There’s been a rise in job popularity working as a beverage-cart driver for many women at golf courses across the country.
It’s a minimum wage job in the service industry that involves driving around in a golf cart and offering drinks to players has recently been blowing up on TikTok, with some women saying they’ve made up to $3,500 in tips in three days in the role.
The tips, a chance to enjoy the outdoors, and an opportunity to socialize make this job enticing enough, but beverage-cart drivers regularly deal with various forms of harassment. For every viral TikTok showing hundreds in tips, another video arrises describing an unwanted encounters with men.
Below are two accounts of working as a beverage cart girl.
Caroline, 23, worked at a golf club in Carrollton, Texas, for 3 summers.
“I’d work four to five times a week. By my third summer, I got to work Friday through Sunday, and those are the best days. I’d either go in at 8 a.m. or 10 a.m. Usually, you work until you stop selling or it gets dark, but I liked to stay there as long as possible — so it’d be around 7:30 p.m. when I left. The amount of money you can make is dependent on you and your personality. I’m a super-outgoing person. I like being able to talk to people. And that’s pretty much all you do all day. So you’re driving a golf cart around all summer, getting tan, talking to people, and making money. Honestly, the money — it’s unreal money.
My course paid me an hourly wage. We got paid as servers and then got tips on top of that. I remember my best day ever. It was the last day of my first summer, and because I went to the University of Arkansas and we had, for some reason, so many Arkansas grads on the course that day, I made close to $700 in tips.
In the middle of July and into August, my tip goal gets lower because it gets hotter and people stop drinking alcohol as much, especially in Texas. May and June are when you’re going to have to grind it out and try to make as much as you can. That’s when the crazy days happen, where people come up with all sorts of reasons to give me money.
It’s going the extra mile to go back to the club to get something for them. And if you run out of their favorite beer, you don’t stop and see anyone else — you go get it for them. Some of them tell you, ‘Hey, if you go get this, I’ll be very generous.'”
But she still dealt with harassment
“I definitely have gotten my fair share of comments, but nothing that I personally didn’t think I could handle. My personality is that I don’t take bulls—. So I would put it down immediately. I wouldn’t stand for any of it. Once I reply with something rude, they’re not going to do it again.
There have been a couple of times where guys have grabbed me on the course. And my club had a zero-tolerance policy, so they weren’t allowed back after that. But you definitely have to have a little bit of a thicker skin to do the job.
One of the creepiest things I’ve heard happened to someone whom I used to work with at the course. A man asked to take a video of her doing a cartwheel. She was wearing a short skirt, and she said, “No, what on earth are you talking about?” He said, “I’ll pay you $100.” It’s always older men who have money and think that they’re entitled to that.
I have an internship this summer with a law firm, but I might try to do a couple of shifts on the cart and make some more money, because it’s hard to give up that job. It’ so taxing on your body to be sweating out every fluid that you have in the Texas summer heat. You’re running to refill your cart with 24-packs of beer — constantly going in and out to get ice, lifting, getting up and down, and running to people to give them their drinks. Sometimes your body is so dehydrated that you just cry and can’t stop crying. That’s happened to me a lot. And my sister, too.
When quarantine lifted here in Texas, people wanted to go outside and do anything. A bunch of people told me, ‘We’ve got to get out here and spend some money. I’ve been cooped up in my house for months now.’ I know for a fact that this was the busiest summer for our course because we were breaking records for tee times.”
Danae, 25, started working at a golf club in San Marcos, California, a year and a half ago
“So far it’s been probably my favorite job that I’ve had in the service industry. It’s a lot of fun. You’re outside. You’re hanging out with people who are generally in good moods and willing to spend money. Some people even call me their therapist. I make an hourly wage, which is minimum — I think $14 or $15 now. And then I get tips. Living in California, if I were just working hourly, I wouldn’t be able to get by.
Usually, if it’s slow, I’ll leave a little early. If it’s busy, I’ll sometimes stay up to 10 hours. I typically get there around 6:30 a.m. or 7:30 a.m., depending on the day. Then it takes me 30 to 45 minutes to load up the cart with everything, and then I’m out cruising around. It’s a really good networking opportunity. I’m in college figuring out what I want to do with my life. And my clients are either retired or high up in their companies. So they always tell me that once I’ve graduated, they have opportunities for me in this field or that field.
People don’t think about that. They think, ‘Oh, you’re just out there getting people drunk.’ But you’re really getting to know these people, especially your regulars. And they’re always willing to help you out with anything.
Last summer, a guy brought all of his friends from a bowling group to a tournament. And the guy who ran the tournament, his dad was really well-off in construction. So he had his dad’s card, and every time I came around, he would do a custom tip. So on the screen, it’ll say after your purchase, 15%, 20%, or 25%, or you can put in a custom tip, and he would put in $150 every time. So I made sure I saw him multiple times, and I think I left that tournament with $900 — in one day.”
Then came the entitled men
“I’ve been grabbed. I had this tennis skirt that I was excited to wear because it’s freaking hot in San Diego in the summer.
I was facing away from this guy, and he just grabbed my butt. I said, ‘No. Okay, I’m not serving you anymore. I’ll serve your friends, but I’m not serving you anymore because clearly you’ve had too much to drink, or you just have too much audacity, so you don’t get served.’
I remember serving his friends, and his friends were all embarrassed, and they were like, “Why would you do that?”
I feel like guys have a tendency to sexually objectify cart girls. I’m definitely not someone who’s shy or timid. I will tell you no and put you in your place, no problem. But sometimes guys don’t care. It’ll just keep going.
Another time, it was such a slow day, and I’ll always remember this. This guy came up to me, and he wasn’t buying anything. He was by himself. And he said, ‘You know, you’re the reason for global warming. Don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell anyone. It’ll be our little secret, but you are the reason for global warming.’
I said, ‘Okay.’ And then he said, ‘If you give me an attitude, I’m going to leak it to the news.’
I was so weirded out. And he got irritated with me because he wasn’t getting the response that he wanted. He wanted me to think that was funny. I’m alone on the cart. He’s alone. We’re alone on this hole together. He’s not even buying anything from me, and on top of it, he’s making me uncomfortable.
There was another guy, and he just wanted a Budweiser and half a sandwich, and he put his half-sandwich on my seat where I sit all day, where I’m sweating. And I said, ‘Don’t put your half-sandwich right there. That’s gross. It’s unwrapped.’ And then he said, ‘Oh, but maybe I want your butt juice on it.’
I make sure I don’t get to the point of dehydration. I’ve been really exhausted before, and I’ve been sunburned multiple times, but I’ve never gotten to that point.
Last summer, we got slammed. I think our profits quadrupled. It’s an outdoor sport, so it was one of the only things early on in COVID-19 that was open for people to do. So everyone was like, ‘Okay, let’s just try golf.’ I was blessed at that time because I had so many friends who were struggling.
I golfed for two years in high school. I definitely know how to hit, and I’ve definitely bet guys like, ‘Oh, I bet I could hit a better shot than you. I’ll put $20 on it. If I lose, then you get a free shot.’ I’ve won multiple times.”
Golf course beverage-cart service seems legit.
Danae has a point, with Covid-19 literally changing the game for everyone in the last year, golfing seems to hold steadfast. It’s a sport and hobby people are picking up and continuing learning. With a rise in popularity, golf course beverage-cart service seems to be in high demand. However, along with most service industries, that includes the baggage of harassment. Unfortunately, ignorant and entitled people can be encountered in multiple fields.