Purpose – It has been accepted that enhancing the satisfaction of employees, especially customer-contact employees is important as they can significantly and positively influence customers' satisfaction. In order to improve satisfaction of customer contact employees – caddies in Chinese golf clubs, this paper explores the internal service quality of caddy managers' encounters with caddies from a dyadic perspective (the view of caddy managers and of caddies). Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative multiple-case study methodology was adopted; using critical incident interviews to collect the data. In order to make sense of the data, narrative analysis is used to interpret favourable and unfavourable stories that are related by participants and why the storytellers told the stories in such a way. Findings – Nine dimensions were found to construct the internal service quality of caddy mangers in internal service encounters between caddies and caddy managers. They are reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, communication, consideration, fairness, recognition and flexibility. Practical implications – The outcome of this research can help the management team to better manage the internal service encounters between managers and caddies in order to improve caddies' satisfaction during service encounters. It can assist Chinese golf clubs in recruiting and training caddy managers. Originality/value – This research extended the service quality framework to the Chinese golf industry. There have been no previous studies conducted in this sector.