Genoa Lakes golf pro doubles as Charles Barkley’s caddy at ACC celebrity golf |

Genoa Lakes golf pro doubles as Charles Barkley’s caddy at ACC celebrity golf

J.P. Kelsey
NBA great Charles Barkley and caddy Chris Detsch, who is the head golf pro at Genoa Lakes Golf Course, assess the situation Friday.
J.P. Kelsey / Tahoe Daily Tribune |
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What started out as a chance caddying opportunity at the 2007 American Century Championship (ACC) celebrity golf tournament has led local golf pro, Chris Detsch, to a 10-year pairing with NBA Hall of Famer and ACC fan favorite Charles Barkley.

Detsch’s golf career stretches back well over a decade. He has been the head golf pro at Genoa Lakes Golf Course in Douglas County, Nevada for two years. Earlier in his career, Detsch completed an apprenticeship through the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) to become a PGA professional.

Even with all he’s accomplished in his profession, Detsch says that caddying for Barkley remains a highlight.

Prior to heading to heading to Genoa Lakes , Detsch was employed with Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, which helped lead to his pairing with Barkley.

“How it started was that I was supposed to caddy for somebody else, so it was short notice,” Detsch said. “They had the badges available so I went through them and saw [Barkley’s] so I grabbed his.”

Aside from being known for joking around with spectators and fellow celebrity golfers, Barkley has a unique swing that frequently puts him at the butt of most jokes during the tournament.

Detsch said they have tried a few different approaches over the years to work on his game.

“A couple years ago, I took my business cards and put them on the side of his sunglasses like blinders on a thoroughbred,” said Detsch. “We’ve had some moments, some good, some bad, but he really does love the game and wants to get better. The head gets in the way sometimes.”

This year, Detsch said they have tried a different grip that seems to be helping a little with his swing.

“Normally, the right hand is on the bottom, when that is switched, you get what’s called left hand low,” said Detsch. “That grip is all about the brain so if the right hand is in charge, the left hand side of the brain is working. That’s the part that had the hiccup so now he’s got the left hand lower and he’s leading with the left hand. That uses the opposite side of the brain to help alleviate the hitch. I’ve seen more good shots in the past day and a half than I have in the past few years.”

Another big thing that could be helping Barkley this year is that the pain and stiffness from playing 16 years in the NBA has significantly subsided, according to Barkley and Detsch.

“This is the first time in four years that he’s been pain free,” said Detsch. “He can get out here, walk around and really enjoy himself. That’s nice to hear from him.”

Barkley’s weight might be helping with the pain as well. He said he’s been really taking care of himself lately and wants to go even further.

“I’m down 26 pounds in the past seven weeks,” said Barkley. “I have 30 more to go.”

Barkley is also known for his impressive trash talking skills and when asked about Detsch, Barkley gave the typical Barkley reply.

“Why are you writing an article about my caddy? He sucks,” Barkley jested. “Did you see the bad luck I just had with my shot? That’s what I get with my caddy.”

Barkley later explained that Detsch is a top-notch caddy and he enjoys working him.

“I love my caddy,” said Barkley.

Detsch said being a caddy often has little to do with the mechanics of golf, but rather helping with the mental part of playing.

“I’m here to do the job, caddying aspect wise,” said Detsch. “But also just be here as a friend and for moral support when it comes to the golf. I just enjoy what he does for the fans and spectators.”

Detsch said that the ACC really isn’t about having a great golf swing or winning the tournament purse, but the experience of it all.

“We’re not really out here working on fundamentals or basics,” he said. “We’re just going to finish the holes and have a good time. He loves the gallery, he loves the people and he loves Tahoe. And Tahoe loves him.”

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