You may be invited to play in an event at an exclusive facility or may have put together your dream golf trip at some well-known top golf destinations. In addition to valet parking, bag drops, locker room attendants, cart and beverage cart staff, you may be asked to take a caddy or forecaddie. Who do you tip and how much?
The best solution is to ask ahead of time and come prepared to the course with cash (if cash is allowed – some private facilities prohibit the use of cash – all gratuities are billed to a member account). If invited by a member to play his or her course, you could ask the member the guidelines on tipping, etc. If you are playing in an event, call the facility and ask the Head Professional or Director of Golf if gratuities are expected and the general guidelines. They are more likely to provide a suggested gratuity vs. asking the caddy or the caddy master.
Here is a quick guide to remember for tipping at the golf course:
- Valet - $1 to $2
- Bag drop - $2 to $5 depending on the number of bags unloaded from your car
- Locker room attendant - $3 to $5 if your shoes are cleaned or spikes changed
- Cart staff - $2 to $5 per bag for cleaning clubs – more if they actually clean all clubs, remove head covers and give more service than just a “courtesy” wipe
- Beverage cart – 15% to 20% of service – like a server in a restaurant
- Forecaddy/Caddy – generally 40% to 50% of the green fee. Groups typically split the forecaddie fee evenly (generally suggested as a minimum per bag = $50 to $100 total). Caddy gratuity is also listed as a minimum suggested fee per player. The golf shop staff or starter may provide a sheet with suggested minimums per the facility policy.
As mentioned earlier, if the facility allows cash tipping, come prepared with cash. Some facilities have ATM cash machines and some do not. It’s best to have plenty of bills in all denominations to adequately thank the staff for a job well done. Remember, many of these employees work solely for tips and your expression of their customer service is greatly appreciated. They are the first and last staff member you interact with at a facility. Finally, share any great customer service stories with the General Manager, Director of Golf or Head Professional – many facilities recognize “employees of the month” and are proud to hear when their employees deliver excellent customer service.