Do You Tip Golf Instructors? (Gratuity Guide For 2024)

Ollie Neave By Ollie Neave | April 15, 2024

As a golf coach who’s spent more time on the green than most people have spent in their living rooms, I’ve seen it all. From the miraculous first putt to the dreaded sand trap disasters. 

Still, there’s one question that seems to perplex more players than a tricky par 5: “Do you tip golf instructors?”

Now, tipping can be a bit like navigating a bunker; it’s all about the approach. Here’s my take on this elusive question. 

Is My Golf Instructor Expecting a Tip?

The Short Answer: It’s Always Appreciated, Not Expected.

First off, let me get straight to the point like a well-aimed putt. Tipping your golf instructor is appreciated, but it’s not always expected. 

We’re a bit like caddies of the teaching world; while I’m here to guide you through the course of improvement, I’m not going to carry your clubs (unless you’re really struggling, then maybe I’ll jump in!).

In fact, most golf coaches (including me) charge a bit more because we are not expecting tips. Where I’m currently coaching, I’m not even allowed to accept tips, so that all factors into my lesson pricing.

Tipping Culture: Australia vs the US

As you friend from the land of Oz, it’s only fair that I point out that I know tipping culture depends on where you are in the world. 

My Aussie viewpoint may not pass in places in the world where tipping is expected on literally everything (cough, cough, I’m looking at you, United States!)

The good news here is that I have played all over the world, and my US friends typically agree with me that golf instructors are not expecting tips.

(Unless they’re also serving you burgers and beers. Then, by all means, shell out that 20%!)

When to Consider Tipping

Again, golf instructors never expect tips. I’m not going to have my hand out at you like a bellman at the Plaza Hotel.

Still, these are some of the instances in which I have been tipped that I think are appropriate to share.

Exceptional Service:

If I finally fixed that slice you’ve been battling for years or helped you hit your first-ever birdie, a little bonus is a lovely way to say thanks.

Regular Sessions:

If you’re seeing improvements and you’re a regular, consider tipping as a gesture of appreciation for ongoing support.

This doesn’t have to be all the time, but a little extra holiday spending money is always nice!

Special Circumstances:

Did I stand in the rain with you for an hour? Or maybe I went the extra mile to help you prepare for a big tournament. These above-and-beyond moments might warrant a little extra.

How Much to Tip

Ah, the million-dollar question (or, more realistically, the $20 question). If you decide to tip, how much is appropriate? Well, unlike the rigid rules of golf, this is more flexible.

A general guideline is $10 to $50, depending on the level of instruction, the duration of the session, and, of course, your personal budget.

Think of it as the cost of a sleeve of premium golf balls – a small price for the joy of a game well played.

The Non-Monetary Tip

Not all tips have to fold. 

A heartfelt thank you, a positive review online, a social media follow (my fav) or even referring friends can be just as valuable to my small business. 

I’m building a community here, and your endorsement is the equivalent of a hole-in-one in my book. Remember, golf is about enjoyment, improvement, and the occasional lost ball.

Whether you tip or not, the best gift you can give your instructor is your enthusiasm and dedication to the game. After all, seeing a student hit their stride is truly priceless.

Common Questions About Golf Tipping

What is the customary tip for a caddie?

It’s appropriate to tip 20% of the caddie’s base fee. If playing at a private club, it’s best to ask your host what the best tipping practices are, as they may have guidelines in place. 

Do you tip the bag valet at a golf course?

Most golf courses consider this a complimentary service, but a crisp $5 is a nice gesture. 

Ollie Neave

Professional Golf Player and Coach

Ollie Neave

AKA Aussie Beef Golf, One of Australia’s Busiest Golf Coaches.