Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Photo Finish

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?”

“James Madison.”

“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.


John B. said...

If you were my caddie and were seen running to take a shit in the middle of a round, you would be a winner in my book, no questions asked. Nothing like pinching a turtle for a few holes until the porta-potty hole arrives...sweet relief.

I have been a golfer off and on for 20 + years...and I have never once played anywhere where I have had the opportunity to have a caddie. Most muni's don't have caddies anymore...and that is mostly where I play.

I need to get to your course, wherever it is.

I promise to tip well, and you can insult my game all you want...there is plenty of material there.

Great post.

English Dave said...

Morning, JB

So happy to see you post again - I'm clearly very easily pleased. Like you, though, I always enjoy my golf best when I'm with good company, regardless of the standard of play. I'd rather play crap with good friends than play well with a bunch of twats, although, if I take their money off them, it will help to ease the sting!

It sounds like your caddie master guy needs to get a grip and make his decisions clear - otherwise you get the inmates running the asylum and choosing their own bags. And you need to be exerting your authority, man ... you're almost senior there, now, aren't you? Let 'em know who's boss ... smack some heads together. Yeah, that won't work. You organise your bags like mine! I thought it was just me being a bit anal and weird ... maybe I am.

I remember playing with neon yellow Top Flite XXX-outs when I started. And, at the time, I thought that they were the monkey's nuts, as well. How we learn. I don't know whether they do still make them, but I'm sure you can pick up a dozen second-hand for about £1 or so.

I have never shit on the course. Needed to, and held it in for hours, to the point where I was getting cramps in my back and I could feel about 3 feet worth of poo being backed up along my spine and I could barely walk, much less swing a club properly, but we don't have facilities on our course, unless you count your friends bag while he's playing a shot and not looking at you. That'll learn 'im for not letting you have a bite of his chocolate. Wanker.

Jesus, I do go on. I can't get along with those big headed putters - I have a bladed Ping Anser and it works just fine. One of my friends has that big blue Ping Craz-E thing that looks like a guy on a motorbike when you hold it at the right angle ... that's why I pooped in his bag.

And one last thing I love about the game - everyone is equal on the golf course. Doesn't matter where you come from, how much you earn, doesn't even really matter how good you are, we're all just guys (or girls) out for a good time, talking, swearing and whacking to our hearts content.

Oh, and John B. I have only once played with a "caddy" and that was only a friend who carried my bag for me, not a proper one like the Jam Boy, but it was great. For one morning, I felt almost like a proper player. And I think, Tom, that's how you must make all your players feel, to have someone carrying their bags and running around after them. It's the greatest feeling in the world.

You can play his course, John, if you can find it, but you need to either have tons of cash or to know someone influential. I have neither!

I'm gonna go. Sorry for taking so much of your time. I should limit myself. Thank you, Tom, for writing for us.


Anonymous said...


Come on man, have you forgotten the most important rule of a caddie ... POOP BEFORE YOU LOOP!!!

It is always great when you get a fun group of players though. Over the summer I got a group of 3 for a forecaddie job. I asked them if they had ever used a caddie before and they said no and on a sidenote the mentioned they were terrible golfers. I told them I didn't mind as long as they didn't mind me being sarcastic about it. They actually said they would like that.
Was a fun round, and as they never used a caddie before I had them racking their own bunkers after about the 3rd hole. I told them there was a maximum limit as to how many bunkers a caddie could rake in each round.

At one point I even thanked one of the golfers for showing me that indeed that house set back 50 yards in the woods off the right side of the fairway was in play. It went right over his head, but his playing partners laughed their asses off with that one. Another one, after slicing his tee ball into the woods asked me if we would be able to find it and I told him we might if we all got down and prayed as only God knew where that ball landed.

Some days it just pays more to be an entertainer.

fellow caddie,

Jam Boy said...

Damn. Reading over this feedback is like reading over several great posts. Thanks for sharing guys. Always a pleasure to hear from you.