Unless you are an incredible athlete, the job of a golf professional may not be in the cards for you. However, if you can carry a golf bag and you know a few things about the game of golf, chances are you could become a caddy.
Golf caddy jobs may be hard to come by, but being a golf caddy can be rather lucrative. I’ve always admired how a caddy can provide mental and technical support for golfers. Let’s take a look at how much caddies make and whether or not it’s something that you may be interested in.
How much do caddies make?
Golf caddies on the PGA Tour make a base salary of around $2000 a week to help cover expenses and travel; in addition, they also get 5% of earnings on average. For golfers that finish in the top ten of the event, caddies can earn 7% of the total winning. For the first-place finisher, the caddie typically makes 10% of the total check that a golfer is paid.
In other words, the better the golfer plays, the more the caddy will make. This helps to make it fair for all parties involved in the tournament. Not all golf caddies are PGA Tour caddies. Golfers who caddy at a private golf course tend to make around $100 to $150 for an 18-hole loop.
This rate can change depending on how the golf course works and how knowledgeable the caddy is. Golfers often pay caddies more when they develop a relationship with them and start giving out tips for better performance.
How much do pro caddies earn?
Professional golf caddies have not always made as much as they make right now. Over time caddies have started to make more as the job has become more respected. In fact, many golfers will pay their caddies much more than the recommended amount simply because they are so good.
Just as it is difficult to make it as a professional golfer, it’s hard to make it as a professional caddy. Most professional caddies have to have a lot of experience in the game; many are golfers who did not make it on tour. Some caddies can earn more than $500,000 a year if the player they work for is having a great year.
How Much Pro Caddies Make
Professional caddies can make as little as $40,000 a year and well over $500,000 a year. The key is to work for a player that is playing well. Some caddies start out with very low base salaries, around $1000 for each tournament, and this is supposed to cover their travel expenses as well.
As players become more successful, they will often start paying for all travel for their caddy. In addition, golfers may have their caddies stay in the house with them and even let the caddie’s families travel with them.
However, the base salary is different from how addies make their money. The percentage of winning is really where the caddies make most of their money.
Notable Caddies In History
Some caddies earn quite a name for themselves. Some will switch from one player to another; others will have such a successful caddy that they end up making more money than some professional golfers.
A caddy making over $100,000 a year is no longer a rare occurrence. Here is how some of the best caddies in the game did this year on the PGA Tour:
Ted Scott is the caddy for Scottie Scheffler. If you follow professional golf, chances are you know that Scottied had a really impressive season. Between Ted Scott’s base salary and his share of earnings, he made over $1 million in 2022.
Billy Foster works for Matt Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick took home some big paychecks this year, with one valued at $3.15 million. Therefore the caddy share on this one was $315,000. When you combine this with other wins and a base salary, he will make more than $700,000.
Jim MacKay, or “Bones,” as many golfers will refer to him, was a caddy for Phil Mickelson for many years. After Phil moved on to another caddy, Bones went to work with Justin Thomas. This wasn’t even the best year for Justin Thomas, but he still helped MacKay earn more than $300,00.
Jow Greiner works for Max Homa. Not only is this a lucrative job, but Max is one of the nice guys to work for. Greiner was projected to make over $200,000 in 2022. If he sticks around Homa long enough, he will quickly be a millionaire.
Mark Carens works for JJ Spaun. Although you may not hear about Spaun at the top of the leaderboard each week, he always hangs around and makes some great money. Carens will make around $250,000 this year with his caddy earnings and salary combined.
How does a caddy prepare for a golf tournament?
Golf caddies do not only work on the weekend when they are visible and the golfers are in the tournament. They have a lot of work to do throughout the week. Caddies get very few days off when players are in season.
In fact, one of the reasons that golfers take off from one event to the next is that there is a lot of prep work that needs to happen, and the week-in and week-out schedule does not allow for that.
Here are some ways a caddy will prepare for a golf tournament:
Walk The Course & Map It Out
On Monday, the week of a tournament, the caddy will walk the entire golf course and get to know it. In addition, they will map out areas of trouble and start to record some distances that they know they will need for the day of the event.
Professional golfers do a lot of shot planning and mapping out of the course. However, caddies may have to do it even more than the player. Caddies have to keep all of this information in their head so that they are prepared for any type of situation the player ends up in on the golf course.
Work The Pro-Am
The caddy also has to work the pro-am portion of the tournament if their player is going to participate. Caddies can sometimes earn a bit extra by working on something like this. The Pro-Am allows the golfers to see the golf course another time while they are playing.
After the Pro-Am, there is typically a practice round. This is when the caddy and the player have a lot of time to work through their week’s strategy and plan out what they will do on each hole.
With the practice round, golfers can hit extra shots if they want; they don’t have to be as particular about their score for each golf ball they are playing.
Check All Equipment and Gear
Another essential role of the caddy is ensuring all the equipment and gear are ready for the week. The clubs need to be in great shape; they should be clean, and the grips should be like new. Caddies take a close look at all of the tools the player needs for the week, and they are the keeper of the equipment.
What duties does a caddy have?
After caddies and players have prepared for the week, they can now look at the roles of the caddy on the golf course. Caddies need to be well prepared for events because they have a lot to do once it starts.
Players rely on caddies to tell them how far they must hit the ball to get it to the hole. Caddies do a great job of incorporating things like wind, temperature, and slope into their players’ numbers.
In addition, caddies are very well educated in how far a professional golfer hits each of their clubs. In addition to giving players a number, they will often tell them which club to use. Golfers are particular about how they want the information delivered.
Carrying The Bag
A caddy’s main job is carrying the golf clubs so that the professional does not have to. Carrying the golf bag and playing is a bit difficult, and players do much better not worrying about carrying their gear.
Caddies typically have large tour-style golf bags to carry.
These golf bags give players room to advertise on their bags and make even more money.
Some players ask their caddies to get involved in their mental strategies. Some golfers want their caddies to just be quiet. This comes down to a matter of personal preference. Most players find that after a caddy is with them for a long time, they know exactly how to handle the ups and downs of a round.
Raking Bunker/Tending The Pin/Fixing Divots
Caddies have other basic duties to take care of, including raking the bunkers when the players hit the ball in the trap. In addition, caddies will take the pin in and out of the hole when golfers want to take it out.
In addition, when golfers take a divot or leave a ball mark on the green, the caddies will often handle it for them. Some players will fix a ball mark, but they are supposed to be focusing on their game and not on these details.
General Player Support
Caddies may get snacks for their player, they may keep crowds away, and they can help flag down a rules official when needed. In order to be a caddy, you need to be very detailed oriented and tuned into your player’s needs.
General player support can take place both on and off the golf course.
Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about how much caddies make. Remember that these rates do change from time to time.
Who is the highest-paid caddy in golf?
Steve Williams, the caddy for Tiger Woods, is often considered the highest-paid caddy of all time. However, Williams didn’t make more from a percentage standpoint than anyone else; he simply caddies for one of the greatest players of all time.
How much does a caddy make for a win?
If a professional golfer wins a tournament, caddies get 10% of the winnings. With most tournament purses being more than a million dollars, it’s common to see caddies earn six figures for a win.
Do caddies get paid if a player misses the cut?
If a player misses the cut, the caddy may get their salary for the week, but there is no percentage of winnings for them to benefit from.
Hopefully, you now fully understand how much caddies make and how these rates have changed through the years. If you are good at caddying and have connections to golfers that are outstanding players, this is an excellent career. You never know if someone is going to end up becoming the next Scottie Scheffler or Tony Finau and help you earn millions of dollars from caddying.