The issue of tipping golf caddies has always been a controversial topic. Should they be tipped, and if so, how much?

When playing golf abroad, how should this be handled? Let's take a look with Baigolf! 

The origin of tipping culture 

A tip refers to the cash given to someone as a reward for their service, in addition to the specified fees. Its original purpose is to express gratitude and appreciation to the service provider, and tipping customs vary from country to country.


According to research, tipping in its modern sense originated in 18th-century London, England. At that time, there would be a bowl on restaurant tables with a sign that said "guaranteed prompt service." Customers who put spare change into the bowl would receive quick and attentive service. This practice continued and expanded, gradually becoming a customary practice in many countries.

As for the consumption culture on golf courses, it is said to have originated from Great Britain. A Scottish princess, after finishing her game of golf, shared her own wine with her servants. This bottle of wine is believed to be the first tip given to a golf caddie.

What a caddie does

The job duties of a golf caddie include carrying and managing golf clubs for players during a game and providing assistance according to the rules. Caddies are not only responsible for transporting equipment throughout the club, but they also represent the face of the golf course and serve as the best source of information for every guest. Their main function is to ensure a smooth golfing experience for the players.

Golf caddies are generally categorized as professional caddies or regular caddies.

Professional caddies are specifically dedicated to serving professional players and require a higher level of professionalism. One well-known example is Tiger Woods' former caddie, Steve Williams, who earned over $1 million in tips and bonuses from Woods in just one year in 2006. In official tournaments, players can only discuss shot matters with their caddies, making the caddie their sole companion on the course. A professional and experienced caddie can help players establish overall strategies, devise game plans for each hole, provide accurate yardage readings, determine the best course lines, understand the condition of the greens and the position of the flag, and even offer psychological support and stabilize the player's emotions when necessary. In addition to their regular salary, such caddies can also share a certain percentage of the player's tournament winnings.

Regular caddies, on the other hand, serve amateur players, with a majority being female in China. The technical requirements for playing golf are not very high for these caddies. They are usually assigned randomly by the golf course upon arrival (although players can also request a specific caddie). They not only carry golf bags and drive carts for their golfing companions but also familiarize themselves with the features of the course, predict the distance to the hole, suggest which club to use, and provide guidance on reading the greens. Almost everything, except for swinging and putting, can be taken care of by the caddies.

Chinese Caddie Culture

In today's China, from the perspective of ensuring employment and maintaining the golf course, caddie services are still necessary.

From the perspective of the golf course, caddies are indispensable, which is also related to many domestic golfers' lack of deep understanding of golf. For example, if the grass on the fairway is left with marks after hitting, and sand is not added in a timely manner, the grass will die once exposed to the sun, and the golf course will be damaged. If bunkers are not raked in a timely manner, it will affect the order of play. These tasks are mostly completed by caddies. Currently, caddies are still the best link between Chinese golf courses and golfers.

Having caddies accompany amateur players on the golf course is a characteristic feature of Asian, particularly East Asian and Southeast Asian, golf courses. In fact, this is something that European and American golfers envy greatly. From the perspective of the golfer, with the help of a caddie, they can more easily enjoy the pleasure of playing golf. For many seasoned golfers, a good caddie is almost like a soulmate on the course!

Current situation of caddie tips in China

The issue of caddie tips has always been a controversial topic. Golf clubs do not clearly stipulate whether or not to give tips, and how much to give; caddies are not comfortable asking for tips directly; and players feel awkward not giving tips to caddies.

In China, caddies usually provide 1-on-1 service, and sometimes 1-on-2 when there are more people. Generally, for a round of 18 holes with 1-on-1 service, a tip of 200 yuan is given. Additional red envelopes may be given for achieving an eagle or a hole-in-one.

 In China, the income of regular caddies consists of four parts: basic salary, appearance fee, service fee, and tips. The majority of their income comes from tips, ranging from 100 to 200 yuan, and some golf courses even leave it up to the guests to decide. This explains why caddie tips have been increasing over time, starting from giving tips based on the caddie's mood to gradually reaching amounts of 50 yuan, 100 yuan, 200 yuan, or even 300 yuan.

Some golf courses have started explicitly refusing tips but instead charge a slightly higher caddie fee. They then register and pay the caddies based on their level of service.

Caddie Culture in Other Asian Countries

In golf courses in China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan (some courses provide caddie services), the typical caddie-to-player ratio is 1 to 4. Additionally, caddie fees are usually included in the overall golfing expenses and there is no need to give additional tips. In Japan, caddie fees are clearly stated on the club's price list and are settled in cash. However, if one wants to show appreciation and gratitude for the caddie's service, they can buy drinks for them as a gesture of thanks.

In Thailand and Vietnam, the caddie-to-player ratio is typically 1-to-1. The market price for caddie fees in Thailand is around 300 to 500 Thai baht, depending on the level of the golf course. The higher the level of the golf course, the higher the cost of hiring and training good caddies, so the caddie fees are proportional to the course level. In addition, in Thailand, a player can have up to three caddies, with the additional two caddies assisting with carrying umbrellas and chairs. In Vietnam, the previous tipping amount was around 300,000 Vietnamese dong, but recently it has increased to around 350,000 to 500,000 Vietnamese dong (15 USD to 20 USD).

In Malaysia, the caddie-to-player ratio is often 1-to-2, and the caddie fees are typically around 10 to 20 Malaysian ringgit. A notable characteristic of Malaysian caddies is that many of them are male and have a good understanding of the golf course, allowing them to provide reasonable shot advice.


In Singapore, golf courses usually do not include caddies. Caddies need to be booked separately, and the caddie fee is around SGD 100-200. Some golf courses, like Marina Bay, do not have caddies available. It is not a common practice to give tips, as not all countries consider tips as a sign of appreciation for their service. However, if you are extremely satisfied with the caddie's service, you can consider giving around SGD 30-50 as a tip.

Asian Caddie Tipping Guide

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(For reference only, actual practices may vary)

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