Edwards, Carl Jackson and Fanny Sunesson are all names that might not be readily recognisable to anyone other than golfing fanatics, yet all were alongside Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Sir Nick Faldo respectively, amidst their greatest achievements in golf. The film aims to shine a light on these lesser-known characters of the sport, telling their story, and does so with an informative, heart-warming production.

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Director Jason Baffa, who has ditched his surf documentary and commercial background in favour of what he describes as ‘a project close to his heart’, immediately introduces us to a host of lively characters from traditional courses in Ireland and Scotland.

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We are taken on a light-hearted journey through the lore of golf with the help of quirky graphics and golf historian David Hamilton, learning about the banning of golf by King James II to Mary Queen of Scots’ supposed invention and use of caddies.

The film then focuses on telling the history of caddying, from its early, unruly connotations to its transformation into a masterly profession by the great Tom Morris.

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From there on in the film delves into its finest moments with director Baffa accruing a host of fascinating interviews, exploring the emotional bonds formed between a player and their caddie.

Tom Watson and Sir Nick Faldo openly speak about their close connection formed with their caddies, and the profiling of the aforementioned trifecta of Bruce Edwards, Carl Jackson and Fanny Sunesson - alongside Steve Williams - provides an excellent insight into the relationship between a golfer and their “best friend for the moment” inside the ropes.

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A lot of time is also dedicated speaking to the former loopers of Augusta National, who tell of their love and need for the job, providing detailed first-hand accounts of Augusta whilst emphasising the importance of local caddies.

One criticism of the film is that it barely scratches the surface with the evident racial discrepancies at play amongst caddying’s roots in the USA. The transformation from bag-toing owning a low ranking social status, dominated by African-Americans, to being increasingly populated by middle class whites as more money was injected into the job is merely glossed over, but the film was never about tackling deep issues.

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Loopers’ excellent content is propped up by the elegant, soothing narration style of American actor, Bill Murray, who acts as the caddie for the film, helping it along at a steady pace and his presence should turn some non-golfing heads to its attention.

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Loopers – The Caddie’s Long Walk achieves its goal of bringing the world of caddying out from the shadows, shedding a light on the profession’s history, whilst telling some touching stories along the way. 

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