Is it best to tip golf-bag attendants either before or after your round? And How much?

There is a relationship between Caddyshack and most golf etiquette queries. In this instance, I’m recalling the moment where Al Czervik, played by Rodney Dangerfield, drives up to Bushwood in a garish red Rolls-Royce and exits while waving cash around.

He addresses the valet, “Here, kid.” “Park my car. Get my bag and” — pausing to give an appraising look before pressing more dough into the young man’s palm— “put on some weight, will ya?”

The key idea is that if Rodney can do it, so can you. It is not prohibited by law to tip in advance. However, nobody is counting on it either. The unusual practice of giving tips as soon as you arrive is a kind act that, like all tipping, is best conducted covertly. We’ve all encountered real-life Czerviks who wave their wallets around in an arrogant manner. Similar to how they are with the vehicles they drive, they are more interested in drawing attention than in sharing their wealth.

Tipping isn’t about you, if your heart is in the right place, which it obviously is because you are asking the question. It is about the other individual. Make sure nobody on staff is being taken advantage of.

You can feel secure in that regard.

The majority of clubs permit tips for outside services. The percentages can occasionally be weighted based on seniority. But ultimately, everyone gets their fair portion. Additionally, everyone is aware that tips are often given at the time of departure rather than arrival, so there are no pressing expectations. If you don’t tip the staff that welcomes and assists you when you pull up, they won’t give you the stink-eye. Later, they’ll receive theirs.

What about the proper gratuity? Consider spending at least $5 each bag, or $10 total if you’re also picking up your partner’s sticks.

Of course, if you give the attendant some cash ahead beforehand, they won’t be offended. Just don’t make any weight-related remarks while you’re at it.

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Photo Credit: iStockphoto

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