KCC Caddie Program has offered local teens jobs, an introduction to the world of golf, and college scholarships

KCC has one of the best caddie programs in the United States and one of a select few remaining in the Midwest. Our caddie program is 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 and have done so since the 1930s. We annually train more than 100 young men and women and encourage our golfers to make use of this unique experience.

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.

How It Works

Caddies are not KCC employees, instead they’re employed by the golfer they work with. 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. The rates presume that a satisfactory performance will receive some tip in addition to the 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.

Each caddie is continuously rated into various categories beginning at Class A, and then 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.

The Caddie Master trains new and returning caddies 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.

The KCC Caddie Scholarships Program

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.

Scholarships are 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.

Caddies are also recognized at the Annual Member Tournament and Caddie Banquet. KCC recognizes Caddie Scholars and also other outstanding caddies 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