Tips on Tipping at the Golf Course

Run down your get-me-to-the-golf-course mental checklist. Clubs, check. Shoes, check. Glove, hat, balls, check, check, check. Sunscreen, got it. Dollar bills to tip the bag boy?  Whoops!

Bag boy, beverage cart driver, golf pro, caddie…. Where does tipping start, and please, where does it end? Is there any one who has not driven the cart directly to their car after a round just to avoid all the confusion?

If you play at municipal courses you probably won’t encounter tipping situations, but sooner or later in the universe of golf you’ll find yourself face to face with a person who has given you a service. What to do?  We’ve collected golf tipping guidelines from local pros and from the web, mere suggestions and educated guesses to help navigate one of the biggest mysteries in golf – tipping.

Generosity generalities
Adjust gratuities according to where you’re playing and the level of service you receive. If you’re at a high-end course, tips should be higher. And if you’ve received outstanding service, a larger tip is always appropriate and welcomed.

Bag Drop
Taking your bags from car to cart, $1-3 per bag.
On the return, taking bag to car including cleaning, $2-5 per bag.

Beverage Cart Driver
25% with a $1 minimum is about right. And if it’s an outing where the refreshments are free, you should still tip. Folks rely on tips to supplement their wages.

Not usually, unless something out of the ordinary has been done.

If you’re playing at a course with a caddie, you’re at a high-end place. A tip on top of a caddie fee is expected. Tips might range from $30 for a rookie caddie, all the way up to 20, 30 40 or even 50% of the caddie fee.  Caddies are usually independent contractors who rely on your tip. Some courses discretely post recommended gratuities.

Golf Instructor
A tip is always appreciated, but is not customary.  If an instructor has rocked your golf world, go ahead and show your appreciation.

Club Personnel
If you belong to a club, don’t forget the folks who man our clubhouses, listening to our personal play-by-play wrap-ups, answering our questions, carting our clubs, attending to our needs over the whole season.  Instead of handing over a tip each time you golf,  you might give a larger tip a few times over the season.

Sometimes It’s No Tip
Some high-end clubs have a no-cash policy throughout the property. Members’ fees cover the gratuities and an employee would refuse your tip. Always good to inquire ahead about gratuities before visiting.

“Got it!”
Let’s all strive to be that partner who says, “I’ve got this” and covers the tip!

Disclosure:The author is related to a former bag boy!

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