A Golfer’s Best Friend


Forecaddies make an average golfer look good and a good golfer hard to beat.

By Shawn Price

When you’re playing to win, there are times when you need a little help from your friends. A good caddie can help. But a forecaddie, a caddie employed by the golfer themselves, often offered as an option by higher-end courses, can help even more and improve your game by several strokes.

Pelican Hill Golf Club
Pelican Hill Golf Club

A forecaddie should be able to provide quality advice on the course’s features and hazards and assist in choosing the right target lines. But a forecaddie will also rake bunkers and replace divots, mind the flagsticks, keep your equipment clean and help you better navigate the course.

Even on an unfamiliar course, they can help you look like you’ve spent weeks getting to know the place.
What is at work here is flattery: A forecaddie is worth multiple shots each round and can be a game changer on the greens.

CordeValle Golf
CordeValle Golf

Forecaddies bring players back to  the roots of the game and make the  experience livelier. Ultimately, it’s as  much a point of distinction in your game  as it is in the course you’re playing on.

Fore-ward thinking at Pelican Hill

Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Coast, easily one of Southern California’s top courses, has featured a forecaddie service since 2008, after reopening. The award-winning, Tom Fazio-designed championship course is an essential part of Orange County’s world-class resort; a forecaddie for every foursome is required on the resort’s Ocean South and Ocean North courses. The cost is included in the guest fee—but doesn’t include the tip. If the group requires more, the guest fee goes up appropriately.

The course’s general manager, Steve Friedlander, made forecaddies mandatory at Pelican Hill after seeing their value at other courses. Friedlander says forecaddies bring players back to the roots of the game and make the experience livelier. Ultimately, it’s as much a point of distinction in your game as it is in the course you’re playing on.

Pelican Hill Golf Club
Pelican Hill Golf Club

“They do so much more than simply look after your golf equipment,” Friedlander says. “They know our two courses better than anyone and help golfers navigate each hole, so our guests can relax, take in the ocean views and enjoy the game.”

And Pelican Hill, a public course, allows a broader spectrum of players to be able to enjoy the experience of using the forecaddie service. “Our forecaddies build rapport with our guests, so they usually request the same forecaddie each time they golf with us. Many of our forecaddies have been with Pelican Hill since our opening,” Friedlander says.

Threesomes or foursomes at most of the better courses are likely paying for forecaddies in their greens fees anyway, but if you chose to employ one, a minimum tip of $20 per bag is recommended at most courses. Each course is different and the exact amount should be based on the quality of service you receive.

But no service is perfect. It must fit the needs of the guests and can change over time as the quirks of each course and the demands of the course’s frequent guests dictate. Friedlander says, “We’ll continue doing what makes our golfers happy and keeps them coming back.”


Pacific Coast Courses Offering Forecaddie Services

Forecaddies are included in the $300-$320 greens fees for single players to four-somes, excluding gratuity.

Forecaddies are recommended for groups of two to four players. $160 per group, excluding gratuity.

Spyglass Hill Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay and Del Monte Golf Course all offer forecaddie services for threesomes or foursomes. The going rate is $160 for a forecaddie for four golfers and $120 for a forecaddie for three golfers.

Forecaddies are available for threesomes and foursomes for $210.

Forecaddies are available for groups. Rates vary depending on when you play.

Forecaddies are available for $40 per player.

Forecaddies are available for individual players at $40-$60 each, or for groups at $30-$50 each.