Do PGA Caddies Pay Their Own Expenses

Professional caddies play a vital role in the success of their golfers on the PGA Tour . They are responsible for carrying the golfer’s bag, providing valuable advice on club selection and course management, and offering emotional support during the ups and downs of a tournament. But when it comes to expenses on the PGA Tour, do caddies pay their own way or are they covered by their golfer? This article delves into the financial arrangements between golfers and their caddies, including their expenses.

The PGA Caddie-Golfer Agreement

There isn’t a uniform policy across the PGA Tour for how caddies and their golfers handle expenses. Instead, arrangements are typically based on individual agreements between the golfer and the caddie. These agreements can vary greatly and may include factors such as tournament winnings, bonuses, and travel expenses.

  1. Travel Expenses

In most cases, caddies are responsible for their own travel expenses, which include flights, rental cars, and accommodations. Some golfers may opt to cover these expenses, but this is not the norm. Caddies often share accommodations or look for more budget-friendly options to reduce costs.

  1. Meals and Incidentals

Caddies generally pay for their own meals and incidentals while on tour. However, some golfers may offer to cover these expenses or provide a per diem to help offset costs. This arrangement is usually determined during the negotiation of the caddie-golfer agreement.

  1. Health Insurance and Retirement Plans

Caddies are considered independent contractors, which means they are responsible for their own health insurance and retirement plans. Some high-profile golfers may choose to provide benefits or financial assistance for these expenses, but this is not a standard practice on the PGA Tour.

  1. Caddie Fees and Compensation

Caddies receive a base salary or weekly fee from their golfer, which can vary depending on the golfer’s level of success and the caddie’s experience. In addition to this base pay, caddies typically receive a percentage of their golfer’s tournament earnings. This percentage can range from 5-10% for a victory to a smaller percentage for lower finishes.

  1. Clothing and Equipment

Caddies are often expected to wear clothing that bears the logo of their golfer’s sponsor. In many cases, the golfer or their sponsor will provide this clothing free of charge. Similarly, caddies may receive equipment, such as rangefinders and yardage books, as part of their agreement with the golfer or the golfer’s sponsor.

  1. Taxes and Financial Planning

As independent contractors, caddies are responsible for managing their own taxes and financial planning. Some golfers may provide access to a financial advisor or tax professional to help their caddie navigate these responsibilities, but this is not a widespread practice.

Caddie Expenses Overview

Expense CategoryTypically Covered by CaddieSometimes Covered by GolferRarely Covered by GolferExamples
TravelYesSometimesRarelyFlights, rental cars, accommodations
MealsYesSometimesRarelyBreakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
IncidentalsYesSometimesRarelyLaundry, tips, personal items
Health InsuranceYesRarelyVery RarelyPremiums, deductibles, copays
Retirement PlansYesRarelyVery Rarely401(k), IRA contributions

Caddie Compensation and Incentives

Earnings SourceLow RangeAverage RangeHigh RangeNotes
Base Salary/Weekly Fee$500$1,500$3,000+Varies based on golfer’s success and caddie’s experience
Tournament Earnings (%)3%5-7%10%Percentage of golfer’s winnings earned by the caddie
Bonuses$0$1,000$10,000+Additional incentives for performance or milestones
Per Diem (Daily)$0$25-50$100+Allowance for daily meals and incidentals
Sponsorship Earnings$0$500$5,000+Payments from sponsorships or endorsement deals

Caddie Expense Management Strategies

StrategyDescriptionPotential SavingsDifficultyExamples
Sharing AccommodationsCaddies sharing rooms or renting houses togetherHighEasyHotels, Airbnb
Budget Travel OptionsBooking more affordable flights, rental cars, and accommodationsHighModerateEconomy class flights, discount lodging
Meal PlanningPreparing meals or seeking out cost-effective dining optionsModerateModerateCooking, finding local deals
Group PurchasingPooling resources with other caddies for bulk purchases or discountsLow-ModerateModerateGroup discounts, shared supplies
Leveraging Sponsor BenefitsTaking advantage of any sponsor-provided benefits or discountsLow-ModerateEasyFree equipment, discounted services

Factors Affecting Caddie Expense Agreements

FactorImpact on Expense AgreementDescriptionExamples
Golfer’s SuccessHighSuccessful golfers may be more likely to cover some expenses for their caddieTop-ranked players, major winners
Caddie’s ExperienceHighExperienced caddies may negotiate more favorable expense arrangementsVeteran caddies, well-known caddies
Relationship DurationModerateLong-standing relationships may result in more generous expense agreementsCaddie-golfer partnerships of many years
Sponsorship ArrangementsModerateSponsorship agreements may influence the level of expense coverage provided to the caddieApparel, equipment sponsors



While there is no standardized policy for how expenses are handled between golfers and their caddies on the PGA Tour, most caddies pay for their own expenses, including travel, meals, and incidentals. The financial arrangements between a golfer and their caddie are usually based on an individual agreement, which can encompass factors such as tournament earnings, bonuses, and expense coverage.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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