Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Return Of The Chairman

So it happened again today. I was caddying for the man. The myth. The legend. He’s important Goddamnit and he doesn’t care who he has to fire or piss off in order to make that fact perfectly clear. The Chairman. I believe I’ve only caddied for him one other time, and I think I was still quite new to the trade because I can remember him lecturing me on how I was supposed to caddie for lefties. He is most definitely one of the worst players at this course to loop for, because he’s cheap and nothing you do ever makes him happy. He will always find something to complain about. Because he’s a board member. And I suppose board members are supposed to be very critical people, simply because they’re important. And everyone else should obey them. So I knew as soon as I heard who I was caddying for how difficult and annoying today was going to be. I should’ve just stayed in bed.

To be honest, there was nothing really that special about the first 6 holes. I was working a little harder, making sure I catered to his needs as much as possible and we seemed to be getting along splendidly. He was playing with two younger kids. At first I thought they were related to him, but after I realized they weren’t, they were really of no importance to me. Well, no. That’s not entirely true. The young man playing with The Chairman hit some of the longest drives I have ever seen. Two or three of them were over 400 yards. The rest of his game was a little dicey, but I tell ya. He sure could rip a ball.

Anyway, the 7th hole is where it all began. And I guess before I explain what happened, I should try to explain one of the ways I approach a forecaddying loop. You see, I always seem to be running somewhere when I’m forecaddying, and when I realized how much time I actually had between the last players’ tee shot and when the carts actually arrived at their respective drives, I came up with a little system. After the last player tees off, I run out to the furthest drive, get the yardage left to the front of the green and the flagstick, and work my way back to the shortest tee shot. That way, by the time I get to the shortest drive, I’m getting the yardage right as the cart pulls up. Now life is grand. I’ve already written down everyone’s yardage, so nobody has to wait. They can just grab a club and hit when they get to their ball, because they already know how far they have to hit it. Many of the other caddies work the opposite way, and many times I see players waiting by their ball for a yardage. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this method, but I figure with my method, nobody really has to wait and the player’s are watching me hustle on every hole. They can’t HELP but tip me well after the round is over.

Now, I understand there are a few holes in my method. It doesn’t always work. Obviously you aren’t going to have 4 players hitting their drives in the fairway on EVERY HOLE. Some of them skank it from time to time, and they may even “lose” a ball in a “hazard.” This of course screws up my routine a bit, but most of the time if I hustle I can still make it back in time to help out the guy in trouble.

Well, on the 7th hole, the kid hits the ball 368. The Chairman did not. His ball took a NASCAR turn right into the woods and buried itself in the rough. Now, I DID see exactly where his ball stopped. There was no reason to panic. And, for a split second, I almost didn’t run out to this kid’s ball to measure because I had a feeling I wouldn’t get back to The Chairman in time. But I just decided to measure this gargantuan drive instead.

So I’m running my ass off to get back to The Chairman’s ball, and I’m about 50 yards away when his cart pulls up. He gets out, stares me down, grabs an iron and whacks the ball out about 150 yards in the fairway. Now, I hadn’t seen his lie close up, but I knew that was a pretty amazing shot to pull off from where he was. So I went over to congratulate him.

“Great shot. You managed to keep it under those—“

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

“Why do you insist on going to a player in the fairway first when there’s a guy in trouble way back here?”

Insist? Has this happened often between us? I think this is the inaugural occurrence.

“I’m sorry, I—“

“That’s a terrible thing to do. You’d better stop it.”

“I’m sorry. I work my way back from the furthest tee shot so by the time I get back to the player with honors, I have everyone’s yardage ready. I saw where your ball was, and I’m sorry I wasn’t back there in time. It won’t happen again. I’m just blown away by how far this kid hits the ball. I wasn’t thinking.”

“Yeah. Okay.”

And that was it for awhile. I went on my merry way and worked my ass off. Then, on 15, I saw where the two kids hit their drives, but I missed The Chairman’s tee shot. Sometimes that late-afternoon sunlight can be a little tricky to negotiate. So, I turned my palms to the sky and shrugged my shoulders towards the tee box, signifying that “I have no freakin’ clue where you’re ball ended up,” and I ran down the fairway and into the right rough to get the other two yardages.

Again, I’m on my way back towards his cart, where The Chairman has already found his ball and is in the middle of taking practice swings. So I move to the other side of the fairway to get out of the way, he hits his shot, gets in his cart and starts to drive over towards me.


“There you go again. What did I tell you before? Help the guy in trouble first. Finding a player’s ball in the fairway is easy. You can save that for later.”

“I’m sorry. I tried to signal to the tee that—“

“Just don’t let it happen again.”

Alrighty then. I WOULD’VE come to you first, but I had no clue where you’re ball was. How am I supposed to help you if I didn’t even see your tee shot? I need to wait for you to give me some idea of where it is. Then I can help you find it. Why wait for you to come to me when I have 5 minutes to run and get everyone’s yardage while you’re trying to fit you’re massive gluteus in the seat?

Then came 16. This is a par 3, which means that I usually get the yardage, tell the players and then run next to the green so that when they’re done hitting their shots, I can fix any and all ball-marks on the greens, clean the balls, read the putts or whatever else until the players arrive at the green. And wouldn’t you know it, it happened again. I didn’t see where the Chairman’s ball went. I didn’t even hear it hit the ground so I had a basic IDEA of where the ball was. So I fixed the other two ball-marks on the green, cleaned the balls, and started to patch up a few more ball marks as I was waiting for them to come down to the green. Well I guess I got a little carried away repairing the green because The Chairman was already walking towards the right rough just short of the putting surface to look for his ball. I followed him down and helped him look, found his ball and turned to run back up towards the green when he stopped me. He looked pissed.

“Tom, come here.”


“Now listen to me. Really listen. Because I’m not goin’ to fuckin’ tell you again. You help the guy in trouble FIRST. You got that? Am I getting through to you?”

“Yes, it’s just—“

“No, I don’t care. If you’re going to do your job, do it right. Period.”

At this point, I’d had it. I hate being treated like an idiot. I know this job by now, and I work hard. Every player who has ever worked with me—other than this guy—has enjoyed the experience. I’m a human being, just like you. No more, no less. Stop making me feel like an earthworm. So I was firm right back at him.

“Listen to me for a second. I didn’t see your tee shot. How can I ‘help’ you when I don’t even know where to start looking? Well I can’t. So I’m sorry you think I forgot about you, but there’s nothing I can do.”

“Well wait a second. That’s all you had to say. If you didn’t see my shot, just tell me. And that’s cool. It wouldn’t have bothered me.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t say it right away. But it’s an embarrassment for a caddie to admit to losing a player’s ball.”

“Don’t worry about it. The truth only hurts for a second.”

And that was it. The last couple of holes were fine, and by the end he complimented me on a good job. Wow. I guess I’m more confused than anything else about the whole situation. But at least he tipped me. I’ve never come into the 18th hole wondering if the player or player’s I’m caddying for are going to stiff me.

I don’t know, what do you guys think? Is my method really stupid? Should he have said all those things to me? Or is he just an asshole. I wonder.

Anyway. Thanks for sticking with the post. I know it was a long one. Take care everyone.


Anonymous said...

This is definitely not the information on "Screenplay Analysis" that I was looking for, but it's interesting stuff anyway! I'm a screenwriter, script consultant, and author, so I'm always looking to connect with interesting people, good writers, good stories, etc. Anyway...see ya later!

Dave said...

Seems like it took him awhile, but he finaly realized your system works. He was able to give you one good tip at the end of 16 about "the truth". Just keep being who you are, the Chairman will eventually see you're right. I'd be suprised if he doesn't ask for your services in his next round.

Anonymous said...

You hit him right between the eyes with the truth. Because you did it in a way that did'nt belittle or insult him he responded with respect for your explanation.

Everybody wins. Nice post.

Anonymous said...

I'm related to a person exactly like your Chairman--critical, demanding, and a CEO. In fact, I wonder if he might actually BE your Chairman. I find that with people like that, the best thing to do is be as firm with them as they are with you. That seems to be the only thing they respect.

Always have a firm reason at the ready for doing what you're doing. Otherwise they figure you're just goofing off or flaky.

dave said...

I am tired of everyone making excueses for all the jerks in the world. A jerk is a jerk you can spell it different or use a different word but the man was an ass, is an ass and will always be an ass. Basically he has one body part.

Jam Boy said...

Hahahaha. Thanks Dave.

Shanks said...

JB, I've been working in the corporate environmment for longer than I care to remember, and these pushy-type execs pounce on those people who exude even the slighest weakness. Your reply & tone was perfect, if a little late. You don't want to be a dick, but stand your ground. It's the only attitude they'll respect. Great post, as usual.

Anonymous said...

You should have just bitch slapped him!!

Nice one for speaking up and not letting him walk all over you....

Anonymous said...

21 days without a post...hmmm?

ctowndeb said...

ALWAYS use that thing below your nose !!!!

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Shanks said...

No post for over 3 weeks ... the reason has got to be either criminal or female-related.