Trends in Caddying Why You Should Stay Informed


By Graham Curry, Founder, Handicaddie 

As a dedicated caddie master with experience managing caddies from around the world at the renowned Kingsbarns Golf Links in Scotland, as well as visiting caddie programs across the US, I humbly offer my experience as a passionate advocate for caddie programs. Throughout my journey, which has taken me from the fairways of Kingsbarns to insightful conversations with caddie masters and directors of golf at country clubs around the world, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative trends shaping the caddying industry. Join me as we explore why it is vital for you, as golf course owners, to stay informed about these trends that directly impact your caddie programs. 

The Importance of Caddie Programs 

Ah, the invaluable role of caddies! In today's golfing landscape, where courses are getting longer and carts are increasingly alluring, caddies often find themselves in a competitive environment. However, their significance extends far beyond carrying golf bags. Caddies provide a unique opportunity for young individuals to acquire essential skills, forge valuable connections for future job prospects, and cultivate discipline that transcends the game itself. Initiatives like the Evans Scholarship and the Western Golf Association Caddie Academy have transformed the lives of underprivileged caddies by providing access to higher education opportunities they may not have otherwise had. Drawing inspiration from the Metropolitan Golf Association's insightful article in 2021, which emphasizes the importance of youth caddying, I present this informative piece to esteemed operators.

Trends Owners Should Be Aware Of: 

Payments: Embracing the Cashless Revolution 

Ah, the winds of change are upon us! The caddying industry has been undergoing a transformative shift toward cashless transactions, spurred by the growing prevalence of payment processors such as Venmo and Stripe. This modernization not only adds a touch of professionalism to the industry but also aligns with legal requirements set by clubs that prefer not to employ caddies directly. Remarkably, a delightful tidbit from the 2019 MGA whitepaper reveals that a whopping 80% of individuals aged 18-34 embrace peer-to-peer payment systems like Apple Pay, Venmo, or Zelle in their day-to-day lives. While I understand that caddying in some regions remains deeply rooted in cash transactions, it's safe to say that this trend is gradually gaining momentum. 

Legal Implications: Navigating the Hazards 

In recent years, we have encountered a few legal sand traps in the caddie landscape. Lawsuits have emerged, primarily centered around caddies claiming to earn below minimum wage while allegedly being unduly controlled by caddie masters. Fear not, dear golf course owners, for there are beacons of hope! Companies specializing in caddie programs offer comprehensive liability coverage, and innovative software platforms empower caddies to set their availability, accept or decline jobs, and receive payments securely through dedicated apps. To ensure you remain on the fairway of compliance and protect your club's interests, it is advisable to consult legal professionals or the company you choose to collaborate with. 

Changing Methods of Scheduling Caddie Jobs: Swing into Efficiency 

Picture this: a bustling golf course with eager young caddies seeking specific schedules rather than idling away at the caddie shack all day. Drawing from my recent experience managing the caddie program at Kingsbarns Golf Links, where we welcomed over 100 university students this summer, I've witnessed the rising preference for efficient scheduling among the younger generation. These bright individuals value time management and efficiency, prompting many clubs to embrace the trend of scheduled caddie jobs. Caddie scheduling software offers numerous benefits in streamlining operations, enhancing customer experience, and reinforcing the legal standing of clubs. 

So… what’s the takeaway?

As golf course owners, it is crucial to stay informed about the evolving trends in caddying to ensure the success and growth of your caddie programs. By embracing cashless payment systems, mitigating legal risks, and adopting efficient scheduling methods, you can elevate your caddie program to new heights. As a fellow caddie master, I am passionate about supporting the caddying community. While this article has focused on high-level trends relevant to golf course owners, I also recognize the importance of training, performance reviews, and recruitment in maintaining a successful caddie program. 

Graham Curry is the founder of Handicaddie. "I invite you to explore Handicaddie, a scheduling tool I've developed to aid caddie masters and golf course owners like yourselves. We are also committed to providing valuable resources to clubs every month, including best practices for caddie program management. Any questions? Feel free to contact me at or learn more at"



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** The views and opinions featured in Golf Business WEEKLY are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the NGCOA.**