To golf players, caddies are one of their most trusted employees. They not only carry their equipment but also support them throughout the game. They make a player’s life easier both on- and off-field.
Golf caddies are riddled with responsibilities. They’re basically an all-in-one golf butler: they’re course gurus, historians, confidants, and comedians to name a few.
But with so many obligations to juggle, this begs the question: how much do golf caddies make?
Caddies have an annual salary of $35,000 to $50,000, or a weekly salary of $1,500 to $2,500. They also receive a small percentage of the golfer’s winnings, usually between 5% to 10%.
This article discusses everything you need to know about caddying, including how much they make daily, weekly, annually, and per tournament. Let’s dive right in!
How Much Do Golf Caddies Make?
In general, caddies make an annual salary of between $30,000 to $50,000, with professionals earning upwards of $100,000. Per-hour wages range between $15 to $50, depending on the caddie’s experience.
PGA Tour caddies receive roughly $1,000 to $2,500 a week, plus a percentage of the player’s winnings—usually 7 to 10%, depending on the player/caddie agreement.
In most agreements, a caddie would earn 5 to 6% of the golfer’s winning if he placed any position below the top 10, 7 to 8% if he placed in the top 5, and 10% if he placed first.
This figure is negotiated between every player and caddy; some earn a fixed percentage regardless of the golfer’s position, while others follow the 5-7-10 rule.
So, if a player wins, say, $1.6 million for placing in the top ranks, his caddie should take home ~$80,000 per tournament.
Are Caddies Locked Behind a Contract?
Caddies are independent contractors, meaning they’re self-employed.
Caddies don’t rely on contracts and don’t necessarily need to sign one to work under a player. They can set their own work schedules and work for multiple clubs at the same time, provided they can balance their duties.
Under the “independent contractor” clause, caddies don’t receive any benefits or perks like typical employee-employer relationships, like health care and insurance, though this can be negotiated.
Some associations have a healthcare plan for caddies who have worked a set number of games.
The PGA Tour, for instance, requires cadies to have worked at least 15 PGA Tour events to be eligible for an annual reimbursement of up to $7,500 towards health insurance purchases.
What Are the Primary Roles of a Caddie?
Despite popular belief, a caddie isn’t only responsible for carrying the player’s bags. He also has the following responsibilities:
- Keeping clubs, golf balls, and other golf equipment clean
- Locating the ball after a shot
- Knowing the distances to the greens
- Measuring the course’s yardage to the pin
- Handing the right club to the golfer
- Raking bunkers and sand traps
- Providing advice on which club/shot technique to use
- Tending to the pin
- Keeping the golfer focused and motivated
- Keeping the golfer’s grips dry during rain and other less-than-ideal conditions
Do Golfers Need to Employ a Caddie to Participate in Competitions?
No rule states that a golfer must employ a personal caddie to participate in a tournament. Employing a caddie is more for personal convenience rather than a requirement.
That said, caddies are vital to golfers who aren’t as familiar with the intricacies and rules of a certain course/tournament, as well as professionals who want to maximize their chances of winning a game.
The best caddies intimately understand their golfer’s strengths and limitations, and can thus give the best advice on club selection, shooting technique, etc. They also keep the player calm and comfortable throughout the tournament.
This is why pretty much every golfer on the PGA Tour employs a caddie—they’re a vital addition to their team.
Is Being a Caddy a Good Full-Time Job?
Caddies who work for professional golfers earn more than an average worker. In fact, most full-time caddies earn upwards of $40,000 a year or $800 to $1,000 a week.
Caddies who work for professional players earn at least $100,000 a year. These caddies have 20+ years of experience on the course and are often golfers themselves.
That said, being a caddie isn’t really a reliable full-time job.
Since caddies are self-employed, they get zero benefits. They have no built-in retirement plan or healthcare coverage. Plus, they’ll need to cycle through multiple clients to earn a decent living at the end of the month.
To maximize their profits, they must always be on the hunt for bigger and better opportunities. They’ll also need to frequently “market” themselves to make connections. This makes caddying feel like a constant job search.
If a caddie is lucky enough to score a well-paying client, he’ll have to deal with the physical and mental aspects of the job, which can be extremely draining.
Aside from carrying (really heavy) bags, a caddie will have to constantly keep a positive and upbeat attitude. It’s hard work; one that can be difficult to sustain without a genuine love of the game.
Don’t let that discourage you, however. Once you’re well established in the golfing community, you’ll be able to earn an insane amount of money. Just make sure you’re in it for the right reasons.
Who Are the Richest Caddies in the World?
According to the South Hampton Golf Club, some of the richest caddies include:
- Jimmy Johnson: $500,000/year
- Jonathan Jakovac: $480,000/year
- Austin Johnson: $470,000/year
- Paul Tesori: $400,000/year
- Adam Hayes: $375,000/year
Depending on the experience level, caddies can make anywhere between $15 to $50 an hour, or between $35,000 to $50,000 a year.
The average weekly income of a caddie is $1,500 to $2,500. On top of the basic weekly/monthly salary, caddies are entitled to an additional 5 to 10% of the golfer’s earnings if they were to place in tournaments.