“The Caddie Renaissance Continues”
Despite Struggles With COVID-19, Caddie Programs Continue To Grow And Thrive
While caddie usage in 2020 was dramatically affected by COVID-19 shutdowns and various restrictions at the State and County Levels, caddie usage rebounded in 2021 and grew past pre-pandemic levels this year. Despite some lingering COVID restrictions at various clubs and state’s throughout the country, Clubs were eager to re-open their adult and/or youth caddie programs without any restrictions this golf season. A smaller percentage chose to scale back or reduce requirements for caddies while waiting another year for vaccinations and time to affect perceptions on caddie programs.
While some restrictions remained in place, CaddieNow saw tremendous growth in caddie demand, new caddie programs, and the overall # of people interested in caddying with the 2021 season underway. CaddieNow more than doubled the total number of rounds supported on our platform this year to date and grew the number of caddies on our platform to over 7,000 registrations (a roughly 20% increase over 2020 despite a growing labor shortage in the US).
2021 saw several new clubs partner with CaddieNow to transition their existing caddie programs over to the CaddieNow platform to include Old Warson Country Club in Missouri, Denver Country Club, Common Ground, and Meridian Golf Club in Colorado, Cascade Hills in Michigan, Ardsley Country Club in New York, and Shady Canyon and El Caballero Country Club in California.
In addition to partnering with clubs and their existing caddie programs, CaddieNow helped over 10 clubs build new caddie programs over the past 12 – 18 months of the pandemic. Clubs like Ballyhack and Washington Golf and Country Club in Virginia, Arbor Links in Nebraska, Dormie Club in North Carolina and Druids Hills in Georgia, Lakeside Country Club and Briggs Ranch in Texas and Boulder Country Club and Frost Creek Golf Club in Colorado.
Those new caddie programs created jobs for over 200 youth and adult caddies this summer and will hopefully lead to several of those caddies qualifying for local or national youth scholarship programs for College like the Caddie and Leadership Academy, Youth On Course, Evans Scholarship Fund, Ouimet Fund or J. Wood Platt Scholarships funds targeted at youth caddies.
CaddieNow also partnered with several new partner brands in 2021 to help engage your caddies and our caddies further in the provision of great customer service. Caddies can now benefit from our relationships with several major golf brands for discounts, special promotions, and giveaways. Titleist is now partnering with the caddies at several of our large clubs to teach the caddies more about ball fitting and golf ball characteristics – in exchange the caddies are granted access to Titleist University as well as access to special discounts and promotions on Titleist golf balls and hardware. Bushnell and REVO have also partnered with CaddieNow to offer our caddies special discounts on products helpful to caddies.
However, Not all winds are blowing in the positive direction. There are also still many challenges facing caddie programs throughout the country.
- Vaccination requirements: Many clubs have considered or are currently considering requirements for the fall/winter season around mask usage again, vaccination requirements for caddies and club staff.
- Labor shortages: While many clubs want to require their staff to be vaccinated the ongoing labor shortage in this country is causing an issue. Many clubs see their current staff as about 50-75% vaccinated and are very worried – giving the supply and demand issues around labor – that vaccination requirements may force needed staff and candidates to look elsewhere. Caddie pools are generally under-vaccinated as well as compared to the general population.
- Misclassification challenges: States such as New Jersey and California continue to pass new laws, restrictions, and exemptions tied to using independent contractors. California passed a “Referral Agency” exemption for caddies and 3rd party providers like CaddieNow but “left some room” for those caddies to still be considered “employees” of the underlying clubs. New Jersey has hinted that caddies were not the target of all their recent efforts to crack down on misclassification and that amendments would be coming soon to alleviate these concerns.
Amidst these opportunities and challenges CaddieNow continues our work to preserve and protect the tradition of caddying while seeking to help clubs Modernize, Improve and Protect their existing caddie programs. If your club is interested in making your caddie operations more efficient; management and support to recruit, certify or engage your caddies; or insurance and indemnification to protect your club, caddies, and members – we are here to support you with customized solutions designed for you.
While technology is a key component of how we support caddie programs, CaddieNow is much more than just an app for your members to book caddies. In the coming months, we will share several testimonials from clubs with unique needs along with key updates on features that you might find useful to your caddie operations – including tee sheet integration, recruiting and online learning management systems, cashless operations, and discussions on how to better protect your club.
Your Program. More Control. Our Platform.
Modernizing your existing caddie program with tailored solutions from CaddieNow streamlines operations, reduces costs, and minimizes potential liabilities. Re-imagine the experience for your caddies, members, and staff. Start by checking out these Caddie Program Service Options, and let’s continue the conversation.