There are not a lot of golf clubs left that still use professional caddies. Few people aspire to be caddies any more and many of the individuals who served in that capacity have retired, moved on or passed away. However, there is still a small percentage of private clubs that use professional caddies. These men (and some women) are experienced, know their courses like the back of their hands and can assess a golfer's game in a matter of three practice swings. Many will have insights as to how to play a hole, but to get their advice you must ask the question. Listen carefully and you just may learn the secret. Professional caddies can make a salary from a club that employs them but the bulk of their money comes in the form of a tip from the golfer.
High school and college students who are looking to earn extra money will haul bags for golfers during the summer months. These are young individuals who learn quickly that their job is to carry the bag, find the ball and stay out of the way. Experienced golfers pay the caddies a prescribed minimum for carrying the bag and may also tip if they appreciate the service. Caddies that lose sight of the ball or fail to keep up with the golfer won't last long on the tour.
The men and women who carry the bags for the touring pros on the PGA and LPGA tours are part of the golfer's team. They are considered partners and are perhaps close as some family members. The tour caddy has to know each and every nuance on the course that the tournament is being played and they also must know their employer's game temperament and tendencies at all times on the course. A tour caddy has to know when to speak up and when to keep his mouth closed. This is a very difficult job, but a great tour caddy will tell a top pro that he is making the wrong choice before he hits a shot in order to keep him from making a mistake. Not only does it take nerve to do this, but the caddy must be right when he offers his opinion. The rewards are great. Caddies will make as much as 10 percent of what the professional golfer earns in a particular tournament.