Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Fivesome

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.”

Umm….okay.

“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.”

“Okay.”

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.

4 comments:

English Dave said...

Morning

Jeez, Tom, 6 hours for a round? That sure is a quickfire (if you'll pardon the inappropriate word usage) way to turn something great into an awful trek. My buddies and I, if left to our own devices and with no-one in front of us will normally go round in around 3:15-3:30. We've done under 3 hours before for a 3-ball in an evening where we all played really well - maybe one leads to the other and vice versa.

I reckon "Susie Depalkasdfj" was probably Susan Delfino from Desperate Housewives ... first time I watched that programme, I was VERY disappointed, let me tell you. I wanted hot dirty smut. I still would, though, although I preferred her in Superman and that James Bond film. Little bit skinny for me now. Was the other lady called "Lynne Buttflaps?" What? Golf? Oh, OK , then ...

I agree with you about tailoring comments to players' abilities. I play off 6 and I don't like it when I make a bit of a mess of an approach shot and only just get it on the green from, say, 125-140 yards and someone says "Oh, but at least you're putting, so it's a good shot". What really pisses me off now though (apologies for the rant) is when playing with my buddies, all of whom play off handicaps at least twice as much as mine, criticise me when I hit a bad shot. Hey, I'm still going to hit them, especially when I'm not really concentrating and I'm just out for the walk and I only play once a week (excuses, excuses, I know ...) I just don't hit as many as them. At least I do the decent thing and just laugh at theirs. Ooh, struck a nerve, there. Sorry to vent on your site.

Your description of the first hole is priceless - I can actually see them in my head, buazzing around like a load of angry wasps. I feel sorry for you - I bet they split you loads of times.

I've used the phrase “I have never been more disinterested in a round of golf in my life” before myself - we were playing in a competition and it took us 4 and three-quarter hours to go round. Halfway round the back nine, I was dead to the world. Why do people take so long to play the game?

I've always wanted someone to stand in the middle of the fairway I was trying to hit - I'm quite long but very wild - I'll hit one straight, one left and one right. I never know where it's going to go. Still, as long as it goes far, that's all I'm really looking for. Grip it and rip it, as Long John Daly preaches, or shut up and fucking twat it, in my own words. Someone in the fairway would give me something really specific to aim at and I bet my accuracy would improve instantly. Like whacking balls at the little tractor guy at the range ... always the best part of the evening.

I'll go now - I should be working. Thanks again for writing for us, Tom.

All the best

David

Sean said...

I joined a private course this summer and most rounds are 3-4 hours, except the rare tournament where it's 4.25. Afternoon rounds are in the 2-3 hour range normally.

Yesterday my neighbor invited me to play with him at the muni that's near our house. Tee time was 12:30. I should have known it was going to be a long day when at 12:35 when we pulled up to the tee (they never called us), there were three groups waiting. At the 5th tee box there were 4 groups waiting.

Three THREE fucking hours to play the front nine. Of course the guys I'm playing with are taking freaking cowpie sized scalps every time they advance the ball, dropping two or three balls and still making "plus two" scores.

After the 13th hole, the marshal (first time we'd seen him since the 2nd hole) came up and told us it should get faster since the tournament ahead of us had ended. It didn't. But we could tell there was noone in front of the old farts in front of us (well actually it was an old fart couple and an indian couple, the slurpee kind, not the teepee kind). Finally on 18, I just got pissed off and hammered my drive when they were hitting their 4th, 5th and 6th shots... I think the ball chased up to old fart lady's shins because she did a little dance...

Ugh. I was seriously tired of playing golf after that round.

Anonymous said...

Hilarious as usual, Jamboy.

HOWEVER - women can't hit it beyond 150? That's bound to lose you a tip somewhere along the line. You just might insult someone with that assumption.

Interesting comments about yardages and what people used to hit. Or maybe they just always play with patronizing caddies and assume they're hitting that club the yardage they've been given instead of the actual yardage.

-Kristen

Mark Nessmith said...

Where you been Jam Boy? We miss you!