While carving path as a PGA Tour caddie, Geno Bonnalie was a professional penny-pincher

Being a PGA Tour caddie is a great gig if you can get it… but it certainly isn’t always filet mignon and lobster dinners as Geno Bonnalie recently showed us. Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Caddies often tell us the question they’re most frequently asked is, “so, how much money do you make?

It’s a rude question to ask since it’s so personal, but caddie Geno Bonnalie put it into perspective in a Twitter thread. And, guess what? For most, it’s not always as glamorous as you might imagine.

Bonnalie has been caddying for his long-time friend Joel Dahmen for six years with this being their fourth season on the PGA Tour. Although Geno loves his life as a caddie, it hasn’t always been so simple for him to make a living.

“I would pack a frying pan in my suitcase to cook my own food,” Bonnalie said. “I have even packed a tent in my suitcase and stayed in a KOA campground so that I wouldn’t have to pay for a hotel!”

While Bonnalie’s story may seem bizarre, his early career struggles are similar to most other caddies.

“I’m not an anomaly by any means,” he said. “Almost every caddie has a similar story. You’re not making a bunch of money on tour, but that’s the sacrifice you have to make.”

Fortunately for Geno, he no longer has to cook chicken and cheese quesadillas in a tent. Dahmen had his best season in 2020 finishing 38th in the FedEx Cup standings with five, top-10 finishes.

“I have gotten to the point financially where I don’t have to worry about what travel and food costs,” Bonnalie said. “Over the years, I have evolved from being a penny-pincher to not having to order the cheapest thing on the menu.”

RELATED: How sending an email set up Geno Bonnalie’s path to becoming a PGA Tour caddie

Bonnalie took a risk quitting his desk job to begin caddying for Dahmen, and it paid off. In just six seasons, he has gone from making practically no money to walking some of the world’s best golf courses with the Tour’s best golfers.

“Once Joel got his card on the Korn Ferry Tour and allowed me to be his caddie,” Geno said, “I knew that I had just booked a ticket on a very special ride. And here we are chilling by a pool in the Dominican Republic after a 5-under round.”

Bonnalie is currently in the Dominican Republic at the Corales Championship, where Joel is in second-place after shooting 5 under in the first round.

It is safe to say that Geno is living his best life… well, except for that one time last September at the U.S. Open when his Airbnb canceled last minute: 

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