Every year an LPGA tournament came to our city. I was fortunate enough to get on the bag of several players during the event and enjoyed my time carrying for some of the game’s best players.
On one occasion, I had the chance to caddy for a LPGA tour winner for the week who was in the twilight of her career. She made the cut (finishing near the bottom of the field), and then I carried the bag for her while she attempted to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open. For about six days of caddying and following her around for practice sessions, etc. I earned $750. Not bad for a college kid who loved being around the game.
Things have definitely changed in professional caddying since I carried the bag of that LPGA professional some 20+ years ago. There is more money to be made — with some of the top pro loopers earning a million or more every season! There are even sponsorship deals for the caddie.
So how much can a pro caddy make?
Given some of the known percentages and arrangements out there from published caddy reports, I thought it would be fun to estimate what one of the top PGA Tour players’ caddie might be earning this season.
Adam Hayes, long-time caddie for world number one, Jon Rahm, is an accomplished caddie having carried some of the best bags on the PGA Tour including Jonathan Byrd, Ben Crane, Webb Simpson, and Russell Henley.
This year (and of this writing in late April 2023), Rahm has amassed a staggering $13.6 million with four tour wins (including the Masters). From reading various reports and comments online and through social media, most caddies on the PGA Tour receive a combination of the following in compensation:
- $1,500 to $3,000 / per week in base pay
- 10% for a win
- 7% for a top-ten
- 5% for a finish outside the top-ten
Since it is not as easy to access per event earnings on the PGA Tour website, if we were to go off Rahm’s official earnings for the year, we can estimate that Hayes has earned just over $1 million on the season. This is not including any base pay he may receive or any additional hat / clothing sponsorship deals he may have going.
Not a bad payday for a professional caddie huh?
Granted, there are plenty of expenses caddies endure during the season, including hotel, meals, and airfare — all of which is not cheap. But, if we figure some of these expenses are comparable to a Korn Ferry Tour member (approximately $70 to $100k/year), Hayes is still going to see a hefty profit on the year (and there is still about 5-6 months left of the season).
Would you want to be a pro caddie?
I still dream about being on a caddie for a professional golfer. But, there is a lot to the caddie life many of us on the outside do not see, including the travel, lonely nights away from family and friends, and long hours on the golf course. But it certainly has it’s pros!
What are your thoughts on professional caddie earnings?
- Here’s another excellent breakdown of caddie earnings by Jared Doerfler of Perfect Putt.