Virginia Golfer Sep / Oct 2017 - Page 20

Caddie Conundrum “They make it easier for the players to get around the course, help with course care and aid in the speed of play.” Mike Morrone, The Foundry Golf Club In the early aughts I found myself at The Cloister with a burning desire to play the Sea Island course, a top-100 track on everyone’s must-play list. In the pro shop, I plunked down my $98 green fee, paid the $45 caddie tariff and inquired—twice— about expected caddie gratuity. Both times I received a non-answer, and I left uneasily for the first tee. The round ensued, the caddie in his 20s was very experienced, quite a player himself and even offered my 10-year-old son playing tips. In the end I tipped him; we shook hands and parted ways. Almost immediately and to this day I am confident I did the one thing I did not want to do—I unintentionally stiffed him. So, exactly what is the protocol for the average Joe when he has to hire a caddie at a high-level club? What should you tip, what should you talk about with the cad- die? And, how many VSGA clubs actually employ them anymore? The answer to the last question is very few. “Carts have taken over,” reaffirms Golden Horseshoe head professional Glen Byrnes. Caddies are required when playing Kinloch and Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Gainesville and in some instances at The Foundry. At other facil- ities like The Cascades, Country Club of Virginia’s James River Course, The Olde Farm in Bristol, Creighton Farms and The Golden Horseshoe, loopers are available but not required. Mike Morrone, head golf professional at Powhatan’s The Foundry, says the club no longer has a mandatory caddie program. “Members are only required to take caddies in club events, and all tour- naments must have a forecaddie in the foursome. Unaccompanied groups and all outside outings require caddies to ensure guests adhere to all club policies. Morrone defines forecaddies as those “responsible for all tasks as a normal caddie—getting yardages, reading putts, 18 tending flags, raking bunkers and wash- ing clubs and balls. Since forecaddies don’t carry bags, they primarily stay out front of the groups as they tee off to spot balls more easily.” “The fee and gratuity for the caddies are always handled in cash between the player and caddie after the round,” he says. “We do not include the fee unless it is a large outside outing, then we build it into the cost of the outing. The posted fee hasn’t really changed over the years, but what we recommend has changed. The base fee for a forecaddie is $100 and $50 a bag for a caddie who is double bagging. “If a caddie has to single bag for some- one then it is time and a half ($75). All of this is before gratuity is factored in. These days, caddie usage is down slightly but we still consider ourselves a caddie club and a strong caddie program is vital for us to differentiate ourselves from others in town. It is how we were founded and we will never go away from it,” Morrone says. He added that the club has started recommending that groups pay a little more than formerly—that $120 should be the minimum a caddie receives forecaddying or double bagging. Typ- ically they are getting $150 to $160 a loop. The course will tell unaccompa- nied groups that the minimum with gratuity is $150. “We always strongly recommend that our members take at least a forecaddie, especially when they have guests,” Mor- rone says. “We feel that the caddies real- ly add to the experience when playing. They make it easier for the players to get around the course, help with course care and aid in the speed of play. We have always prided ourselves on fast pace of play and the caddies really help with that.” V I R G I N I A G O L F E R | S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 17 Here’s a look at some of the caddie fees in Virginia KINLOCH GOLF CLUB, MANAKIN-SABOT • Mandatory for members (each player expected to have a caddie) • Bag fee is $65 per 18 holes • Club recommends members pay $80– $100 per bag • 40 full-time caddies ROBERT TRENT JONES GOLF CLUB, GAINESVILLE • All golfers will be accompanied by a caddie at all times • Golf fees are the responsibility of the member • Gratuities are done in cash between player and caddie • Check with a member for recommended gratuity • 30 full-time caddies, plus part timers • Caddies supplied by 4 C Caddie, LLC THE CLUB AT CREIGHTON FARMS, ALDIE • No caddie requirement, but it is recommended • 4 C provides caddies to Creighton Farms • 4 C suggested fee for individual with caddie is $80 including gratuity • 4 C fee to Creighton Farms for a foursome with a forecaddie is $120; $80 suggested gratuity FARMINGTON COUNTRY CLUB, CHARLOTTESVILLE • Not required • Caddies work as independent contractors and generally make $50–$75 for a loop THE OLDE FARM, BRISTOL • Walking players must have a caddie walk or drive their bag • Groups of three or more riding in carts are required to take at least one forecaddie • Caddie fee for one or four players is $120 THE HOMESTEAD (THE CASCADES), HOT SPRINGS • Caddies not required • More than 20 caddies on staff • Walking caddie; $50 per bag • Forecaddie; $20 per person • Gratuity based on service COUNTRY CLUB OF VIRGINIA (JAMES RIVER COURSE), RICHMOND • Available by request • $45 per round, suggested gratuity is $10- 15 per bag vsga.org