What Is a 'Looper' in Golf?

Explaining the golf meanings of looper, loop and looping

A looper, or caddie, and the golfer whose bag he carries
A looper, or caddie, carries the bag for a golfer. Chris Ryan/Caiaimage/Getty Images

In golf, "looper" is another term for a caddie, "loop" is another term for a round of golf and "looping" is another term for caddying.

Looper, meaning caddie, is most commonly used to refer to caddies who work at clubs, resorts or other golf courses where they will carry the bag(s) of amateur and recreational golfers. Those caddies frequently refer to themselves as loopers.

How Looper Acquired Its Golf Meaning

"Looper" and "looping" referring to caddies and caddying, respectively, derives from the earlier origins of the golf term "loop." In golf, a loop is a round of golf: Play 18 holes, you just played a loop.

But where does that usage come from? In earlier days of golf — going back to the 19th century in Scotland and England — many golf courses were traditional links courses. Traditional links typically follow an "out and back" pattern of arranging the holes. The first nine holes string out from the clubhouse, then the holes turn around and the second nine holes play back toward the clubhouse.

The golf holes loop out and then back in, in other words (this is also why the terms "out" and "in" are used on golf scorecards to denote the front nine and back nine).

The jump from "loop" for a round of golf to "looper" for a caddie was simple after that. For example, if a caddie said, "I did two loops today," that meant he carried the bag for one golfer, then, when that round was completed, he went back out again with a second golfer for a second time around the course. Caddies carried golf bags for loops around the golf course, hence, caddies were "loopers."