WASHINGTON — The use of golf caddies has declined steadily over the past 40 years with the widespread adoption of motorized golf carts, but a local startup wants to bring the caddie back.
LOOPER Caddies On Demand is a shared-economy app, similar to Uber and Lyft, that makes it easy for golfers to book caddies, for caddies to find work and for golf courses to offer caddie services.
LOOPER currently has deals with about 30 golf courses in the D.C. region, both public and private, and growing.
“Our main focus is bringing caddies back to the game of golf,” founder and CEO Dave Cavossa told WTOP.
“We want to make it so that you can take a caddie at any golf course anywhere in the country eventually. Whether it’s a municipal or high-end private course, you should have the option of taking a caddie anywhere,” he said.
A good caddie should shave at least a couple of strokes off a golfer’s game, but different golfers have different reasons for wanting to take a caddie along.
“Some golfers just want someone to carry the bag, and they want the exercise. Clean their clubs. clean the ball, rake bunkers. But some golfers like talking to the caddies, talking through shots and reading greens for them,” Cavossa said.
Prices for the on-demand caddie service, which requires a 24-hour advanced registration, range from $25 to $100, plus tip.
“There’s a Junior Looper, which is our entry-level young teen, just starting out caddie. They’re just learning, and they’re very inexpensive as a result. Then we’ve got Looper, which is our midrange experienced teen, and then finally Pro Looper, which is what you would get at a high-end country club,” he said.
LOOPER said the traditional caddie model is inefficient, costly for courses and wastes the time of caddies with no guarantee of work.
It also makes it easier for youths or adults to become caddies. Candidates sign up and register online, and become certified through a four-step process, which includes passing a test and on-course orientation.
In addition to the D.C. region, LOOPER has agreements with more than 70 golf courses total in six states, and is expanding to markets that include Richmond, Philadelphia and South Florida.