Caddie for Scotland Courses


I will be traveling to Scotland in May, and wanted to inquire regarding the necessity of a caddie at the following courses:

St Andrews
Royal Dornoch

I am currently a 5.4 index, and have never played golf in Scotland. I have already factored in caddie fees and tips into my budget, but if some of these courses do not require a caddie then I’ll allocate that money elsewhere.

Does anyone have experiences at these courses with/without a caddie? Thanks all.


As a general rule, if you can afford it, get a caddie. It’s not about carrying your clubs or giving you a line. It’s about the local history and stories they give you that adds a richness to the experience you can’t pay for.

Plus, and admittedly this depends on your own personality, it pays dividends to let them know if you’re laid back, fun, like a joke and don’t take life to seriously. They take their cue from you so if you’re quiet and serious they’ll be serious back. If they know you’re fun they’ll open up and you’ll honestly never laugh as much on a golf course. They’re all amazing characters.


If you are going to skip one or two for cost reasons, I would pick Nairn first. It’s a very flat course except for two holes on the back, and the greens are usually pretty uniform in speed without a lot of movement.

If you decide not to take a caddy on TOC, be aware that trolleys are restricted at certain times I believe.

Kingsbarns is a bigger walk.

TOC and Carnoustie have the most hidden or discised hazards off the tee.

But almost every Scottish course sells a good yardage book (they call them stroke savers).

Have a great time.


Have played all of those but Nairn. Generally speaking, I would agree that if you’re gonna play them once ever, you might as well spring for the caddie to enhance the experience. That said, if you’re trying to keep things cost effective…

St Andrews Old Course - Absolutely need a caddie the first time around. One, because it’s the Old Course. Two, because there are quite a few blind shots and it’s relatively non-descript, so you can get flat out lost out there. Highly recommend caddie.

Carnoustie - relatively right there in front of you. If you have a rangefinder/GPS for the holes that have burns/streams dissecting the fairway, you’ll be good. Did have an ex-Walker Cupper caddie for me there which was pretty cool though.

Kingsbarns - right there in front of you and lots of elevated tee boxes. No caddie needed.

Royal Dornoch - much like St. Andrews, I’d recommend it simply because it adds to the experience of playing a world class course. That one is also fairly straightforward though, so not necessary. The caddies there are generally low handicappers, so they’re good


Thanks to each of you that responded so far. The enhancement comments are ones I will take to heart. Didn’t mean to read like I’m trying to save money, just didn’t want to spend it if it wasn’t beneficial. I’m more of a muni guy myself and have never had a caddie before. I always walk and carry when I play so used to the miles. Thanks everyone again.


Yes, get a caddie, they are usually fantastic and will save you tons of shots. They usually have really good stories about the courses. The caddies that I had at St Andrews and Carnoustie were so much fun, and we ended up going to the pub after, then it got blurry…


Get a caddy!! Theres a friend of mine caddying up in that area!! Kingsbarns is magic!


I also encourage taking a caddie at St. Andrews. Besides showing you the line, which you’ll need if it’s your first time there, I can’t overstate how much they add to the experience. I have read “An American Caddie in St. Andrews” by Oliver Horovitz a few times, so I was excited to finally experience it for myself a few years ago.

I’ve played Kingsbarns with and without a caddie. Based upon @brandonwahl comments, I really don’t think you’ll need one there. As stated above, it’s all pretty much right in front of you. You’ll love Kingsbarns - it’s my favorite place I’ve ever played.


As others have said, if you can afford it, get one.

At TOC it just enhances the experience your first time around (and helps you understand the lines needed of the tee). At Dornoch there are a couple of blind shots that will throw you off the first time around. Do I think a caddie is absolutely necessary there, no. (If I’m ever able to make it back to Dornoch, I’ll make sure someone I’m with has a caddie, but I probably won’t take one myself.)


Agree RE: Kingsbarns, Love it!


Depending on numbers another option is taking a forecaddie. They basically walk the course with you, show lines, read putts and grab flags. Viable for 3 or 4 in a group. Fee usually £80 plus tip.


Thank you everyone. I’m very excited.