Monday, May 09, 2005

Tommy Boy

So today was Mother's Day. Hope everyone had a good one. Today was a little weird for me. For some reason, the tee-sheet was completely useless all day long: members canceling left and right, others rescheduling until later that day, and even a few that snuck in without a tee time.

The theory floating around the caddie room was that all of these members had called and scheduled the tee-time for Sunday earlier in the week, and had forgotten that Sunday also happened to be Mother's Day. Upon waking up Sunday morning, their wives tactfully reminded them that today meant SOMETHING special, and in a panic the members quickly ran to their phones and decided playing golf today may not be the best idea (or at least not until later).

So today was weird. But it was busy enough for me to get in two loops, so that was pretty sweet. The first was a forecaddying job for two older guys that up and decided my name was Tom (and for the purposes of this site, it is), and the second loop brought quite a little gem: it was a husband-wife combo, which meant one of the bags I would be carrying involved a woman.

Now, I got nothing against women. I was just a little nervous because my boss even made a point during training about how to handle caddying for women.

"Make sure for the first 9 holes you don't stare at their ass and then they'll trust you for the remainder of the round."

Sound advice, but I also had the husband to deal with, which meant that I had to make a conscious effort the whole round to make sure my eyes were never "wandering."

Now I consider myself to be a fine, upstanding gentleman full of integrity and a little bit of bullshit. I think it's a healthy combo. I always make a conscious effort to avert my eyes so women don't feel violated. But now I was being monitored by this woman's husband. That's like driving down the interstate with a Cop on your ass. Normally you know how to drive, but now that the Po-Po is on your 6, you've forgotten every bit of driving knowledge you've ever learned.

Fortunately for me, this guy (for the most part) was far too consumed with his own game to worry about me. He loved moving his ball before every shot and taking free drops when my back was turned.

"I found it!"

Sure you did. I only bring this up because his wife was going crazy.

"I HATE it when he does that. He ALWAYS moves his ball. It's so annoying. Why is he taking so long to hit? We've got people waiting behind us. Come on, hit it! Jeez!"

Believe it or not, this dynamic worked quite well throughout the round. I got to talk serious golf with her husband, and then got to turn around and joke with his wife about his little quirks.

I only made one mistake. I mistook our congenial conversation for an opening to be a little honest about some of the things I do as a caddie. It happened right before the 13th tee, and she was talking about her husbands' affinity for cheating.

"It took me a while after we first got married to realize that although he cheats (on the golf course), he honestly believes that what he writes down on the scorecard is ACTUALLY what he scored on that hole. I mean, have you ever heard of that?"

And for some reason (feel free to look at this a little funny) my reply was: "Oh yeah, members out here move their balls around all the time. In fact, if I can get away with it, I make it a point to cheat for my players anyway."

Pause. And yeah, MY comment does NOT make any sense when compared to the context of HER comment. She takes a moment, and replies.

"You should really be careful with that."

This dead-pan reply was a little unexpected, at least from my perspective at the time. So I quickly replied, "Well, I mean, I haven't cheated for you guys today. I mostly just umm...cheat for slow players. But your pace has been great today so there was no need."

Which of course was a lie. Of course I had already cheated for her husband a few times today, because he would've slowed way down to try and cheat on his own. So I just took away that option.

WHENEVER one of the players I'm caddying for hits it in some shit, I try to help them out if I can. Now if it's a tournament, I would never even THINK of touching a ball. But when you just want to keep things moving, cheating can become kind of fun.

Recently I kicked a players' ball 30 yards up the fairway. Initially I just wanted to kick the ball a little ways into the fairway because I had signaled to the tee that his ball had indeed ENDED UP there, even though his ball had ended up in the rough. But hey, I just wanted them to know that my signaling was sound. My kick, however, had a little energy and enthusiasm behind it and bada-bing, 30 yards later my player was happy. And happy players are always better tippers than unhappy players.

So maybe I shouldn't have told her this little tidbit of information. But the rest of the round went alright, and I ended up getting a really big compliment from her after we finished the 18th hole. So that felt good.

So this first round. The two older guys. I don't want to give away his exact title, but let's just say one of these guys had a hand in making Softspikes a household name on golf courses worldwide. Both of these guys were really nice, but they had some problems with memory. I told one of them my name 3 times on the first tee, and I just assumed the other one remembered my name because he didn't ask me to repeat it, but no. On the third hole, one of them started calling me Tom, and that just seemed to stick. So I didn't even attempt to correct them. They were adding some flair to the name after a while.

"Hey Tommy! What do you see happening with this putt my man?"

"Hey ToMAS! What do you have for a yardage?"

It really didn't bother me. I just made sure when we finished 18 that I ran ahead and told the staff members to call me Tom if they needed to get my attention. I didn't want these old guys to feel bad. Because they really were nice.

On the 9th hole, Mr. Softspikes offered me a job caddying in Wyoming at one of his courses.

"Not a bad deal. You could caddie in the summer and ski in the winter."

And then his friend added in a whisper: "TAKE HIM UP ON HIS OFFER."

So yeah. Two loops later and I'm ready for bed. But I tell you, this job just seems to keep improving by the DAY. What a great job.


Robert Thompson said...

The great anecdotes just keep coming. This is one of the most entertaining blogs out there.

Anonymous said...

..but now that Po-Po is on your six..

Well said Tom! So true -especially when your registration is expired like mine is at the moment.

Rich (from Eat Golf)

PS - why does Snoop Dogg carry an umbrella? .. Fo Drizzle said...

Love the blog, killer pages torn from real life that are really appreciated. Keep em comin
valueprep - relationship advice,
take care man