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Golf is one of the most lucrative sports for the top players on the PGA Tour. Golfers at the top take home millions from a single tournament win.
But have you ever wondered whether golf caddies get paid?
After all, caddies play a significant role in that success, so they should get paid handsomely. This means that professional golf caddies will find the sport to be quite lucrative as well.
However, how much a caddie makes is determined by how well their golfer performs.
The average caddie on a normal course usually makes a bit more than $100 for an 18-hole round. Caddies can earn about $120 for carrying two bags through an 18 hole round.
It can be a bit less, though, especially if you’re a beginner caddie or caddies aren’t in high demand in a certain area.
Caddies on the PGA Tour can earn anything from $100,000 to $2 million, whereas those that work at country clubs and top-of-the-range public courses can make anywhere between $200-$1500 per week.
If you have the stomach for it and you love being on the golf course, being a golf caddy can be an incredible job. Obviously, caddies make more money if they have more experience and put in longer hours.
So if you’re interested in becoming a caddie, or maybe you just want to find out how much you’ll need to pay for a caddie, this article is for you. I’m going to dive into everything caddie-related, from the pay structure to the benefits of being and having a caddie.
How Is A Caddie’s Pay Structured?
Generally, caddies are paid a basic weekly wage by their golf player (if they only caddy for one person). If the caddie is working during a tournament, then they can negotiate a cut of the winnings.
Typically PGA caddies can get 5% of the winnings; however, if the player finishes in the top 10, the amount rises to 7%. If the player wins the tournament, a caddie can get as much as 10 % of the golfer’s prize money.
Keep in mind, though, that most caddies are responsible for their own expenses, including food, travel expenses, accommodation, and so on. Although it’s pretty common to find pro players catering for their caddie’s travel expenses by taking them on their private jets.
Usually, there is no written contract between player and caddie, and terms are made in a verbal agreement.
The pay structure that most of golf sticks to is divided into the following tiers:
● B Flight: They are usually beginner caddies and include young kids. They make around $20-25 per loop (18-holes).
● BB Flight: They are traditionally beginner or intermediate caddies. They make around $25-30 per 18-hole.
● A Flight: This is for intermediate caddies who make around $30-35 per loop.
● AA Flight: This is for intermediate to experienced caddies, and they can make around $35-50 per loop.
● Honorary Flight: They are usually experienced caddies. These caddies have been working for 4 or more years. Caddies in this tier make around $50 to $75 per bag (sometimes they will carry two bags)
● Championship Flight: These are the top client caddies who have been working for 10 or more years. They can make anywhere between $50 and 150 per bag. Usually, pro golfers pick caddies who are at this level.
How Much Do Caddies Get Paid In Tips?
The average caddy can expect to get paid between $25 to $40 in tips. This depends on:
● How much help you offer the golfer
● Who the golfer is
● How much experience you have
● Whether you made the golfing experience any better
It’s clear that being a caddy on the golf course can be pretty lucrative, primarily if you work hard and advance your skills and expertise.
Country Club Caddy Earnings
Being a country club caddy is a popular job for junior golfers. Unfortunately, most public golf courses do not have a caddy program. Still, country clubs do offer caddy services for their members.
While this job is mainly for junior golfers, it can be done by aspiring caddies of all ages. So anyone who wants to get their foot in the door can try this out. Country club golf caddies can make at least $30 on average as they work strictly on tips.
A large part of country club caddy earnings are from tips, but some will be paid using a fixed rate. So because of this pay structure, it’s hard to estimate just how much caddies at country clubs make.
For example, some golf caddies can earn between $50 to $75 an hour if they work at wealthy country clubs.
How Much Do LPGA Caddies Make?
According to an article by GolfWeek, LPGA caddies make a weekly base salary of around $1,200.
This money is usually used to cover expenses such as travel and accommodation, so sometimes caddies can find themselves in debt if the golf player does not win or finish in the top 10.
So for LPGA caddies, they are supposed to get a cut of 7 to 8% of winnings.
For example, if a golfer wins a tournament with a $6.4 million dollar prize, the caddie should take home at least 448,000 if their cut is 7% of the total winnings. So winning tournaments is extremely important for both golfers and caddies.
Keep in mind that the LPGA does not pay as high as the PGA, so caddies typically prefer working on the PGA if they are able to.
An LPGA caddy could easily double their salary if they work for a golfer who enjoys success on the PGA tour.
Some pro golfers can also decide to give caddies a tip or bonus at the end of the tournament. However, caddies work as independent contractors, so they must pay self-employment taxes and healthcare costs, even if the PGA tour subsidizes these costs.
A caddie’s pay can fluctuate significantly because there are no rules on how much caddies should earn.
What Does a Caddy Do?
So now that you know how much caddies make, what exactly do they do on the golf course?
Simply put, a caddy is a golf course attendant that is trained to carry your bag and give golf advice around the course.
Caddies have several duties that are critical to a golfer’s success. For example, a typical PGA Tour event runs from Thursday to Sunday, so the caddie’s work starts on Monday.
They need to walk the course alone with a range finder and level to chart the greens. A caddie should also ensure yardages are correct and figure out where the golfer should land his balls.
The next day a caddie will go to the golf course with his golfer for a practice round. The pair will use the information the caddie gathered on Monday to devise a game plan for the tournament.
The tour will start on Thursday after a pro-am event on Wednesday.
Typically there are two types of caddies that you will find, a bag caddy and a fore caddy. Both are trained to:
● Clean golf balls around the putting surface.
● Clean and organize your golf clubs
● Give you exact yardages to the front, middle, and back of the green
● Tend the flagstick
● Help you read the breaks on the green
● Give you a general knowledge of where to place your shots from hole to hole
● Rake the bunkers after use
● Repair your divots
The only difference between a fore caddy and a bag caddy is that a fore caddy doesn’t carry your bag. A fore caddy walks ahead of your group or jumps on the back of your golf cart to move around.
The overall purpose of the fore caddy is to keep up the pace of play by locating the groups’ golf balls. The majority of the top-of-the-range public courses use fore caddies so that they can keep each group moving and efficiently manage the course.
What Are The Benefits Of Being A Caddy?
If you’re thinking of becoming a caddy, you might be wondering what the benefits are aside from the money.
The advantages of caddying include:
● Discounted or free meals
● Free golf on Mondays
● Access to influential and wealthy club members or guests
● Working less than 40 hours a week
● Building a great resume
● Great exercise (caddies walk a lot, an 18 hole round can burn around 2,000 calories.)
How Old Do You Need To Be To Become A Caddy?
Caddies come at various ages; however, most golf courses have a minimum age requirement of 14 years old. However, there is no maximum age restriction.
As long as you can handle the physical requirements needed on the course, you can caddy.
Caddies get paid a good amount of money. How much they make depends on several things like experience, skills, and the type of course or tournament the golfer is playing in.
Being a caddie is quite a promising career if you are passionate about golf and don’t mind spending most of your time on the course.