Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I Heart Whiny Cry-Babies

Monday was the practice round for one of two member-guests that will be held over the course of this summer. This first event calls for a member to elect three guests to come and compete in a one-day tournament. Now I was psyched for this tournament for two reasons: one, I wasn't required to be in on Monday until 9:30, and on Tuesday I won't have to arrive until 11:30. I get to sleep-in baby. It's been awhile. Yesterday I didn't know what to do with myself. It felt so weird sleeping-in until 8 am. I can't believe I used to sleep until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. I think that would be impossible for me nowadays. Well, I suppose I could if I took some really good drugs. But that's neither here nor there.

The SECOND reason was that I was "recruited" to caddie for one of the members in this event. Now, normally I refer to this guy as the older member with the unique voice, but I feel like I'm going to be caddying for him several times this summer so I might as well come up with a name for him. Let's see. Oh I got it. Mr. Nice-Guy. Not only is that an appropriate name for him, but I'm a huge "Half Baked" fan. Perfect.

Now about these guests of his. Two of them were pleasant to be around, and the third was my worst experience yet as a caddie. While the other two were just grateful to be at this course playing with an old friend, this third guy, who I will refer to as "Mr. Whiner" (for all of you who have seen that old SNL skit), acted like all of the service he was receiving was simply satisfactory at best and he seemed anything BUT grateful to be there.

Mr. Whiner was SUPPOSED to be the "A" player of the group. And yes, for being in his 60s his drives were very impressive. Like over 300 yards impressive at some points. But for the most part, he was the worst player of the group. I think he maybe hit 2 fairways the whole round, he was hitting the ball into a crapload of bunkers, and he couldn't putt very well. And to add to that, he wasn't "gelling" with the other three players. The other three were laughing, analyzing the course together, and simply trying to enjoy the day. But no. Mr. Whiner took today so seriously that the other three stopped talking to him after awhile.

Examples! We need examples of his bitchy behavior!

Well alright.

Before we teed off, the players decided they wanted to go to the range for a little while. Okay, fine. I need some more experience working with players on the range anyway. I mean, you think it's easy, but depending upon how you interact with them and where you stand and when you reach over to grab a club of theirs to clean, you're giving them a very good picture of your strengths and weaknesses as a caddie. If you simply met a player on the first tee, it would take a few holes for that player to make a good assessment of the job you're doing, because they're analyzing so much more and they don't have as much time to talk with you. Yes sir, enemies can be made just as easily as friends on the driving range. First impressions have never been so important.

But things went fine. Mr. Whiner actually seemed like a decent guy on the range. His swing was smooth and repeatable. I think the only thing that struck me as weird was that his backswing looked faster than his follow-thru. Makes my ass twitch just thinking about it.

But the problem was, he had a trunk. His bag was so freakin' heavy. Obviously, I would be changing it out and switching to a light-weight carrying bag. And that is where I made my first mistake of the day: I didn't ask him if I could switch out his bag.

It didn't help that he was the last one out of the clubhouse, and all of his friends were teeing off by the time he got to me. I was standing there with the two bags just praying he would finish droppin' that deuce so we could get moving. I would've been able to switch out his bags by myself no problem, but again: I AM FORBIDDEN FROM GOING INTO A PLAYER'S BAG.

When he finally comes out of the clubhouse, he looks at his friends teeing off and then looks at me holding two bags. Not surprisingly, he gets a little flustered. Frantically, he begins throwing things into the new bag and screaming to anyone that will listen: "Oh no! Where are my sunglasses! I have to have them! I want my mommy!"

One of the staff members hears his cries for help and jumps into a cart to head back to the range to look for his $8 pair of sunglasses (Well, I can't make that assumption. Maybe they were a nicer pair worth about $16.95). I would occasionally get a glance from him as he was loading up the new bag. He was probably saying to himself, "It was you! You lost them! You're rushing me right now! Nooooo!"

Then he starts to voice his opinion.

"God, these zippers are broken. What kind of bag is this? This is an awful bag. Such poor quality. Why didn't you give me more time to load up this bag?"

Because you were dropping a deuce.

"Well fine...will you...will you mess around with these zippers while I go tee off?"

Of course.

And of course his tee shot(S) was/were crappy. The first one had a massive fade and ended up by the woods, and the second one went in the same direction, just not as far right. Anyone could see that. That's why I was blown away when we got to his "area" and he started complaining again. It was ridiculous how hysterical he was. It was like a 5 year old holding back tears.

"You see? I didn't know you wanted to switch out the bags, and so I rushed, and now I forgot my marker! Now I have no way of knowing if this was my first or second tee shot!"

Your first tee shot went further right than the second. Hence, thus, therefore, and HEY DUMBASS, if we're standing next to two balls, and one is further right than the other, guess which one is your first? And who would hit a mulligan/provisional ball that was identical to their first?

Well, I'll tell you who. A whiny cry-baby.

After Mr. Whiner hit his second shot, the staff member who went off to the range in search of the $8 pair of sunglasses had returned to deliver the sad news: he couldn't find them. But this gave me an opportunity to run over and ask him to go fetch a sharpie so that Mr. Whiner didn't commit suicide. So by the time we all walked onto the first green, the staff member returned with a marker I could hand off to my traumatized player.

And he was so grateful. Tears in his eyes, trying his best to hold back a smile as I handed him the sharpie. I just couldn't help myself: "Oh yeah. And this isn't mine, so please return it after the round is over." He returned a solemn nod.

So I finally made it over my FIRST hurdle. What a bitch that was. Now I was on to my second: Yardages. It was really hard to satisfy this guy. Sometimes he was normal, wanting only the yardage to the front of the green and the yardage to the flagstick. But other times, whew. I was having trouble satiating him.

"How far is the flag from the right side of the green, how far is the flag on from the front fringe, and how many inches long is the rough behind the green?"

Well, no. Maybe he didn't ask that last one. But on the 17th hole he made me feel completely worthless, even though I ended up being right. He drove the ball a little over 310 yards, and his ball had rolled through the fairway into the second cut of rough. But it was a short par-4, which meant that he only had 53 yards left to the flag. So I gave him the standard two yardages. But he wanted one more.

"How much green do I have between the top of that bunker and the flag?"

I paused for all of 1.46 seconds before I answered.

"Umm...I believe its--"

"Mr. Nice-Guy? How much green do I have to work with up there?"

"...8 yards."

He had cut me off. And to add insult to injury, he had asked another player for help instead of me.

Mr. Nice-Guy replied, "Well, I see about 15 feet."

Great. As of right now, I'm wrong, and my player is whining again.

And Mr. Whiner hit a great shot. Only 15 feet left for birdie. As we all walked onto the green and started converging around the pin, I quickly walked to the top of the bunker and stepped onto the fringe. From there I paced towards the flag.

Yep, 8 yards.

But that didn't make me feel any better, because I felt--and still feel--that I had screwed up. Yes this guy whined all the time, but I should've had that distance ready. It was quite an invaluable learning experience now that I think about it. Now, not only am I going to be prepared for just about any yardage that somebody wants to throw at me, but I am NOT going to hesitate in the least. Poker face. There will be no signs of uncertainty or panic. Again, sounds like common sense to all those reading, but take it from me, caddying is most definitely an art form. I'm already starting to see how much time and effort I'm going to have to put in in order to be considered a "senior caddie." But I'll get there. No worries.

By the end of the round, the tip was fine and Mr. Nice-Guy had assured me that I had done a great job. Now I have to put on my game face for today's round. Let's hope Mr. Whiner brought his pacifier.


Jerry said...

Just wanted to say I love reading your stories about the people we all see on the course but never have the, well let's say privelage of playing a round with. I wonder what these poor saps do when they play at a course with no caddie's? You are doing great with your new job and this blog and I hope you keep it up.

Jam Boy said...

Thanks so much for the feedback. It's comments like these that make me go to extreme lengths to get my posts up as frequently as possible. Hope to see you again soon.