Thinking about becoming a caddy?
No, caddying is not like the movie Caddyshack. Not only is it a good workout, caddying can be very lucrative!
Quick Answer: Caddies can make anywhere between $200-$1500 per week at country clubs and pristine public courses. Caddies on the PGA Tour can earn anywhere between $100,000 to $2 million!
Obviously, the caddies that make more money have more experience and put in longer hours at the course. But what should you expect? How do you work your way up? This page is going to dive into everything you wanted to know about how to make money as a caddy! If you are curious about how much money it costs to play golf, click here
What Does a Caddy Do
A caddy is a golf course attendant that is trained to carry your bag and give golf advice around the course.
There are two types of caddies that you will find, a bag caddy or a fore caddy:
A bag caddy is trained to:
- Clean and organize your golf clubs
- Clean your golf ball around the putting surface
- Give you exact yardages to the front, middle and back of the green
- Help you read the breaks on the green
- Tend the flagstick
- Give you a general knowledge of where to place your shots from hole to hole
- Repair your divots
- Rack the bunkers after use
Fore Caddy: The only difference between a bag caddy and a fore caddy is that a fore caddy doesn’t carry your bag. They either walk ahead of your group or jump on the back of your golf cart to move around. Their overall purpose is to keep up the pace of play by locating the groups’ golf balls. Many prestigious public courses use fore caddies so that they can keep each group moving and efficiently manage the course.
Benefits of Caddying
There are many benefits to being a caddying:
- Free golf -usually on Mondays
- Free or highly discounted meals
- Access to wealthy and influential members or guests
- Make money without working 40 hour weeks
- Great exercise- For one loop (18 holes) you can expect to burn around 2,000 calories!
- Great resume builder
How Old Do You Have to Be
Caddies vary quite drastically in age. Most courses have a minimum age requirement of 14 years old to be a caddy. As you’ve probably seen on TV, there is no max on how old you can be as long as you can handle the physical requirements needed on the course, you can caddy!
What Courses Use Caddies
Caddies are most often used at private country clubs or high-end public courses. Why? Dating back to the 18th century, many country club members used their servants to escort them out on the golf course. As time went on, the clubs starting employing their own staff to help their members out on the course. It has since become a tradition to walk the course and to use a caddy’s expertise and moral support to take full advantage of the golf course.
How Does the Pay Structure Work
The pay structure that the course pays a caddy goes in tiers:
- B Flight– Beginning caddies, usually young kids. They make around $20-25 per loop (18-holes)
- BB Flight- Beginning/Intermediate caddies. They make around $25-30 per loop
- A Flight-Intermediate Caddies. They make around $30-35 per loop
- AA Flight-Intermediate / Experienced Caddies. They can make around $35-50 per loop
- Honorary Flight– Experienced Caddies. Usually, have been working for 4 or more years. They can expect to make around $50 to $75 per bag (Sometimes will carry two bags)
- Championship Flight– The most excellent caddies. It can take 10 or more years to reach this flight. They can make anywhere between $50 and 150 per bag. Usually, at this level, you are sought after by the most elite members.
(The name of these flights are different at each course. However, in my experience going to different clubs, these tiers are universally used to separate the experience levels)
What Should You Expect as a Tip
Did I mention there is a tip too?
When I was younger, I was a caddy at one of our local country clubs. I had no idea what to expect or how much money I was going to make. After my first round with a member, it was evident that I had little experience carrying clubs or even helping out my golfer. Luckily, the member who’s bag I was handling was very understanding and patient. He ended up tipping me a whopping $50 after my 4-hour loop was completed! To my disappointment, this isn’t a typical occurrence…
It is recommended that you tip your caddy around half the cost of your round which is around $25-40.
This is just an approximation as a tip it all depends on:
- Who your member is
- How much did you help your golfer
- How much experience you have
- Did you make their golfing experience any better
How Do You Work Your Way Up
To work your way up the various caddying tiers, you have to put in the time and effort. (Just like anything, right?)
When you are out on the course with either members or the public, you have to think of them as potential sales. After all, they are paying you! So what do I mean by this? You want to “sell” the golfer that they NEED you to play better golf.
When caddying make sure you are giving each of your golfers “the best” service that you can. This means informing them of course history. This means wiping down each club after use. This means giving them a high five after they make one of their putts!
As time goes on, word will get out through the club’s community about the effort you are putting in. This is when the bigwigs start coming in your direction! After a few loops with some of the elite members or guests, the golf club will reward you and accelerate you through the various tiers.
One of my good friends caddied for a very nice course in Southern Florida for a summer. In one week, he worked only four days and made 3,000 dollars! Yes, he did caddy for one of the wealthiest business owners in the country (name excluded), but I want you to understand the possibilities that caddying can bring!
To become a professional caddy, you will need years of experience at your golf course and a great list of references about your ability to perform on the course. To start, you will need to be hired by either an amateur or professional golfer. Many elite golfing tournaments require that golfers use a caddy. This is where you need to put your name out there and offer your services. Check your local tournaments online to see if any professional caddies are required and get your resume together! (Read more about professional caddies here)
The pay structure for a professional caddy is a little different than when working for the golf course. When caddying for a player, they are your boss! You are there to help them as much as possible as your pay is connected to their performance. It is typical that you can make anywhere between 5-10% of their winnings, per tournaments (plus possible tips). So to put this in perspective, if you were Tiger Woods Caddy back when he was dominating, you are looking at 3-5 million dollars a year!
By now you can probably see the benefits and potential success that caddying can bring you. Not only is there a lot of money to be made, but there are also opportunities to work with successful people who can further your career.
My advice to anyone thinking about caddying is to do it! Put some time in and really connect with the members and guests. Even if you don’t want a career in caddying, just by networking with others and putting yourself out there, you will increase the possibilities of your own life.
One of my golfing colleague’s caddies for an up and coming LPGA golfer. He isn’t making much yet, but it’s always good to invest your time and effort into a golfer’s future potential. Just look at Jordan Speith’s caddy. He was a teacher who caddied in the summer. He was trying to decide if he should quit his job and caddy full time for Jordan. At the time, Jordan was very new to the sport but had great potential. The rest is history. Jordan went on to hole out and win at the John Deere Classic and went on to become one of the world’s best golfers! A pretty good investment I’d say!
If you love golf, think about caddying over the summer and help give your skills and love of the game to other golfers!