Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chivas Regal

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.

" them?"

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 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 sip."

"Well 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.


English Dave said...

Good to hear from you, JB. Hey, what do you reckon I play off? Mizuno MX500 driver (pretty clean); really old Taylor Made 3 wood (I love it); really old bladed 1 iron; Macgregor VIP V-foil forged irons; Titleist Vokey 54 & 60 degree wedges, Ping Anser S2i putter (no stupid headcover - my friend tried to give me one once, if you'll pardon the expression, and I got fed up with it and lobbed it) and I play with balls I pick up, but mostly decent ones.

And I've got a little something out once or twice on the golf course, but no-one ever wanted to take a drink from it. Although it would have put you off your putting, admittedly.

John B. said...

Caddie that like cow tipping here in the Midwest?

Seriously, I try not to judge a golfer's game by his or her sticks. I have seen good golfers with what most golfers would consider crappy old equipment, and I have seen a lot of bad golfers with the latest Nike or TM equipment.

There are two indications from agolfer's bag that almost always indicate that the golfer is very good. If the golfer still carries a 2 iron, they most likely are a player, as few golfers can hit the 2 iron well. Also, if the golfer has older clubs, even persimmon woods, but has new grips on the clubs, the golfer has most likely learned to hit these clubs well and has stuck with what works for him.

Sean said...

What about Mizuno forged blades with headcovers.

My buddy the "14 handicapper" plays with those. The one shot that he pures or works a round with them "all but makes up for the 20 bad shots I hit with them" (his words).

He's a pull hitter... aims 20 degrees right and then yanks the heck out of the ball down the fairway. When he gets tired it goes dead right (imagine that). Also has shoulder problems (again, imagine that) :D

And Chivas [shudder] [retch]

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, what would you think of two golfers who have the same clubs, but one obviously cleans his after each round while the other seems to never clean his clubs? Would that tell you anything? The reason I'm asking is I haven't cleaned my irons this year and I've been feeling guilty about it. My friend cleans his clubs after every round. Does that mean anything more than he's anal and I'm a lazy bastard?

Jam Boy said...

John, you're right. For the most part, I would never judge somebody's golfing ability based solely on what clubs they were playing with. I just wanted to try making up a fun little game to see how close I could get to someone's actual playing ability. Personally, I have always believed that if I ever got good enough to play on tour, 90% of my clubs would be generic. Just for the hell of it. And caddie tipping? Well, I suppose if the caddie is hung over and tired enough, the WIND can accomplish the "tipping" most of the time. Like carrying two bags walking over a bridge with heavy wind? Scary stuff man.

English Dave...let's see. Just for a fun little guess, I would say around a 5 or 6 handicap. Although, you remember the old saying: "Never bet against a golfer with a deep dark tan, a squint in his eye, and a 1-iron in his bag." Plus, if you're playing with forged irons, you have to have something working right, otherwise you'd probably be hating life with those things. Sounds like a great set. Hope all is well Dave. Good to hear from you man.

Sean, nothing against your buddy, because he sounds like a great guy to play with, but as a caddie I want to shoot myself in the face every time I have to deal with iron-covers. If I was just carrying him as a single, that would be okay. But a double? Forget it. A pain in the ass. They are very nice irons though. I'd want to keep them well protected too.

And Rob, don't feel bad. Up until I became a caddie, I hardly ever cleaned my clubs. As long as there weren't chunks of dirt impeding the flight of my ball, I was good to go. After 3 or 4 months of caddying, however, I became a little more anal about it and so now I twitch a little every time I forget a wet towel when I'm playing. Having dirty clubs doesn't necessarily mean anything bad in the eyes of a caddie. Although, I would have to say that after I started cleaning my clubs, I cut one or two shots off my score. Not a lot mind you, but I just found I was able to hit a more consistent ball flight. Maybe, in essence, cleaning my clubs was more of a placebo for me than anything else. The fact that I took just a little more time to take care of my irons made me focus just a little more on the upcoming shot. But that's just me.

Thanks so much for the comments guys.