Saturday, April 23, 2005

Dangerous Ground?

Allow me to preface this post by saying that I was definitely gambling and drinking until 3 am last night. A friend of mine invited me to his weekly poker game and I lost track of time. The buy in was $20, and I walked out with $21.75. Oh yeah. High roller here. But walking into work today at 7:45 am didn't feel too great. Well, to be honest, I guess it did in a way. All of the other caddies are gambling addicts. I've been working hard during the day to try and succeed as a caddie, why not participate in their extracurricular activities at night?

Because I walked in at 7:45 on a Saturday, a pretty large list of caddies had already formed on the stand-by board and I'm sure there were 10-15 more that had come in for assigned loops. Basically, I was expecting to wait around for a long, long time. So I set down my stuff and pulled up a chair. Just as I'm closing my eyes to try and get some rest, I hear the boss yell two names. A guy that I caddied with yesterday (the future Caddie Master), and MINE.


With no time to think, I jumped up, threw on my bib, and grabbed a towel. I flew outside half expecting the boss to look at me and wonder why the hell I was heading out on the course. I mean, I just got there, why am I being put out right away? Am I getting to be one of his "go-to" guys? I paused for a second when I saw him to make sure he really wanted me on this loop. I was so tired I thought I might have been hallucinating or something when I heard my name.

"Tom, you're on that bag right there."

Aha. So I'm not dreaming.

So I grab the bag and run out onto the first tee to meet my player. Turns out he's a recruiter for a college basketball team. So that's pretty sweet. This round should be fun.

Well, no. You're wrong again bud. It was a pretty lousy loop. But there were a few interesting things that happened today that I'd like to share.

First off, the whole group sucked at golf. Fortunately for me, my man was decent with his driver. Well, very decent now that I think about it. I think he hit 12 or 13 fairways today. I mean, the rest of his game was a little shaky, but at least I never broke out in a sweat trying to find his tee ball. But the other two players, whooooowee. One of them used to be the Ambassador for another country, and let me tell you, his swing was a thing of beauty. Well, actually, it was God-awful. My dad always used to joke with me about a "32-piece" take-away he was working on. Well this guy wasn't joking. He definitely took the club back in 32 distinct pieces. I've never seen so much bending and twisting. And the other player--a member--whipped the club around so fast I think he was trying to open some kind of hole in the space-time continuum. So in addition to taking huge divots, he created little time-rifts all over the course. I should've walked through one of them to see if the Redskins are ever going to go back to the Super Bowl.

I forgot to mention that the boss-man also sent us out today with a caddie-trainee. He seemed like a nice kid, but he was kind of shy. He really didn't say that much, and after the 5th hole, he stayed out of the way. He'll probably make a great caddy someday.

So what happened on 5? A rarity. The other caddie was down over the hill in the "shit" (an area with the remnants of an old water hazard) looking for one of his players' balls, and told this trainee to hold the other bag. Meanwhile, my player is about to hit his shot, and this trainee is 50 yards ahead of us at 12 o'clock. He's right in the line of fire. So what happens? The trainee gets wacked.

My player ended up skulling his shot right at the kid and the ball struck him on the inside of his left knee on a spot adjacent to his kneecap. For a second I thought the ball had struck the bag the kid was holding, because it bounced dead left after it made contact. But nope. He pulled up his pant leg and revealed quite a little mark.

So for the rest of the 18 both the players and the caddies were asking this kid as frequently as possible, "Are you okay man? You sure?"

On the 8th tee it looked like the kid was starting to tear up, so the other caddie blurts out, "What, you got allergies or something?"


I mean, I suppose he's trying to comfort the kid. Letting him know that's it's okay to cry and lie about it. But man I felt bad for him. I've been hit by a skulled shot before and they hurt like a bitch. When I got hit, the ball wasn't even moving very fast. This ball, on the other hand, was cooking. Well, after that the kid learned where to stand. Guess he had to learn the hard way.

The last little tidbit I wanted to share about today was my complete lack of green-reading skills. Now if I were this player, I would've stopped asking me for reads after the 5th hole. Somehow he kept asking me until the 12th. I suppose he was trying to give me as many chances as possible to be right. When he finally started reading putts himself, he rubbed it in my face by making everything: 12, 20, and even 50 footers were no problem.

Yes sir, I suck. But see, I was gambling till 3 am last night. What were you doing? You were probably in bed by 10. Wuss.

At the end of the round, the member ended up tipping us, which was good, because I don't think my player would've tipped me anything at all. Not because I didn't hustle or keep things moving, but because I couldn't read a putt to save my life. So I guess I got away with something. A great tip for a bad day.

Let's hope tomorrow goes a little more smoothly.

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