Pioneer Golf will send the group leader a Caddie and Cart request form several months in advance of the departure and when completed will forward the requests on your behalf. However, caddies are independent contractors, not employees of the club, and their services cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, golfers are directly responsible for compensating (in local currency) any caddie that has been requested on their behalf. Cancellation of the services of a caddie must be in writing and, if not received 72 hours in advance of the round, may be payable nonetheless.
Caddies are not mandatory at any course. However, since the St. Andrews-Old Course prohibits pull carts before noon, you will be required to carry your own bag or hire a caddie if you have a morning tee time.
A caddie can enhance the experience by not only helping a few strokes, but by providing a little local flavor and entertaining stories. Many golfers feel that this is their one and only chance to play some of the courses, so they want to do everything possible to enhance each round.
Golf courses have various types of caddies (subject to availability):
Professional caddies will provide advice and carry a bag for one golfer. Senior caddies are knowledgeable and informative. Their fees range from approximately £45 to £60 / €45 to €60 per round (approximately $55 to $85); plus a £25+ / €30+ tip is appropriate. Although double bagging is not permitted at most of the courses in the UK, it is more common in the Republic of Ireland. Sometimes a Junior Caddie will be assigned and they are normally school kids or trainees with less experience and charge less, but are often just as delightful!
Forecaddies will give advice for up to four golfers, but will not carry any bags. A forecaddie may spend more time ahead of the group spotting balls than offering each golfer advice along the way. Their fees range from £60 to £90 / €35 to €100 per round (approximately $45 to $140); plus a £25+/ €25+ tip is appropriate.
Carts are often called buggies overseas and are occasionally available, if pre-arranged, at a limited number of golf courses and normally for “handicapped” golfers only who have a Physician’s note stating the injury or illness which prevents walking. If you need a cart, Pioneer Golf can attempt to reserve them if you forward the Physician’s note in advance (3 months or more is recommended) and if available you will need to pay direct on site.
Pull or push carts are often called “trollies” overseas and most locals use them and pay the small fee in the pro shop.