KCC Caddie Program for Teens!

KCC has one of the best caddie programs in the United States and one of a select few remaining in the midwest. A great way for Kalamazoo area youth to earn summer money, make contacts, and learn about life. Young men and women love the atmosphere at KCC as they assist our  Members on the golf course. The Glen C. Smith Jr./KCC Caddie Scholarship Fund was established in 1985 by the Kalamazoo Country Club Caddie Committee in honor of Glen Smith, Jr. for the purpose of providing scholarship assistance to area young people in qualified caddie programs at Member clubs of the Golf Association of Michigan and the Western Golf Association.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old is the Caddie Program?
It began in the 1930's, and has had thousands of participants. It remains as one of only about 19 such programs in all of Michigan, and one of only three outside of the Detroit area.

What are its goals?
To provide caddies to the Members; to provide honest work for able young men and women, while learning about the Great Game of Golf; to award scholarships to talented young people for their future education.

How many caddies do we have?
More than 100 are trained annually; unfortunately, many golfers do not use them, and only about 50-60 remain active in the program through the summer.

How are the caddies recruited?
Many simply call in during the springtime, seeking a job. Others are recruited, mostly through the public schools. It is an “equal opportunity” program, without discrimination as to any minority.

Is it regulated by the government?
Of course. The Michigan Department of Labor requires that KCC be licensed, and that each caddie have a work permit. Caddies must be at least 14 years old, and there are other limitations as to how long they can work and under what conditions. For instance it is not permissible to “forecaddie” (send a caddie in front of the golfer to trace the flight or location of the ball). Except for the paperwork, the rules do not create any problems for the program.

Are caddies paid by KCC?
No, the caddies are not KCC employees. Caddies are “employed” by golfers for whom they work. Payment is worked out between the caddie and the golfer, who can pay the Caddie in cash or charge it to your KCC account. Suggested rates of payment are posted at the Pro Shop. Payment is recorded on the “CaddieCard,” which the caddie turns over to the golfer after the round. Caddies purchase their own shirts and hats, and provide their own towels.

Are caddies rated?
Each caddie is continuously rated into various categories beginning at “Class A,” and then to “Captain” and “Honor.” Attendance and ratings by golfers on the “CaddieCard” are the two most important factors. The higher the caddies’ rating, the higher the suggested payment.

How much should I tip a caddie?
The rates presume that a satisfactory performance will receive some tip in addition to that amount indicated on the card. This is also a part of the rationale by which the Department of Labor permits the caddies to work at much less than the minimum wage. The Golf Association of Michigan recommends a tip of $3.00 to $6.00, or higher if the caddie is extraordinarily good. Most golfers add a substantial tip ($3-$10), but even with this, the caddie earns far under the minimum wage.

What do caddies do?
Just about anything the golfers desire of them. For the most part, it is carrying the clubs, raking bunkers, replacing divots, tending the flagstick and cleaning clubs. If asked, more experienced caddies will also assist the golfer with club selection, distancing and strategy. Caddies work for the golfers who pay them, not for the entire group.

Do the caddies receive training?
Yes. The Caddie Master trains them at the beginning of each season. The “CaddieCard” also contains a selection for the golfer to comment on the caddies’ performance; this evaluation is used to rate the caddie, and also to perform additional training during the season. It is important that each golfer fill out the rating selection of the “CaddieCard.” Nevertheless, the best training occurs during each golf round, when the golfer advises or corrects a caddie on the spot.

Does KCC award Caddie Scholarships?
Yes. At any one time, we are funding approximately 19 scholarship students, each at $3,600 over 4 years, at a variety of colleges (MSU, Wayne State, Northwestern, U of M, KVCC) and trade schools. Each award is for 1 academic year, renewable only with a satisfactory academic record. Photos of our current Caddie Scholars are posted in the upstairs hallway in the Clubhouse. Over the years, KCC has awarded over $200,000 in scholarship aid.

How are the scholarships funded?
By an annual assessment to the Club Members, the net proceeds of the KCC Invitational Tournament, and other private contributions. All of this fund goes exclusively to scholarships. In 1985, the Board of Governors established a Foundation for the administration of our Caddie Fund, in order to guarantee tax deductibility to our donors. This Fund is within the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, in association with Fifth Third Bank. In connection with the generous endowment contribution by Fifth Third Bank on the occasion of the retirement of one of its most honored employees, the Fund was named the “Glen C. Smith/KCC Caddie Scholarship.” It is prepared to receive your contributions of cash, stock or other assets, all of which will be fully tax deductible to you as a charitable contribution.

How are other caddies rewarded?
An Annual Member Tournament and Caddie Banquet at KCC recognizes Caddie Scholars and also other caddies who have performed extremely well, with a meal and other prizes (many of them donated by Dick Stewart and our Members). All golfers are invited to participate in the Tournament and the dinner.

How can you help?
You can make a contribution to the Caddie Fund and also take a caddie when you golf at KCC.