CaddieMaster Manages Caddie Programs

It’s sort of a dream of mine to play golf on a course that has a well-run caddie program. Or actually, on a course that has any sort of caddies at all. Every course I’ve played eschews caddies in favor of golf carts. And from a financial standpoint, I don’t blame them. When you take on caddies as employees, you assume a massive obligation, including payroll taxes, workman’s compensation, and other liabilities.

Golf carts, on the other hand, are simply a revenue stream.

But I recently ran across a company called CaddieMaster that may help to alleviate some of that burden. CaddieMaster basically allows a course to “outsource” its caddie program. Caddiemaster handles recruitment, training, and management of caddies and caddie masters. It’s sort of like a caddie Administaff (a company which offers off-site human resources management for small busineses, and which Arnold Palmer endorses).

I love the idea, and hope that it brings caddies back to many, many courses. If there was a public course in my area that offered a good caddie program, I’d go out of my way to play.

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22 thoughts on “CaddieMaster Manages Caddie Programs”

  1. I recently worked for this company, and let me tell you that if 60 minutes did an undercover investigation, it would be downright comical. I persoanlly have over 10 years of “high end” country club experience. Over the years I have caddied for likes of Dan Quayle, Peter Ueberoth, and many influential and powerful men accross the United States.  At no time in the hiring process were my qualifications, references, or experience addressed.  In fact, when I did express my history, I received a bit of an attitude from management. I was told the training process was 20 hours, it actually was before sun up, to sun down 4 days.  I believe it was more like 48 hours.  During most of the training process I was sometimes tag teamed by two trainers at the same time.  No matter what I did, it seemed to be wrong, and I am talking about a bag being asked to be moved literally an inch a few times.  It was downright absurd.  The jokers who trained me, I had more experience than all of them combined.  At certain points during the training as a prospective employee that is being trained, you are asked to play some golf to help with the training.  I tell you what!  The guys who were real good golfers and had experience cadying, are with out a doubt being predjuiced against, where as the “green” were actually treated in a much different fashion. I compare the training to that of the military, where trainers are told to break down the prospective employees who are good golfers( or better than the trainers) and have vast experience caddying. They were downright rude to me, and were very pleasant with others who had no experience caddying, and were lesser skilled golfers. Now what kind of company that is trying to establish a quality caddy program, would run itself like this?  And it is all true what I say. 
      Recently there was an article in Golf weekly, where an editor blasted the caddy’s at what he referred to a well known P.G.A tour tournament hosting course.  He was relentless about the lack of excellence with-in the program, right down to robotic, and rehearsed and scripted behavior by the caddys. The man hit it on the head!  Truth is, the company is for lesser experienced, weaker type caddys, who cannot make the cut at the truly elite country clubs in the United States.  Ask anyone who is anyone at a top notch facility about this company, and you will quickly see that their repuation is poor at best.  This is why most of the courses that use the company,are public facilitys only.  Or very busy resort courses, where the golfers are a very high handicap quality, and usually do not know a good caddy if it hit them in the head!  Good players, know good caddies!  Accomplished players, know good caddies.  24 handicaps who flock to a resort style course, because it host a P.G.A tour event, do not know good and proper caddies.
      Augusta National uses this company, and this is the one exception from what I have spoken about, but I assure you that it will not be long til that changes.  Remeber, good players, know good caddies!

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  2. I agree 100 percent with the comment above.. I too have worked for this company and have seen first hand some of the worst caddies and worst caddie managers I have ever worked for or with. Caddiemaster has some of the top resorts in the world and its not because of some world class military style training .. its because they are the only caddie company of their type.. If another company were to compete against a company like caddiemaster and would be able to recognize nobody needs to memorize a script or be militarily trained, then caddiemaster would fall off the face of the earth.. Caddiemaster charges guests obscene amounts for caddies but yet half these caddies even after training are clueless to the caddy game.. caddiemaster likes to employ people who have little or no knowledge of golf and then train them the cme way.. It works as the gentleman above said at resort courses with players who have no clue what a good caddy is.. On top of all that caddiemaster keeps a strict gag order on most all facilities about tipping your caddy.. Most all charges to a guest of a course are charged for a caddy yet dont know it because it is hidden.. Pebble Beach caddies now have a caddie union to seperate themselves from caddiemaster because of all the money that was being funneled away from then.. Newly aquired Glen Eagles had a top top caddy program with guys that have been there 30 yrs.. thirty caddies walked out on this horrible money sucking program.. Until the law is laid down on this company they will continue to grow..

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  3. i live in palm springs calif ive worked on the pga tour since 1990.caddiemaster is a total joke they bill players 30 to 50 per player and pay out 10 per player.they hire clueless clowns that will run down the fwy and they dont know anything about the game.caddiemaster is just a total joke, a friend of mine,who worked for mark omeara when he won his two majors was hired bye caddiemaster in a couple of months he was fired for not knowing how to caddie,lets ask omeara if jerry can caddie i think so,omeara has not made a nickel since jerry was let go. caddiemaster is a double bogey   swifty

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  4. I find these comments rather strong and well taken. Although I am curious as to the validity of the comments and their application at this time in 2010? Regardless, I have experence as a caddie as well at Pelican Hill and am desiring to take it to the next level, working with a touring Pro or a more challenging role. I am a scratch golfer and am well endepth to the knowledge necessary to be a true caddie in every sense. Please any comments or advice would be sincerely appreciated.

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  5. I agree with above comments with regards to caddiemasters.  It is a complete joke and what they do is border line illegal.  I worked for them at TPC of Scottsdale and would never even consider working for them again.  You have to sit in a cart barn for hours on end with set report times.  You get terrible paychecks and if a player doesn’t want to tip the managers don’t go to bat for you, is that not part of what they do.  The company is ignorant and I hope to see it go away soon.

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  6. I work for Caddiemaster, I’m not going to disclose which course. But I will comment on the first guys post. I went through the same type of training he went through. Yes it was four days long sun up sun down, and it was almost like a boot camp. But, there is a very important reason why they use this training technique. They are known for having the cream of the crop when it comes to the caddies they supply to a course. Other courses I have worked for have had crack heads for caddies, convicts, alcoholics and drug attics; these people should not be allowed anywhere near a country club. All of my references were checked, and I went through an extensive interview process. It consisted of first a group interview with about eight people where we were asked multiple questions about hospitality, golf, etc. From here if you got past the interview, an executive phone call is made to your cell phone and you have to have a conversation with someone high up in the golf club. Again questions are asked retaining to hospitality, golf knowledge, questions like what would you do in this situation, etc. From here you move to the training. Yes the interview and training process is really extensive but from the numerous golf courses I have worked at, I can honestly say that the Caddiemaster company can really improve and save a dying caddy program. As for the people complaining about sitting in cart barns and having set report times, THAT’S PART OF BEING A CADDY. To me they all sound bitter and biased as to their stance on the company. Who knows they were probably fired; judging from their attitude toward they job they don’t need to be working as a caddy anywhere anyways.

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    • Your an idiot I understand their are some undesirables hired at some courses, however some of these people may be in recovery so to say they shouldn’t be allowed near a country club is a bit extreme. Especially drug attics an attics is at the top of your house an addict which I think is the word your looking for is the correct word so if we let people who cannot spell or use proper grammar you would be out. Have a little compassion towards your fellow man.

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  7. CM fills a niche at resort and high end clubs, and by and large they do a fabulous job. Each of the comments above, though, have a certain validity; the comments are just expressed from differing perspectives. It’s true that many caddies with lots of experience get weeded out during the hiring process with CM, but it’s not because they’re too experienced or too good at golf. If a seasoned caddie gets eliminated by CM it’s invariably because he has a poor attitude about working FOR a company and abiding by that company’s policies, as expressed in training. The adage ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is very apropos in this situation.
      CM is very much ‘caddie by the numbers’ and if you like to stray outside their lines you will not last long with them. That is why CM favors golfers with less or no caddie experience, because they can learn and apply their newfound skills the ‘caddiemaster way.’ Experienced caddies who are flexible enough to do it the CM way can do very well with the company. It’s also very evident that some courses are better for the caddies than others, as pay can vary substantially between courses. If you are at the right course you will probably stay as long as possible because the money is great. At others the pay is so low you won’t stay longer than a couple seasons. The guy who caddied in Scottsdale probably fell into the latter category. On the brighter side, the training they provide is really top-notch and you can apply it anywhere you go and do quite well.
      Now, regarding the caddie managers, CM does seem to have trouble hanging onto them, probably because they are expected to drive all over the country for seasonal courses and the pay is very low for the amount of work they have to do. If a manager says he doesn’t want to travel he will be ‘released’ from the company or he won’t be hired into management. CM usually only promotes from within, which is smart because the managers know the caddie side of the business very well, but if you are a family person you most likely will have a very difficult time staying with the company due to the constant moving around and low pay.
      In summary, some will do well with CM and others won’t. Doesn’t that sound like life in general?

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  8. no facial hair huh?…hmmm even Arnold Palmer let me caddie for him …WITH a ponytail no less…
    yea you guys got it down..the way you look is REAL important to how fast you can carry a bag or two down a fairway! I’ve Caddied on every tour in this country and my goatee has never affected my ability to read a green. Also it has never affected my plus 1 handicap. Cant wait to be inerviewed by these clowns!

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  9. I worked for this company in two different locations,one they no longer have a contract with.I went to Pinehurst knowing a thing or two about the game and had a awsome customer service backround to boot. I made good coin during seasons but had to endure a ton. As the programs eveolved so did the managements hands in it’s operations. I did meet some lifelong friends in new places and met a lot of great people who I looped for. The program was a joke when I got there but became better for a short period. I was very close to the managers at the time and knew the inside stories of what this place was about. I enjoyed the people as I have said but here is what made me leave. First scheduled times and not getting out (ok that’s the game) but if you are going to make me be there and wear a uniform and wait for 6 hours you better pay me as you are requiring me to be there. Secondly,I had a white(required polo on and it had a small Pinehurst logo on it,but was told by Jim the caddie manager(Jim the guy who came from Myrtle Beach and New York not the local Jim) it was no good. Heck I worked at Pinehurst why no small logo is beyond me.This guy was a complete jerk and everyone but his kid hated him and his smug attitude. Secondly I was suspended for a week due to missing a loop. Well this loop was on my scheduled day off and a Request by a golfer I did not know. I did nopt even find out I had a request until the day of actually an hour before it. When I returned from my scheduled day off I was told by Jim wish I remebered his last name(not Smith)that I was suspended. That did it for me there as I took time off and when I tried to return he told me they were not taking guys back who left. I actually left due to my girlfriend at the times mother dying and funeral stuff. This guy was a jerk did I say that.The training which I was part of that training team was a joke and just an excuse to play golf on good courses. What a joke this place was as now that I have left the area I see it now,the tow the company yes man line was crazy. This Jim clown couldn’t run a register at a Burger King. They had to many rules to live and work by and not enough caring or support for their employees. If you are going to require people to be in uniform and work scheduled hours and to be there then you have to by law pay them for that time,in the winter there were days we had to be there and didn’t make it out for a loop in 4 days. I could have been working a second job instead.Legal laws are broken by this company and other s are done but
    I Will not say which ones.

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  10. Well I can def. tell you that caddiemaster does not have top notch caddies. Of course they have some good ones at certain areas. But its not about being a company man or going thru some retarded training. its about knowing the game of golf and knowing how to adjust to a player and bring out the best in his game. Not to follow some stupid robot like script where the caddy is thinking so many company trained things that he forgets why he is even there. But mostly what the problem with caddiemaster and why I left and why MOST leave is because they steal your money. They charge guests at the resorts obscene few and the caddies get 30-40 percent of the charged fee. But it doesnt end there. They also dictate the tip to the guest as well. and they train you to give them a gratuity card with a low ball tip on it. So they double whammy you. They take most of the fee your player paid and they tell that player what to tip you. it is based nothing on your skills as a caddy. Its based on making the company money.. Period. Oh yea guess how much they pay you for 4 days of military style training that is both pointless and embarrasing?? 0 thats right u get paid nothing. This company is a joke and any comment above that doesnt think so is clueless..

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  11. Directed as Donald Cox. Hi Donald. I am currently living in Dublin Ireland and am heading over to California for a few months from May. I have been looking into a caddy position in Pelican Hill without much luck. i know this is unrelated to your comment but I was hoping you could give me some information on their caddy programme. I know all about what a prestigious course it is but from your experience, would they hire a caddy for 3 months of the summer from abroad? I’m a single handicap golfer with five years caddying experience. Your help would be much appreciated if you even still visit this site!

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  12. As I am a forecaddie at Pelican Hill GC currently in good standing, I will remain anonymous.  I’d like to offer my perspective of Caddiemaster and the program at PHGC in general.

    Hiring Process: it was fair.  I am a 12-handicapper with no prior caddie experience.  2 weeks from initial contact to hire, 4-day unpaid training, never more than 6 hours per day.  There were some boot camp/hazing aspects to training, but nothing hard to handle.  Yes, there is a script CM wants caddies to memorize and recite.  I memorized it and then never used it once ever.  It’s ridiculous, so I disposed of it.

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  13. continued from above …

    Initial Ramp-Up Period: I worked my ass off in my first month, looped about every day.  March to October there is enough business at PHGC to make most of your yearly nut.  Every loop is different, a caddie needs to be very flexible and work hard to get to know his players very quickly or the tip (which is the vast majority of one’s pay) will suck.  There are many days (about 10%) where a caddie will wait for 2-3 hours without getting a loop.  The frequency increases during November to February for obvious reasons.  A wise caddie will have other work lined up for the slow months.  The rules about caddies changed from the time the program started.  Taking a caddie used to be mandatory, now a player may decline to take a caddie (but they will still be charged the $35 caddie fee, of which the caddie sees nothing if he gets declined, PHGC and CM keep the entire amount—that is the most patently unfair labor practice I have witnessed,).  Even with these impediments, a hustling full-time caddie can get 200 loops per year with an average time commitment of 7 hours per day including waiting.

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  14. continued from above …

    Duties: Carts are mandatory at PHGC, there is no carrying.  This makes the work less physically demanding than at other courses.  Basic tasks include course maintenance—sanding divots, fixing ball marks, raking bunkers.  Player assistance makes up the remainder—running ahead to spot drives and approaches from the fairway, searching for lost balls, marking balls, cleaning equipment, tending the flagstick.  The best caddies have course knowledge—target lines, landing spots, reading greens.  The most important quality is being able to help your players to relax and enjoy their time on the course.

    Compensation: There is a base “caddie fee” of $35/bag—$12.50 to the caddie, the remainder split between CM and PHGC.  There is a PHGC/CM-recommended tip of $20/bag, but if a caddie doesn’t work hard and sell himself well and actually discuss the tip with his players, then he’s screwing himself.  I personally AVERAGE $35 gratuity/bag, only because I tactfully address the tip issue as much as possible without offending.  Other caddies are more or less successful.  If you ask another caddie, they’ll generally exaggerate and tell you they make $50 to $100 gratuity per player.  It is simply impossible, $50/bag is the high end of scale.  I don’t see how a caddie can make more than $40K/yr at PHGC, but I suppose it’s possible, and not bad for a job that requires 1500 hours per year instead of 2000.

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  15. continued from above…

    Caddie Quality: I only know PHGC, as with anything, the quality follows the bell curve.  There are a few experienced caddies who have been there from the beginning (2008) who get the best treatment from management, a bulk of caddies who are good at what they do, and a few who are days away from their last loop at PHGC.  But I can attest that 95% of the caddies at PHGC know what they are doing and are sincerely trying to do their best.  There’s only so much a caddie can do for a high-handicapper, and as a resort course, there are a surprising number of bad golfers there.  Patience is essential.

    Culture: There is an antagonistic relationship between PHGC and CM.  CM gets virtually no support from PHGC in terms of maximizing caddie loop frequency or compensation.  Players are purposely misled or kept ignorant of tipping customs, which drives down caddie pay.  I suspect most players would rather not even take caddies if they weren’t automatically charged the $35 caddie fee.  When the caddie program began at PHGC, the economy was in a different place.  This economy is not suited to players who are already paying up to $270 for a round of golf to have to shell out another $50 or so to the caddie.  PHGC also draws many players who are being treated their rounds and would never play there if they had to pay full price.  Even getting the minimum $20 tip from these players can be a chore.

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  16. continued from above…

    Summary: This has been my only caddying gig, so I have nothing to compare it to.  It is paying the bills, barely.  I think it’s a great job for a kid out of high school or a college student who can somehow find the time to fit in classes around looping.  But there’s no way a SoCal guy could support a family by working for CM at only one course.  Out of about 70 full-timers, most of the caddies are single guys (one or two girls) with no kids.  There are a couple of family men, a couple who have been career caddies, a couple over the age of 50.  My view of caddying is that it is extremely low-status and that the players generally understand that and treat caddies accordingly, with the idea that the caddy should be very grateful both to earn whatever the player gives and to work in such an extremely beautiful and healthy environment like Pelican Hill.  In short, no one is forcing anyone to be a caddie—like any job, it’s political and there are good and bad aspects.  You either deal with it and make the best of it or find something more profitable to do and quit complaining.  In my time, I feel I have been treated mostly fairly by CM and have good relationships with management.

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  17. @Jim

    Regarding the equity of gratuities, let me just say that I found out the hard way that there is no minimum tip of $20—all gratuities are just that, completely at the whim of the player who is heavily influenced by the opinion of PHGC.  The reality is that the caddy is only guaranteed the bag fee cut of $12.50/player.

    When you add in travel time, gas, waiting for a loop, the 4-5 hours on the course (always closer to 5 hours) and checking out, it almost comes to 8 hours per day.  It’s not so much how much a caddy makes per hour, it’s more like how much a caddy makes per day.  And in the winter, there are few working days.  Your scenario also only holds true when a caddy works for 4 players.  There are many, many loops where a caddy works for 3, 2 or even a single player. 

    While almost all players get it, I just caddied for a single player who didn’t get it.  3 hours, an entire day for me, and he gave me what he thought was a good tip of $30, where I had never received less than $60 from a single player in three years.  A guy simply can’t make it in SoCal making $42.50 for a day of work.  Which leads me to…

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  18. Still if you think it about it the suggested tip per player for a “fourcaddy” is 20/player + the caddie makes 10/player from his base pay thats 120 dollar day. For 4-5 hrs work, it honestly isn’t that bad in my opinion.

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  19. Horrible company to work for. At pebble beach the caddies there have a contract and caddie master does everything they can to stick it to the caddies. The manager there rich Dooda is part owner and has no interest in running a good program. He will definitely give the appearance he does. It is all about maximizing bag fees and doing the least amount. They hire managers who are young and take advantage of them. The turnover in the 10 years I have been there has been ridiculous. They treat caddies as they are idiots and we are there just for the bag fees. I only work for this company because we have a contract and pebble beach has final say on everything. We also can go to arbitration if fired. If you are a new caddie they take 25 dollars per bag. I am consider a class A caddie and they take 16 a bag. If you where hired before 2006 it is 8 dollars. In my opinion the different contract go against labor laws. We are currently in negotiations to get that rectified. I am sure they will fight it tooth and nail. I pay these idiots 5000 a year to get treated like a 2nd class citizen and they screw up the schedule on a daily basis. I work there because caddies pretty much manage themselves and the tips are really good. This caddy program could be much better if a different company was there

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  20. They have figured out a way to sim of the top of hard working people. There training is horrible and they hirer managers who the don’t pay or take care of. At pebble beach the caddies have a contract. They do a terrible job of scheduling and try to fit in new caddies who they make more money off of. They won’t be around much longer because you can’t get away with treating people the way they do

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