Thursday, April 07, 2005

Catching up: a little recap

So after my loop yesterday I ended up playing some golf with friends (different course) and ended up getting back home around 10:30 pm. I couldn't hit a straight tee shot to save my life, my irons were inconsistent, and I couldn't read the greens. But my short game was on and I had a great time. But, it was a long freakin' day. I passed out before I could post anything last night, so I'll add a little extra to this one to make sure everyone's on the same page.

So let's see. Yesterday it was my distinct pleasure to caddy for another Korean. I say "distinct pleasure" because everyone in the caddie room groaned when this guys' name came up. Apparently the Asian members at this course are known for their slow play, their inability to converse with another human being, and their reluctance to give up more than $30 for a tip. So of course, being the rookie, I was the #1 draft pick.

So I meet the man. He seemed nice, a little on the quiet side, but nice. And then I saw his putter. A Scotty Cameron Futura. For those of you who don't know, this putter is massive. A massive putter-head means a massive putter-cover. Great. One more thing to pay attention to today.

And if I may, I'd like to digress for a moment. Scotty Cameron putters. I don't think I've seen one in a pro shop go for less than $225. That's the equivalent of me eating for a month. That's a really great night at the bar. I mean, I'd probably have to check with my brother, but I believe there's like 37 different things a stripper will do to you or for you for that amount. She could paint your house. I mean I know people need putters. I know this. Putting is like 40% of the game, so you better own a putter that you like. But come on--$225? I just don't see it. I understand that Scotty Cameron putters are cool as hell. You feel like a pro when you hold onto them. Hell, I even purchased a $15 putter at Wal-Mart because it looked like a Scotty Cameron. And simply because it LOOKED like a Scotty Cameron, I was putting lights-out. But still. Don't spend that much on a putter unless you pay my rent for a month.

Wow. Sorry. I guess that guys' putter really bothered me. But yeah, he was really a terrible player. And he was about as quick as Bernhard Langer on downers. That was the real kicker. I mean, if you're not that great of a player, you have to play a little faster because you have to chase after your ball, and the resulting time differential should equal that of a good player moving at a normal pace. But no. Mr. I'm-too-sexy-for-this-game thought that squirrel over there might be checking out his preshot routine.

And the pace really frustrated me because I thought that I was doing a hell of a job caddying. I was hustling, man. I always had the yardage ready (even though he never really understood what I said so I had to repeat myself constantly), his ball marks and divots were quickly repaired, and you could see your freakin' face on his clubheads. They were spotless. But it was just hurry up, wait, hurry and wait some more. All day. He stood an average of 30 seconds over every one of his putts. Anyway, enough said. Moving along.

After 18 holes of caddying perfection, I received $30 for my blood, sweat, and patience. And yeah, maybe some tears. But that came after I took the bills out of my pocket and went, "$30? Damn!"

And now we get to today. I arrived around 7:30 am, and after about an hour of chilling out, my boss tells me I have a single going out. So I grab a towel, wet one end, throw on my bib, and run outside. I don't see anyone.

"Hey rookie, I'm back here."

It was my boss. My boss? For some reason it took me longer than usual to make the connection. He was going to train me. So I grabbed his bag and ran out to the first tee.

Now I know I've given you guys a little bit of background on my boss, but let me repeat myself for a moment: he is really intimidating. He knows how to work hard, he's smart, and he knows what he wants out of life and out of his caddies. He started this business of his from scratch. He doesn't put up with much. This morning he also chewed out 4 caddies on 4 different phone calls because they're not coming into work when they're supposed to. Which I know a boss needs to do that, but I'm used to managers who pull people aside and discreetly inform them that there might be a problem. No way with this guy. He'll ream you out in front of 30 guys if he thinks he has to prove a point. He commands respect. I like that.

So I run down the first fairway, find a spot in the rough to watch his ball, and have a clear view of just about every possible place he could hit it.

And thanks to Murphy's Law, he skanks his tee shot high and right, landing in the woods behind me amongst leaves, sticks, and pricker-bushes. I know this now, but at the time, I was screwed. I didn't see his ball off the tee. I didn't see his ball when it was flying in the air, and I sure as hell missed it when it landed. My only saving grace was that I heard it hit a branch on the way down. So all I had to go on was a general direction. And somehow I found it.

"Good find."

Damn right boss-man. Who's your daddy?

"Then again, if you didn't find it, I would've reamed you out for breaking the #1 rule in caddying and turned around and walked back inside."

Oh. Well it's a good thing I found it then.

And after that, it was pretty much a cakewalk. Or cake-hustle. Whichever. Now, I've been caddying now for a while (ahem, 2 weeks), and I consider myself to be wicked awesome. But I was really impressed with how much more he was able to teach me. And I also found out today that I'm already pretty good when it comes to reading putts. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

So we finished our four-hole loop and returned to the caddyshack, where the rest of my cohorts were engrossed in a conversation about the evolution of deep-sea fish.

"I just don't understand. Light can't penetrate that deep, so why the hell do those fish need to be so colorful?"

"Their eyes are different than ours. They can see that shit."


So I relaxed for a while. And then I was given a loop. I would carry a bag, and the other caddie would ride in a cart (to watch over a 10-year-old so he wouldn't crash) and caddie for the other two in the threesome. Sounded pretty lax. Just as I was leaving, one of the other caddies mumbled, "He's a nice guy, but he doesn't pay very well."

Great. A non-Asian Asian.

No, that's not nice. Maybe he's Jewish.

No, that's not nice either. Maybe he was born during the depression. Yeah, that sounds a little more tolerant.

Anyway, the round was pretty painless. Well, except for two things: first, about this 10-year-old who was playing. Now I have nothing against the kid. I think he has the potential to play some good golf someday. He just needs some fitted clubs. Like his putter: it was longer than mine! And I'm 6'2''. No wonder he was missing everything. His father was also trying to coach him the whole way around. "Now, hold on a minute son, don't just pick that up. Take your time and finish."

His father also gave lessons on bump-and-run shots: "Now son, you want to hit it like you're hitting a putt."

Okay, so far so good I guess.

"And to control the distance, you use different clubs. If you have a longer bump-and-run shot, you would use a longer club. Like a 6-iron instead of a 7-iron. Do you understand?"

I chimed in with his son. "Umm...No?"

I mean, come on. If you've got a bit of a hill in front of you, you wouldn't use a club with less loft that might hit the ball directly INTO the slope and take off all of the speed. I mean, I guess his father has a point, but there is such a thing as "feel" in this game, and I think you need to address each shot on a case-by-case basis, because they're all different and they all require a creative flair. Especially around the greens.

But anyway, what I was getting at is that I really don't think what this kid's father is doing to him is fair. He was putting so much pressure on this kid to play well. And the kid is 10 years old. I told his father that I thought he might make a fine golfer someday.

"Yeah, I'm hoping he can help me retire."

Aww shit. Now that's not right. Why don't we see what he wants to do with HIS life before we make that a goal, alright pops? Plus, at this kid's age, the game should be fun. It shouldn't be pressure-packed. I mean, I suppose it worked for Tiger, but 99.9% of the time it will ruin a kid's life. Because when you get to be as good as the pro's, golf turns into work. Ask anyone. If you don't have the drive in your gut, it's not worth it. This kid has to decide that on his own.

And what the hell was that second thing that frustrated me? Oh yeah. The father's brother was playing with them. There's just something that annoys me about a guy that takes golf so seriously. I mean, I guess you can if you want to, but the thing was, this guy didn't even have the game to back it up. So what you end up with is a well-dressed Ashworth man with a preshot routine that rivals Jack Nicklaus in the '86 Masters, but the swing and patience of a Deli-worker during a rush. So yeah, it got to me after he chunked it for the 43rd time and still took his time with that poker face of his. And my goodness did he talk to himself. All the time. But anyway, you get the point. This guy was ridiculous.

And at the end of the round, the tip wasn't as bad as I had expected. So yeah, that was pretty much my day. I'm going to stop now because I know this has already been an arduous task for you readers. But thanks for sticking with it. Hope to see you again soon.

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