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Golf: Playing with a Caddie Hero Label

Golf: Playing with a Caddie

Why Is That Kid Taking My Clubs?

Today, carts have replaced caddies at most courses. But if you do happen onto a course where there's a caddie standing ready to hoist your golf bag for you... let them! If you're an inexperienced golfer, don't assume that caddies are only for low handicappers. If a caddie's services are offered, accept. You'll get to enjoy golf the way it was meant to be played—walking the course, appreciating the camaraderie of your fellow golfers, and enjoying the chance to get to know your caddie. While there are professional caddies, at most courses young adults (often late teens, early twenties) are filling the caddie position. A caddie might seem like an extravagant part of golf, it's also a position that helps connect younger people to the adults in their community. While you are not a mentor to a caddie, many caddies will speak of how their time working at a course gave them great insight into both work and social life as an adult. Also, remember, caddies are there to help and support not to judge. 

Caddie Considerations:

  • Getting Started. Check with your host or the "caddie master" regarding how (and how much) caddies are compensated.
  • Introductions & Advice. Always introduce yourself to your caddie, maybe even let him know a little about yourself. Set the tone for your relationship by asking your caddie about each shot as you approach the ball - remember, even if you play this course often, your caddie walks it multiple times a day and probably has some great thoughts to offer: What does she estimate the distance to the hole is? Are there any obstacles you can't see? What club would he advise using? What would be a good point to aim at? 
  • When Some Else Is Hosting. If someone is hosting your group, the caddies' tips may be billed to the host's account or the host may choose to take care of the tips themself. Either way, always offer to cover your caddie's tip either by giving it directly to the caddie (which they may accept even if they've already been covered) or by offering to reimbursing your host. (Some hosts may take you pu on this so be sure it's a genuine offer.) Tips are paid in cash and range from $20 - $50 per bag, so come prepared having an appropriate amount of cash in hand when you arrive at the course.
  • Refreshments. At the turn (usually, after nine holes, the course either returns you to clubhouse or deposits you at a halfway spot, usually a food/drink stop), be sure to ask if your caddie would like a refreshment, such as a drink or maybe even a snack.
  • Tips & Thank Yous. When you complete your round, give your caddie their tip and thank them for their help.

For more golf etiquette tips and advice, please purchase a copy of our book The Unwritten Rules of Golf, by Peter Post, it also makes for an excellent gift.