Friday, June 17, 2005

Part One of...Well...Two

So I walked in yesterday morning to find a sign on the caddie room door that read: “Caddies: please make sure to rake all bunkers and repair all divots.” I immediately thought of my round the day before with Mr. Nice-Guy. He had said something.

You see, I was one of those boring kids growing up that always did what was expected of me. I got into some trouble, yes, but for the most part, I work hard and am never normally the target for complaints. So, when people yell at me for something that I’m already doing right, it does two things. One, it makes me work harder, because I start second guessing myself and questioning whether or not I’m actually DOING what I am SUPPOSED to be doing, and two, I get pissed off because I don’t feel I should be getting in trouble in the first place. The result is that I work twice as hard as before and increase my level of guilt. I’m sure devout Catholics have the same problem when they walk into a strip club by mistake for the THIRD time. But I’m not Catholic. I’m a caddie.

Fine. This guy wants to complain, GREAT. See if I care. If anything, this makes me respect the man a little less, which is sad because I really liked the guy. He was the first member to ever request me.

To be honest, I’m really not sure WHY I think less of him. I mean, he IS a member. The members’ certainly pay enough to get what they want. Why not let the Greenskeepers know that there’s a problem before it gets any worse? Understandable, but I guess I’m just mad because now I’m going to be looking over my shoulder every time I step onto a green to see if the member is taking notes on what I’m doing. And that’s annoying, because I work hard. I don’t need any supervision. So I guess there was a line that was crossed when Mr. Nice-Guy walked into the pro shop and complained that the caddies’ weren’t doing their jobs. It illustrated for me just exactly where I stood in his mind.

But you know what? It’s over and done with. Like a wee babe crying over a misplaced dime-bag, there’s no need to pine over it. The important thing was, I was on time, feeling good, and itching to do 36. Bring it on bitch.

After a little wait, I was put on a loop with 4 guys from New Jersey. Now most Southerner’s would’ve cringed at such an assignment, but you have to remember, I’m originally from upstate NY and these are my kind of people. They move faster, talk faster, swear more, and don’t take shit from anyone. You come out of a conversation with people like that hyper and incredibly alert. I say it again: This is very similar to our friends the squirrels. Especially when they smoke the crack.

On my way out to the tee-box, one of the staff members added, “Make sure you take care of these guys today, okay? They apparently had a bad experience with a caddie yesterday.”

Alrighty then.

So in addition to adjusting to a faster pace of speech, play, and smell, I have to appease some of the tension dwelling within these beasts. Because if they had a bad experience with a caddie in their FIRST round, they might be a little hesitant to accept ANOTHER. Especially one with such an amazing record for TOLERANCE and COMPASSION.

So I walk out onto the first tee to meet my players. The first guy I run into is bending over to grab his coffee. I’m not sure WHY it’s on the cart path, but whatever. They’re from New Jersey. So he pauses for a moment as he’s bending over. Well, I can see his arms are hanging, so maybe he’s stretching before he tees off.

HUGE fart.

It was one of those hangover farts that you can’t seem to get out of your clothes. It’s worse than cigarette smoke. Normally you can outrun a fart, but with these, they follow you around for MINUTES. And yes, this fart happened to smell like New Jersey.

Then the guy stands up. He turns around, looks at me, and cracks a huge smile.

“Well hello there brotha. Are you our caddie?”

“Yes sir.”

“Well I hope you’ve got good fuckin’ eyes. ‘Cause I can’t read these greens for shit.”

Well that makes two of us. I mean, I don’t have on my magical sunglasses today, so I’m pretty much screwed, sir.

So with that last positive thought, I shook some more hands and flew down the first fairway. Today, I’d be moving. “Do the hustle.” I mean, I can’t seem to read a green to save my life (unless of course I have those sunglasses on), but I have DEFINITELY determined one amazing rule of caddying: If you hustle, you’re golden. No matter how badly you screw up during the round, if you’re running your brains out, the group will be forever grateful.

Because let me tell you, yesterday was far from perfect. I can’t even REMEMBER how many putts I misread. But the thing was, I actually read enough putts RIGHT to keep these guys guessing. Does this caddie know what the hell is going on? Is he smoking something we should be looking into? I read enough putts right that they couldn’t dismiss me on the greens. I was still asked to read a putt or two on every hole. And despite how shot my nerves were by the end, I was quite grateful that I was able to read that many putts and get THAT much experience on the greens. Because I’ve also learned something else: the only way a caddie can learn to read putts is to be burned. Trial by fire. I mentioned this before when I was caddying in that member-member match and I gave my player a TERRIBLE read on the 16th hole. I think, for the rest of my life, I could come back to this course and pick the exact spot where the ball was, pick the exact spot where the hole was, and give a perfect read. I am forever scarred. But that’s the only way to learn out there. It’s just like my feet. They’re covered in blisters right now, but you better believe that I have some STONG feet right now and I could walk most people into the GROUND.

So it turns out that this New Jersey loop was mentally draining in ADDITION to being smelly. Keeping up with all of their comments, dealing with the incessant “Hey brotha’s,” like, “How far is this brotha? How much does this break brotha? You are still WASTED brotha.” I have a headache. Oops. Here comes “Kindergarten Cop.”

Could be a tumor. Oh no. Drop it. DROP IT.

It’s not a tumor!


Oh yeah. And I should add that the players were all guests of a member in the group ahead of us, which meant that last night, these guys were SLOSHED. Apparently it was so bad that the guy with the coffee on the ground who blew a fart in my face? Yeah. He claims he didn’t sober up until the 14th hole.

But now that I think about it, is that really possible? You hear all of these big partiers claiming that they’re still drunk long after they’ve gone to bed and woken up the next morning. This guy had to be making it up. I think the only way that could happen to me was if I was tanked before I went to bed, got about 20 minutes of sleep, and just HAPPENED to go back outside to do something else. But after 14 holes? Come on. That’s a lame excuse. I mean, his swing was ugly enough as it is. He’d HAVE to be unbelievably sober just to make CONTACT with the ball.

But anyway, where was I? Oh man, I LOVE my tangents. So I’m on 17, and by this point I’m feeling a little tired and the brain farts and coming out like I need Ammodium AD or something. All four players hit their balls into the fairway. Well the 17th on this course is like the 1st hole in that carts aren’t allowed on the fairway. So caddies have to yell out yardages over to players in their carts because the carts have no “legal” way of getting onto the fairway.

So I’m writing down yardages and I still have two more balls to go. Well all of a sudden the players are ready for their yardages. For some reason I didn’t see their carts pull up. Well this makes me wig out “just a lil’ bit.” So now I CAN’T function. I can’t walk, add, subtract or put together a coherent sentence. So I made up the last two numbers. Hey, I THOUGHT they were pretty close.

Well one of the balls didn’t really matter because the guy was so far back that I KNEW he couldn’t even put it CLOSE to trouble. But I think I was about 10-15 yards off on the second yardage, and the player ended up taking too much club and flying the green. I felt like crap. Everyone knows how that feels when you fly a green after you hit a GREAT shot. Feels like you’ve been used. Used by a large black man named Beatrice. It NEVER feels good.

Normally, if you go over the back of the 17th green, you’ve got a better chance of finding Jimmy Hoffa than finding your ball. There’s a sharp downhill slope into a LATERAL HAZARD lined with weeds, prickers, and Anti-Semitic fish. So the ball was probably screwed. But I tried to keep things positive.

“You’re probably fine. There’s a lot of rough back there.”

Well maybe that wasn’t as positive as I wanted it to sound, but it’ll have to do.

So I haul ass and make sure I’m way ahead of the group so I can be the first one over the green. And for some reason I will never understand, the ball stayed up. I mean, it was way down the hill and right next to the hazard, but it was playable.

So I looked both ways and threw the ball up the hill a little closer to the green.

Don’t look at me like that. I mean sure, it’s cheating. But I don’t want the guy to think I was THAT far off on my yardage. So I walked up to the ball, looked both ways, and threw it up even closer. Now he was sitting pretty about 10 yards off of the green. Nice shot, sir. I gave you the CORRECT distance, but you just PURED that last shot. No worries though. You’re just off the back of the green.

And he ended up getting up and down for par. That’s awesome. So now he’s smiling and totally FORGETTING about my questionable yardage. Cool freakin’ beans.

But the 18th was just pure mayhem. Three out of the four players hit a second ball off of the tee because they either skanked their first into the woods on the right or hit it into the water on the left. And when a caddie has to keep track of 5 or 6 balls instead of 3 or 4, chaos will normally ensue. My mind went blank. I was running around like a chicken on speed. I was rummaging around in the woods to find one of the players’ balls, running back across the fairway to reiterate to another player that his ball DID in fact land in the water, and then back across the fairway to get the yardage for the ONE player that actually hit the fairway.

One of the players whiffed two shots in a row trying to get out of the rough, and so I just assumed that he would skank his third shot as well. So I started pacing off a yardage for another player when all of a sudden Mr. Skank-Boy ripped a shot over my head straight down the fairway.

He started yelling at me saying, “Oh come on! LOOK!”

Look? But what if I don’t WANT to. It was too late anyway. When I went to look and see where his ball landed, I didn’t see it anywhere. I felt bad that I had missed watching him hit his shot, but it would’ve been like waiting for Spalding to hit one amazing shot out of all of his mishits. I just never expected a good shot to come out of that man.

But despite that little hiccup on the last hole, all of the players agreed that I had “taken care of them,” and so the member took care of ME. So long New Jersey.

I’m going to stop there for now and fill you in on the rest when a little later. I actually have to head to work right now. I tried working out at the gym last night after a long loop so I was pretty much DONE by 10 pm. But no worries guys. More is on the way.


dave said...

Your posta are...well phenomenal. I never stop reading...always to the end and want more...thanks!

Jam Boy said...

Thanks so much for the comment. I love feedback. I'm going to be trying something new on my next few posts, and I hope you let me know what you think. Instead of hitting on all of the things that happened during the round, I'm only going to focus on a couple of highlights to try and reduce the amount of material people have to read. Yes, if I happen to go off on a tangent I will NOT exercise any sort of restraint, but I want to see what people think about the blog if it's a little more concise and a little more dense. Concentrated sarcasm. Let's see what happens.

BuffaloGolfer.Com said...

Where in upstate New York? There's a lot of upstate in upstate New York.