Friday, April 15, 2005

The Fore-caddie experience

So two guys pull up in a cart. I assume, like always, that I'll be carrying at least one bag. Not today. Today, I would be forecaddying.

"So your one job today is to find all of the 34 balls I'm going to be slicing into the woods on the right."


But during the round, neither of them went right. Neither really went left. They were down the middle almost all day. The tee shots were never the problem.

Bunkers were.

One of the guys in the cart had some kind of affinity for sand. He hit it into a bunker on every hole for the first 7 holes. Bunkers I didn't even know existed or came into play were targeted. And the other guy was a pretty good stick, but he was very clingy and quick to judge.

Example: On the 8th hole--which is the number one handicap hole--he decided to lay up. Now that's alright. This is a par-5, the green is really tricky and you need to get a decent angle at it to have a good chance at birdie. From his ball to these bunkers on the right it's 150. I told him this. Several times. I also told him, that to carry it all the way over these particular bunkers, you not only have to carry at least 190, but you also have to stay left. Somehow in his mind, this screamed "6-iron." Now I know some people can carry a 6-iron 190. But this guy is over 60 years old and he doesn't have the most aggressive swing known to man.

"Could I hit a 6-iron up to that point?"

"Well, whatever you can carry 190."

And of course he hits the 6-iron. And, predictably, the ball finds one of the bunkers on the right. As we arrived at his ball, he kept repeating over and over: "you know, for future reference, the 6-iron wasn't enough. You need a lot more than a 6-iron to carry this."

He said it so many times I thought I had done something wrong. I almost apologized, and then I was like: no. I told you the yardage you needed to hit, and you didn't take a club that could do it. Go fly a kite or something.

And then on 11, I lost the "Bunker King's" ball right as it landed. He had 124 to the pin and he elected to hit a 5 iron. Now I know he has back problems and he doesn't hit the ball very far, but you're talking about hitting a 5-iron into a small landing area, over water, off of an elevated tee. Unless you can impart some mad-spin on that ball, it's not stopping. And of course it didn't. It bounced over the green and into the water. But the problem was, I didn't see that. The sun was reflecting off of the water and I didn't see the ball land. So I guessed that it had stayed up (forgetting that he had hit the 5-iron). I guessed wrong. And he was pissed that it wasn't on the green.

My next big mistake came on 17. Bunker King was driving the cart and his guests' bag fell off. So I ran over to pick it up and put all the clubs back in. While I'm completing this little task, Bunker King hits his next shot. Well of course I didn't see it. I was busy picking up all these clubs. And of course I lose the ball. The number one rule in caddying and I freakin' break it on 17. Just before the round is over and I'm about to get tipped. I mean, I ended up finding the ball after the hole was over, but at that point, it didn't matter. I had lost it, and the King wasn't happy.

I bring up these instances today because I feel like these were the moments that cost me a decent tip. Which hurts now that I think about it, because when you're forecaddying, you're basically running. On a course over 7000 yards, that's at least 3.97 miles if the course is flat. With a slope of 145, this course is anything but flat. So you're talking at least 5 miles of on again, off again running. Which I know it's my job, but for my first day doing it, I'm a little sore. Hey, what can I say, I'm getting old.

So I'm tired and I've got blisters on my feet. I was tipped the minimum. I suppose I deserved it, but man that's tough. I wasn't being an asshole, and I hustled. Two mistakes in a round shouldn't blow away all my chances at a good tip.

Ah well. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

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