It was pouring outside when I left for work this morning, so I wasn't surprised that I had to wait a few hours to go out. But to tell you the truth, I'm glad that I had to wait. I tell ya, the things you hear in the caddie room are priceless. Today when I walked in, there was an older guy sitting at the desk staring off into space. He had a deck of cards under his right hand, and he would focus for a moment, yell out a card, and then pick a card off of the top of the deck to see if he was right. I think the fact that he was taking this task so seriously was what made it funny. And of course everyone was watching him.
"Nope, it's a two dude."
"I was almost right!"
"Yeah, you were right until you picked up the card."
Great stuff. The guy also decided to share a highly inappropriate story, which of course was highly appropriate in that room.
"So I'm about to do this line of coke, right? And the guy I'm sharing it with does a line, and as he's taking it in, snot is spraying out of his other nostril, right? And it's getting all over our shit. I'm thinking, 'That's it for me. You've cured me. That is gross as shit dude.'"
I hope none of you are eating anything right now. Cause that story will make you a little queasy.
In the small locker room behind the desk, caddies are yelling and laughing as people play darts. I see my boss run out and grab one of the other caddies to start wrestling him, and the caddie grabs and chair and jams it into my boss's ribcage.
"Oh, man! What was that chair about?"
"I don't want you coming at me with pressure points and shit!"
As I watched, I just kept thinking: Wow. I think this is one of the only jobs in the world where you can wrestle with your boss, maybe get in a few hits, and then leave the confrontation laughing and joking around. It's like we're all brothers.
Soon somebody came in with the pairing sheets for a special tournament this Monday and Tuesday. Teams play 36-holes the first day and then 18 the second day. I think they play alternate shot, two man best ball, and medalist competitions and then tally up the results after the two days. I think saying that I was "pretty psyched" to see my name on the list would be an understatement.
The rain was letting up by now, and as I'm relaxing with the other caddies watching "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" the assistant caddie master comes in and says, "Tom, you ready to go?"
Sure, what the hell.
Today it was two bags. And I would find out later in the round that one of the players I was caddying for just had a birthday. I think that's why he was acting like a spoiled brat. Which was funny, because he was quite stout and sounded like Louie Anderson. So I had to listen to his whining all freakin' day.
Ol' Louie wasn't having the best day, and to compound things, he would pick up his ball and start walking to the next tee before everyone had finished putting, and I had to chase his ass down.
"Tom, where's my driver?"
Maybe if you turned around and noticed that I was running at you with your driver in my hand, you wouldn't have to ask that question.
He also became very sensitive to people talking when he was hitting. Well, it started off as him only being pissed off when he was about to swing, but then it evolved into him being pissed at anyone and anything even breathing when OTHER people were hitting.
He said this to the other caddie I was working with who was discussing some swing thoughts with one of his players. Oh yeah, and this player the caddie was talking to? Yeah, this guy is a MEMBER.
Louie, you're the guest, alright? Don't make the MEMBER apologize for talking. You're lucky you even get to play this course. Bastard.
But two things happened on the 14th and the 15th which confirmed for me that there is a God and he wants us to be happy. Well, actually, I already came to that conclusion after tasting Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout, but this really confirmed my aforementioned epiphany: On 14, he started popping pills for a sore right elbow.
"It's weird that I get it in my right elbow because I'm left-handed."
Well, maybe if you didn't hit it into the rough so much, you wouldn't have this problem.
Wait, that's kinda mean. I don't wish pain on anyone.
Well, maybe he got what he deserved on 15. I guess 14 was funny for me because I was exhausted from running rough-to-rough all day long to find his balls. Retribution's a bitch, ain't it Louie?
On 15, he hit a perfect drive down the fairway. After I gave him the distance, he paused and called to his member-friend, who I think had a big smile surgically implanted on his face.
"Hey, watch this shot. I'm going to get a little creative with this one."
Before he even hit it, I was already laughing inside. What is he talking about? This is coming from a man who skanked every other shot. I was getting annoyed with him earlier because he'd ask me the distance, top the shot 15 yards, and ask me for the next distance before I could even pick up the bags and start walking towards his ball. This would happen two or three times on a hole. Why ask for a distance? Does it really matter what club you hit?
So he says he's going to get "a little creative."
He sways into the backswing, drives down through with his rescue club, and hits a fat hook that ends up in the second cut short of the green.
Yeah. I'd say that was creative.
I think there's only one thing worse for a guy than finding out the girl he was kissing might actually be a man (you know who you are): and that's calling a shot in front of friends and missing your mark. But the member was graceful. He just kept right on smiling and started walking towards the green.
By the way: that windbreaker I was worried about the other day? Yeah, I left it in the switch-out bag. Fortunately, one of the staff members said it was no problem to fix. I'm glad that's the case, seeing as how my boss said that if he ever had to find something one of his caddies' lost for a player, he was going to charge $20/hour to solve the problem. I mean, I suppose that's the right thing to do. Teach people a lesson early so they know not to screw up. Hopefully I'll be a little more careful in the future, because I definitely got away with one there.
So that's it. Can't wait to see who I'm caddying for tomorrow.
Saturday, April 30, 2005
It was pouring outside when I left for work this morning, so I wasn't surprised that I had to wait a few hours to go out. But to tell you the truth, I'm glad that I had to wait. I tell ya, the things you hear in the caddie room are priceless. Today when I walked in, there was an older guy sitting at the desk staring off into space. He had a deck of cards under his right hand, and he would focus for a moment, yell out a card, and then pick a card off of the top of the deck to see if he was right. I think the fact that he was taking this task so seriously was what made it funny. And of course everyone was watching him.
Friday, April 29, 2005
Not too much happened today, which was phenomenal because I'm still recovering from the experience with that little bastard from yesterday. There was a lot of work available this morning, so I didn't have to wait around very long after I walked in. But what really improved my chances was the fact that one of the senior caddies decided to sleep in. And so I was his replacement.
Ever have one of those mornings where regardless of how hard you try, you can't seem to focus on ANYTHING? You squint, you breathe deeply, but it doesn't clear anything up. And to top it all off, there are a shit-load of clouds covering the sky and fog rolling in. Visibility this morning sucked. So great. My one job is to chase around a ball, and there's a good chance I might not even see it today. Awesome.
The deal today was that I would split a foursome with another caddie. We would each carry one bag, and forecaddie for the other two players in the cart. Pretty much a cakewalk compared to yesterday. My player was just teeing off when I got to his bag, so as soon as he starts walking back over towards me, I extend my hand and introduce myself.
He smiles, hands me the driver, and walks over to converse with his buddies before they start heading down the fairway.
He just brushed me off. What a DICK.
So you can appreciate the humor later in the round when I ask the other caddie what this guy's name was and he replies, "Oh, that's Dick."
Obviously his parents thought long and hard about that one: "Umm...Honey? What do you think we should name our bastard son?"
"What about Dick?"
"That's perfect. You see, this is why I married you darling."
And so it came to pass, that 63 years later, a walking penis decides to play golf at this particular club. Guess I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As you can probably tell from my tone thus far, I am really out of wack today. I felt bad for the other caddie, who turned out to be invaluable: he was highly astute and very humble. I think he's the best caddie I've worked with yet. He was showing me all of the shortcuts, which is important because there are some holes on this course where it's a sprint to get ahead of the players on the tee to offer up some hand-signals.
For example, the 11th hole at this course is a gorgeous par-3 over water to a small landing area. Many players like to play the hole from the back tees, even if they've been playing the forward tees all day because it is such a beautiful angle. Going up and over to the forward tees (the whites and blues on this particular course) eliminates a good portion of the water and makes the hole less challenging. If a player or players are already having a bad day, however, they would rather take a little of the challenge out than have to hit a 4 or 5-iron over water. And the wind is always swirling on this hole, so you're never really sure what to hit. I was told by one of the members that Johnny Miller once made a comment about the 11th: "This is one of the best par-3's in all the world." Or something like that. Then again, this guy is a member, so of course he's biased. But you get the idea. Great hole.
Where was I? Oh yeah. So on the 10th green, I had already taken my player's putter and was pretty much just standing off to the side of the green twiddling my thumbs waiting for everyone to finish. The other caddie looked at me and whispered something like, "Get the yardage on the next tee."
Now that I think about it, that was a very simple command. Just run over to the blue tees and get the yardage before they get there so they can just grab a club and hit without a lot of debate. But no. For some reason I pull out my scorecard and pin sheet, and figure out the yardage right there without even moving an inch towards the next tee. As I'm about to open my mouth to tell him the yardage that I have, he looks at me and says, "No. I was trying to tell you to go ahead of us and get the yardage over there."
Oh shit. Did you know that I used to be nicknamed "Le Grande Geek" whenever I played cards with my family because I'd space out during play and either beat my own teammate or throw away cards that I needed? Sorry man, I'm a dumbass.
That's just one example, but needless to say, he gave me a few new ideas to try out the next time I get a loop. After watching him, I think I've been carrying golf bags a little bit farther than most caddies there. They all seem to drop them off in convenient places by the next tee. Sure I do that sometimes, but for the most part, I'm going tee-to-green with the bag over my shoulder. Crap. I AM a dumbass. Well, that'll change tomorrow for sure.
On the 18th hole, I was standing with the other caddie watching our players hit their tee-balls when Dick steps up to hit. With a mighty flaccid swing, Dick hits a line drive right at us. I immediately reach down to grab his bag, start blinking uncontrollably (anticipating impact) and turn my head down into my chest as I start to slink away towards the trees. After a moment passes, I pause, stand up, and look around. I look at the other caddie. He hasn't moved and he's looking at me in this confused awe like he just witnessed Stevie Wonder pick up a sniper rifle and hit a target.
"Are you a nervous wreck or something? That ball was nowhere near us dude!"
"I mean yeah, it went over our heads a bit. I guess I just don't move unless I have to."
What a weird day. I must've looked like a jackass. I think the only other thing that happened today worth calling attention to was a comment the other caddie made on the 12th hole.
"I can't believe the boss put both of us on this loop. I could easily handle this by myself."
Well now don't I feel worthless. I mean, I understand that this may not have been the most challenging loop, but it's not like I chose to take some money away from this guy. I'm just working as hard as I can and hoping that I get a little street cred out of this by the end of the summer. I only bring this comment up because it's not the first, second, or even third time that I've heard it. Senior caddies telling me they can't understand why the boss would use me when they have it covered. I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about it.
Well, if it comes to me, I'll post it. But that's it for now. Oh, and one last thing. I was thinking about this today, and I was wondering what the readers had to say about it: a pedometer. Would anyone see some value in the number that thing spits out after every day that I work? Or would that be useless information. Be honest. I don't care either way. I just saw one today at Walmart for like $4. So I figured if they were that cheap, it may be worth it at some point. Anyway, take it easy everyone.
Posted by Tom Collins at 10:06 PM
Thursday, April 28, 2005
The title of this post says it all. Today I carried two bags, and one of the player's I caddied for had a Napoleon complex. He was a little bitch. And although he THOUGHT he could play, he really couldn't. He also made me his honorary wench today. I don't think I've done this much for one player since I started. I suppose that's part of the job description, but it was pretty insane.
But we'll get to that. As for yesterday, I was going to post something last night but I figured what happened would be better suited as an add-on to today's post. So here goes: The guy I caddied for yesterday was that guy with the really weird, slow, deep voice. And after a cakewalk of a loop, he "recruited" me to caddie for him in his foursome during the member guest which takes place a week from this Monday. Bitchin'. That's really all there is to say about yesterday's round. It was quick and painless. I was done with work by noon. So that's pretty sweet: More willing repeat-customers. Keep 'em coming.
So back to my tale of the little bitch who couldn't. He started out his round with two bloody mary's. He was double fisting on the first freakin' hole. And by "he" I mean "me," because he immediately handed off the cups to me to hold onto for him. I mean, it's really no problem man. I'm only carrying two bags and have to keep track of two balls. And don't worry about yardage. I'm getting pretty good at GUESSING.
But that wasn't the best part. You see, when I first picked up his bag he said, "You may want to switch that out. It's a little heavy." It wasn't too bad, but it didn't have a stand on it so I decided to take his advice. Having been through this before, I brought both bags out: his original bag and the new bag. I am forbidden to go into the pockets on anyone's golf bag, so while I switch out the clubs on the first tee into the new bag, he's supposed to switch out what's in the pockets of his original bag. Simple, right?
Wrong. I'm thinking everything is starting off pretty well, and halfway down the first fairway he turns to me and starts going through the bag.
"You got my dip in here?"
"Well, if you didn't put it in there, then no."
"Man, I really need that dip. I won't be able to get through the 18 without it."
Son-of-a-bitch-bastard-slut-bag. Wow. So I had to run back 400 yards to his original bag and fish out the dip. By the time I get back to the bags, I'm already feeling a little sore. Guess I should've stretched a little more or something before I started today.
Before we reached the green, he had finished off one of his bloody mary's. So of course I'm now a cupholder, bag carrier, and GARBAGE RECEPTACLE. With one bag, this isn't a big deal, because I can easily hold the cup in my bib without it falling out. But carrying two bags, now I can't really steady the cup or get to a garbage can as quickly. So of course I was the last one up the next fairway because I had to hunt down that stupid garbage can.
But you know what? At this point, I calmed myself down. I was like, "Hey, this is my job. I cater to members and guests alike. Besides, he's done with one of the drinks. He'll be finishing this other one soon enough."
So his second tee shot went right. I mean it didn't end up that bad and he had a shot to the green, but it was in the rough, which at this point is longer and thicker than it was a week ago.
Not surprisingly, he hit a bad shot. The ball went left of the green, and he started getting mad. He snarled: "Is that okay?"
"Should be. Didn't look like it took a bad kick."
"Fine. Let's go."
Whoa. Okay there little gipper. Let's just calm down. I need to work with you for 16 more holes.
So he was left of the green on a crappy lie with some over-hanging branches impeding his ball flight. But after a decent swing, he put it on the green. He then took off his windbreaker (the sun was coming out) and tossed it to me, and looked annoyed as he had to wait two seconds as I fumbled to put down his bloody mary, take his 8-iron and hand him his putter. After folding his windbreaker (and now that I think about it, I hope that was taken out of the bag after the round), grabbing the bloody drink, and running with the other bag over to the green to hand my other man his putter, I thought I was finally comfortable. But oh the round had so much more to offer.
After the 7th hole there's a "halfway house" where members and guests can stop and get a sandwich, hotdog, beer, chips, cookies, or even a cigar. Lots of stuff to choose from. Unbeknownst to me but knownst to Mr. Napoleon, he had purchased a beer and set it "somewhere." Obviously, I should have seen the beer, immediately assumed it was his, and put it in his bag. I mean, this is "Caddying 101" people.
So we're almost 500 yards away working our way up the 8th hole when he turns to me and starts fumbling around in his bag again. Okay, so what is it now?
"Where did you put my beer?"
"I really needed that beer."
"God. Fine. Come on, let's go."
Sir, I am so sorry. I am a terrible caddie. Or maybe you're a little bastard. I can't tell which one it is yet.
I forgot to mention, at some point early in the round, he put that dip in my bib. I suppose that meant easy access. But now I had to take care of anyone who wanted that sweet sweet tobacco because now I was a dip-dispenser. So now other players would follow me around because I had this stuff on me. Keep it comin' boys. Keep it comin'.
On the 9th hole Napoleon knocked it to 3 feet, and then three-jacked it. But I also noticed as he went up to putt that he had a beer in his hand. Apparently another one of his playing partners had a beer to spare. You see Napoleon? Life does go on. You survived.
That last thought must've unleashed some bad karma on me though. Because on the 12th, after the second shots were hit to this long, uphill par-5, Mr. Napoleon comes over to me again.
WHAT THE FUCK IS IT NOW LITTLE MAN???
"Hey, we'd like to get 4 light beers. Do you think you could run back and get us some? We'll carry the bags up to the green."
Alright, alright. Fine. So I ran. I ran and I ran and I ran like Forrest Gump. After about 600 yards, I reached the halfway house again, got the brewski's, and ran back with them in a bag full of ICE. Who's the man? Who's your daddy?
But MAN that was a long run back. As I approached the green, they were walking off, so I handed off the bag to Napoleon and ran over to the bags, which were littered with clubs. They didn't put anything away. AWESOME. Fortunately I'm starting to get a little faster with my ability to "glow" (clean the clubs), and I was finally able to catch back up as the foursome approached the next tee.
On the 14th Napoleon skanked another wedge and it ended up in the water.
"You said that was 96?"
"You sure about that?"
Sir, it's okay to skank a ball from time to time. Especially when you're a little bitch.
"Give me another ball."
I really can't express in those last four words how condescending he made that sound. He said it like I was an idiot and it was MY fault that he picked the wrong club and hit it fat. Ahh well. The job of a caddie is never done I suppose.
By the 16th he had started a small collection of plastic cups in the bag. He'd use two cups stuck together for water rather than one. I suppose he did that in case one of the cups broke down.
And on the 18th, he hooked his second shot in the water and stopped talking to me altogether. The other guy I was caddying for, who was actually really cool, had been relatively quiet all day until 18. So he broke that silence with an 11 on the last hole. I think it was because I was tired, but I couldn't stop laughing.
His drive ended up in the woods. His second shot almost made the beginning of the fairway. His third went dead right, kicked off a tree and almost made it back in the fairway. He skulled his fourth into the right greenside bunker, skulled his fifth over the green into the water, dropped, and dubbed his seventh into the other greenside bunker. His eighth almost flew over the green again, but stopped in the fringe just before the rough, and he chipped on and two putted. The series of shots he hit proved to be funny enough, but to add to the hilarity he was walking all over both bunkers. I couldn't get to the first bunker he hit it into right away because I was busy helping him figure out where to drop it near the lateral hazard. And then as I'm going to grab his putter he hits it into the other bunker and almost slips and falls while trying to get out, so he left a nice mark or two in the face. Two big bunkers to rake. Good times had by all.
At least Napoleon didn't dick me over on the tip. So that was refreshing. But man that was a lot of work. I suppose a lot of what he had me do is standard procedure for caddies, but when you're carrying two bags for two bad golfers and you have to work really hard just to keep the pace of play up, you definitely don't want to have to worry about dip, bloody mary's and beer runs.
Oh, and my reference to "sweet sweet tobacco" was sarcastic. I do not condone dipping. Well, I suppose you can if you want to. Just don't do it on the golf course.
Posted by Tom Collins at 7:14 PM
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Today I split a forecaddying job with another caddie. There were only four players to deal with, but we ended up having some competition. One of the players brought a rangefinder. Although not illegal outside of tournament play, I consider taking a rangefinder to a course and using it religiously when you have two caddies running their respective asses off just to get you yardages a little insulting. The guy using it wasn't even that good. Why put any doubt in your fellow players' minds that the caddies you have working for you don't know their stuff? The minute you second-guess the caddies' judgment, the role of the caddie becomes worthless. I definitely felt worthless on more than one occasion today.
I guess first and foremost, I felt a little useless because I've forecaddied for a foursome before. Splitting the job with another caddie is like putting a 5th wheel on a car. I suppose there's a need, but WHY? So it took me a few holes to figure out that the only way this would work with two caddies was if both of us half-assed the job. We're talking MAJOR slacking here. I felt bad about it for awhile, and then I realized that we were assigned 27 holes with these guys. Yep: I'm saving my strength.
So here's what I did today. I wrote down some notes on the back of a scorecard and I'm just going to run through them as they come up. I may take a little longer on some, but I'll try to keep this as concise as possible.
Us against the machine. As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I did not understand why somebody would bring a rangefinder to a course with caddies. Is this guy a douchebag? Could he be a douchebag? Or, I know this might be a stretch, but HE MAY BE A DOUCHEBAG.
It's not that I'm insecure about my yardages. It's just that he has the ability to get the yardage faster than we can give it to him. And he was giving the other players their yardages too. So for a while today, I felt a little out of place. And then I got mad. I'm thinking: yeah, sure this little gadget can get you a yardage, but it can't tell you where to lay up, play for hidden break on the green, adjust for wind, or cheer you on if you make a good shot. Really, rangefinders should be kept on the practice range when you're working on your wedges. That's where they make the most sense. That's when the difference between 80 and 85 yards is actually important. If you're 175 from the hole, and the machine is telling you 172, you better knock it stiff. If you don't, that would mean all that fuss you gave me about being incorrect would be worthless. But the funny thing is, I've seen what you can do with a club in your hand. You've mastered the SKANK-PUSH and you take longer than BERNHARD LANGER to hit the ball, but I don't think you've fine-tuned the 172-yard shot yet.
So I kept up with the machine about 90% of the time. The two yardages that I was really off by did nothing but raise suspicion with the other players about my judgment and slow down play. I feel a "real men of genius" commercial from Bud Light coming on.
Bud Light presents: Real men of genius...
Here's to you, Mr. Anal-Retentive-Slow-Golfer...
Without you, 6-hour rounds would not be possible...
You won't swing until every possible yardage is double-checked...
...and you do it...with a RANGEFINDER...
Is it 145... Or 146? You know. Because you're Mr. Anal-Retentive-Slow-Golfer...
...So here's to YOU Mr. Holiest of butt-plugs...
Damn the pace of play. Damn the caddies. You're the MAN.
(singing) Mr. Anal-Retentive-Slowwwwww-Gooooollllffer!!
Sorry. Had to do that. So where was I. Let's see. Oh yeah. The guy I was caddying with always looks pissed off. I think it's because he kind of has one of those uni-brows goin' on. In addition, he really IS always pissed off, so that just leads me to one question: why caddie? Why choose a profession that relies so heavily on customer service? Can you even pull off a believable smile?
He also likes to bullshit. And of course, with these innate bullshitting capabilities, he instantly gravitated towards reading greens for players. I suppose it just goes hand in hand.
"Does this one go right?"
"Yeah, it definitely looks like it may be going in that general direction."
Way to cover your ass Sally. This other caddie was kind of nasty too. When Mr. Douchebag asked for the yardage on a par-3 and this pissed-off caddie read the wrong initial yardage off of the sprinkler-head, obviously his yardage was wrong. Way wrong. But instead of saying, "I'm sorry," or something to that effect, he replies with: "I took the wrong number, ALRIGHT?"
Wow. If I were to ever start my own business, that guy would be first on my list to hire. Or fire. Not sure which.
Oh yeah. On the scorecard, I also wrote: "I'm struck by the beauty of this job. It's certainly better than all those stressful nights slingin' drinks." Sounds a little funny now that I'm reading it over again, but it is certainly true. For any of you who bartend or are thinking of bartending, please understand one thing. Yes, it can be a good amount of money. But you get burnt out. Anyone who can last more than 2 years as a bartender either has some birth defect or is doing drugs, drinking heavily, or both. You just can't do it after a while. Your whole life moves behind the bar.
So yeah. Caddying is a lot of fun. Beautiful course, laid back job, and you get a great cardiovascular workout. Yes, I didn't like the douchebag. But he's maybe 1 out of every 20 players that I work for.
Alright. I'm out. Take care everyone.
Posted by Tom Collins at 12:36 AM
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Somehow I ended up being the first caddie to arrive this morning. And somehow that translated into me getting the first loop. Sounds logical, but you'd be surprised. That never happens. I guess I've just been lucky lately.
The single I was paired with was an older gentleman with 16 clubs in his bag. The bag was pretty light, but I couldn't adjust the strap correctly and the bag kept sliding down and forward off of my shoulder all day. So that was a gem. But I wasn't on the course very long: we started at 8 am and finished at 10:27 am. Whew. For being over 60, this guy was fast. He admitted he wasn't a great golfer and said he made up for skill with speed. And he was right.
I think the only thing noteworthy on this loop was that I realized on the 17th hole that I had not made eye-contact with this player since the handshake on the first tee. Not sure why I thought of that on 17, but I definitely felt awkward around him until we finished.
He was so humble and shy. That's the only reason I can come up with for not looking this man in the face. Normally when I caddie for a player, they tell me what club they need, they throw their ball to me to clean, and they're not afraid to tell me when I'm doing something wrong. Well, this guy did none of those things. To compensate for his overtly considerate nature, I tried to one-up him. Because let's face it, a caddie is supposed to be humble. And this guy is not going to beat me at being humble when it's my freakin' job God dammit. So I worked extra hard and said almost nothing the whole round. And, subsequently, I didn't look him in the eye. I suppose I was trying to be as non-threatening as possible.
And the tip ended up reflecting his appreciation for my attitude. So far, it's the largest tip I've received on a single bag. So although I felt awkward and unnatural the whole time, I suppose it worked for him.
Now that I think about it, there was one other thing I'd like to mention about the round today: the maintenance crew. The grounds-crew at this course always treats me with respect. Every time I walk by one of them they tip their hat or nod their head. It's like I'm one of them. Just another humble servant working for the man. I suppose carrying these bags gives me a certain level of street cred. It feels pretty cool. The members at this club will say hello and try to be nice to these employees but the crew members always retort with the same generic "how are you today sir?" "I'm doing fine, sir."
But not with me. No superfluous smiles or masks. There's a look, a nod, and they continue with their work. I'm IN man. I'm IN. And it's a great feeling.
So what did I do to celebrate the good tip? Spend some of it. Not too much, but I had to do something. All I do every day is work, come home, read for awhile, eat, read some more, and then go to sleep. I needed to shake it up a little today. So I went to the movies.
I saw "The Interpreter." Now, I went into this film with pretty high expectations. Nicole Kidman is always a strong actress, and I had the privilege of suiting Sean Penn up with a pair of skis when I used to work in Lake Tahoe, so I was pretty psyched to go see him in action. On a scale of 1-10, I'd probably rate this around a 6. The dialogue was smart and crisp, but I feel like the writers were trying to get too many points across. You walked into the movie expecting to see one thing, and left with something else. I walked out of the theatre and I was like: wait a minute. Was somebody trying to assassinate somebody else in this movie? Or was this movie solely about the relationship between Sean and Nicole's characters?
Now, I understand the need for underlying levels of meaning so everyone can enjoy the movie, but the writers were trying to hit on too much. It was political, personal, spiritual, cultural and a little too contrived for my taste. I also saw pretty much everything before it happened. So although not a terrible movie, I just didn't think it was worth the $6.25 I paid. For a movie spending most of it's time focusing on the relationship between Sean and Nicole, I would've liked to see something happen between them at the end. But no. They can't even follow through with that. I guess that's what I really feel about the movie. It just didn't follow through on any of it's plot-lines, so I was never able to fully commit to a particular character. I guess that's what you get when 3 writers work on a script. Too many conflicts of ideas.
Sorry. Just had to rant about that for a minute.
Posted by Tom Collins at 6:38 PM
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Allow me to preface this post by saying that I was definitely gambling and drinking until 3 am last night. A friend of mine invited me to his weekly poker game and I lost track of time. The buy in was $20, and I walked out with $21.75. Oh yeah. High roller here. But walking into work today at 7:45 am didn't feel too great. Well, to be honest, I guess it did in a way. All of the other caddies are gambling addicts. I've been working hard during the day to try and succeed as a caddie, why not participate in their extracurricular activities at night?
Because I walked in at 7:45 on a Saturday, a pretty large list of caddies had already formed on the stand-by board and I'm sure there were 10-15 more that had come in for assigned loops. Basically, I was expecting to wait around for a long, long time. So I set down my stuff and pulled up a chair. Just as I'm closing my eyes to try and get some rest, I hear the boss yell two names. A guy that I caddied with yesterday (the future Caddie Master), and MINE.
"TOM, LET'S GO!"
With no time to think, I jumped up, threw on my bib, and grabbed a towel. I flew outside half expecting the boss to look at me and wonder why the hell I was heading out on the course. I mean, I just got there, why am I being put out right away? Am I getting to be one of his "go-to" guys? I paused for a second when I saw him to make sure he really wanted me on this loop. I was so tired I thought I might have been hallucinating or something when I heard my name.
"Tom, you're on that bag right there."
Aha. So I'm not dreaming.
So I grab the bag and run out onto the first tee to meet my player. Turns out he's a recruiter for a college basketball team. So that's pretty sweet. This round should be fun.
Well, no. You're wrong again bud. It was a pretty lousy loop. But there were a few interesting things that happened today that I'd like to share.
First off, the whole group sucked at golf. Fortunately for me, my man was decent with his driver. Well, very decent now that I think about it. I think he hit 12 or 13 fairways today. I mean, the rest of his game was a little shaky, but at least I never broke out in a sweat trying to find his tee ball. But the other two players, whooooowee. One of them used to be the Ambassador for another country, and let me tell you, his swing was a thing of beauty. Well, actually, it was God-awful. My dad always used to joke with me about a "32-piece" take-away he was working on. Well this guy wasn't joking. He definitely took the club back in 32 distinct pieces. I've never seen so much bending and twisting. And the other player--a member--whipped the club around so fast I think he was trying to open some kind of hole in the space-time continuum. So in addition to taking huge divots, he created little time-rifts all over the course. I should've walked through one of them to see if the Redskins are ever going to go back to the Super Bowl.
I forgot to mention that the boss-man also sent us out today with a caddie-trainee. He seemed like a nice kid, but he was kind of shy. He really didn't say that much, and after the 5th hole, he stayed out of the way. He'll probably make a great caddy someday.
So what happened on 5? A rarity. The other caddie was down over the hill in the "shit" (an area with the remnants of an old water hazard) looking for one of his players' balls, and told this trainee to hold the other bag. Meanwhile, my player is about to hit his shot, and this trainee is 50 yards ahead of us at 12 o'clock. He's right in the line of fire. So what happens? The trainee gets wacked.
My player ended up skulling his shot right at the kid and the ball struck him on the inside of his left knee on a spot adjacent to his kneecap. For a second I thought the ball had struck the bag the kid was holding, because it bounced dead left after it made contact. But nope. He pulled up his pant leg and revealed quite a little mark.
So for the rest of the 18 both the players and the caddies were asking this kid as frequently as possible, "Are you okay man? You sure?"
On the 8th tee it looked like the kid was starting to tear up, so the other caddie blurts out, "What, you got allergies or something?"
I mean, I suppose he's trying to comfort the kid. Letting him know that's it's okay to cry and lie about it. But man I felt bad for him. I've been hit by a skulled shot before and they hurt like a bitch. When I got hit, the ball wasn't even moving very fast. This ball, on the other hand, was cooking. Well, after that the kid learned where to stand. Guess he had to learn the hard way.
The last little tidbit I wanted to share about today was my complete lack of green-reading skills. Now if I were this player, I would've stopped asking me for reads after the 5th hole. Somehow he kept asking me until the 12th. I suppose he was trying to give me as many chances as possible to be right. When he finally started reading putts himself, he rubbed it in my face by making everything: 12, 20, and even 50 footers were no problem.
Yes sir, I suck. But see, I was gambling till 3 am last night. What were you doing? You were probably in bed by 10. Wuss.
At the end of the round, the member ended up tipping us, which was good, because I don't think my player would've tipped me anything at all. Not because I didn't hustle or keep things moving, but because I couldn't read a putt to save my life. So I guess I got away with something. A great tip for a bad day.
Let's hope tomorrow goes a little more smoothly.
Posted by Tom Collins at 11:54 PM
Friday, April 22, 2005
I really have to get some waterproof shoes. I think that has to be next on my list. It has been raining on and off for two days now and I come home swimming in my shoes. But today went well. I only caddied for one guy and I have to say, for being old, he wasn't a bad player.
I was with two other caddies, both at the top of their careers. One of them will be taking his new job as Caddie Master at another course soon, and the other is a high-ranking "numbered caddie" and gets work whenever he wants it. They were both carrying two bags, and I decided to try and study some of the things they were doing so as to improve my current skill set.
First of all, it was really hard to determine what things they did differently, because everything they did seemed so easy and common-sensical that I thought I was stupid for studying them. Everything just flowed. So I came to the conclusion that if your caddie is good and knows what he's doing, you're moving at a good pace, you never question a read on a putt, and in all actuality you hardly notice them at all. And don't get me wrong, you know they're there. But they never get in your way. And I'm not saying I get in the way, but if I make a conscious effort to give my player as much room as possible, they seem to be happier.
My player had a really interesting voice. It was a cross between Lennie from "Of Mice and Men," Adam West, and this stuck up rich guy I used to see all the time when I used to bartend. So it was a commanding voice full of bass, but it was slow and drawn out. Kind of like a yawn or something. I think he should've done some voice-over work in cartoons. He would've made millions. Come to think of it, I never did ask what he did. Maybe that's why he's so rich and can afford to pay for a membership at this club.
He asked me on the 7th or 8th hole if I was getting familiar with the greens (I told him a few holes earlier that I was new this year, so he knew I wasn't a green-reading machine yet). After I nodded, he said, "Well, I've certainly been out here more than you. But I'm old and sometimes my brain gets scrambled so make sure you're reading all of these putts too. Just in case I get mixed up and ask for your opinion. So be prepared."
He never did ask me to read a putt. But I started calling the putts on the greens after a little while. That guy will miss left if he doesn't get it over the ridge. Or as soon as a player struck a putt, I knew it was going to be short, long, left, or right. It was pretty cool. I think I was dead on. Hopefully as the summer progresses I won't even need to bend down after a while. I can just eye the correct line from wherever I stand. I've seen some of the other caddies do it, so why can't I?
And I ended up getting a pretty decent tip and a "great job" from my player at the end, so I feel today was pretty successful, despite all the on-again off-again rain and wind.
Because that's pretty much all I have to say about my caddie experience for today, it's time for me to pick another random topic to discuss. I just have the urge to rant right now for some reason.
Dogs and food. They never stop eating. I could seriously feed this dog I'm staring at right now and it would never feel full. Plus, if I'm not careful, the dog would eat until its stomach exploded. Imagine what that would be like. Never feeling full or even knowing how much you've had to eat. I suppose because I'm trying to gain weight right now that would be ideal for me. And something else. Why the hell do dogs like to roll around in shit? Are they trying to leave their scent for another dog? Is that it? That's gross. And then they bitch and moan when they have to take a bath. Stinky stinky. Alright. On that note, I need to eat some dinner. Take care everyone.
Posted by Tom Collins at 8:43 PM
Got into work today at 7:20 am. Guess when I got a bag? 1:30. Over six hours. It's not like it was hell or anything, I mean I did get to hear a lot of funny stories from my boss and the other caddies, but I was about ready to call it quits by that point. Plus, it was supposed to rain today. So you can bet I was happy as a pig in shit when my boss sent me out at 1:30.
It was a circus at the start. It was going to be a foursome, which meant that I was going to be carrying two bags (another caddie was helping with the other two). Okay, fine, I'm cool. But the two bags I was assigned were trunks. They were cart bags, and they were huge. So I had to run back inside and "switch out" all of their clubs into some newer and lighter bags. Not that hard of a task, but I was a little confused about the process of switching all of these things around, simply because caddies are not supposed to go into the player's bag. I mean I want to help them get prepared for the round, but what if they need balls? I can't go into their bag and get it for them. Obviously my little delay at the start meant a lot of running around to catch up, with me first bringing their original bags and clubs to the first tee, and then getting the two carrying bags so they could go into the pockets and switch out their balls and tees and such, and then running back and getting umbrella's, etc. I didn't even get to see the opening tee shots much less get anyone's name by the time everyone teed off. Oh yeah, and as soon as we started walking, the rain started falling in sheets.
As it turns out, both of the guy's I caddied for today are named Mike, and both of them sucked big hairy balls. I don't think you could be more random or inconsistent unless you were to take a "random walk" down Wall Street (a little financial reference for those of you who are dorks like me). It's been a while since I've seen bad players take the game so seriously. And trust me, I don't mind bad players. Normally. But I figure if you're this successful and you really don't have to work, why not spend some of those dollars on golf lessons?
But I digress. The worst part of today came on the second hole. First BOTH of my players (who actually played a bit of "cart golf" today which made it a little easier on me) were holding a synchronized skank-fest up the fairway, and then another guy in the foursome was trying to tame his umbrella, which had turned itself inside-out and was tearing and bending all over the place.
For a moment, I respected these guys. Even with all of this wind, rain, and cold, you're still out here trying to make the best of it. Because golf deserves that kind of a commitment. But then I was like: screw that. I have to work in this stuff. Why don't you just go home? Give it up. Please? But now that I think about it, I'm glad they didn't quit. Because even with all of the whiffs and near death experiences, they did tip us pretty well.
But I digress. AGAIN. I guess that's what I get for trying to write without editing. Lots of run-on's and random tangents. But it really is an easier way to write. So blah blah freakin' blah bitch blah. Haha. Let's keep going.
So the second hole. This guy is wrestling with his umbrella. Unsuccessfully wrestling with it. It is definitely kicking his ass. And one of the Mike's leans over to me and says, "I'm not using my umbrella, why don't you take care of him."
Fine. I'll bring him the umbrella damn it. But only if you promise to hit your ball 50 yards THAT WAY and make sure I don't have to lose a step when I hand it to him. He nodded and agreed.
So I traded umbrella's, only to find out that now I had to juggle carrying two bags, fumble around with the towels to keep the clubs dry, and hold onto a screwed up umbrella that acted more like a sail than anything you could hold over your head.
So here I am, sailing up the fairway, my feet are soaked (because my cross-trainers have vents in the top of them, which are obviously useful on a hot day in the sun, but with rain you're toast), and I almost drop one of the bags because these stellar "carrying bags" had crappy straps that kept making the bags lean more and more forward until the clubs started to slide out.
I guess the second hole wasn't really anything spectacular to tell you about, it was just that I was Mr. Multi-task and it took me until the next tee to make sure they had all their shit together, the head covers in the side-pockets, and that stupid broken umbrella was in the trash. I bent the hell out of that thing trying to fit it into that little trashcan. It will probably be pretty funny to whoever has to empty those things tomorrow morning.
Now I had a new request.
"Tom, we need cigars."
Holy crap. NOW??
"We need 4 cigars. Can you get those for us?"
Unfortunately for me, my customer service experience kicked in and I agreed to try and find a way to get them. Naturally, I passed it on to the other caddie. I mean he wasn't really doing anything at the time. Both of his players were pretty good sticks. And just as I suspected, after I asked him to call into the pro shop, he forgot.
Two holes later the guy asks me again.
"Did that other caddie call in to get us cigars?"
"I asked him but I'm not sure if he's called yet."
"Well ask him again. We really need them."
I mean, I enjoy a good cigar as much as the next guy, but under the current weather conditions and attitudes of the players, I wanted to ask why he thought he "needed" them. But I agreed to ask the other caddie. Again.
"Dude, the halfway house is right over there. They have cigars."
Well thanks for letting me know. Sorry I asked. At least now when the guy interrogated me, I had an answer he'd like.
"I need some cigars damn you!"
"They're in the halfway house, right over there."
"Oh. Well good!"
And when the foursome finished the hole, who ends up walking right by the halfway house without stopping? My man.
"Sir, your cigars?"
"Oh yeah. Could you get them for me?"
Holy crap. God, why?
Again those damn customer service skills. So with a smile on my face I ran over, got four cigars, handed them to him, and hauled-ass up the fairway to watch their tee shots. Well I'm glad they finally have their cigars. Now only 3 of the balls are in the rough instead of 4.
I was caddying for two Mike's. The first Mike was down to earth, enjoyed talking with me from time to time, and was a good sport about his bad play. We'll call him "Cool Mike." The second Mike didn't really talk to me, had weird teeth, and played badly also, but there was something else. I couldn't tell whether he was fat or thin. It sounds stupid, but I really couldn't tell. You look at his face, and you immediately think he's fat. But then you look down to his legs, and they're skinny. And he has a baggy sweatshirt on so you can't tell if he has man-boobs and a gut. I'm lucky I didn't have to read any greens today or give out too many yardages (oh boy was that funny too), because I couldn't take my eyes off of this guy. We'll call this one "Deceptively Fat Mike." Because I think he was, but I don't think we'll ever know.
And the yardages. This was the funniest part of today. Again, I don't have it in for bad golfers, so don't let this section offend you if you're just taking up the game or are struggling with it, but these rich guys couldn't play to save their lives. And that's why yardages were so funny today. I'd give them a yardage, and they'd shank it, or hit it fat, or skull it, or whiff it, or all kinds of other things. So my quandary today was: why give them yardages at all? Regardless of what I tell them they're going to mishit it.
"Alright 'Deceptively Fat Mike,' you have 146 to the front of the green and 161 to the flag."
"What was the distance again?"
"161 to the pin."
"What is the yardage now?"
"How far do you think that one will be from the green?"
"Whatever it is, you don't have that club in your bag, sir."
No, I didn't really say that. But who could've blamed me if I did? I mean seriously, WHY give someone the yardage when they have no use for it. I mean it's nothing bad. They could've gotten in some practice with some of their other clubs today. They could've just treated today more like a driving range than a golf match. But no. Mr. "Deceptive" needs to stare down his missed putt like Tiger, because he's THAT GOOD.
So yeah. That was pretty much my day. I may have sounded a little angry, but I really did have fun. I just really need to buy some waterproof shoes. I'd wear my golf shoes, but apparently that's murder on your feet when caddying. Anyway. Take care guys.
Posted by Tom Collins at 12:43 AM
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I'll be brief, because I'm borrowing somebody's computer for a second to put up this post, but today was really fun.
I only caddied for one guy, and we ended up skipping around because he didn't want to wait behind the foursomes that kept popping up on this beautiful day.
I was a little nervous, because it was obvious to me after the first putt that I read that he knew his stuff. He's very familiar with the greens, and he will instantly know if my read is bogus.
But I did a great job on the greens today. We really hit it off, and he even bought me lunch.
I have to say, however, that the highlight of the day came on the last hole.
He hit his wedge a little right, and the ball came to rest approximately 65 feet from the hole. The putt had a couple things involved: it was downhill and it could definitely get away from him, and there was a ridge halfway in-between his ball and the hole that would throw the ball to the left quite a bit.
"I'm thinking of aiming 6 inches right of the hole. What do you think?"
I pointed to a spot I liked about 3/4 of the way between his ball and the hole, which was more or less 2-3 feet right of the hole. "I like this spot."
"Yeah. I mean, you can aim it 6 inches right, but you'd have to hit it harder."
"Alright. Let's give your line a try."
And he struck the putt.
The ball started right on line, hit the ridge, and gracefully broke left and ended up in the bottom of the hole. What a putt.
I pumped my fist and he immediately pointed at me and shouted: "You are caddying for me this weekend!"
It was fantastic. Somebody is requesting my services. My first willing repeat-customer.
Tomorrow I have to move the rest of my stuff up to my new home for the summer, so I won't be posting tomorrow, but I'll see everyone on Thursday.
Posted by Tom Collins at 11:08 PM
Monday, April 18, 2005
When I left the house this morning, I knew something was going to happen. Yes, that is certainly vague. I mean, there were a lot of wind gusts today, and by golly, that counts as "something happening." But, in all seriousness, I had this strange feeling that I was going to double it up today. And sure enough, I just got back a little while ago from 36 holes.
I forecaddied for both rounds: the first being with four golfers, the second with three. I don't think I've ever been this active in my entire life. I was always doing something, and everywhere I went, I WAS RUNNING. Everywhere. I was thinking about it in the car-ride home, and I will use this analogy so you can get a better understanding of how beat I feel right now: run 400-meters, take a 10 minute break, and then run another 400-meter race. My feet and legs are killing me. But man, I did some great things today.
I'm not going to go over each of the rounds in their entirety, because to be honest, I was always on the move and there weren't too many opportunities (other than when I was on the green) to stop and smell the roses. But let's start with my first round.
My first round was difficult. It was difficult for a few reasons. First and foremost, this was the first time I had forecaddied for 4 people in carts. So, needless to say, there were a lot of "learning experiences" to be had.
For instance. On the first hole after I had introduced myself to everyone, I wrote their names down on the scorecard. Okay, that was a smart move, but once I ran out into the fairway and found a spot in the right rough to observe their tee-shots, I realized I had no clue who was hitting. Damn. So giving the yardages to everyone took a little longer on the first hole, because I kept running back and forth across the fairway to check with the foursome and see who was hitting what ball.
Not a very impressive start, but after I got down what they were wearing and discovered a good system for keeping track of where each person was and writing down ONE distance (instead of writing two yardages, one for the front of the green and one for the total distance to the flagstick), I was organized and ready to roll by the 3rd hole.
Yardages soon became easy to give out and keep track of. Now I had to confront my worst skill head on: reading the greens. Now again, I HAVEN'T PLAYED THIS COURSE YET. So I don't know if the yardages I'm giving for some shots are legit, because yeah, it may be uphill, but I don't know if an extra club will get you there. And putting. As I've said, I don't consider myself to be kick-ass at reading greens for my own purposes, so I'm a little hesitant to give advice anyway. But right off the bat on the first hole, this group, the ENTIRE group, asked me for a read on their putts. And, after completing the first hole, two out of the four were still interested in what I had to say about the greens.
Throughout the round, my fan club grew and dwindled. Sometimes one of them would lean over to me and say, "nice read," which of course is just about the best compliment a player can give a caddie. On the same token, however, I had a player ask for a read, realize after he hit it that it was a terrible line, and just stare at me for a moment as the ball missed the hole by a couple of feet. That didn't feel too good. But again, I worked hard, and a few of them gave me compliments at the end of the round in front of a few of my colleagues. So that rocked. I mean, the tip was pretty low (probably because of my stellar green-reading abilities), but at least some of the higher-ups heard about my good work.
And just as I'm loading up a cart to bring a few bags up to valet, I hear my boss.
"You good for another round today?"
At this point my exhaustion hadn't hit me, and I was hyper. I was excited and I was gassy. I think I ripped a little fart every time I took a step. I felt like a shark. I had to keep moving. If I didn't, I'd have to smell myself, which I KNEW was not my bag.
So I replied: "Hell yeah. I'm good."
After about 15 minutes, as I was relaxing in the caddie room, it hit me. First my feet, then my legs, and then my head began to droop. I was really freakin' tired. But before I could think of anything even resembling a rational thought, I got the go ahead, and I was out running down the fairway again for a new group. This time, it was a threesome.
After they had all hit their first shots, I was energized again. I ran across the fairway and threw down my towel in the rough to mark one of the players' balls, and like a professional basketball player doing suicides during practice, I dug my right foot in the ground and made a sharp turn back onto the fairway to get the distance. I could feel it, the other player's would feel it soon, and your mom always feels it. I was ON FIRE. I knew this second round would be awesome.
I changed two things for this round. First, I never let any of the player's think that I was guestimating some of the yardages. I just gave them their numbers, and that was it. None of this, "Well, it's about 150 yards from here." This may sound like common sense, and it really is, but you'll just have to believe me when I say that I've been having trouble saying, "Sir, you're 149 from the flagstick," and leaving it at that. I'm still trying to fight through one of my old personality traits of "always trying to please," so I'm just used to always leaving an opening for someone. Not anymore.
"Sir, you're 164 from the front, 175 from the pin, and who's your daddy?"
"That's right bitch."
Well, maybe not like that, but damn close.
Sorry. I got lost for a second there. What the hell was I talking about? Oh yeah. I was ON FIRE.
I read all of the greens perfectly in that second round. All three players asked me about their putts on every hole. It was so much fun. They would either make the putt or miss it and say, "I pulled/pushed it, but that was a great read."
I do think I'm getting better on the greens, but I also think the fact that I saw a lot of the same putts today (via my 36 hole stint) helped me feel more confident about my lines.
Before I forget, I saw an amazing shot today. And by amazing, I mean that I the shot itself sucked balls, but the swing and contact was something few have seen.
I'm on the 13th hole (my 31st hole) and one of my players pulls out an Adam's "Tight Lies." He looks at the flag, looks at his ball, gives the pin another look, pulls the trigger, and proceeds to hit the ball twice. Now, I know you can pull off this shot with a wedge, and everyone remembers T.C. ("two-chip") Chen, the guy in the Masters one year who double-hit a pitch shot out of the rough on the 15th hole and ended up losing the tournament by a shot (I think that's how the story turned out). Anyway, the ball hits the top of the clubhead, moves up and forward just enough to catch the top of the clubface, and makes contact while the club is on the upswing. The resulting shot went so high in the air we lost it for a second, and it landed about 50 yards ahead of us. He turned to me.
"What the hell was that?"
I've never wanted to laugh so hard in all my life. It was hilarious. But I can't laugh. What will this guy think? And consequently, what will happen to my tip if he sees me cracking a smile?
So I did the best thing I could think of: I turned away and bit down on my towel.
For the rest of the hole I couldn't look at him. I hid small, quiet outbursts of laughter by coughing and licking my lips. I'd bite down on my tongue and think of dead puppies to keep from laughing. Somehow I got through it. Man that was funny to watch.
Surprisingly, the tip was the exact same for both rounds. Guess I improved a little on my second 18. And I am so sore right now. I hope tomorrow is slow. I don't think I can do 36 holes for a couple of days.
By the way, thanks for reading all of this. I know it's a lot. Just can't help myself, ya know?
Posted by Tom Collins at 12:05 AM
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Today was opening day. Now the course is officially in the swing of things. To celebrate the start of the new season, the course held an opening day scramble for the members. From what I've heard, it's rare to see more than 15 members participate. That's pretty sad. Fortunately, this year was record-setting. Over 40 members showed up. Now all I needed to get was a bag.
The way this whole caddie thing works, at least at this course, is that all of the senior caddies (the boss's go-to guys) have their name on a magnet and they are assigned a time to come in the day before (their magnets are slapped onto a dry-erase board under the time they should arrive). They may not know exactly who they'll be paired up with, but they are guaranteed work if they show up. Some of them don't, which is amazing to me. Then again, I'm still a rookie so I'm always thankful for every bag I get.
So if you're not a senior caddie, when you arrive you're supposed to write your name on the "stand-by" board. Theoretically, once all of the senior caddies have been assigned groups, the boss-man moves to the stand-by list. Caddies are given bags or groups on a first come, first serve basis. Today there were 4 guys ahead of me. Not too bad, considering that the next time I looked at the board the list had grown to 23.
But to be honest, that really doesn't mean anything. Many of the guys behind me are much more experienced, and the caddie-master knows this. So when we all move up to the "circle" (where all of the carts and members wait to be sent out onto the course), my boss starts pairing up the more experienced caddies first.
After about 10 minutes, there were only two caddies left without a bag, and I was one of them. The guy next to me was new too, and he's bitching and moaning about how "not fair" this is. I'm trying to stay optimistic and energized, but part of me would like to agree with him. Because right now, I don't know how I'm ever going to be considered an "experienced" caddie. All of the senior caddies are working regularly nowadays, and it has been hard for me to get out lately. I mean, everyone (or most everyone) knows what it's like to be chosen last for something in gym class. I'm 24, and right now, it's happening all over again.
But then the caddie-master calls my name.
Half surprised, half crapping my pants from happiness, I run over and find out that I get to caddie for a familiar face. I can't reveal his name, but I did find out this little tidbit recently: he's a "dick doctor." He takes care of dicks all day. That's interesting. I mean, I suppose there has to be a doctor that takes care of that particular aspect of the medical profession, but for some reason my mind always stopped it's inquiries after I heard the word "gynecologist." Well, you learn something new everyday. I've caddied for this guy before, and he isn't known for tipping well, but from what I hear from the other caddie, the guy riding in the cart with him IS. Well, maybe they'll cancel each other out. But that wasn't important. I was just happy to be included in something the rest of the caddies were involved in.
And I was kicking some freakin' ass out there. I was practically flawless the whole round. Yardages? BAM! Lost your ball? There it is...BAM! Juggling three balls that I need to clean with two bags over my shoulders and a sand wedge in one hand? BAM! No problem beeeeotch!
But there was one mistake. I think it was bound to happen eventually, simply because I was pitching a perfect game. I got a little excited at my ass-kicking, and choked a little on the 17th. On this particular hole, one of the guys I was forecaddying for (the doctor's original cart-buddy) asked me for a yardage that I hadn't gotten to yet (his ass was in a cart). So I stopped at his ball, walked off the yardage, and did a few things wrong. First, I read the distance to the back of the green instead of the front, so that added an extra 20 yards. Then, when he corrected me, saying, "Well it's only 77 yards on this marker," I added incorrectly when I walked it off for a second time. So by the time I was done, I had given him three yardages, only one of which was right. But other than that, I hustled, helped make some key reads on the greens, and kept my mouth shut. It was exhilarating. When everything is just clicking, man. Lots of fun.
I think the only interesting highlights came from one man. Let's see. We'll call this individual "Mr. Hooksalot."
Mr. Hooksalot had a bit of a...HOOK off of the tee. He had one of those new fancy drivers with the adjustable weights. Obviously, he needs to experiment with those a little bit.
Anyway, Mr. Hooksalot reminded me of a guy back home that never showers or wears anything but a t-shirt and shorts. Mr. Hooksalot was just the more successful, more demanding version of this friend from home. Oh, and yes, he was well dressed. Another key difference.
But the most amazing thing, at least to me, was that every time the other three players decided not to use one of his shots (which happened a lot), he would just forget about his ball. He was playing with Titleist Pro V1's. Around $4 a ball if I'm not mistaken. He would just leave it and move on. I mean, of course I ran over and picked it up for him, but he was flabbergasted when I handed him the ball. "Oh, wow. Umm, thanks."
You're welcome Mr. Hooksalot.
And that was about it for today. As for the tip, ehhhh...It was nothing to write home about. But I still felt as though I had accomplished something.
Posted by Tom Collins at 7:49 PM
Friday, April 15, 2005
Just to warn you, I wasn't able to get a bag today. I got my first paycheck, which was good, but I was sent home at noon.
I may not have been able to work today, but I did come across a rather unbelievable television show. I only bring this up because I was floored when I saw it.
Montel Williams. His guest today was a guy who was playing in his club championship, and almost got struck by lightning.
And that was it. That was the whole story. Yet somehow, by making this guest take his time with the story and Montel asking questions as frequently as possible, they were able to stretch this out for 15-20 minutes. It was pretty much the whole show.
As an audience member, I would've been pissed. I mean, sure, that's a good enough story to tell your friends at the bar. But to put in on television in front of a live studio audience? You'd have to be on crack.
I kept waiting to see if this story was a lead-in to a much more interesting story. Like, alright, I was struck by lightning, but that lead me to believe that there was a God and he wants me to DIVORCE my wife and have SEX with midget-twins. Something to that effect. Something with some meat to it.
But no. I mean, I guess if all the interesting stories have dried up, this screening tactic for new material would work pretty well.
"Sir, if I could have just a moment of your time."
"Yes? What is it?"
"Sir, has anything mildly interesting happened to you today?"
"Why yes, I sat at a traffic light for 15 minutes."
"Wow. Did it...did it end up turning GREEN?"
"Yes! It was AMAZING!"
"Holy crap! Would you be kind enough to share that story on television in front of a live audience?"
And on and on. Talk-shows would never run out of material.
Ah well. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a bag.
Posted by Tom Collins at 3:26 AM
So two guys pull up in a cart. I assume, like always, that I'll be carrying at least one bag. Not today. Today, I would be forecaddying.
"So your one job today is to find all of the 34 balls I'm going to be slicing into the woods on the right."
But during the round, neither of them went right. Neither really went left. They were down the middle almost all day. The tee shots were never the problem.
One of the guys in the cart had some kind of affinity for sand. He hit it into a bunker on every hole for the first 7 holes. Bunkers I didn't even know existed or came into play were targeted. And the other guy was a pretty good stick, but he was very clingy and quick to judge.
Example: On the 8th hole--which is the number one handicap hole--he decided to lay up. Now that's alright. This is a par-5, the green is really tricky and you need to get a decent angle at it to have a good chance at birdie. From his ball to these bunkers on the right it's 150. I told him this. Several times. I also told him, that to carry it all the way over these particular bunkers, you not only have to carry at least 190, but you also have to stay left. Somehow in his mind, this screamed "6-iron." Now I know some people can carry a 6-iron 190. But this guy is over 60 years old and he doesn't have the most aggressive swing known to man.
"Could I hit a 6-iron up to that point?"
"Well, whatever you can carry 190."
And of course he hits the 6-iron. And, predictably, the ball finds one of the bunkers on the right. As we arrived at his ball, he kept repeating over and over: "you know, for future reference, the 6-iron wasn't enough. You need a lot more than a 6-iron to carry this."
He said it so many times I thought I had done something wrong. I almost apologized, and then I was like: no. I told you the yardage you needed to hit, and you didn't take a club that could do it. Go fly a kite or something.
And then on 11, I lost the "Bunker King's" ball right as it landed. He had 124 to the pin and he elected to hit a 5 iron. Now I know he has back problems and he doesn't hit the ball very far, but you're talking about hitting a 5-iron into a small landing area, over water, off of an elevated tee. Unless you can impart some mad-spin on that ball, it's not stopping. And of course it didn't. It bounced over the green and into the water. But the problem was, I didn't see that. The sun was reflecting off of the water and I didn't see the ball land. So I guessed that it had stayed up (forgetting that he had hit the 5-iron). I guessed wrong. And he was pissed that it wasn't on the green.
My next big mistake came on 17. Bunker King was driving the cart and his guests' bag fell off. So I ran over to pick it up and put all the clubs back in. While I'm completing this little task, Bunker King hits his next shot. Well of course I didn't see it. I was busy picking up all these clubs. And of course I lose the ball. The number one rule in caddying and I freakin' break it on 17. Just before the round is over and I'm about to get tipped. I mean, I ended up finding the ball after the hole was over, but at that point, it didn't matter. I had lost it, and the King wasn't happy.
I bring up these instances today because I feel like these were the moments that cost me a decent tip. Which hurts now that I think about it, because when you're forecaddying, you're basically running. On a course over 7000 yards, that's at least 3.97 miles if the course is flat. With a slope of 145, this course is anything but flat. So you're talking at least 5 miles of on again, off again running. Which I know it's my job, but for my first day doing it, I'm a little sore. Hey, what can I say, I'm getting old.
So I'm tired and I've got blisters on my feet. I was tipped the minimum. I suppose I deserved it, but man that's tough. I wasn't being an asshole, and I hustled. Two mistakes in a round shouldn't blow away all my chances at a good tip.
Ah well. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Posted by Tom Collins at 1:14 AM
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
To be honest, I'm having trouble writing today. I guess it's because I've been busy the last few days and haven't been able to update. Man, I get rusty quickly.
I had already written the majority of this post. But then I stopped, looked over it, and said, "wow, this post sucks my left nut."
So I deleted it and decided to start over. But instead of trying to organize my stream-of-consciousness style of prose into something resembling chronological order, I've decided I'm just going to have to write about things as they pop out of my head. Which is normally the case anyway, but normally I have some logic attached to it. Oh no. Not this time. I'm running free baby. I feel it may be the only way to save this particular post. Here goes.
The guy I caddied for today turned out to be Scottish. So for the sake of something worth something, let's call him "Mr. Haggis." He was playing with three other guys. Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Ho-bag, and Bob Smith.
Tweedle Dee looked like Jack Nicklaus from afar. Which was wicked cool.
Tweedle Ho-bag hit some ridiculously lucky shots and almost aced the par-3 16th. And what has two thumbs and gave that guy the yardage? This guy.
Bob Smith was boring and terrible at golf. I'd like to say more about him, but I can't really remember a single shot that blew my hair back today. See you later Bob.
So Mr. Haggis never came through on anything today and left everything out to the right. He knew it, I knew it, and the Tweedle's new it. That's probably why they were laughing on the back nine. They were winning all of this guy's money. But money really isn't everything. No, check that. Of course money is everything.
Oh wait. I just remembered something worthwhile that Bob Smith did. He hit a great FLOP shot (missed the putt) on the 12th and Mr. Haggis made one of the best comments I've ever heard: "That's like putting whipped-cream on shit."
Way to be Mr. Haggis.
Haggis was a cool guy. His swearing increased exponentially on the back nine, which correlated with his losing streak to the Tweedles. He was a good sport about it though. We laughed together at his bad shots, laughed some more at his good shots, and took turns making fun of the Tweedles: on the 16th hole Tweedle Ho-bag had a 2 footer for birdie, and Haggis smiled and said, "you got the read on this one Ho-bag?"
I jumped in with, "yeah, knock it close." Yeah, that's right. I went there. That was so freaking witty and you know it. Now that I think about it, I'm not sure anyone but Haggis heard me make this comment. But he laughed damn it. And everyone was laughing by 18. It was really an enjoyable round, and the tip wasn't bad either.
But the other caddie I was working with was terrible. He was the bullshit king. Okay, I'm still new to caddying, but he was even NEWER. He was fresh out of the shrink-wrap. He had been on the course maybe four times so far. So guess who wanted to read everyone's putt? It wasn't me. Even after he had snubbed me out and somehow gained the trust of every player on the dance floor, and everyone started missing putts, he was still somehow able to bullshit his way out of any responsibility. At least I was honest with Haggis on the first hole.
"Can you read these greens yet?"
"Well, I'm getting better at it."
A lot of respect that got me. He soon was taking reads from Shitty McShitterson. I've never seen so many piles of bullshit on each and every green. But, in the end, I could tell that the players respected me because I kept my mouth shut most of the time. This other caddie wouldn't be quiet. I've seen speed freaks with more restraint.
Well no, I haven't. But those addicts can get a little crazy, right? I mean look at what speed did to that dog on "Something About Mary." Puffy went insane. When the dog broke almost every bone in it's body, it just kept on going. Just like this guy. He couldn't read anything on the greens, but he kept right on going. Like that bunny with the battery surgically implanted on its back. Poor bastard.
In reading over this post, I guess I was a little more organized than I meant to be. But that's cool. No Hunter S. Thompson "gonzo-journalism" for me today. But I'll keep on trying.
Anyway, time to stop. Later ya'll.
Posted by Tom Collins at 11:56 PM
Monday, April 11, 2005
So, the golf world had a big day today: Tiger wins his fourth Masters. I have some thoughts, but before I get to that, let me tell you a little bit about my experience today caddying for "The Chairman."
I call him "The Chairman" because if I were to give away his real name or his real title, I would be giving away where I work and I would eventually run the risk of getting fired. So, for my own interests in keeping this blog alive for the long term, let's just refer to this fat piece of crap as "The Chairman."
I didn't have to wait around very long today before I was assigned a loop. I think it was all because of who I ended up looping for. I don't really think any of the other caddies wanted to take this one. He's fat. He's lazy. He doesn't know how to tell a joke, and he doesn't strike me as a very successful individual. But guess what: he's important anyway. He's "The Chairman."
As I walked up to shake his hand and introduce myself, he looked me up and down and said, "So, have they told you how to do this?"
A sphincter says what?
"I like my caddies to watch my ball from the right side of the fairway."
Oh, of course your holiness. And of course he turns out to be a lefty. I mean, I love Phil and Mike Weir. Don't get me wrong. But unless you're a pro, for some reason I just can't understand why you'd be a lefty. I don't know. But I was frustrated because it definitely screwed up my caddie routine during the round.
Running down the fairway (the right side, of course) with the other caddie to watch their 1st tee-shots, I found out a little bit more about "The Chairman."
"He'll throw his ball to you to clean before he putts, but DON'T throw it back to him. Hand it to him. And he's a douche-bag. It's like it's below him to talk to us. So don't expect a lot of conversation."
Sounds like a real stand-up guy.
But, it was a gorgeous day. How bad could it get?
After he tapped in for par on the first hole, I got to see my first hints of laziness. His putter is constructed in such a way that it actually fits down into the hole, and it has a round opening on the bottom of the putter to fit a ball into. Hence, you simply stick this putter down into the hole, press down onto the ball, and lift the ball out. No bending required. And he was really proud of it.
Personally, I was impressed by his belt. Hang on little guy.
On the 6th hole I made my first mistake. I stood on the wrong side. For a right handed golfer, I'm used to setting the bag down to the player's right for easy club access. For lefty's, naturally, it's the exact opposite. Yeah, definitely messed that up not once, but twice on that hole.
He would simply motion with his hand and say, "no, face ME."
I felt like an idiot. But I suppose he liked that sort of thing. He also liked cheeseburgers. Oh, and he liked talking down to me.
"You see, with a lie like that, I couldn't get behind it enough to make good contact, so a drop is really my best choice. You see?"
Yes sir. And, if I may, how do you like making a 7 on this easy par-5?
And so it went for a while. On the 13th, I was carrying two bags because I was splitting the threesome with another caddie. So he carried two bags for the front nine, and I would carry two for the back nine. On the 13th, the other guy I was caddying for was really laying over the sod. So I got a little behind picking up all the divots. When I finished picking up after Mr. Chunktastic-Old-Fart I had to run to catch up with "The Chairman" to hand him a club for his next shot.
When I finally got near him and gave him the yardage, he paused and just stared at me.
"Son, there isn't a player in this group that you need to run for. Don't run."
I didn't really know what to say. I mean, there were so many things that came to mind: oh, is all this running making you jealous? Are you feeling tired just looking at me? Do you not like to see hard work? Are you opposed to giving me a compliment for my efforts? Yada yada yada.
But instead of saying all that, I simply replied, "okay, sir."
But then I quickly added, "but I need to get my exercise." He grimaced. Obviously he didn't like my attempt at being young and naive. But after that hole the three of them decided to quit early because they wanted to get some food and watch the Masters. So after 14, I was done. And surprisingly, "The Chairman" gave me a decent tip for an 18-hole loop. So maybe he wasn't all bad.
Well no, he really was. But it was a nice gesture. I guess I was really just surprised at how this man could be so successful. He was lazy, condescending to people without a six-figure income, and was obviously trying to justify his role in society to the other two who were playing with him. Let's just say, that if the world ended tomorrow and he survived, he would have no usable skills to help out mankind.
But enough said. On to the Masters.
So Tiger won. You know, I'm not exactly sure why I feel disappointed. Well, I guess first and foremost, it was an ugly win. But he did get some great breaks. And that chip on 16? Wow. I would have never expected that from that lie he had. That was one hell of a shot. I think the roar of the crowd gave that ball the impetus to turn over that one last time. And I know he's a good player. But I'm opposed to him for a few reasons.
First of all, I was at a tournament a while back and I witnessed him slam a club down on the cart path in a moment of anger towards his lie. I suppose many players do this, but at the time it left quite an impression on me. There's no need for that on a golf course. And I'm also a fan of underdogs and close competition. And when Tiger wins tournaments by 5-10 shots, that's not fun to watch. That's like watching an unbalanced Super Bowl. You just spent all that money on pizza and beer and look what it got you: a game that ended with a score of 45-10 (and yes, this last win at the Masters was really close. But this is his fourth green-jacket and he's only 29. He's dominating too much for my taste).
I also hate bandwagons. Tiger took the game by storm. And people who didn't know anything about golf instantly became devoted Tiger fans. Many people did it. I guess if Tiger hangs around for another 10-15 years and continues to mature, I will someday learn to like him. But for now, I'm just worried he'll duck out in a few more years after he's won everything and taken all the records away from these great players who spent their whole lives developing their games and bringing more prestige to the game of golf. So Tiger, keep it up.
So yeah. I'll stop there. Take care everyone.
Posted by Tom Collins at 12:42 AM
Saturday, April 09, 2005
So, let’s not kid ourselves. Today was a bit of a letdown. I arrived this morning at 7:24 am and left the parking lot again at 1 pm. I wasn’t given a single loop.
I think it was even more of a letdown now that I think about it because I was up late again last night helping out with this movie. A friend of mine is putting together a film and I ended up landing a minor role. So, I had to travel last night to meet up with the production crew and shoot my scene. I got back home around 3 am, and of course was thrilled to set my alarm for 6. Yeah, I slept through it. But, when I woke up at 6:40 am, I got that essential adrenaline rush you need to help you get your ass in gear for the day.
When I walked into the caddie room there were already 10 guys ahead of me. I thought, okay, fine. Most of you guys are regulars and more experienced anyway, and I’m sure even if you arrived after I did you’d probably get priority. So I wasn’t really that concerned.
But, it was a gorgeous day: mid-70s and blue skies with just a hint of wind. And there didn’t seem to be a shortage of interested golfers—the tee sheet was packed up through 11 am.
So as caddies started leaving to meet up with their assigned players, I felt my name would be called soon. And then more caddies showed up. Okay, I thought, I’m still cool. I was here before them.
Nope. Apparently I was misinformed.
After my turn was skipped for the 5th, 6th, and 7th time, I started to feel like my efforts for making it to work this morning were all for naught. And when 1 pm rolled around and the supervisor told me I could leave, my heart sank. No work for me today.
And again, I understand. All of those other guys have been here longer than I have. Of course they deserve some sort of priority. But most of these guys are either part-time or they attempt the “weekend-warrior” shifts. I’m coming in every day. I mean, I’m new, but I feel I’ve shown them I know how to work hard. I don’t know. I mean, I guess my supervisor realized that I probably deserved to go out today when he responded with: “You’re first on my list to go out tomorrow.”
I suppose that’s all for today. But just for a bit of filler, I think I’m going to pick something random and talk about it for a moment. This might end up being a nice addition to my site. Plus, anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I have an innate ability to go off on random tangents. So here goes.
The “20-Items-Or-Less” Express Lane at Wal-Mart.
This lane is crappy crap crap. I mean, I can understand 10 items or less, but 20? That’s not fast. That’s slow as shit. Do you know how complex you can make those 20 items? You can have meats, things that require weighing, golf clubs, bottles of wine (perhaps some proof of identification), and to top it all off, you still have women writing checks. For those of you who have ever tried to write a check to buy groceries, it sucks. That adds another 5-10 minutes of questioning to your checkout process. And the cashiers are so lenient. You could have 35 items and still go into the “Express Lane.”
And if you’re only buying one item, do NOT go to Costco. Take it from me. It’s the biggest waste of time EVER.
Posted by Tom Collins at 11:55 PM
Friday, April 08, 2005
Hello again. For some reason the computer I was on yesterday wouldn't let me sign in to blogger, so I couldn't publish my last post. So make sure you check out the post before this one, because it's brand spanking new.
But while I'm here, I guess I should give a little report on today's round.
I ended up caddying for the Korean version of Bernhard Langer again. But today was a little different.
I saw him out on the course yesterday taking a lesson with one of the club pro's. So when I realized I'd be caddying for him today, I was a little excited. Did the pro make him faster? Did the pro make him a little better? Turns out, no.
His driver was just about the only thing he had any control over today. Everything else he hit thin or fat, and his alignment was WAY off. Now, I'm not a certified teaching pro, but I think before you start getting into any swing work, you need to make sure that the fundamentals are there. You know, things like grip, posture, and ALIGNMENT. If you're a golfer and you do not aim at your intended target, chances are, unless you make some adjustments during the swing, you will not hit it at your target. My man had a 73-yard shot. He elected to hit a sand wedge. Alright, fine. He checked the wind, his lie, and took a few practice swings. Okay, we're still fine. Then he sets up a good 20-yards right of his intended target. I suppose I should have said something, like, "what the fuck are you doing?" But he was already having a bad day, and I didn't want to make it worse. So anyway, he ended up skulling it way right, and then looking at me like he didn't understand.
I had one amazing moment today. And I know it's not really anything noteworthy, but if any of you were to caddie for this guy, you would've felt as accomplished as I did. He was about 180 yards from the front of the green, and because he had pushed his tee shot he was in the rough. To try and speed up play, I improved his lie before he got up to his ball. Okay, so far, so good. There were some overhanging branches that would clearly impede his intended ball flight, and right before he hit the shot, he paused and looked at me.
"Do you think those branches will get in the way of my shot?"
"Maybe. What are you hitting?"
Knowing full well that if he doesn't hit it thin or fat, he will normally hit the ball high, I suggested that he hit his 4-iron. So, he traded me for the 4-iron and hit his shot. It was beautiful. The ball just made it under the branches, and he caught it pretty well.
"Wow. Thank you."
Yeah that's right. Who's your daddy little Korean man?
And by the way, I'm Polish. So technically, since my people are made fun of constantly for no conceivable reason (yeah, people think we're stupid, but how did they come to that conclusion?), I feel I have the right to be frank about any other race or culture. It just comes with the territory.
But again, I digress.
So that instance was cool. but before I go, I wanted to bring up one more interesting point. To speed up play and to try and improve my tip, I've been told it's a good idea to cheat for your players. I can't remember who told me this, but it actually works. Your players are in a better mood (they have no idea that their ball was actually in a horrible lie), and usually they'll hit it farther and longer so you don't have to go chasing after another wayward shot. At first, I was totally opposed to the idea of cheating for my players. Because let's face it, golf is a game of integrity and skill. But I know how moody players can get if the cards aren't falling their way. So screw it. I'm cheating for them.
That's it for now. More to come. Obviously.
Posted by Tom Collins at 7:36 PM
Thursday, April 07, 2005
So after my loop yesterday I ended up playing some golf with friends (different course) and ended up getting back home around 10:30 pm. I couldn't hit a straight tee shot to save my life, my irons were inconsistent, and I couldn't read the greens. But my short game was on and I had a great time. But, it was a long freakin' day. I passed out before I could post anything last night, so I'll add a little extra to this one to make sure everyone's on the same page.
So let's see. Yesterday it was my distinct pleasure to caddy for another Korean. I say "distinct pleasure" because everyone in the caddie room groaned when this guys' name came up. Apparently the Asian members at this course are known for their slow play, their inability to converse with another human being, and their reluctance to give up more than $30 for a tip. So of course, being the rookie, I was the #1 draft pick.
So I meet the man. He seemed nice, a little on the quiet side, but nice. And then I saw his putter. A Scotty Cameron Futura. For those of you who don't know, this putter is massive. A massive putter-head means a massive putter-cover. Great. One more thing to pay attention to today.
And if I may, I'd like to digress for a moment. Scotty Cameron putters. I don't think I've seen one in a pro shop go for less than $225. That's the equivalent of me eating for a month. That's a really great night at the bar. I mean, I'd probably have to check with my brother, but I believe there's like 37 different things a stripper will do to you or for you for that amount. She could paint your house. I mean I know people need putters. I know this. Putting is like 40% of the game, so you better own a putter that you like. But come on--$225? I just don't see it. I understand that Scotty Cameron putters are cool as hell. You feel like a pro when you hold onto them. Hell, I even purchased a $15 putter at Wal-Mart because it looked like a Scotty Cameron. And simply because it LOOKED like a Scotty Cameron, I was putting lights-out. But still. Don't spend that much on a putter unless you pay my rent for a month.
Wow. Sorry. I guess that guys' putter really bothered me. But yeah, he was really a terrible player. And he was about as quick as Bernhard Langer on downers. That was the real kicker. I mean, if you're not that great of a player, you have to play a little faster because you have to chase after your ball, and the resulting time differential should equal that of a good player moving at a normal pace. But no. Mr. I'm-too-sexy-for-this-game thought that squirrel over there might be checking out his preshot routine.
And the pace really frustrated me because I thought that I was doing a hell of a job caddying. I was hustling, man. I always had the yardage ready (even though he never really understood what I said so I had to repeat myself constantly), his ball marks and divots were quickly repaired, and you could see your freakin' face on his clubheads. They were spotless. But it was just hurry up, wait, hurry and wait some more. All day. He stood an average of 30 seconds over every one of his putts. Anyway, enough said. Moving along.
After 18 holes of caddying perfection, I received $30 for my blood, sweat, and patience. And yeah, maybe some tears. But that came after I took the bills out of my pocket and went, "$30? Damn!"
And now we get to today. I arrived around 7:30 am, and after about an hour of chilling out, my boss tells me I have a single going out. So I grab a towel, wet one end, throw on my bib, and run outside. I don't see anyone.
"Hey rookie, I'm back here."
It was my boss. My boss? For some reason it took me longer than usual to make the connection. He was going to train me. So I grabbed his bag and ran out to the first tee.
Now I know I've given you guys a little bit of background on my boss, but let me repeat myself for a moment: he is really intimidating. He knows how to work hard, he's smart, and he knows what he wants out of life and out of his caddies. He started this business of his from scratch. He doesn't put up with much. This morning he also chewed out 4 caddies on 4 different phone calls because they're not coming into work when they're supposed to. Which I know a boss needs to do that, but I'm used to managers who pull people aside and discreetly inform them that there might be a problem. No way with this guy. He'll ream you out in front of 30 guys if he thinks he has to prove a point. He commands respect. I like that.
So I run down the first fairway, find a spot in the rough to watch his ball, and have a clear view of just about every possible place he could hit it.
And thanks to Murphy's Law, he skanks his tee shot high and right, landing in the woods behind me amongst leaves, sticks, and pricker-bushes. I know this now, but at the time, I was screwed. I didn't see his ball off the tee. I didn't see his ball when it was flying in the air, and I sure as hell missed it when it landed. My only saving grace was that I heard it hit a branch on the way down. So all I had to go on was a general direction. And somehow I found it.
Damn right boss-man. Who's your daddy?
"Then again, if you didn't find it, I would've reamed you out for breaking the #1 rule in caddying and turned around and walked back inside."
Oh. Well it's a good thing I found it then.
And after that, it was pretty much a cakewalk. Or cake-hustle. Whichever. Now, I've been caddying now for a while (ahem, 2 weeks), and I consider myself to be wicked awesome. But I was really impressed with how much more he was able to teach me. And I also found out today that I'm already pretty good when it comes to reading putts. So I got that going for me, which is nice.
So we finished our four-hole loop and returned to the caddyshack, where the rest of my cohorts were engrossed in a conversation about the evolution of deep-sea fish.
"I just don't understand. Light can't penetrate that deep, so why the hell do those fish need to be so colorful?"
"Their eyes are different than ours. They can see that shit."
So I relaxed for a while. And then I was given a loop. I would carry a bag, and the other caddie would ride in a cart (to watch over a 10-year-old so he wouldn't crash) and caddie for the other two in the threesome. Sounded pretty lax. Just as I was leaving, one of the other caddies mumbled, "He's a nice guy, but he doesn't pay very well."
Great. A non-Asian Asian.
No, that's not nice. Maybe he's Jewish.
No, that's not nice either. Maybe he was born during the depression. Yeah, that sounds a little more tolerant.
Anyway, the round was pretty painless. Well, except for two things: first, about this 10-year-old who was playing. Now I have nothing against the kid. I think he has the potential to play some good golf someday. He just needs some fitted clubs. Like his putter: it was longer than mine! And I'm 6'2''. No wonder he was missing everything. His father was also trying to coach him the whole way around. "Now, hold on a minute son, don't just pick that up. Take your time and finish."
His father also gave lessons on bump-and-run shots: "Now son, you want to hit it like you're hitting a putt."
Okay, so far so good I guess.
"And to control the distance, you use different clubs. If you have a longer bump-and-run shot, you would use a longer club. Like a 6-iron instead of a 7-iron. Do you understand?"
I chimed in with his son. "Umm...No?"
I mean, come on. If you've got a bit of a hill in front of you, you wouldn't use a club with less loft that might hit the ball directly INTO the slope and take off all of the speed. I mean, I guess his father has a point, but there is such a thing as "feel" in this game, and I think you need to address each shot on a case-by-case basis, because they're all different and they all require a creative flair. Especially around the greens.
But anyway, what I was getting at is that I really don't think what this kid's father is doing to him is fair. He was putting so much pressure on this kid to play well. And the kid is 10 years old. I told his father that I thought he might make a fine golfer someday.
"Yeah, I'm hoping he can help me retire."
Aww shit. Now that's not right. Why don't we see what he wants to do with HIS life before we make that a goal, alright pops? Plus, at this kid's age, the game should be fun. It shouldn't be pressure-packed. I mean, I suppose it worked for Tiger, but 99.9% of the time it will ruin a kid's life. Because when you get to be as good as the pro's, golf turns into work. Ask anyone. If you don't have the drive in your gut, it's not worth it. This kid has to decide that on his own.
And what the hell was that second thing that frustrated me? Oh yeah. The father's brother was playing with them. There's just something that annoys me about a guy that takes golf so seriously. I mean, I guess you can if you want to, but the thing was, this guy didn't even have the game to back it up. So what you end up with is a well-dressed Ashworth man with a preshot routine that rivals Jack Nicklaus in the '86 Masters, but the swing and patience of a Deli-worker during a rush. So yeah, it got to me after he chunked it for the 43rd time and still took his time with that poker face of his. And my goodness did he talk to himself. All the time. But anyway, you get the point. This guy was ridiculous.
And at the end of the round, the tip wasn't as bad as I had expected. So yeah, that was pretty much my day. I'm going to stop now because I know this has already been an arduous task for you readers. But thanks for sticking with it. Hope to see you again soon.
Posted by Tom Collins at 9:12 PM