These last few weeks seem to be filled with firsts. I witnessed a player hit at least one bunker on every hole for the first 13 holes. I almost shit myself. I played a practical joke on somebody. I’ve even read a few putts correctly.
Well today was another first. A 6 hour round. Two husbands, two wives and an Assistant Pro. A fivesome that never should’ve been formed in the first place. Remember Mr. and Mrs. Habicamp from the movie Caddyshack? Well imagine two couples just like that, except they’re only in their 50s and 60s. Whether they tapped in for 5 or 15 on a hole, they played everything out. Balls went everywhere. Normally this isn’t a problem, but due to the fact that we are now nearing winter…well…leaves litter every inch of the golf course. It can be hard to find balls in the fairway let alone the deep rough.
“Hi, I’m Tom.”
“Hi Tom. I’m Susie Depalkasdfj.”
“Hi Tom. I’m Lynn Burtfls.”
“I’m Bob Burtfls.”
“I’m Donnie Depalkasdfj.”
Wait, I’m sorry. What?
Depalkasdfj. Burtfls. Each player spoke their first name rather well, but failed to do any better than a mumble for their last name. These players are certainly seniors and deserve to be called Mr. or Mrs. SOMETHING. And I can’t even give them that. Oh well. It’s their own damn fault. Let’s go Susie Q.
When caddying for senior citizens, there’s one big point of etiquette than cannot be overlooked: yardages. This goes for most women too. If the yardage is over 150 yards, 9 times out of 10 they can’t hit it that far, so do not tell them how far it is. It only hurts their feelings. And I’m being dead serious about this. When I was down in Florida I gave an older guy a yardage of about 180 and he snapped at me: “Have you even seen a DRIVE of mine go over 160? No? Then you DON’T need to tell me about it.”
So ever since then I’ve been very careful with yardages around women and senior citizens. So first of all, nothing over 150. Secondly, ALWAYS tell them at least 10-20 yards more than what anyone else would hit. If a shot is playing 130 to the flag and there’s a hint of wind in the face, I will usually tell these individuals to hit their 140-150 club. Because 9 times out of 10 these players are going by yardages of what they USED to be able to hit, and so they’re hitting 7 irons where they need a 5 or wedges when they need to hit an 8 or 9. You have to be very careful when you’re delivering these yardages, however. You must give them to the individual personally, because if you shout the yardage too loud and another player decides to question your judgment, it’s very easy for you to be found out. And when THAT happens, it’s all but guaranteed that they will be short the rest of the day. So while most women and senior citizens are hitting the same woods and rescue clubs for most of the holes and the loop may appear easy, if you say the wrong thing you can pretty much kiss a good tip goodbye.
The other thing I’ve learned about caddying in general is that you NEED to be able to assess a player’s ability almost immediately in order to tailor your comments for their needs. For instance: if a 25 handicap puts a shot from 100 yards away anywhere on the putting surface it’s okay for you to say “good shot” or offer some other words of encouragement. If you happen to be caddying for a 5 handicap, however, and they’re 100 yards out and can’t stick their approach closer than 15-20 feet, you really shouldn’t offer any words of encouragement. For a single digit handicap, only give positive feedback when a shot is REALLY great. That’s the easiest way for a single digit handicapper to discredit you as a caddie. If you congratulate them on a good shot when the shot they just hit was CLEARLY not that great, they will simply assume you’ve never played golf before.
So, taking all of these things into consideration, I tried to prepare myself for my upcoming loop. I was assigned to carry the Assistant Pro’s bag and forecaddie for the two ladies in the cart, because apparently I’m “good with the ladies.” Giggity giggity.
The time: 9 am. We were a five-some, yes, but there weren’t really any players on the tee sheet for at least another hour. We had a cushion. Perfect.
By the time we finished the first hole, it was 9:27. If the first hole was a section of ocean and you dragged a juicy piece of meat on a cable through the center of it from one end to the other, the feeding frenzy of sharks swarming around it and moving WITH it was probably the equivalent of what these players looked like on the first hole. The center of the fairway was the nucleus and each of the players were electrons, bobbing and weaving in all different directions yet remaining perfectly symmetrical to the meridian. Once on the green, all golf etiquette was forgotten as players moved furiously up and down their intended lines picking up leaves and twigs as other players were trying to putt.
When we finally finished the first hole, the Assistant Pro turned to me. “What is this? A fucking Chinese fire drill?”
A brief glimpse of hope came on the fourth, when I was helping the women pick a club to hit into the par 3. The actual yardage was 124 and they needed to carry it over water and a bunker. There was a little wind in our face, and I didn’t hesitate.
“Lynn, hit your driver.”
“My driver? Really?”
“You hit that about 150, right?”
“Well yes…is it really playing that long?”
“Yep. Put a good swing on it.”
Susie Q interjected.
“No way that’s playing 150. I’m playing it 145.”
Oh, well excuse me.
Susie shanked her 4-wood dead right into one of those sprinkler maintenance boxes near the 5th tee.
“Well, I think that was the club if I hit it straight.”
Lynn nutted her driver into the wind. The ball just cleared the bunker and rolled up to about 9 feet.
“Wow! That was some good advice!”
I figured with my luck she was going to pure it over the green and give me a weird look for the next hour. But at our pace that would’ve only been a couple of holes, so I could deal. Fortunately, she was close with an easy birdie putt. And she made it.
But victory didn’t last long. After a PBF (post-birdie-fuckup) 15 on the 5th she was humble once again.
As the round progressed each player became more and more patient. They were grinding over every 1, 2 or 3 footer they faced. By the 6th hole the pro was so frustrated by the pace of play that he couldn’t even answer me when I asked him if he wanted his driver.
”You want to hug the bunker with your driver or take a hybrid and blast it up the left side?”
He just stared blankly at me, mouth open.
“I’m…I’m thirsty. How far Tom?”
“You’re about to tee off.”
“Oh, right. 7-iron I guess.”
“What? Here. Just take the driver.”
He was a zombie already. Come on man. You can’t bail on me this early. I NEED YOU MAN.
By the time we finished the front nine we had let 3 groups play through us, two of which were walking foursomes. The husbands and wives were all getting very frustrated.
“Do we have to let ALL of these people play through us?”
The pro was watching a squirrel.
“What? Oh…don’t worry…they’ll be fast. Aren’t you thirsty? I’m thirsty again.”
By 14, the wheels were coming off for the women. One of them whiffed the ball so hard that it bounced dead left and smacked against her shin, and the other skulled her 12th shot out of the greenside bunker straight into the pin where it then ricocheted into the water hazard. The Assistant Pro turned to me.
“I have never been more disinterested in a round of golf in my life.”
When you’re about to tee off on the 15th and 4 ½ hours have already passed, you can’t help but feel like an eternity has already passed. The other caddie turned to me.
“I feel like this is all a nightmare and I’m going to wake up any second.”
Just then, Bob’s tee shot snapped dead left and we had to hit the dirt. The other caddie, who is normally one of the calmest and most reserved caddies in the yard, responded first.
“Man, fuck this shit. I’m going to go stand in the middle of the fairway where it’s safe.”
And sure enough, for the rest of the round, that’s exactly where he stood. Granted, that meant he did it only on 17 and 18, but it was still hilarious.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
These last few weeks seem to be filled with firsts. I witnessed a player hit at least one bunker on every hole for the first 13 holes. I almost shit myself. I played a practical joke on somebody. I’ve even read a few putts correctly.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
One of the biggest problems with wet weather—as far as a caddie is concerned—is the variable weight of a players’ bag throughout the round. Most of the time, when the weatherman has a small seizure on camera and tells the local community that it’s going to be a little NASTY outside, the golfers at my club turn their golf bags into Swiss Army knives. They have everything in there. Extra socks, shoes, balls, towels, rain gear, you name it. Every button, zipper and strip of Velcro is holding on for dear life. And if for some strange reason the weatherman is WRONG (which of course never happens), by the 5th or 6th hole your players are shedding garments faster than a date on prom night and you’ve got to find room for even MORE clothing in their bags. So unless the weather is consistent, wet weather can really make those shoulders hurt by the end of the day.
Yesterday was one of those nasty days. It had rained almost the entire night before, and now there were water hazards WITHIN bunkers and mud bogs peppered throughout some of the fairways just WAITING for a victim. But you see…now it’s only DRIZZLING outside…and so although the course is WATERLOGGED, there’s some freakin’ GOLF to be played people. Not like I’m complaining, because winter is coming soon and I’m trying to hoard a few nuts before they’re all gone. But it always amazes me what weather some golfers will play in. Then again, if I had a chance to play this golf course with a few of my buddies and we had all flown in from other states, you better believe we’re playing no matter what.
So I get my assignment and I’m waiting outside in the rain for my players to come down off of the range. I hear a cart accelerator being popped into gear at the top of the hill and see my two players start to descend down towards the starters’ podium. Suddenly, a loud snap and crackle is heard as the weight of the two bags strapped to the cart rips the cart in half and slams the undercarriage against the sidewalk on its way down the hill. A spark is seen and the gas tanks under the seat cushions ignite and explode, engulfing my two players in a ball of fire. They quickly eject themselves from the cart screaming and thrashing violently trying to roll along the wet ground to extinguish themselves. The flames grow more and more intense as a second explosion accelerates the cart into a 15 mph fireball straight down the cart path toward one of the cart boys. He cries out in terror for Paula Abdul but she is nowhere to be seen. The cart spontaneously combusts, creating a powerful vacuum which sucks in the poor cart boy, ripping out his lower intestines.
And to think: this all started because the bags were too heavy.
A moment later, I was back in reality. I was now staring at two massive trunks. Both stuffed to the brim, both with too many head-covers and both with a right-handed strap. If humans had evolved with two right shoulders, I would’ve been in heaven. But as it turns out, I HAVE a left shoulder, and so adjusting one of the bags would be a bit of a challenge. One of the guests approached me.
“I tried to take as much as I could out of there.”
Oh really? Then why do you have two umbrellas?
“Hey, Tom? You want me to carry one of those? I think those are too much for you to handle by yourself.”
That was the other caddie in the group trying to talk some sense into me. But the problem was, he pushed the wrong button. He could’ve stopped at “you want me to carry one of those?” But instead he had to keep talking, insinuating that I couldn’t handle the sheer magnitude of the two bags that rested before me. I mean for cryin’ out loud—one of the bag stands wobbled every time there was a breeze.
But would I listen? No. I was now on a mission to prove to everyone how incredibly massive my testicles were. I was going to handle these bags on my own.
In retrospect, that was a dumb-ass thing to do. Ego has no place anywhere near a golf course. Without any exaggeration, each bag weighed more than 60 pounds a-piece. If there was a featherweight division for the world’s strongest man, I’m sure I would be eliminated in the first round. But this would certainly be a way to train for it. I spent the entire round focusing on posture. I wasn’t going to tear something just to get the job done. Not for these guys.
The worst part was, the group was playing slowly (about 2:40 for the front nine) and if they didn’t pick things up, there was no way we were going to finish in daylight. We were on the 16th hole, and the sun had already set.
“Should we skip to 18 so we can get in the whole round?”
“Nah. I can play in the dark if you can.”
Yeah, don’t worry about it sir. Caddies are a lot like bats. Except we’re human, drink beer instead of blood and sleep on our backs. Yeah. That’s about it. Hit it wherever you want. I got it.
Crap. My one chance to get out of this loop a little early and instead I have to hustle the last three holes because they don’t know how to keep up the pace of play.
“Yeah, guys? Let’s play ready golf, huh?”
Didn’t you say that on the first hole? You guys promise?
“Yes, I agree, we need to pick things up.”
So pick things up! Like your balls! See that white thing there? Yeah. You’re lying 7. You’re out of the hole. STOP THE MADNESS and pick that bitch UP.
“Tom, I’m going to pick up on this hole. Here, let me get my bag for you. No use in you carrying this up the hill when you don’t have to.”
Did I just inadvertently use a Jedi mind trick on this guy? What a nice gesture. I almost cried. So I left the bag with this great Samaritan while I helped the rest of the group finish up the 15th. But when I started walking up towards the next tee Mr. Samaritan had only just reached the halfway point of the hill.
“Oh hey. Hey Tom? Could you carry this the rest of the way? It’s a little heavy for me.”
Yeah, it’s a little heavy for me too sir. And about these two umbrellas? It’s been raining on and off all day and you haven’t even touched them. Please TOUCH THEM before the round is over with so you can justify—if only to me—bringing them out here in the first place. Please. Oh Jesus I’m going to die. Somebody please make it quick and painless.
And here I am, a day later, still sore as hell. MAN am I a dumb-ass. Remind me never to do that again.
Posted by Tom Collins at 11:28 PM
It’s great when you can go out on a loop and feel perfectly at ease with your players. Where all of your sarcastic comments are understood as sarcastic and you can feel free to laugh with your players after a bad shot. I just wanted to interject that little tidbit of information before I talk about how crappy the beginning of my loop was.
Oh. We’re here already. Okay, now it’s time to talk about how crappy the beginning of my loop was.
The start to my loop was hectic, frustrating and crappy. The caddie master calls out four caddies. He does not tell any of us who we will be carrying for. The only thing the caddie master said to me was, “Make sure you take care of the new recruit today. Help him out on the greens.” What? Help somebody read greens? That’s like having Stevie Wonder walk you through a minefield. You know what? Fine. If that’s what the caddie master wants, that’s what the caddie master gets. So the four of us walk outside without any idea of where we are supposed to go. After standing around like an idiot for a few minutes with the other caddies I decided to grab a bag and start cleaning the clubs. I soon find out that this was the member’s bag. So when he comes over, I shake his hand and start arranging his clubs for easier access later. Wedges in the bottom, woods and putter at the top, irons in between. I was very proud of myself.
Then the new recruit walks over and picks up the bag I was just working on. “I’m carrying the single today.”
Okay, fine. I guess I’m caddying in a threesome today. So I move over to the other two guest-bags, clean all the clubs (instinctively) and arrange them all in order so I can be a good little caddie and make sure that everyone is happy. Again, I was very proud of myself. I carry these perfectly organized bags to the tee. A couple of players tee off, and through some deductive Sherlock Holmes type logic I figure out that the two bags I had snagged were a part of a FOURSOME, and that I was on deck. So, being the nice caddie that I am, I nudge the caddie next to me and deliver the same message I received from the caddie master. “Hey, dude? You’re going to be caddying with the new recruit today. So make sure you help him out on the greens.”
“I’m not caddying with him. I was told to caddie in the foursome. These are your bags.”
So he grabs the two bags I had just finished making PERFECT and sticks me with the two guys who just hit. Their clubs aren’t cleaned, they’re not in any order, the bags each weigh more than an obese donkey and I have no idea where their balls just went. I felt like this was all some cruel game of musical chairs and I had just lost. On top of all that buttery goodness, one of my players was using YELLOW balls. Bright. Neon. Yellow. Balls. Now I know it’s not nice to assume anything about anyone. But I think if you’re using yellow balls you’re a little new to the game of golf. So I was preparing myself for the worst.
That’s not too mean to say, is it? I mean come on: Neon yellow X-out Top Flights. If you can say those words without cracking a smile then you’re some kind of saint in my book. I didn’t even know they still made those.
Needless to say, I was a little upset. It took me the entire first hole and much of the second hole to clean and organize their clubs. And just as we were nearing the second green, something strange and wonderful happened. And by “strange and wonderful” I mean “the cherry to top off this pile of cow feces.” I had to take a shit. Badly.
Not sure what it was to be honest with you. I’m very strict and diligent with my diet each and every morning because I want to AVOID situations like these on the golf course. But I guess after being raped not once (the first switch), not twice (the second switch), but three times in 20 minutes (the disorganized trunks I was carrying), my rectal area was feeling a bit fatigued and probably a little under the weather. I mean, it was bad. I was contemplating shitting in the woods off to the left of two, but then I realized that if I made a break for it, I might just make the bathroom back near the caddie shack. So that’s what I did. I took a deep breath, calmly turned to my players and clenched my cheeks together.
“Um…I uhhh…I forgot a pin sheet. I’ll be back.” And before my players could answer, I was a ghost. I was Forrest Gump with those mean kids throwing rocks. Jenny was telling me to run, and I WAS RUNNING. One hand pumping back and forth against the air to try and propel myself forward, the other desperately trying to hold in any and all shit that might want to fly out of me before I made the toilet. There must’ve been a million things running through my head during that 300 yard dash. But when you boil it all down, there was really only one thing of any importance: if I lose it right here, right now, I will never hear the end of it. I have to make it. I will make it. You got this Tom, you got it. I was like the little engine that could. “I think I can I think I can I think I can.” And it was a photo finish. But I did it.
I was very proud of myself.
In many ways that little episode really loosened me up for the rest of the loop. Now I could relax a little bit and try to enjoy myself. And this brings me back to what I said at the beginning of this post. It feels great when you can truly click with your players. No fake interest, no misinterpretations, just real communication and fun.
The first thing that really got me laughing came on the fourth hole when one of my players was lining up a putt. He was using one of those “Tri-Ball” Odyssey putters. And yes, this was the same guy who was hitting the yellow balls. Now I don’t know about you guys, but I just don’t get those putters. I mean, I understand some of the science behind it. All that “moment of inertia” stuff that’s supposed to deliver just as much energy into the ball on your mishits as with your solid putts, but come on. How big do these putters have to get? Hey, if you’re a big fan and it works for you, fine. But I can’t stand them. I think it’s hilarious to watch somebody putt with it, especially when they can’t hit their putts on line in the first place.
So Mr. Tri-ball was lining up his putt when the member blurts out: “Hey, what is that thing you’re putting with Bob, a toaster?”
I couldn’t help but start laughing. And I only laughed harder when Mr. Tri-ball explained to his friend why he liked the putter so much.
“No, actually these are all grills. This one is for eggs, this is for bacon, and I use this one for sausage.”
That was it for me. I knew they all had a good sense of humor. So that’s when I started letting some jokes fly.
On the fifth my other player skull-chunked his rescue club (and no, I didn’t think that was possible either) but because of how WELL he bladed it before he struck sod the ball still rolled about 175 yards right down the middle of the fairway.
“Now THAT is a son-in-law shot.”
“A son-in-law shot?”
“Not really what you were expecting, but you’ll take it.”
And he lost it. And I’m really glad he did, because he was then able to open up a little more.
“So where’d you go to school Tom?”
“Really? I used to visit that place back in the day when it was an all-girls school. Man, THAT was the place to go for some tail.”
“Yeah. I loved it there.”
See, I love that. During their work-week, these lawyers, doctors, executives and what have you are in charge, uphold an image and don’t take shit from anyone. But out here on the golf course they talk about sex, curse and take all kinds of orders from ME. It is a very interesting profession indeed.
The bags had taken their toll on my energy level, but there were still laughs to be had even on the 18th. My lawyer friend was in the left rough about 50 yards from the flag.
“So what should I do here, Tom?”
“You should…umm…put it on the green.”
He got a big smile on his face and started laughing. “I shouldn’t have even opened my mouth.”
I probably should’ve learned this lesson a long time ago, but I certainly learned it today. I should never assume that I’m going to have a bad loop. I thought today was going to be horrendous but it ended up being one of the best loops I’ve had in a long time.
Posted by Tom Collins at 4:12 AM
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I love it when things are literal. Comedian Mitch Hedberg used to say, "I'd love to see a forklift lift a crate of forks...It would be so damn LITERAL." Well I didn't see a forklift, but something close to it. A cocky Urologist.
On the fourth hole he was even getting a little emotional he was being so FREAKING MODEST. "I would...how can I say this? I would give up most of my distance to be able to add a little more control with my irons."
"You're 127 from the flag. Here's your 7-iron sir."
Occasionally, he could rip a drive. I'll give him that. But 97.458% of the time he would toe the SHIT out of his shots and you weren't really sure where they were going or how much distance he lost. Every shot of his sounded like crap. And yet he was still bragging about how far he could hit the ball on every hole.
"How far was that drive?"
"That's far. I mean...is it just me? That's really far. Have you ever seen a drive go that far?"
No. Absolutely not.
And on 9 he created a new term in the "caddie lingo" dictionary. The Houdini shot. The 9th at my course is a downhill par 3. Today it was playing about 165. I graciously handed him his 4-iron and took at step back to see where his "flushed" 4-iron would go. He took a mighty swing, a quarry-esque divot and finished with a nice Mark McGwire follow-thru. His divot broke apart into 6 separate pieces and flew in all directions, three of them landing on the lower tee box, two flying into the side rough and one of them impaling a squirrel. After it was all over with and we all checked in to make sure everyone was okay (except for the squirrel...I suspect it will probably be pissing blood for the next week), the member turned to me.
"Did you see where that went?"
I started laughing. I don't think I've ever experienced that before. A Houdini shot. My own personal definition: A shot involving so much spectacle that the audience (playing partner(s)) has no idea where the ball went. I'm sure while I was watching the dirt slowly impale that squirrel the cocky Urologist could've snatched my wallet and none would be the wiser. Maybe that's how he REALLY makes his money. Although, given the contents of my wallet, he'd have better luck robbing some little girls' lemonade stand at 8:30 in the morning if it was PROFIT he was thinking about.
Posted by Tom Collins at 5:44 PM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
So there it was. Vindication. I had an opportunity this past weekend to get a little confidence back on the greens. That’s right ladies and gents: a three-day member-guest. I don’t know what God-like human being came up with this Tournament, but he’s a genius (or hell, I GUESS it could be a she). Three days, 10 flights, 5 teams per flight, match play. Five nine-hole matches over 3 days and the team in each flight with the highest earned point total goes into a shoot-out for the win. It’s fantastic. They even have FOOD for the caddies. Sheer BRILLIANCE.
But before I talk about the tournament, I’d like to introduce you to my players. The member is Canadian, a little older, and looks and putts just like Jack Nicklaus. Not a bad person to resemble when you’re playing under tournament conditions. So we got THAT going for us. Which is nice.
The guest sounds just like that mafia boss on “The Simpsons” and suffers from A.D.D. I only know this because his loving partner told me. Well no. That’s not true. I knew after the second hole when we ran into 3 foursomes and the guest had a minor SEIZURE he was so upset about the pace of play. He’d swing his club, talk to me for a minute, walk over to a tree and stare at a squirrel, come back to throw grass in the air and maybe take a minute or two to readjust the sunglasses on the top of his head. He never actually WORE those sunglasses over his eyes, but I think they were used quite effectively for balance.
“Yeah, he has full-fledged A.D.D. He’s much better than he used to be though. Back home I used to play in a Tournament with him and all of my friends would place bets during lunch as to how long he’d sit in his chair before he got up to do something else.”
So that was my team. A Nicklaus look-alike and a man with no patience. Both 8 handicaps, both named Bob. The caddie who worked with them prior to my triumphant arrival said that this was all I would hear for 3 days:
“Oh MAN that was a bad shot. Sorry Bob.”
“Why can’t I putt? Sorry Bob.”
So I was a little jaded at the start of the Tournament because I’m a fairly competitive person and I really wanted to win, but I wasn’t so sure that was a possibility given the two horses I was betting on.
And I don’t know why I just thought of this, but the member liked to put stuff in his bag. Lots of stuff. I know DONKEYS who have a lighter load to carry while crossing over the GRAND CANYON. In fact, he had so much stuff in his bag that the metal spine holding the bag in its bag-like form kept coming loose and hanging out either the top or sticking out through the bottom. A METAL SPINE.
“Tom, I haven’t had this bag very long. I can’t seem to figure out why that damn spine keeps protruding.”
WHY DON’T YOU TAKE SOME SHIT OUT OF YOUR BAG?
“No problem sir. I’ll fiddle with it to see if I can fix it.”
Their previous caddie also commented on the sheer magnitude of the bag I was about to carry.
“He never takes anything out of it and he ALWAYS walks. It’s awful. It wasn’t until the STRAP broke that I figured I should finally break the news to him.”
Broke the news to him? Well I sure am glad he listened. But enough about that. They were both sweet older guys who had decent swings and wanted to win. That’s all I needed to know.
The first day was a little painful to watch. We just BARELY lost our first two matches—the first 5-4 and the second 5 ½ - 3 ½. I think it was Nick Faldo who once said that in match play, ALWAYS expect the other player or players to make EVERYTHING. I think in many ways that was our main problem with the first day. We played too conservatively and the other teams just let everything hang out.
The second day is what I wanted to focus on because it was by far the most exciting. The first match was halved, which I think pissed off both teams equally because everyone played so well. One highlight that really sticks out in my mind came on the 8th hole where I lost track of one of our opponents. His name was Bill and he had been pretty quiet the entire time, so as far as I was concerned, he was a ghost. On the 8th hole he hit his drive to the right, and from then on I forgot he was even with our group because he played up through the woods the entire hole.
And suddenly, before I knew it, here comes trailblazin’ Bill putting for par. He was 15 feet away, and he drained it. This transformed my confident players into nervous train-wrecks over their par-putts, which they missed quite handily. That brought the match back to even, and that is where it stayed after a tied 9th.
Great. The first chance my players had at a win and we blew it. BLEW IT MAN. But then again, this was the first match in which we didn’t LOSE any points either. And that really pumped up my players. This newfound confidence would prove to be quite helpful in the next match, where we were facing off against two very tough opponents.
Our two opponents—in addition to one of them being a member at this course—were both members at the golf course I had been working at all winter. Fanfuckingtastic. When I bumped into these players the day before, they stopped their cart and said hello.
“Well! Tom! Good to see you again.”
“Tom, you remember Mr. Florida-Member, don’t you?”
“Why yes, of course. Good to see you again sir.”
“Hello Tom. So what are you up to these days?”
“Well, you know. Just…workin’.”
Insert awkward pause here.
“Workin’, huh? Well…good for you.”
And then they drove off. Could’ve done without that. After working my ass off down in Florida all winter, I was hoping that after leaving that place all of the members would’ve just assumed that I was moving onto something bigger and better. Now that one of their own has now just simply assumed that I’m going to proceed to do absolutely nothing with the rest of my life, I imagine word will spread down in Florida and my name will be worth that much less. A very cynical, pessimistic way of thinking I suppose, but I always have trouble answering that question whenever somebody on the course decides to make small talk. At least out THERE my answer will be forgotten. Well, whatever. What do I care what this guy or his stupid club thinks of me anyway?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that not only were these opponents good players, but there was also a back-story to this match that MY players didn’t know about. I wanted to win this match so badly that it hurt.
To add a little MORE pressure into the mix, the caddie who was working with our opponents? Yeah. Legendary. He’s been working at the club for 8 years and he is absolutely brilliant on the greens. He’s weird, quirky, full of conspiracy theories (one of them is about 9/11 and if you get him on the topic, he’ll go on for hours) and looks like Darth Vader when he takes off his hat and sunglasses. He intimidates the hell out of me. I mean come on. You guys know me. My green-reading skills have never been especially “top-notch.” And now I’m going up against probably one of the best green-readers the world has ever seen. Not only that, but his two players are VERY good putters. So as long as they’re conscious, they’ll probably be one-putting everything.
In the words of Harry Connick, Jr. from the movie Independence Day: “Holy God.”
Our match started off on the short par-4 10th. Member-Bob put his tee shot in the shit on the left, and guest-Bob went right down the middle. Phew. At least one of my players recovered from those damn cheeseburgers we had for lunch.
So member-Bob takes a drop and hacks his third shot left again into a greenside bunker, and THEN skulls his fourth over the green into another hazard. So he was out of the hole. Fortunately, guest-Bob was on the green putting for par and a halve. The players were “deadly-silent” as I paced back and forth trying to give my player the best possible read. The problem was, all of the food I had just consumed after our last match was still making its way towards my rectal area, and all of my bodies’ energies were focused THERE and NOT on this upcoming putt. In the process of trying to focus, I heard guest-Bob say something to me, but I couldn’t make it out because I was too busy thinking about how much toilet paper I was going to need. GOD DAMN I need to get my head in the game.
I pointed to a spot a little right of the hole. Darth Vader reacted.
“So…that would roughly be a CUP…woudn’t it Tom?”
“Your player just asked you if it was a cup out.”
I just stared at him.
“I…didn’t hear him.”
Darth Vader just smirked. At first I thought Vader was smirking because I had gone temporarily deaf, but after my player missed his putt about a cup on the low side, I understood why Vader was smiling. I had given my player a bad read, and he knew it. One-down after the first hole.
The 11th hole was just as painful, except this time I didn’t even get a CHANCE to read my players’ putts. Vader pointed to a spot on the green, the guest opponent hit it there and made birdie. Vader smiled at me again. Two-down after two.
The 12th hole was where the tides started to turn in my favor. Both of our opponents struggled to get on the green in regulation and were both putting for pars. Member-Bob had the honor with a tricky uphill double-breaker the likes of which neither me nor Vader had ever seen. The pin was in a brand new location, and so I knew I had a chance. Vader could no longer simply rely on past experiences to read these greens. I unsheathed my green light-saber and turned it on flicking the little red button marked “ON.” I pointed to a spot about a foot right of the hole and held my left hand in the air and concentrated. I was trying desperately to recall Master Yoda’s teachings: “Size matters not.”
The ball moved slowly up the hill, wiggled as it neared the hole and fell in on the high side. I smiled at Vader. “Your powers are weak old man.” And just like that, we were only one-down.
The battle down the 13th fairway was intense. Vader and I flew through the air, furiously fencing using controlled cylanders of light, force-throwing dirt and branches at each other and tossing grass in the air to see what the wind was doing. Before we knew it, we were back on the putting surface. Guest-Bob was putting for a net birdie and a chance to bring this match back to even. The only problem was, he was 45 feet away putting up from the lower tier. I stood behind the hole, found a spot I liked and raised my left hand again to try and pass on my knowledge of green-reading before my player pulled back his putter. I stopped once I realized he was having another seizure. So instead I just pointed to a spot. “Just trust it.”
Right in the back of the JAR. I pumped my fist, slapped hands with my player and turned to head towards the 14th tee. Vader was waiting for me with another smirk on his face.
“That was just luck.”
“SQUARE this match is. Fail…your players must.”
“If you cannot be turned…you will be DESTROYED!”
(Cue crazy Star Wars choir: LA…LAAAAAAA!!!!)
So after a few more crazy flips and epic taunting, we arrived on the 14th green where our opponents had a birdie putt to take the lead once again. Vader carved out a line in the green using his evil-looking red light-saber and gave me another one of those F-ING smirks. And before I knew it, his player drained it. They did the same thing to us with a clutch putt to halve the hole on 15, and my team was STILL one down with three to play.
Both opponents chunked their tee shots into the par-3 16th. Guest-Bob took advantage and made a key lag putt to assure a par and brought the match back to even. The 17th hole was halved, and I decided to give Vader a little smirk of my own as we were running to our forecaddie position on 18.
Vader reacted. “All I have to say is, if my member puts his tee shot in a fairway bunker, you guys will take this one.”
What? A sign of weakness from Mr. Intimidation?
“My member is incapable of hitting out of fairway bunkers. He always kicks his feet around afterwards, trying to blame it on the lie. But we all know better. He just sucks out of those things.”
And wouldn’t you know it, his member put his tee shot in one of the left fairway bunkers.
Fortunately for our opponents, the guest put his tee shot in the fairway with a good angle at the flag. Both of my players put their shots in the fairway. I smiled at Vader again.
“I’m surprised my players haven’t choked yet.”
Sure enough, our opponent in the fairway bunker smashed his ball into the lip, kicked the sand around, blasted his third shot back into the fairway and then hooked his fourth into the water. He was out of the hole. His opponent, however, put his second shot 10 feet from the pin while my players could only manage 25 and 30 footers. Oh man. It’s going to come down to this, isn’t it? Crap.
I can’t remember why, but our guest opponent went first. He drained it. Another superb read from Vader and another superb putt from the player. That left the fate of the match on one of the next two putts. One of my players had to sink it to keep the match all square after 9. Fortunately, their putts were almost in line with each other, so as long as the first putt was decent, the perfect read would be revealed and we had a shot. But member Bob yipped a little on his putt and left it way short. Now it was all up to me and impatient Bob. One thing I will say about him: he never read any of his putts. He simply trusted my judgment, addressed the putt, and stroked it beautifully. So in a way, this last putt was up to me. He would have the line I gave him and perfect pace. I just had to have the spot. So I paced back and forth trying to get a good visual of the perfect line. I finally chose a spot I liked, and prayed. Without any hesitation, guest Bob stroked a perfect putt. Up over the hill, back hard left and then back slightly to the right. It was tracking. At the last moment, the ball stopped turning into the hole and straightened out. The ball lipped out.
I felt so bad. But the reaction was wonderful. Both teams seemed ecstatic.
“What a GREAT match.”
“GREAT putting out there.”
And, the most meaningful moment was Vader coming up to me after the match was over.
“Great job out there Tom. Some great reads.”
Honestly, that’s all I really wanted to come out of this tournament. A little more confidence on the greens. Thank God, because I didn’t know how much longer I could SUCK out there.
Posted by Tom Collins at 10:09 AM
Monday, October 16, 2006
So I was sitting in the bar one night having a few beers with the Caddie Master when he brought something to my attention: a practical joke so incredibly useful and funny that I simply HAD to spend the next two weeks waiting for the perfect moment to try it out.
I had been waiting for three things to align themselves correctly before I could put my plan into action. I needed to be in the right frame of mind (aka FLYING on caffeine), my PLAYERS needed to have a sense of humor, and the pin placement on 14 needed to be low-left. Right next to the water.
For the last two weeks, either the pin wasn't in the right place, or my players' were assholes, or I forgot 4 quarters so I could satiate my need for freakin' caffeine. But today everything clicked into place.
Right off the bat, I knew I was caddying for the right kind of people. I was caddying for a father-son team where the son couldn't stop bitching to me about missing the Redskins game and the father couldn't stop telling me dumb jokes.
"What does tight-rope walking over the Grand Canyon and getting a blowjob from a 97 year-old woman have in common?"
"Whatever you do, don't look down."
Okay, so maybe SOME of them were funny. But the point was, I finally had two unsuspecting but willing victims to unleash my practical joke on.
The father and son were both guests of Dr. Dick, an Asian dick doctor that obviously saw enough dicks to blow $150,000 on a membership fee to this golf club. Dr. Dick is a decent golfer, but is known throughout the caddie-yard as a bad loop because he hardly ever talks to you and tips like he's been homeless for years. Today, he was playing with his wife, Mrs. Dick. Mrs. Dick was a cute older Asian woman with a skin-tight outfit and nipples that couldn't seem to figure out which way they wanted to point. But they were always excited about something. They never seemed to go away. So I guess if a doped-up Chameleon happened to wander onto the golf course that day, Mrs. Dick would've made love with it in one of the bunkers. Speaking of bunkers, Mrs. Dick just LOVED them. I felt so sorry for the other caddie. Although, Mrs. Dick ALSO made orgasm noises after anyone took a swing. So that was interesting. It was like watching women's tennis. So I guess to summarize, Mrs. Dick was a fashion-sensible Chameleon on ecstasy who loved the sand.
So the round progressed.
"What does a Polish groom give his bride that's long and hard on their wedding day?"
"His last name."
"Honey why do you hit the ball in all the bunkers? If there's bunker on hole, you go there. And why do I like dicks more than you? You're my wife."
"I can't believe I'm missing the football game for THIS."
Well I'll tell you little boy. It's because we're on hole 14, and it's time for me to open up a can of whup-ass.
Shank. "OHHHH YEAHH!!"
That's right. I know you're excited too, Mrs. Cock.
Whatever. So there we were, on hole 14. We were on the green, and the father threw me his ball to clean. I was so excited I could barely contain myself. After cleaning his ball, I switched it with one of the spare balls I had in my bib. Then the moment of truth arrived. He motioned to me for his ball as he was walking past the low side of the green next to the water. I carefully threw the ball just out of his reach and a little harder than usual to try and make sure the ball slipped just past his fingers. It worked perfectly. He reached out, clumsily tried to catch the ball, the ball hit the green, took a couple hops and bounced into the water hazard.
For a moment, the foursome was silent. Orgasms ceased, dreams of football were squashed and the old man jokes stopped. Dr. Dick took a long drag off of his cigar and stared at me. The father turned to me, horrified.
"I...I tried...wow. How did that happen?"
"Well dad, I guess you just need to learn to catch."
"Damn ball. Crap."
Then they all turned to me. I saw my moment finally arrive. I pulled his ball out of my bib and handed it to him.
"Just kidding. Here you go."
Instantaneous laughter. The other caddie chimed in.
"I was gonna say...what kind of dumb-fuck caddie are you?"
About as dumb as they come. I can't wait to do it again.
Posted by Tom Collins at 4:59 PM
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wow. So this is it. I'm in the triple digits now. One-hundred posts and counting. No need to make a big deal out of it, because I was away for a good portion of this year and I still have a lot of writing to do. But again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for visiting my site. Coming home after a long day and seeing your feedback always makes me smile. And to think, way back when I first started this thing, the first person to comment on my site yelled at me for talking about "wet farts" too much. Can't say I've matured much since then, but I'm glad all of you got past my initial bouts of creativity (aka "crack addiction").
So thank you.
For some reason I couldn't stop drinking Diet Coke this morning. I started out with a coffee, and before I knew it, I had finished two Diet Coke's as well as inadvertently finished off somebody ELSES Diet Coke. It was like I had Alzheimer’s for 20 minutes. I threw away my second soda, sat down, saw a Diet Coke on the desk inside and thought "hey, I guess I have some left."
My caffeine high made my mouth move uncontrollably. I couldn't stop talking. And I'm glad that happened, because somehow everyone got on the topic of "caddie lingo" and I thought I would share a few of the definitions with you.
1. Roseanne shot: short and chunky.
2. Condom shot: doesn't feel that great, but it's safe.
3. Son-in-law shot: not what you were expecting, but you'll take it.
4. Rock Hudson putt: looks straight, but isn't.
5. OJ shot: got away with it.
6. Torn pajamas: "one-ball out" while putting.
I'm sure there are many more. But those are some of my favorites.
I caddied for Mr. Spit-wad today. I named him that because the pronunciation of his last name could be used by actors and actresses during warm-ups. The mere utterance of his name made children weep and birds shit uncontrollably. But it REALLY clears your throat.
In addition, Mr. Spit-wad was incapable of smiling. Regardless of a great shot, a funny comment by one of his playing partners or the gorgeous weather, he simply refused to believe there was any happiness left in the world. That, and all he could talk about was work. What sale caused the most headaches for him, how much capital his competitors were raising, yada yada. Hey, that's all fine and dandy, but I always like to get an INKLING as to how much he's enjoying his round, because then I know how to modify my caddying style to fit his personality.
Personality? What's that? I'd rather just sit here and NOT SMILE.
And on 13, something amazing happened. Something I'm sure I'll never see again. We were 70 yards from the front of the green and he saw a snake (roughly 3 feet long). Upon seeing the snake, a big smile crossed his face (I cried and drooled on myself REPEATEDLY in celebration) as he ran at a full SPRINT up towards the green to play with it. To PLAY with it. At first he went to pick it up with his hands. But after seeing his expressionless face, the snake grew angry and started snapping at him.
"Damn idiot! SMILE already."
The rest of us just stood in the fairway hoping he wouldn't DIE or something. I mean...is that a water moccasin? And who RUNS towards dangerous animals? Does this guy have a death wish? Get back here you crazy bastard!
When Mr. Spit-wad realized he couldn't just PICK the snake up, he grabbed a rake from one of the greenside bunkers and pinned the snake down so that he COULD succeed in cradling the snake in his arms.
One of his guests screamed. "Ahhh! For Christ sake! Get that thing away from me!"
He was 50 yards away.
Mr. Spit-wad walked over towards me and his other guest to show us how happy he was with his new friend.
"See that? See the light blue on the bottom? He's a youngin'. But he sure is pissed off."
Really? No shit. Why don't you jam your thumb up the snake's ass just to make sure.
And with that, Mr. Spit-wad brought the snake over to the other side of the green and threw it in the tall grass. Moments later, his massive smile and cheerfulness disappeared as he composed himself. His face and butt-hole tensed up once again, and he made SURE that he would be unhappy once again.
Posted by Tom Collins at 4:54 PM
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I'm in the process of writing a post about the art of tipping your caddies, and unfortunately it has taken me a while to boil it all down to a digestible post. I should have that up real soon. But in the meantime, I figured I should tell you a little about my day.
At this point, I feel like I'm capable of reading people pretty well. Right off the bat, I can tell if I'm going to mesh well with a member. Well, today I was dead wrong. In a good way.
I was a little hungover this morning because I'm playing in a kickball league and I decided I needed to defend my honor last night by playing flip cup. Aside from feeling like crap, I usually get pretty hysterical when I'm hungover. I laugh easily. So I decided to try something before my round today that I have never done before.
I tried to predict a players' ability simply by looking at his clubs.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about looking at a bunch of generic knock-off clubheads and generalizing. I play with generic knock-off irons and I play just fine. No. I'm looking for idiot-marks on the driver, dirt on the driver, are the irons oversized, mid-sized. Is there a stupid putter cover in the shape of a pepper? Are there women's-flex shafts in the irons? I started laughing just thinking about my little experiment.
Well, let's see. No dirt on the driver. No idiot-marks either. The guy has a pro-trajectory 3-wood from Titleist. So he can't be too bad. But wait. Oversized irons?
"Yeah, and my 4 and 6-irons are missing. They're off having a party somewhere together."
The member was walking over to me. It was like he just read my mind and caught me trying to sneak a cookie or something.
I was nervous to talk to him. It would be like if you farted real loud in church and everyone was staring at you. "STOP LOOKING AT ME! LET'S JUST FUCKING PRAY YOU BUNCH OF STUPIDS!"
"Yeah. It's quite a mixed bag in there."
And to skip ahead for a moment, I do have to say that this guy could play. After looking at his clubs, I would've guessed like a 10 or 11 handicap. And sure enough, that's what he played too. DAMN I was good.
My mistake in judgement came when I met his guests.
"So who's playing with you today?"
"Ahh...I'm hosting a few of guys from work. One of them is a scratch golfer, but I don't know about the other two. They probably suck."
There was such a lackadaisical way in which he said that that I just had to laugh. One of the guests I'd be carrying, Mike, seemed great from the start. Before I even looked at his bag he offered to help me change it out. The other guest I was carrying, Rich, came off as snobby with a "my shit smells sweeter than thou's shit" attitude. I thought he was going to be the problem all day. But as it turns out, he was really cool.
"I bet you're really upset that you had to carry our bags today."
"Why is that?"
"Well...I mean...we suck."
Well, nobody's saying that about you. As far as you know.
So that was it. That little hint of snobby-ness on the first hole was simply insecurity. He's at a private club and he's just a little nervous. Not really feeling like he deserves to be there. As soon as I realized that, I tried to be as supportive as I could be with my amazing hangover.
"Where should I aim this?"
"Just a little left of the flag at that tree behind the green."
"Well...I mean...you hit my line."
On the 14th he whipped out a mini-bar sized bottle of Chivas Regal. Jokingly, the other caddie in the group said, "Hey, where's mine?"
"I got another one for you if you want. Here."
And wouldn't you know it, he whipped out two more. One bottle per caddie. I hesitated at first, knowing full well that I was already a little hungover and the boss doesn't look too highly on drinking on the job. But I was just too amazed by the novelty of that gesture. NO member has EVER even OFFERED to give me something like that so I had the CHANCE to turn it down.
I couldn't help but take a sip or two to celebrate. Plus, now I had a really good excuse for misreading putts now.
"Oh, sorry sir. I don't know where that read came from. Must've been the Chivas talking."
They'd laugh, and then they'd come to a realization. "But you've only had like...one sip."
"Well yeah...but...so anyway, look! We're on 18!"
And that was it. And you know, I don't know when I'll drink the rest of that. I think that stuff tastes like vomit. But hey, I'll take what I can get.
Posted by Tom Collins at 10:43 PM
Friday, October 06, 2006
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am giving up energy drinks. I’ve been clean for about two weeks now, and regardless of whether I wake up each morning in a cold sweat or I get the shakes trying to tend FLAGS I want to see how I deal without my beloved Full Throttle. I’ve been hearing a lot of scary things about energy drinks recently—such as massive amounts of these dangerous ingredients called “sugar” and “taurine”—and I wanted to see if I could kick the habit before I got diabetes. A worthwhile goal, right?
Or, I could always just keep drinking them and see if in fact the taurine DOES promote mutations in your DNA so that your children run a higher risk of coming out with 7 middle fingers. I’m not saying that would be a TERRIBLE thing to have happen, but I think one or two is plenty.
I’m not sure if it has been the lack of caffeine or the amount of crack I’ve been smoking, but my inadequacies in green-reading surfaced again today and I need to get out some of my frustration.
My day started at noon. I sat in the caddie room eating my 2 pounds of meatloaf, potatoes, steamed vegetables and mac and cheese from the local grocery store. Just as my lower intestine started singing “Amazing Grace,” one of the other caddies started bitching.
“Man, this sucks. I’m going to get RAPED for the next two days.”
There was a pause, and then he realized I was too busy pounding down meatloaf to respond. So he took the initiative and decided to continue.
“The loops we’re all going out on. It’s going to be the same people for two days. Today they’re all playing 18, and tomorrow they’re playing 36. Three shitty tips. I just better get a good fucking tip on Wednesday, that’s all I can say.”
That’s when my lower intestine started its own bass guitar solo. Crap. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m all for taking a few bad loops for the team, but after the last few days I was just too tired to work hard again for nothing. Oh well. It’ll all average out in the end I guess.
So after I finished eating, I got my towel and started stretching my hamstrings in preparation for the raping I was about to receive when the Caddie Master called me out a little earlier than I expected.
“You’re up now Tom. You’re going out with Mr. Stooge-Bag. You really owe me one.”
“You really owe me one. You’re going to need an…armored TRUCK to take your tip out of here.”
Well. Never heard that one before. An armored truck you say? HELLO Mr. Stooge-Bag. And I had the added bonus of an easy loop, too. A twosome on a cart. Doesn’t get any easier than that.
I ran over the hill, took off my hat and extended a hand to introduce myself.
“Hey Mr. Stooge-Bag. Good to meet you. I’m Tom.”
“So do you know what you’re doing today?”
That took me by surprise. I quickly ran through every introduction I’ve ever had on the golf course and came to the conclusion that he must be expecting a sarcastic response. But in looking at his expression, I was at a loss for words because he looked very serious and sad. Like a little kid who just witnessed his Dad take the final slice of pie from the kitchen. But of course to Mr. Stooge-Bag, I probably looked like I was mentally challenged because I was just staring at him, allowing for a little drool to escape my lips. He couldn’t hear the inner turmoil in my brain (or the inner turmoil in my pants) as I tried to figure out what the hell to say. So he spoke first.
“You know how to fix divots, rake bunkers, read greens?”
YEAH, AND THEY ALSO TAUGHT ME HOW TO TIE MY FUCKING SHOES YOU FUCKING DOUCHEBAG!
“Oh yeah. Of course.”
Wow. That comment hurt my brain. Not only did this guy look like a combination between a linebacker and Moe from the “Three Stooges,” but his baggy eyes kept calling to me, saying, “For the love of God…somebody just GLUE the toupee on my skull because I’m tired of readjusting it.” I hate bad first impressions.
But regardless of the introduction, this member was supposed to be important, so that meant only one thing: I had to be flawless on the greens. And you guys know me. When a challenge like that arises, I usually choke with Norwood-esque flair.
The first few greens were alright. They didn’t make their putts, but if they had hit them just a little harder, they would have. So far, so good. And I even raked their bunkers correctly! Yay!
But on the fourth hole I made my first mistake. The guest told me he saw the putt a ball out on the left side. For the first three greens, we had seen eye-to-eye on every putt. So, instead of taking a look from BOTH sides of the hole, I simply glanced at the line he suggested and agreed with him. At a quick glance, the line he had looked good. He struck the putt, and it was then that I heard one of the worst phrases a caddie can hear: “Wow. It broke the other way.”
The putt actually broke LEFT. I quickly moved behind his original line and immediately saw my mistake. A subtle ridge held the ball up and eventually kicked it left. That’s alright Tom. Confidence my boy! Fortunately, I hadn’t screwed up a read for the member yet. Yet. But then again, chinks in the armor were now visible.
The 5th hole proved to be simple enough, all I really had to do was use a club to hold on Mr. Stooge-Bag’s toupee as he hit his approach shot and he was smiling like a little baby. But then came the 6th. The pin was front right, tucked behind a greenside bunker. Based on past experiences, the putt the member had broke SEVERELY to the left. But again, instead of really looking at all of the subtle contours of the green, I just pointed at a spot about 5 feet right of the hole, assuming that the member was just going to lag the putt close to the hole anyway.
“Really? You see the putt swinging THAT much?”
“Yeah. The last 5 feet pushes the ball dead left.”
He didn’t really hit his putt hard enough, but then again, by hitting the putt like a wuss-bag, the maximal amount of break in any given putt will be exposed. He left his putt about 4 feet short, and the ball still hadn’t broken an INCH.
He just stared at me. He walked over to his ball and proceeded to miss his next putt. He quickly grabbed his ball, walked back to ground zero and threw it back down on the putting surface to try out my line again, this time with better speed. He played the ball out about 3 feet right of the hole instead of 5. The putt didn’t break at all until the last 4 feet or so, where it went dead left. He lipped out. An awkward silence hung over the green as he reached down again, threw his ball to me and just smiled.
“Well...you were right…I…I knew the putt broke hard left, but it didn’t break quite as much as I said it would.”
What? Clear your throat and stop sounding like a pussy Tom.
I usually like to concede my misgivings on the golf course because then the players can get it all out in the open and move on. Most of the other caddies would’ve told him that he pushed his putt and didn’t hit it hard enough, and THAT was why he missed it. But I don’t believe in doing it that way. For some reason I like apologizing. I think it’s because I believe that if I can convince the member the missed putt was MY fault, they won’t lose any confidence in their putting stroke and I can continue to rely on a consistent pace for my reads. If the player feels like it was their fault, they’ll usually start messing with their putting stroke mid-round and then it’s almost impossible for me to read greens correctly for them, because I have no idea how hard they may hit their next putt. But I think the fact that I stuttered and didn’t really look the member in the eye made Mr. Stooge-Bag question my seniority. My suspicions were confirmed on the next hole.
“So how long have you been working out here, Tom?”
“I’m finishing up my second season.”
“Yeah…I started here last March, went down to Florida last winter, and came back in August to finish out the season.”
“That’s weird because I don’t ever remember seeing you out here.”
In retrospect, I probably should’ve just played it off like I was brand new. That would’ve eased the tension I had created on the last hole with that horrific read and he would’ve been fine with letting me try my luck on the greens. That always helped me out when I first started caddying. But by saying I was quite experienced I think I made him a little uncomfortable. You mean…you’ve worked out here this long and you STILL don’t know how to read these greens? What are you, retarded?
I SMOKE ROCKS!
The rest of the round was just painful. The more I hustled, the less he talked to me. It was as if he was trying to tell me, “Just give up. You’re no good at this and seeing you try this hard just makes me sad. I mean look at my droopy eyes. I looked like Brad Pitt before this round started and NOW look at me.”
On the 18th green after your round is over it is customary to take off your hat, shake hands and thank each other for a fun round of golf. It’s my favorite part of the round. Usually. Today, Mr. Stooge-Bag did not shake my hand or even look at me when we finished 18. He simply went into his wallet, gave me a great tip and said: “When you learn how to read greens, I’ll double that.”
His partner replied, “What? You gave him that money because you feel sorry for him?”
“He’ll make a hell of a caddie someday when he gets those greens down.”
And I think that bug will finally unearth itself from your rectum when you finally invest in a glue-stick to hold that little fuzz-ball to the top of your head.
All in all, I’m not really sure how I should react to today’s round. On the one hand, I want to HIT something for the member making me feel like an idiot. On the other hand, I respect him for pointing out that yes, I suck at reading greens sometimes and yes, you were right for not giving me an amazingly generous tip. But I still feel like an idiot either way.
Posted by Tom Collins at 6:32 PM
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Somebody recently commented that I should try and put together a few tips for golfers, seeing as how I spend most of my days watching people swing golf clubs. I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert on the game, and please, take these suggestions with a grain of salt, but I have to say that I do see many of the same mistakes on the golf course, and if I can at least present these mistakes to you and get you thinking about ways to avoid them, you should certainly see some improvement in your game. I owe my playing ability these days to caddying because I can think my way around the golf course. And I know all of you can too.
I think the main theme among all of these little tips would have to be a “loss of ego.” Too many times I see golfers going for the green when they shouldn’t, listening to their partner when they shouldn’t and hitting the wrong club because 2 years ago they could hit that club far enough. So first and foremost, have a good idea how far you hit each of your clubs (up-to-date yardages, not what you could hit when you were 23 years old), and DON’T be ashamed of those yardages. Be proud of them, because they are the tools you’ll need to negotiate the golf course successfully.
Dave Pelz says that when you’re putting on the greens, speed is 4 times as important as line. For the most part, I would have to agree with him. I think most players need to be able to adapt a little faster for speed. During the first 2-3 holes of every round you play, take your time on the greens and really get a feel for the speed. Don’t be so anal about the line (at least initially). Line it up where you think you should, but focus completely on pace. As a caddie, nothing breaks my heart more than to see a player hit the ball on my line too hard, blowing it through the break and missing the putt. “It doesn’t break.”
Yes it does, you just hit the ball too hard. But most players do not understand that, and so they lose confidence in themselves and the bad feelings just seem to snowball the rest of the round.
Secondly, while I think speed is the most important aspect of putting, I would also urge you to work on your putting stroke enough so that you have no problem STARTING your ball on your intended line. Your putting stroke doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as you start out on line and your speed is good, you’re going to see a greater percentage of putts going in. Also, by being able to start your putts out on line, you’ll have a much easier time with 4-footers as well as some of the faster down-hillers.
Next, I think knowing the relative trajectories on your irons will help. If your ball is buried in the rough, what iron can you use that will still get the ball out of the rough without any worries AND advance the ball the farthest? Most players cannot assess their lie correctly even after addressing the ball. They’ll be 200 yards from the green and grab the rescue club out of their bag because they can hit their rescue club 200 yards. Well, if the lie is decent enough, go for it. But what if you have a flier? What if the ball is sitting down slightly? Knowing trajectories will pay HUGE dividends in other situations as well: Do you need to keep your ball under a branch? Yes, and I know a 5-iron will do just that. What about the lip on this fairway bunker? Well, I know I’m 180 yards out, but I have to hit a 9-iron here just to make sure I get out.
These things may sound like common sense, but I guarantee 90% of the golfers I work with don’t know when to take their medicine.
Play to your own strengths. If you’re great off of the tee but can’t hit a long iron, then don’t hit a long iron until you’ve practiced a little more. The course I work at has a couple of short par 4’s. Maybe it’s because they’re playing with caddies, but 85% of the players I’m working with will ask for a long iron or rescue club to hit off of the tee when there’s plenty of fairway out there for a driver. They’re thinking: “Hey, it’s a short hole, so I should lay up. I don’t NEED to hit driver.” Well, that may be true, but if you CAN, then HIT IT. A 90 yard approach is easier than a 130 yard approach. Sure, you could argue that perhaps a 90 yard approach out of the rough is harder than a 130 approach from the fairway, but there’s also a good chance that lay up shot could be in the rough as well, ESPECIALLY when most players can’t hit their long irons consistently. Now you’re 130 in the rough instead of 90 in the rough. So I guess my advice is, become REASONABLY proficient with your driver. As in, you hit the fairway at least 75% of the time.
Last but certainly not least: Have some fun out there. What is it they say? A bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day at the office? Mr. Chokesondick will hit 1 or 2 bad shots every 5 holes, and he’s livid each time it happens. Meanwhile, his friends are smoking cigars, telling dirty jokes and drinking beers. They’re loving life, and Mr. Chokesondick is getting more and more irritable as the day progresses. I’m not saying I forbid you from swearing or throwing clubs. Hey, it happens. Sometimes you just can’t believe the breaks you’re getting. All I’m saying is, after you throw that club or after you shout your “fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck” to the heavens, smile and laugh about it. Because this is a great game we’re playing. And if that sounds too preachy or not cynical enough for you, think of this: physiologically, anger builds up tension. The more tension in your golf swing, the worse you play. Also, golf is a very EXPENSIVE game to play. And after spending all of that money for clubs, balls, tees, your bag, clothes, shoes, greens fees, five hours out of your day AND that silly-ass hat, WHY the fuck would you go through all THAT just to be pissed for 4 hours? Why not just play on your company softball team and swing at a slow pitch?
Posted by Tom Collins at 2:46 PM
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Yesterday I witnessed something truly amazing. Something so unbelievable that it will probably be quite a long time before I get a chance to see it again. The perfect round of golf. But this wasn’t the kind of round you’re all thinking of. The kind of round were everything is clicking, putts are dropping, and misses are still quite playable. Nay.
One of the players I caddied for yesterday almost hit a bunker on every hole.
Pretty amazing, right? At first you’re like, “What? That’s all? What’s so special about that?” But then you realize the magnitude of the situation. The idea that someone could be trying their best to play golf and STILL end up in most of the bunkers out there…well…it’s just CRUEL. It would be enough to drive me off of the golf course and become a raging alcoholic in my spare time.
“Welcome to AA Tom. What brings you here?”
“I was on the golf course one day…and…sorry…this is hard for me to say…but I was out playing…and I managed to hit my ball into a bunker on every hole. And I wasn’t even trying to do that. I wasn’t even TRYING MAN!”
“Dear Lord. My wife divorced me, my father just died and I just recently found out I have prostate cancer. But after hearing your story…well…Tom…you just make me feel like a pussy.”
I mean sure, bunkers on a golf course occupy SOME space. I’ve certainly played on my fair share of courses where the bunkers seemed to be a little TOO big. But then think about all of the other surfaces over a 4-mile track. Think off the rough, the trees, the cart paths, the sprinkler heads, the fairways, the greens, the fringes, the water hazards and even the TEE BOXES. There are so many other places your ball could end up. And yet, for the first 13 holes yesterday my player unwillingly went to the beach. As for 15, 16 and 17, there were a few moments to reflect and enjoy the good life. But with two strong bunker shots on 17 and 18 this player unwittingly changed my life forever.
It all started out innocently enough. Four guys come to the course under the pretenses of a company outing EXPECTING to have a great day. They shook hands, told some jokes and were introduced to their caddies. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite my chipper self from the start because I had been waiting in the caddie room for 6 ½ hours already. I wasn’t really all there. I just felt “off.” And, because I wasn’t on top of my game, I wasn’t able to prevent an awkward inciting incident on the first tee.
All of these guys worked for one of the members at the club, and that member approached both me and this other caddie—let’s call him “Mr. Happy”—to make sure that we understood that these guys were mostly beginners and needed to be corrected on various points of etiquette. Basically, he wanted to make sure we kept them moving along. The conversation was brief and private in nature, and we were only INFORMED in order to safeguard his employees from embarrassing themselves.
So Mr. Happy (I’m calling him that because he’s studying to be a priest) shakes hands with the member, blinks, and then walks directly over to the first tee just PRAYING for an excuse to tell these guests all about the conversation he just had with their boss.
One of the players started the conversation with: “Man. What a gorgeous place. Hope we don’t embarrass ourselves out there too badly—“
Mr. Happy: “Yeah...Ha…Mr. Friendly-Boss talked to us about that already. He said we need to keep an eye on you in case you do anything stupid. Ha. Or if you’re slow. He said you’re all beginners and are probably going to need some help out there. Ha-ha.”
The players looked at each other and then back at our fearless Mr. Happy.
Way to go douche-bag. That conversation we just had with the member? Yeah. That was supposed to be PRIVATE. You were supposed to be DISCREET with that knowledge and simply help these guys have a great day. I mean come ON man. You know what DISCREET means. You're not just masterbating in public, are you?
In all honesty, I really do like this caddie. He just failed to grasp the concept of silence. Because NOW each of the guests were quiet and timid. None of them seemed comfortable in their own skin. If somebody farted too loudly there was a small chance one of them would have a heart attack and die. They acted like they had to be careful with everything they said or did because it might disrupt the sanctity of the golf course or get their boss pissed. I felt so badly for them. They couldn’t relax at all because they all felt like they didn’t belong there.
And so I forced myself to perk up, because I knew I had to help them out. I mean, I hadn’t had a Full Throttle yet, so I was at the whim of my own physiological needs, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
For the first few holes, the players were so helpful that I felt even worse for them. They grabbed 3, 4, 5 clubs out of their bags to make my job easier. They even ran ahead and fixed all of their divots and cleaned their own clubs.
“Here Tom, let me just grab 10 clubs and I’ll meet you up at the green.”
“But you’re 45 yards away from the front.”
“Oh, right. Good point. I might want to grab my driver, too.”
It was ridiculous. It wasn’t until I started forcing some service upon them that they started to relax and enjoy themselves. It was at this point a revelation was announced.
“Hey, Nick? Have you hit a bunker on every hole so far?”
“Why…yes…I guess I have.”
We were on number 6.
At the moment, Nick was just off of the green and could almost PUTT his way home. But he had a wedge in his hand. I’ve never wished this upon any golfer (except for “The Chairman” if you can remember that story), but I wanted him to hit his ball into the bunker. He hadn’t been in one on this hole yet, and I wanted to see how long he could keep this streak going.
And then he skulled it. But he didn’t skull it hard enough, and even though it rolled over the green, the ball didn’t have enough speed on it to make the back bunker. Well, I guess that’s it. Game over man. Game over.
But then he skulled it again. This time, he really connected and the ball flew back over the green and ENDED UP IN THE GREENSIDE BUNKER. Amazing. It was like watching the 2004 World Series. I’m a sucker for the underdog.
Hitting the bunkers on 7, 8 and 9 came easily enough. A flubbed mid-iron here, a slice there and the streak was still alive. I was so excited. I mean sure, my back was starting to develop a nervous twitch from all the bunkers I had to rake, but fuck all that. How much further could he go? Did you guys ever see that one episode of Sienfeld where Kramer test-drives a car and ends up using it all day to run errands? He wanted to see how far the car would go on “E” so he could use Jerry’s car and never have to pay for gas. By the end of the show the car salesman in the passenger seat was so energized by the experience that he begged Kramer not to turn back in towards the dealership when they had the chance. They held hands and zoomed off into the darkness to see how much further on “E” the car would travel. I was now THAT energized. COME ON NICK!
The 10th was our next hurdle. Nick hit a gorgeous 147-yard drive right into the second-cut and then smashed a 76-yard rescue club right up the middle of the fairway. He was now 136 yards away from the front of a well bunkered green.
“I think I’m going to lay up.”
Lay up? What? You pussy! Grab that rescue club. Fucking GO FOR IT. You didn’t come here to eat hot-dogs, right? I mean sure, you stopped at the halfway house and had SOME food, but NOT HOT DOGS. Man…fine…I decided to fall back on my caddie laurels and support the smarter choice.
“Yeah. That’s a good call Nick…I…like it.”
His shot landed just short of the right greenside-bunker. Alright fine. Have it your way. Nice shot.
And just when I think it’s all over, he shanks his “A” wedge into the lip of the trap and it rolls back into that bittersweet granular substance.
I laugh a little louder than I should’ve, and he shoots me a glare.
“Sorry, I was laughing at the other caddie. He made a weird face.”
“Of course you did Mr. Happy! You’re HILARIOUS you crazy kid you.”
Then came 11, 12 and 13. All close calls, all very messy, but somehow Nick came through for me and my silly dream. A dream I’ve had since childhood. I mean seriously, is it so wrong to want to see someone play golf that BADLY before you die? It’s right up there with starting my own business and watching a donkey show.
But 14 is where it all came crashing down. Three perfectly bunkerable situations, and Nick somehow avoided all of them. The most amazing was his last attempt. Again, he was so close to the green he could’ve putted it, but instead he elected to hit his “A” wedge, which since then I’ve named his “Awesome” wedge. He shanked it so hard to the right that he grabbed his wrist and yelped after he made contact. The ball slammed into a rake and careened dead left back onto the green. The ball rolled down the slope and ended up about 8 feet from the flag. An amazing shot.
I was so disappointed in the result that I almost started crying. I mean wouldn’t you? The most amazing streak I had ever seen had some to an end. Lucky number 13. I have a feeling that record will stand for quite some time.
Then again, I imagine there are some pretty amazing streaks out there. Any stories? Anyone ever seen anything like that before?
Posted by Tom Collins at 9:20 PM
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I’ve caddied for a wide variety of people thus far. Doctors, lawyers, radio personalities, lobbyists, business owners, amateurs, pros and even some former caddies. I’ve met with my fair share of resistance (many of you have been there with me). I’ve been on the “pressure” loops where I knew that my performance would impact people other than myself, and those “other people” were counting on me. But even if you combined all of those “pressure” loops together, it still wouldn’t add up to the significance of what I had to accomplish this past weekend.
Sort of a dramatic beginning, I know. But that’s how I truly felt after I found out what my assignment was. You see, in the caddie industry, if the caddie program isn’t run in-house by the club professional or the outside staff, it is run by a caddie management company. If you’re the owner of a club, and you would like to have caddies available to your members but you don’t want to worry about managing the program, you outsource to a company like the one I work for and we take care of recruiting, training, organizing and selling the caddie program to your members.
Well I’m sure at this point there are several caddie companies throughout the United States, but 10-15 years ago there was really only one company with any clout. Even today this company maintains a long list of accounts—anything from Augusta to Sawgrass—and it is by far my companies’ biggest competitor. It was all founded by one man, and HE was my assigned loop for a two-day member guest. For those two days, I would be assisting this demigod of a man (known simply as “Jeff”) and his partner in five 9-hole matches at one of my companies’ other accounts in Maryland.
After telling me who this member was, my boss simply stated, “He’s service-oriented.” In the caddie industry (as well as many other industries I’m sure) this meant that I needed to take care of him. Hustle. Be in all the right places at the right times. So I started stretching and warming up for the big show. And then I started thinking: hey, if this guy felt so inclined, he could easily infer quite a bit about my boss and my company merely by observing my performance. The training I had received, my attitude on the course, even my appearance would be judged and graded by this man.
Needless to say, I was a little nervous.
But THEN I was like: FUCK all that. In the office, he’s the man. But out here, he’s on MY turf. I mean sure, I could caddie for this guy worried, shy and on the defensive, but I’ve just had a Full Throttle and I’m definitely feeling like I have some MASSIVE gonads. Today, I’m aggressive whether he likes it or not. In a way, this loop felt like a defining moment in my career as a caddie. This guy has GOT to be a good critic. He’s trained hundreds upon hundreds of caddies and knows my job inside and out. Now the question was: Could I show him something special? Could I separate myself from all those other caddies he’s trained and managed?
TEAM AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!
Almost sounds stupid, doesn’t it? I mean come on, it’s caddying. It’s not rocket science. You clean the clubs. You get yardages. You rake bunkers, fix divots, and repair the greens. Maybe you read their putts once in a while. It’s not a life or death situation.
Well, you may be right. But I felt like my company’s pride was on the line here. I NEEDED to step up.
SAVE THE FUCKIN’ DAY, YEAH!
The first day was so incredibly long I wanted to shoot myself in the face. Three 9-hole matches with breaks in-between. Why breaks? Well, the members needed to rest up and cram even MORE food in their mouths. And at the end of each break, the members insisted on comparing notes with the caddies with respect to the meals they just had.
“So…Caddie? What did you have for lunch?”
“Three slices of pizza and a diet coke.”
“Oh yeah? Well we had crab cakes, lobster, shrimp, cornbread and sweet potatoes for lunch. I’m stuffed. I couldn’t eat another bite if I tried.”
And you’d think the caddies would be pissed. But caddies are lazy. The fact that the members just stuffed their faces full of puppy chow just means that they won’t want to WALK for their subsequent matches. THAT meant the caddies won’t have to worry about carrying bags, and so THAT’s why when I overheard a few conversations about all of this food the members were having I saw nothing but smiles on all the caddies’ faces.
“Well sir, in that case…maybe you should take it easy. Ride in the cart for the next match.”
“That’s a damn good idea caddie. I’m glad I thought of it.”
Before I go off on another one of my irrelevant tangents, I suppose I should tell you a little about MY loop, since that is the whole point of this post.
First, there was the guest. Bob. Bob was from Queens. Bob had a “Caddyshack” hat on that said “Bob.” Bob was rather portly. And by portly, I mean that Bob had maximized the elasticity of his skin. Bob claimed to be an 8 handicap, but Bob couldn’t seem to make a par for 54 holes. So Bob drank a lot of screwdrivers.
Bob also liked to criticize my approach to caddying. I think it was because I hustled. In his mind, I was probably moving faster than he thought the human body was capable of, and so he consistently felt the need to share his feelings on that particular topic with the rest of the group. Like being faster than a golf cart? That was just crazy talk. Nobody needs to move that quickly.
And then there was Jeff. Jeff was the one I was worried about. When the member assignments were being called out in the caddie yard, I was almost embarrassed for my name to be called out because I was already well aware of the fact that Jeff was a great loop out there. He was a good golfer, very friendly, and tipped extraordinarily well. One of the untold rules around the caddie yard is that if your loop was lucrative, you don’t tell anyone about it because everyone else will try to take it away from you. But, since I was new to this particular yard, the rule for me was slightly different. I didn’t want any of the local caddies knowing who I was going with because they all KNEW that he tipped well, and this is THEIR golf course. Why aren’t THEY going with this guy? I NEVER caddie at this course. Why should I get the big tip?
Yes, I work until I’m about to fall over and I spent the last year of my life desperately trying to get caddies out on loops. But as far as these caddies were concerned, I’m an asshole for treading on their turf and I should just stay at home and pray for a slow, painful death. While getting sodomized by a Leprechaun.
And of course, without fail, EVERY caddie asked me who I was going with. And, without fail, EVERY time I told them (quite RELUCTANTLY I might add) they would pause, look at the ground, look to the heavens, a tear would roll down their beer-splattered cheek and they would mumble: “Well, he’s great. You’ll…have fun with him…all day.” And then they stopped acknowledging me altogether.
I couldn’t wait to get on the golf course. Away from all of the other caddies and away from any distractions. I wanted some special time with my players to show them what I was capable of.
Honestly, the first round was a blur. I was running as fast as I could (Forrest Gump would’ve shit his pants), dirt was flying everywhere and I was starting to go cross-eyed after looking at so many different reads on the greens. Surprisingly, my reads on the greens for the first 27 holes were all right on the mark. It always feels good when a member walks up to you after a putt and says, “Sorry I didn’t believe you. You were right on that read.”
Before I knew it, the first day was over with and I was on my way home with a healthy tip. But I still had no idea what Jeff thought of my caddying abilities. I don’t blame him though. The format of this particular member-guest was intense. Five 9-hole matches over two days. 27-holes the first day, 18 the next. 11 Flights (even MONKEY’S would consolidate) with 4 teams per flight. On the first day, my boys lost every match. We never had the lead, and we were completely on the defensive. I hate to use the word, but it did feel like the other teams were filled with “sandbaggers.” Our team gave every other team strokes, and they outplayed us GROSS, every time. And it’s not like my players were playing that poorly (well, Bob was, but Jeff made up for it and then some).
We were dead last (in the entire tournament…that’s 11 FLIGHTS of Orangutan fecal matter) by the end of the first day. So pulling into work for the second round was a little depressing. After the first day (all 14 joyous hours of it if you count the commute), knowing my players had no chance of winning made me feel like my job was pretty pointless. In some ways caddies can act like motivators, but after the first day, I had just about run out of encouraging words to say. Anything I said today would sound superfluous. That’s the one thing I’ve learned thus far as a caddie—you can bullshit the average Joe on the golf course, somebody who isn’t used to “yes-men” cluttering up their work day—you CAN’T bluff a successful businessman. He knows all the tricks of the trade. The sales pitches. The high-pressure deadlines and meetings and live-or-die decisions he’s had to make on a regular basis. Bullshit just doesn’t interest him anymore. He doesn’t have time for it.
To complicate my job a little more, by the end of the first 9-hole match Bob was starting to get very sarcastic with me.
“Hey Bob? You happy with that club or do you want me to run over real quick and get you something else?”
“Well I wouldn’t expect you to fucking WALK.”
Or the 10th tee after everyone had hit their tee shots.
“Ready Tom? Ready…set…SPRINT!”
Bob was relentless. He was making me feel like a jackass for running. And it really pissed me off. This would probably be comparable to an Actor rehearsing for his very first lead role every night for 3 months, waking up every other night at 4 am mumbling lines of dialogue to himself, having all his friends and family present during opening night and when the moment of truth finally arrives, just as the curtain comes up, some guy in the front row rips a loud fart and starts laughing. Bob was completely throwing me off my game. And again, I KNOW it’s just caddying, but I was trying to prove something out there. And not just for me. But for my boss, his company, and the caddie master who sent me out there.
So I broke the fourth wall.
“You know what Bob? I think you just cured me. I’m going to walk as slowly as I possibly can for the rest of the round.”
Then Jeff chimed in.
“That’s the spirit. Every caddie at this course is lazy. We’re used to that. Just relax out there.”
What a letdown. After all of my hard work the last 36 holes, it became apparent to me that all of this extra effort really didn’t count for much.
And then it happened. As their cart pulled up next to me on the final hole so they could hit their approach shots, Jeff finally spoke to me. The clouds parted, birds started singing, and somewhere in West LA R. Kelly was peeing on another victim.
“Do you run outside of work?”
“Cause you’re fast. You’ve done a fantastic job. I’m sorry we couldn’t have played better for you.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t worry—“
“You should really work here full time. I hope I see you here again soon.”
And just like that, he stuck it to 2 feet and the round was over with. The tournament was over with. I cleaned their clubs, shook their hands, and I was gone.
Mission accomplished. There are so many different caddying styles out there. Some caddies make fun of their players when they hit bad shots, and the players eat it up. Other caddies don’t seem to do much of anything while their players rake their own bunkers, fix their own divots, and clean their own clubs. The players only ask that the caddie read their putts—because their reads are flawless. I’m just thankful that Jeff happened to like MY caddying style. Let Bob drink his screwdrivers.
And now I thank all of you for making it through another one of my posts. Take care.
Posted by Tom Collins at 11:20 PM
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I think hatred of lawyers is an almost universal emotion. I feel—along with various reflex tests doctors are required to perform on newborns—that the individual who spanks you when you arrive in this world is not a fellow doctor or nurse, but a lawyer.
That’s the only way I can make sense of my feelings towards lawyers. Maybe it’s the stereotypical pompous know-it-all attitude or maybe I’ve just seen too many movies where lawyers are depicted incorrectly and my views towards them are skewed in one way or another. Whatever the reason, I’m not a fan of the J.D. distinction.
But today was different. Today’s loop gave me a whole new perspective on lawyers.
“You know what the sad part is, Tom? I have to turn to a client after they’ve just received a life-sentence… and try and convince them it was a victory.”
I was floored when I heard that. Representing a client with high stakes like those has got to be just about the most stressful job you could possibly have. Besides maybe an air-traffic controller or a zookeeper responsible for massaging constipated elephants’ rectums.
No wonder this guy drank so much. Today was a one-day member-guest and this lawyer and his partner must’ve had 12-16 beers apiece WHILE PLAYING. And the guest was 4-under on his own ball through 16 holes. I couldn’t believe that. If I have more than 2 beers on the golf course my handicap goes through the roof.
But then I had to wonder. If these guys are so good at golf even when they’re completely TOASTED, how much time are they really spending in the courtrooms? Maybe that’s an unfair thing to say. But I tell you, if I was on trial for RECKLESS DRIVING, my lawyer had better be fucking HORRIBLE at golf. I want him so dedicated to his career that he has willingly chosen to forgo any and all lessons offered to him on the golf course. I can’t imagine how anal a client might be if they were on trial for murder.
Just a random interlude, but I thought of this great “Progressive” commercial spin-off today.
Instead of the commercial starting out with: “Every day Progressive does something that’s…well…Progressive.”
(Cue cool guitarish-techno music)
Instead I want the commercial to start out with: “Every day Progressive does something that’s…well…Counter-intuitive.”
(Cue cool guitarish-techno music)
Sorry. But I thought that was freakin’ hilarious when that hit me. I’ve just seen that commercial so many times that I feel it has completely lost its appeal. They need to update it.
And the other caddie in my group HATED these lawyers. Maybe it was because they critiqued a piece of his outfit on each green.
“Joe, what’s with the sunglasses? Can you even see the ball out there?”
“I can see just fine sir.”
“Why is your collar popped up? Are you hoping some modeling agent will discover you or something?”
“You’re not a caddie till you pop the collar.”
“Well Tom isn’t popping his collar.”
“I don’t know how to answer that sir.”
And when they weren’t drinking, hitting amazing shots or pissing every 5 minutes, they liked to be crude. It was like a test to see how much of a MAN I was. I mean, the fact that I drink “Full Throttle” should’ve been proof enough of my massive gonads. But I guess sometimes people need to see it to believe it. To be honest, that’s half the fun of being in the service industry around important people. You get to see their dirty side.
“Hey Tom, is there any pussy down at JMU?”
No hesitation. That’s the only way to handle a question such as this. “Yes.”
“You know, Tom… my daughter is going there now. Watch what you say.”
Oh yeah. Great mouth on that daughter of yours, sir.
“Well lucky me.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I’ve already graduated. I’m in the clear.”
“Touche. You DO have massive gonads.”
By the 12th hole, they almost appeared to be peeing continuously. The guest at one point unzipped his fly and started walking off the fairway towards the woods WHILE PEEING. By the time he got to the woods to pee, he had already finished. The weird thing was, I’ve seen this sort of thing happen here several times before. I guess the private clubs are where it is AT my friend. Just whip it out…ANYWHERE…and pee till your little heart’s content.
One of the halfway-house girls came over to us on 13 because apparently one of my players ordered some cigars for delivery. The guest then proceeded to spend 5-10 minutes hitting on this girl while everyone was waiting for him to play his next shot. It was almost embarrassing. At least in a crowded bar nobody can hear what you’re saying to a potential target. But we’re on the golf course. A slight gust of wind, a bird chirping—complete silence.
“You’re fuckin’ cute! How old are you cause I think you’re cute! Did you bring these cigars just for me? What do I have to give you in return? I have to take a piss and I would go right now but I don’t want you to see me peeing my pants!”
I just couldn’t stop laughing. Fifteen minutes ago he ripped a fart so loud that I jumped out of my shoes and almost dropped his bag. And now he’s mackin’ on this little cutie without a care in the world. I guess life is just easier for some people.
But regardless of how bad or rude that loop sounds, they were both very funny and GREAT golfers. I feel like I can caddie for just about anybody, but it’s nice to have some great golfers thrown in the mix every now and again just to give yourself a little break.
Posted by Tom Collins at 6:49 PM