Ever since the time of leather golf balls, the caddy has served not only as bag carrier for the golfer, but as a source of information, advice, and moral support. They keep your bag safe and clean while you traverse your favorite course, hand you the appropriate club, and advise you with their knowledge of game mechanics and protocol, sometimes even running ahead to scout out the terrain of the next hole. Many caddies play golf themselves, so they provide very good advice on how to play the game. In fact, many professional players once started out as caddies.
In the United States today, only resort or private golf courses provide caddy service. Most golfers who hire caddies find them through foundations or associations. In the tropics however, many courses not only provide caddy service, but require all golfers to play with a caddy in order to provide the residents with jobs. Regulations vary from place to place. For example, the Country Club at Sandy Lane in Barbados requires that all golfers hire a caddy, but the Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic only requires a caddy on the Teeth of the Dog course, while caddying is optional on the other two courses. The fee for caddying services also vary, as some places, especially the Casa de Camp, provide very excellent and professional caddies.
Some golfers prefer to hire their own caddies, which can substitute a caddy provided by the club or resort. Pay varies depending on where you hire, who you hire, and how much experience the caddy has. Pay also depends on how many bags you expect him or her to carry and how many rounds you play. For example, you might pay your caddy $20 dollars per bag, per round, not including tip.
Golf carts definitely lack the human touch, but they do carry your golf bags (and you!) at a generally lower price. Many resort courses in the tropics rent out carts for about $20 the entire day regardless of how many rounds you play, and each golf cart easily seats two. Enjoy the tropical scenery without having to walk all the way from hole to hole. Some of the newer models even have a built-in GPS system that gives you the layout of the course as well as advice on how to play each hole, just as a caddy does. In some cases, you might need or want to have both a cart and a caddie. The caddy would either ride with you and your clubs, or run ahead to the next hole while you ride.