Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Rookie Of The Year

So today was the day.

Today, I became a man. Or something to that effect. Today, a small luncheon and "skills challenge" was scheduled for the caddies' in lieu of payment for services rendered. So basically, that meant that we, the caddies, got an opportunity to hit some balls and compete against each other (an everyday occurrence anyway) put on a suit and tie, and then get a chance to walk through the clubhouse and visit an OPEN BAR. Yes, actually PLAYING the course would've been a little more desirable, but they've had some bad weather lately and the course is in some desperate need of repairs. But hey, free drinks and a walk through the clubhouse? Why the hell not.

So I arrive around 11 and am IMMEDIATELY nervous. Now, as much as I WANTED to hit balls recently and get my game in shape for playing the course, I was definitely side-tracked and missed out on a few buckets. I have my boss to blame for that. He threw a party last Saturday and I ended up "crashing" on one of his chairs in the living room. His house was STREWN with bodies the next morning. And just like Cosmo Kramer, I had my internal clock set for 6:15, hit the snooze a bunch of times, and finally ran out the door at 6:35 to see if I could actually pull off getting to work on time. And I didn't feel that bad until I rolled into work and found out that I would be caddying for none other than Mr. Nice-Guy.

The smile was instantly ripped from my face.

I mean, it's not like I would be giving him BAD service, but I definitely looked crappy. Beat up. I was running on 2-3 hours of sleep and I'm sure I still smelled like alcohol. Oh man. How could I let him see me like this?

But, it turned out to be a routine loop and before I knew it I was able to head back home and crash once more.

Just a random side note: it has come to my attention recently that I am drinking an awful lot these days. I think I have pulled more all-nighters since I dawned the bib than all of my four years' of college put together. Thank GOD I'm being promoted. Or...wait. Just because I'm not caddying doesn't mean my parties and drinking will cease. I'm still AROUND caddies. Oh man. These guys are insatiable. This means I'm going to have to come up with some sort of limit for myself or something. I don't want to die at 53 because I decided my liver would be happier FIGHTING FOR ITS LIFE every freakin' WAKING HOUR. So yeah. I'll get that squared away.

But anyway, back to today. So I get over to the range and the "skill challenge" is set up like so: An individual hits towards 4 greens of varying yardage. Greens are 103, 154, 203, and 263 yards away. You are given 2 balls for each green. Points are awarded for landing on the greens, and then you move onto the next station, which is a 40 yard pitch shot into a pool. If you land in the pool, it's 5 points, if you hit the side it's 2 points. Or something like that. I wasn't really listening when they were explaining it to me. Again, I was too NERVOUS to care. I was just concentrating on HITTING THE BALL. And today it was especially hard with these new eyes of mine. And the final station was very similar, with another pool being 80 yards away.

So I step up to the first station. I put one ball on the 103. One ball on the 154. Two on the 203. I'll NEVER figure that one out. You have to remember, I'm so nervous at this point (the head pro and all of his little assistants are observing, in addition to the 30-40 caddies waiting to compete) that I'm taking one more club into each green and aiming WAY left. I was just hitting these thin high fades that SOMEHOW found the greens. As for the 263, that was a joke. So according to the point system, I had 6 points after the first station. The leader was sitting pretty with 8 points. Now I was aiming at the first pool, 40 yards away. My first shot landed a little long and left of it, my second a little long and right, and my third landed short. So no dice. Still two down with 3 balls left to play. The Assistant pro tallying up my score chimed in.

"Now you're two points down Tom. You need to make something happen at this last station."

No shit Sherlock.

But to tell you the truth, that was all the encouragement I needed. At that moment, all of my anxiety and nervousness melted off of my body. It pooled at my feet and was dried up by that unrelenting bastard of a Sun. I was at ease. My first shot sailed right on line and landed 2 yards over my target. I smiled and took a deep breath. I could still feel the last swing. That meant I just had to take a little off of it, and this bastard was mine.

One-two. Like a perfectly timed pendulum, I caught the ball with a crisp down-swing and the ball sailed on the same line as before. The Assistant pro couldn't help himself.

"Oh baby. Be right."

I held my finish, and the ball dropped right into the pool. 5 points.

I high-fived the Assistant pro and proceeded to skull-chunk-shank my next wedge, but I didn't care. I had finished with 11 points and held the lead by 3.

After exorcising some more of my anxiety via various putting contests with the other caddies, it was time to head in and change for lunch. And what a lunch it turned out to be. Ribs, steak, mashed potatoes, seafood linguine, garlic rolls, plain rolls, Caesar salad, regular salad, pies three times the size of your head, strawberry short-cake, whoa. And that open bar? Clutch. I was stuffed after one massive plate. I was also pissed, because the food was so good that I wished I had like 5 stomachs to load up for the upcoming WEEK.

After the meal, the head pro came up with a microphone and said a few words, handed out some scholarships (some of the caddies had applied for scholarships to college--and yes, that is a VERY cool thing for the members of the course to make donations), and then got to the "skills challenge" results.

My score held up. I won. He called me up and I walked away with a cool pair of Oakley's for my trouble. Which is funny, because I've always wanted to have a pair just to SAY that I owned a pair. But I never actually wanted to BUY them. So this worked out nicely. But before I could step down and return to my seat, the head pro stopped me.

"Oh, now hold on a second. Now, Tom doesn't know this, but he's been named 'Rookie of the Year.' And I want to turn the mic over to his boss so he can say a few words."

I was shocked. I didn't even know such a title existed in this field.

"Now some of you may know this, but Tom's nickname around the caddie yard is 'The Franchise,' and I think he's called that because the other caddies know, just as I know, that he's easily one of the best caddies we've come across in a long time. He shows up 6-7 days a week, on time, he doesn't mind sitting around waiting for a loop, and he gets along with everyone. In fact, I have so much faith in this kid that I've already assigned him to work as an Assistant at one of my new accounts in Florida. I know he'll be perfect for the job. Congratulations Tom."

What a great day. And after the luncheon, the boss suggested that we all meet at a local bowling alley for some more pitchers. Most of us showed up, and it was a lot of fun. Yelling at each other, cheers ringing out for every strike, spare, or gutter ball. Good times had by all.

I tell ya. With days like these, why would I ever want to go and try to work an office job? I wouldn't trade these days for anything.


Eat Golf said...

Rookie of the year!


You've got the life - great that you realize it!

kiwihacker said...

i don't have an office, but man I'm so jealous, wish i had a job like it.
Keep the storys coming

Anonymous said...

Congrats on a great day and great reward for you hard work.

Did you win anything for rookie of the year?

Anonymous said...

Don't knock office jobs. There ARE some perks.

10.Hot chicks in stylish suits.
9.Big salaries, paid vacations.
8.Stock Options.
7.If you call in sick, you still get paid.
6.Medical Benefits.
5.Free pens & paper clips.
4.You can act like you're working when you're really reading blogs.
3.Ditto for internet porn.
2.Air conditioning.
1.Actually playing golf 3 to 4 times a week!

Golf Grouch said...

Great story. Yeah, office jobs blow. Mine is worse than that found in the movie "Office Space."

Bryan said...

Awesome "Tom". Great news for winning the skillz challenge as well as getting named Rookie of the year.


Jam Boy said...

Believe me...I'm well aware of all the perks...but the same old 9-5 routine? I guess I can only hope it will be for me someday.

Whoa Nellie said...

a clutch player and a good guy...
congrats on your accomplishments...

Anonymous said...

very enjoybable reading I check it every few days. and congratulation all that hard work you have described was noticed by yours peers as well.

Anonymous said...

Great blog, and congrats on the props. Speaking of 'office jobs sucking', any chance you could go over the financial aspects of caddying some time? What does an average caddy make per week? How many hours do you have to spend at the course to take that home etc.

Anonymous said...

wow. gloat much, "tom"?

Jam Boy said...

Try not to. And I apologize if it came off that way. I was just shocked is all. But for me, somebody who thought he had his life figured out with a great girl, lost everything and was forced to live with his ex-girlfriend's parents while trying to save up enough money to move out, worked as hard as he did for as long as he did because he couldn't bring myself to talk to anyone and do anything BUT work, found himself battling through depression and sleep deprivation just to keep current with posting to at least have SOME friends online, only to come out on the other side 4 months later seeing that everything is okay. My life is still a mess, but because of all of the support I've received online and many of the friends I've made as a caddie, I feel like this day is more of a milestone than just bragging rights. So think what you like, I know I will. But I posted this particular story because I wanted to have something in writing that actually illustrated the fact that hey, I'm doing "alright" these days.

Shanks said...

JB, that's great! Enjoy the occasional victories, dude. Life's like waves - sometimes up, sometimes down. It's good to hear when things are schweeeet.

dave said...

Well it all came together for you; that is wonderful. It seemed like a really great day. Another fantastic post!!!

nope said...


I'm sorry for being intrusive in to your blog. But I am Melissa and I am a mother of two that is just trying to get out of an incredible financial debt. See my hubby is away in Iraq trying to protect this great country that we live in, and I am at home with our two kids telling bill collectors please be patiant. When my husband returns from war we will beable to catch up on our payments. We have already had are 2001 Ford repossessed from the bank, and are now down to a 83 buick that is rusted from front to back and the heater don't work, and tire tax is due in November.

I'm not asking for your pitty because we got our ownselfs into this mess but we would love you and thank you in our prayers if you would just keep this link on your blog for others to view.

God Bless You.

Melissa K. W.
To see my family view this page. My Family

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