The second half of our in-depth look into where public golfers can hire caddies around America reveals the 10 U.S. destinations home to the most public-accessible courses offering caddies. Scotland and Ireland have long been known as golf trips where caddies are essential. But more and more North American resorts and public golf facilities are getting into the act.
As the proliferation of bucket-list golf and five-star service at the course continues, perhaps someday soon, new destinations will appear on this list.
We determined the 10 best destinations based on how many publicly accessible courses offer caddie and forecaddie services (number of courses for each destination in parentheses). Together, both of these stories deliver, without a doubt, the ultimate guide for public golfers who love the caddie experience. Click here for part one of the ultimate guide to caddies in America.
Top 10 destinations for caddies
1. North Carolina Sandhills/Pinehurst (9)
Where: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, No. 5, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 at Pinehurst Resort, Pinehurst. Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club, Southern Pines. Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Southern Pines. The Dormie Club, West End. Tobacco Road Golf Club, Sanford. Mid South Club, Southern Pines. Talamore Golf Resort, Southern Pines. Longleaf Golf & Family Club, Southern Pines. Southern Pines Golf Club, Southern Pines.
Comment: A local company called CaddieWalk hires out caddies to every course listed but Pinehurst, which uses CaddieMaster, a Florida-based caddie service owned by Troon Golf, an Arizona-based management company. Being No. 1 is a bit misleading because a handful of these area courses (like Longleaf and Southern Pines, for example) don't advertise the caddie service on their websites, so many golfers don't realize they are even an option.
Worth it? Rating: Pinehurst No. 2, Tobacco Road, Dormie Club.
2. Northern California (8)
Where: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and The Links at Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach. Poppy Hills, Pebble Beach. Pasatiempo, Santa Cruz. Old and Ocean courses at Half Moon Bay Golf Links, Half Moon Bay. CordeValle, San Martin. The Golf Club at Gray's Crossing and Old Greenwood, both in Truckee. Edgewood Tahoe, Stateline, Nev.
Comment: Caddies love the Monterey Peninsula for its year-round mild climate for golf and the clientele that plays there. Pebble Beach, CordeValle and the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay are some of the fanciest resorts in golf, so it's no surprise that caddies are part of the business plan. Pasatiempo is a great walk and you'll need local knowledge to hit and putt Dr. Alister MacKenzie's greens. Although Edgewood Tahoe is across Nevada's state line, many consider the scenic course along Lake Tahoe's shores to be the Bay Area's prime summer vacation hotspot. LOOPER, a caddie-on-demand service that allows you to book a caddie through an app at courses around NoCal and other markets around the country, has partnered with Youth On Course, a non-profit that offers affordable golf for junior golfers. Youth on Course will pay caddies half the regular caddie fee, making a golfer’s cost comparable to renting a cart, and will also deposit $50 into a college scholarship fund for caddies with financial need for each round they loop.
Worth it? Rating: Pebble Beach, Pasatiempo, Spyglass Hill.
3. (tie) Southeast Florida (6)
Where: Champion, Estates, Fazio, Squire and Palmer courses at PGA National Resort & Spa, Palm Beach Gardens. Miller and Sopher courses at Turnberry Isle Miami, Aventura. Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne, Key Biscayne. Blue Monster, Silver Fox, Red Tiger and Golden Palm courses at Trump National Doral Miami, Miami. Resort and Country Club courses at Boca Raton Resort & Club, Boca Raton. The Ocean and The Breakers Rees Jones courses at The Breakers Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Comment: Only Boca Raton and The Breakers don't require caddies in peak season.
Worth it? Rating: Champion course at PGA National, Blue Monster at Doral.
3. (tie) Southern California (6)
Where: North and South courses at The Resort at Pelican Hill (forecaddie only), Newport Beach. The Grand Golf Club at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, San Diego. North and South courses at Torrey Pines, La Jolla. Maderas Golf Club, Poway. Monarch Beach Golf Links, Dana Point. Legends and Champions courses at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, Carlsbad.
Comment: Maderas, The Grand and Torrey Pines (and if you ask, the Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad) offer loopers from Premier Caddie, a company started five years ago that serves only SoCal. Monarch Beach calls its forecaddies “Watermen”. What's interesting is no public-access courses in the Coachella Valley carry caddies.
Worth it? Rating: South course at Torrey Pines, The Grand Golf Club, La Costa.
3. (tie) Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona (6)
Where: Pinnacle and Monument courses at Troon North Golf Club, Scottsdale. Stadium and Champions courses at TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale. Phoenician Golf Club, Scottsdale. North and South courses at The Boulders Resort, Carefree. Westin Kierland Golf Club, Scottsdale. Cattail and Devil's Claw courses at Whirlwind Golf Club, Chandler.
Comment: Troon Golf, the Arizona-based management company, started offering forecaddies and single-bag walking caddies at four of these high-end public courses for the first time last fall.
Worth it? Rating: Stadium course at TPC Scottsdale. Pinnacle and Monument courses at Troon North.
6. (tie) Las Vegas (5)
Where: Royal Links Golf Club, Las Vegas. Shadow Creek Golf Club, North Las Vegas. Cascata (forecaddie only), Boulder City. Wynn Golf Club, Las Vegas. Bali Hai Golf Club, Las Vegas.
Comment: Both Royal Links, a former Walters Golf facility, and Bali Hai, the last remaining Walters Golf facility, offer traditional and female caddies called ParMates. Last fall, Rio Secco in Henderson cancelled a similar female caddie program called T-Mates, a service I enjoyed a few years back. Another female service called VIP CaddieMates and a more traditional service called Professional Caddie Management rent out caddies if the course you want to play will allow them. Call ahead and ask.
Worth it? Rating: Shadow Creek, Cascata, Royal Links.
6. (tie) Wisconsin (5)
Where: Sand Valley Golf Resort, Nekoosa. Irish and Straits courses at Whistling Straits, Haven. Erin Hills Golf Course, Hartford. River and Meadows Valley courses at Blackwolf Run, Kohler. SentryWorld, Stevens Point.
Comment: Wisconsin is becoming an epicenter of walkable, public golf courses where caddie programs are thriving. SentryWorld, recently redone by original architect Robert Trent Jones Jr., has jumped on the bandwagon, starting to offer caddies last year.
Worth it? Rating: Straits course at Whistling Straits, Erin Hills, River course at Blackwolf Run.
8. Northern Michigan (4)
Where: The Kingsley Club, Kingsley. The Heather at Boyne Highlands Resort, Harbor Springs. Arcadia Bluffs, Arcadia. Black course at The Loop, Red course at The Loop and the Tom Weiskopf course at Forest Dunes Golf Club, Roscommon.
Comment: Boyne USA Resorts struggled to find customers for its tee times including caddies on The Heather, so the program was abandoned, but the resort can find a looper if you want one. Forest Dunes has brought in CaddieMaster to hire and train its caddies for Tom Doak's reversible and walkable course, The Loop, which debuted last year.
Worth it? Rating: The Loop at Forest Dunes, Arcadia Bluffs, The Kingsley Club.
8. (tie) Chicago (4)
Where: No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 (Dubsdread) courses at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, Lemont. The Glen Club, Glenview. Cantigny Golf, Wheaton, Ill. Harborside International Golf Center, Chicago, Ill.
Comment: The Glen Club, managed by Chicago-based KemperSports, is the only place where you can get caddies older than college-age students. Kemper, a leader in the caddie boom because it manages Streamsong, Chambers Bay, Sand Valley and Bandon Dunes, launched a junior program at Harborside International in 2017.
Worth it? Rating: Dubsdread, Cantigny.
10. Northeast Florida (3)
Where: Players Stadium and Valley courses at TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach. The Slammer & Squire and King & Bear courses at World Golf Village, St. Augustine. Sawgrass Country Club, Ponte Vedra Beach.
Comment: The private Sawgrass CC, which started offering caddies about a decade ago, is a former host of the Players Championships from 1977-81 available for public play through the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa. Caddies are mandatory for resort guests and unaccompanied non-members.
Worth it? Rating: Players Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass.