I am not a huge fan of the automatic levying of service charges on restaurant bills. It doesn’t sit well that I’m expected and obliged to pay for service. Surely that’s up to me. But I suppose I’m a bit touchy about this because the subject of caddie tips is sacrosanct, even if sometimes a tad incendiary and at least of a bit slippery one.
Now come to think about it, tips are a big part of my income. Nevertheless, they are discretionary, even if reaching handsome heights at times. But in defence, it’s not cheap to hang out here in the home of golf and in some ways a caddie can add a lot to the enjoyment to a round. But not always.
A chap from Dallas in our group last week carried his own bag after his ‘bad experience on the Old’. His caddie was seemingly awful, arrogant and simply ruined his big day. He’d been forced to have words at the 10th, intimated that he was sure a nice guy but that he should lay off a bit. He appeased the man by saying he would still get a tip at the end. After the 18th and unsure of what to pay he asked the starter who inferred that ninety dollars would do all round. However, he thought he’d up it to a hundred to ease what had become a frosty relationship. But this it didn’t. In fact, he was dumbfounded when the caddie uttered the line “that’s not enough”. I mean what can you say to that! A hundred dollars equates to seventy quid which is well above the caddie fee of fifty. De facto the caddie can’t object. But he did. If I get on a bus and don’t give the driver the full fare he can say that. For sure. But when we are talking about a discretionary tip, no, sorry no. We work on behalf of a charity, The Links Trust, which doesn’t impose mandatory levies for gratuities. It’s not an upmarket Indian restaurant chain.