Some golfers will play their entire career without ever having a caddie. Others who are members of private clubs need to decide each week if they are going to have a caddie or a forecaddie accompany them for their next round of golf. The decision will often come down to a caddie request for a forecaddie or a caddie. If you are unclear of the difference between these two roles, we have all the information you will need. 

What is the difference between a caddie and a forecaddie?

A caddie is an assistant who carries your golf clubs for your entire 18 hole round of golf; the forecaddie does not carry clubs and instead works to support a player that is riding in a golf cart as they play. A forecaddie will run ahead of a player and spot the position of balls or pull the pin when necessary, but they will not physically carry the clubs. 

image of caddie and a forecaddie in streamsong resort - AEC Info

The golf experience at a course that has a caddie program is entirely different than a game of golf at a club with no caddies. However, before you choose between caddie or forecaddie, here are the things to know about how the caddie vs. forecaddie role differs. 

Carrying The Bag

The forecaddie does not carry a golf bag. Instead, players that are taking a forecaddie will be riding in a cart. The forecaddie may even drive the cart for a hole or two if players want to walk. In addition, the forecaddie is typically just one person to take care of an entire group of four people. 

When a traditional caddie is carrying the bag, they will either have one or two bags on their shoulder, depending on how the caddie master works things out with staffing for the day. 

Ball Finding  image of playing with a caddie - AEC Info

Both a forecaddie and a caddie will try to get ahead of the group to find errant shots. Many times, the caddie will run ahead of the group for the tee shot and then stay with them for iron shots and wedges to provide accurate yardage. Finding golf balls that have escaped into the woods or a water hazard is a major reason golfers like to take a caddie with them. 


A caddie and a forecaddie can give you some information about the putting green or about the way a fairway bends when playing a course for the first time. If you know your caddie well, they may show up before your tee time and watch you warm up on the driving range. This typically happens after a relationship is developed. 

Although advice will vary from one caddie or forecaddie to the next, the caddie tends to give a bit more advice than the forecaddie. When you watch a forecaddie, they tend to the needs of several players and are often busy the entire time; the caddie is more focused on one individual. 

Pay & Tip 

The caddie will be more expensive than the forecaddie. However, this is typical because, as a single player, you will pay out of pocket for the entire fee for your caddie, and the forecaddie is split between four people. 

For the most part, caddies and forecaddies are aspiring professional golfers or golf enthusiasts that love the game and work hard to ensure that you have a great time on the course. They tend to know the rules of golf quite well and play in golf tournaments of their own. 

How Much to Tip a Caddie vs Forecaddie?

Generally speaking, if you are playing a course at Streamsong Resort or Kiawah Island Golf Resort, you can expect to tip $100 minimum for your caddie, and $50 minimum for your forecaddie.  How well he or she performs will impact the amount of tip as well. 

Tips from golfers can help support these professional caddie services and ensure that these players can continue to advance their careers and their interest in the game. Check out this article if you are interested in how much caddies make.

What are the duties of a forecaddie? 

The main duties of the forecaddie include watching where the player’s golf balls go, helping to tend to the pin, and bringing putters to the green for players to use. 

Many forecaddies work like an assistant, and they will keep golf equipment clean and maybe even get yardage for a player when they need one. Golf courses like to use forecaddies because they help to keep the pace of play moving forward and support anyone from a beginner to an avid golfer. 

A forecaddie will generally be a Walking Caddie, meaning he will never ride in the cart if Golf carts are allowed. (Golf Carts are not permitted at Streamsong Resort for example, unless you have a qualifying medical condition.)

Obviously, you won’t see a forecaddie on the bags of touring pros at a Professional Tournament. 

What is a caddy master? 

A caddy master is like the boss of the caddies. He or she will decide which caddie goes with which group of members. This can be a big decision for some caddie masters because of skill levels, personality, and more. 

In addition, a caddie master needs to deal with the type of caddie that a golfer would like to take out. The caddy master typically reports to the director of golf and is considered more of a higher up within the golf course establishment. 

Do I need a forecaddie? 

image of caddie and a forecaddie - AEC Info

One question that often comes up about forecaddies is whether or not they are necessary. For some recreational golfers, paying for a forecaddie is a bit too much. It makes more sense to get in an extra round of golf than it does to pay for a forecaddie. 

However, at some golf courses, there is no choice but to take a forecaddie. The course has rules to ensure that the forecaddies and caddies get rounds of golf in and that the pace of play is kept up.

In addition, these caddies and forecaddies can keep an eye on the golf course’s condition. 

So, though you might not always need a forecaddie, there are situations where you will have to take one. 


Hopefully, you can now see the difference in caddie vs. forecaddie. Overall, both of these roles can help your game considerably and have you enjoy your time on the golf course.

For golfers that have never played with a caddie, using a forecaddie first can be a great way to introduce you to how the process works. In addition, you will get a glimpse into what it’s like to have a true caddie with you.

Then you can make the decision as to whether or not this is something that you would enjoy for your next round of golf. 

If you are planning a golf trip in the near future, and wondering what to take, be sure to check out our recent post with out Golf trip checklist.  It will prepare you for everything that may come up during the planning and playing phase of our trip.