On occasion, the MGA publishes position papers on relevant topics of interest to our member clubs and golfers in our area. Youth caddieing has always been an important subject matter for the MGA and its charitable MGA Foundation.
Caddies Deliver A Better Golf Experience
The MGA Foundation was established in 1991 as the charitable arm of the MGA with the key mission to introduce young people to life-changing opportunities through golf. This includes internships, competition, caddie training and scholarships. Golf grows at the MGA Foundation and through youth caddieing, we can grow the game.
Walking with a caddie is one of the defining traditions of golf in the Met Area. It is good for health, for the game and good for youth caddies. Experience shows it is a path to a promising future for young men and women on and off of the golf course. It offers opportunities to further education and it builds the foundation of future members.
Despite the Covid-19 related pause for some caddie programs, the Met Area remains home to nearly 200 caddie programs. At some MGA member clubs, 80% of rounds include a caddie whether it is a veteran adult caddie or a first-year student apprentice.
The MGA Foundation Supports Caddies and Caddie Programs in Many Ways:
I. Introductory Training and Certification: Recent events necessitated the launch of introductory caddie-training webinars to replace on-site sessions at clubs. In 2020 more than 200 caddies-to-be passed their certification test. In 2021, we will host a total of 8 webinars—4 already conducted by the end of March—and deliver several hundred new caddies. The next step for each of them is to access our master list and reach out to a caddie manager in their local area. More information about caddie academies can be found here.
II. Advanced Caddie Training: The MGA Foundation can schedule an advanced curriculum for a small group of local clubs or an individual club on an on-request basis. The MGA Foundation acts as the third-party instructor on-site to train the recruited caddie corps. Clubs looking for assistance in growing the caddie yard can contact the MGA Foundation for more information. Club Caddie Managers can contact the Caddie and Golf Service Managers Association for resources and assistance.
III. Caddie Scholarships: Each year our local caddie scholarship funds (CSFs) raise more than $2.5 million for caddie scholarships. For the 20/21 academic year, 150 new scholarships were awarded by the Long Island, New Jersey and Westchester CSFs in addition to 502 young men and women currently receiving financial assistance for their undergraduate education. And despite the challenges of the 2020 season, MGA clubs continued to make CSF contributions in support of college-bound and in school scholarship recipients. By giving back to the game we love, we are investing in the future.
IV. Caddie Software Services: To improve the communications and scheduling process with caddies in today’s environment, caddie managers have adapted to use email and texts and many have now incorporated software service offerings to further optimize efficiency. MGA corporate partner ClubUp is a leader in providing these services and is working with a number of MGA clubs.
V. Club Surveys: Using its network of MGA Ambassadors at clubs throughout the Met Area, the MGA surveyed clubs in September 2020 and February 2021 on the status of caddie programs. There was overwhelming support in both surveys for increasing the number of youth caddies and an optimistic return to full services by summer 2021.
For more information about MGA surveys and results, contact Kira Provenzano, Manager of Membership Development.
Educational brochures and videos can also be found on our respective social channels. The CGSMA Caddie Training Video, narrated by former Met-Area caddie and NBC commentator Jimmy Roberts, can be viewed here. Please see the links below for additional resources.
New Thinking for Today’s Caddie Programs:
The Covid-era has ignited new ideas about the successful operation and evolution of programs in the Met area.
I. Loop Costs + Single bags: Caddies deserve fair pay for their hard work. Experienced caddies earn top rates. Newly recruited high-school and college student caddies could earn an apprentice rate for 18-hole single bag service. With so many interested and newly trained caddies, single bags can fulfill more loops and make use of a full roster.
If you play your home course most often, let your Caddie Manager know directly that you would like to give a new recruit a shot. It is rewarding to help them learn and grow. The opportunity to mentor a young person is priceless.
II. Tech is Here to Help: Contact-free electronic payment options end the ‘I need cash quick’ dilemma in addition to providing a solution to other issues. Scheduling software means caddies don’t burn time waiting, so a more efficient process and more flex time which benefits all caddies. Recently, MGA partner, ClubUp added a GPS function to its platform that tracks pace of play. Caddies continue to be shepherds that move groups around the course and the ClubUp technology provides the caddie manager and golf staff real-time GPS services.
III. Easier Recruitment: As a benefit of advanced loop scheduling, waiting is eliminated. Now it’s easier to convince a friend to caddie; it’s a more attractive, more flexible, good paying summer job.
We Are Here to Help:
Caddie programs have been evolving in recent years and we believe safety protocols established in 2020 will continue. The MGA is focused not just on bringing caddies back, but also encouraging software technology solutions to help make caddieing program operations more efficient.
For more information on youth caddieing, visit the “Caddie Corner” on mgagolf.org. Please contact the MGA Foundation with any questions.
- MGA Position Paper: Youth Caddieing Today: A Modern Model for the Future of the Game
- MGA Position Paper: How to Get Started as a Caddie
- Caddie Academy: Frequently Asked Questions
- Caddie Training video
- ClubUp: Learn More