Work Related Musculoskeletal Pain in Golf Caddies-Johannesburg, South Africa

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 May 21;17(10):3617. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17103617.


Golf is an important and growing industry in South Africa that currently fosters the creation of an informal job sector of which little is known about the health and safety risks. The purpose of the study is to investigate the prevalence and significance of musculoskeletal pain in male caddies compared to other golf course employees while holding contributing factors such as socioeconomic status, age, and education constant. Cross-sectional data were collected and analyzed from a convenience sample of 249 caddies and 74 non-caddies from six golf courses in Johannesburg, South Africa. Structural interviews were conducted to collect data on general demographics and musculoskeletal pain for two to three days at each golf course. On average, caddies were eight years older, had an income of 2880 rand less a month, and worked 4 h less a shift compared to non-caddies employed at the golf courses. Caddies were approximately 10% more likely to experience lower back and shoulder pain than non-caddies. Logistic regression models show a significantly increased adjusted odds ratio for musculoskeletal pain in caddies for neck (3.29, p = 0.015), back (2.39, p = 0.045), arm (2.95, p = 0.027), and leg (2.83, p = 0.019) compared to other golf course workers. The study findings indicate that caddying, as a growing informal occupation is at higher risk for musculoskeletal pain in caddies. Future policy should consider the safety of such a vulnerable population without limiting their ability to generate an income.

Keywords: South Africa; caddies; golf; informal job; musculoskeletal pain; occupational health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Golf*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases*
  • Musculoskeletal Pain*
  • Occupational Diseases*
  • Prevalence
  • South Africa
  • Young Adult