Whats the story with caddies?
Among many great things at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is their incredible caddie program. Mike Keiser, the owner of Bandon Dunes, is from Chicago which is a town with a rich golf tradition and an equally rich caddie tradition to go along with it. Mr. Keiser knew that the only way to successfully run a walking only golf resort was if he had a very strong caddie program so that is exactly what he built.
Depending on what time of year it is there are typically between 240-350 caddies working at any given time. The normal modus operandi is to assign players a caddie who will stay with them for the duration of their stay at the resort. If you’ve heard about a great caddie that you want to try the resort does take requests and you can make those requests by contacting the director of caddie services. In the unlikely event that a player and his caddie don’t get along the player is free to request another caddie to see if there is a better fit. It has been my experience with the handful of Bandon Dunes loopers I have met that behind the colorful nicknames you will find some excellent caddies with a good grasp of the courses, knowledge of what type of shots are required to play the courses and a good understanding of how to be entertaining and keep things fun for the players in their group.
The caddies are paid directly by the guests. The options for doing this are to give them cash or charge the fee to your room/credit card. On average these guys and girls earn between $80 and $100 per bag. There is no set fee and how much the caddie earns for the loop is at the discretion of the player. All of the caddies that I have come into contact with at Bandon Dunes have been an enthusiastic workers who do everything in their power to help their player have a good round. I was so pleased with my caddy (Gerard Percy) that at the end of my trip I gave him a small bonus that was the equivalent of one extra loop.
One thing you can do to start the relationship with your caddie off on the right foot is to make sure you bring a carry bag. If you have one of those PGA Tour Staff bags or some other huge monstrosity make sure you get yourself a nice lightweight carry bag with a stand before you go to Bandon Dunes. It also doesn’t hurt to streamline your bag a bit. If you feel the need to bring four dozen golf balls with you to Bandon Dunes I would suggest leaving the bulk of them in your room and just taking what you need for the day in your bag. My personal rule of thumb is to not ask my caddie to carry a bag that is any heavier than I would want to carry myself.
A question that I’ve been asked numerous times is “If someone in my group has a caddie and I don’t, can I pay their caddie a little extra to help with reading my putts?” This is a bit of a touchy subject. Caddies are a loyal breed and they don’t like to see their fellow caddies sitting in the shack with no work as they could very well find themselves in the same situation the next day. My advice is to tread very cautiously here.
When you go to Bandon Dunes I cannot recommend getting a caddie enough. It makes all the difference in the world and really contributes to the special experience.
Please feel free to leave comments below about your favorite Bandon Dunes caddies
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