Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Punishment And New Bag Designs

After the whole “Velvet Cuddles” incident, I realized a few things. Like how some people can be perfectly happy being smelly turds. Or how under the right (or wrong) circumstances, a golfer CAN indeed get under my skin. Sad, but true. But the one thing I didn’t expect was to have the Caddie Master rub it in my face.

He’s a drinking buddy and somebody that I respect. I was exhausted and showed a moment of weakness. And then I let something slip about the whole situation in the caddie room. Okay, I’m human. But to make me wait for 5 hours in the caddie room AND make fun of me for it makes me a little frustrated.

He told me to come in at 9, so I did. I knew I would need to work hard to regain some of the respect that I had lost, so I was prepared to wait for a while. One of the caddies’ near me leaned over.

“So. Tom. I had your boy this past weekend. The one with the Red Sox cap on.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. He was a douche-bag.”

That made me laugh. I hadn’t thought of using that angle to describe him. I liked it. Then the Caddie Master jumped in.

“Yeah, but Tom came to me so freakin’ upset. He looked like he was going to cry. I was like, dude? What the hell?”

You know, a simple “Tom looked pissed” might’ve sufficed. I don’t remember almost crying. Now you’re making me sound like a pussy. I was seconds away from hitting Mr. Cuddles in the face or walking off of the loop (or, as English Dave puts it, I should’ve just “kicked him in the nuts”). Wasn’t switching me to another loop a better option?

Okay, so now the Caddie Master has just embarrassed me in front of 5-10 caddies. Maybe he felt he had to in order to re-assert his position as manager for doing me a favor, but I still don’t think that was cool. I mean—normally—he’s the one sticking up for me.

Oh, and the 401k I spent the last 9 months writing for this company? Well you’re welcome.

Caddie after caddie went out in front of me. I drifted in and out of sleep, sure, but that’s only because I didn’t want to stare at the floor or watch Sports Center for 5 straight hours. And honestly, if it was any other day, I wouldn’t have cared. But today I had plans at 7 to meet up with some friends for dinner. I figured coming in at 9 am would give me plenty of time to loop and get around for dinner. Apparently not.

So at 2:45 I walked out to meet my group. I was tired, hungry and in no mood to caddie. To top it all off, one of the bag guys walked by me and said, “Hey, you better grab a change-out bag. Well, actually, you might need two. The other bag is suspect.”

Awesome. Bring on the pain.

But, regardless of how crappy I felt, when I met my first player I cheered up almost immediately. He was 28 or 29 and just excited as hell to be golfing at this course.

“Hey, I’m Tom.”

“Tom? Hey man. I’m Surge. Really great to meet you.”

“Yeah. Could you help me real quick and change out your bag?”

“Oh yeah! Sure!”

I never knew admitting your bag was heavier than a dump-truck could be so much fun. Then I met my other “suspect” bag, which belonged to Mr. Giggles.

“Hey, I’m Tom.”

“I’m Mr. Giggles! Tee-hee!”

It’s unbelievable how funny that is to me. I want to call him that because, unlike any of the other CEO-types I’ve caddied for, you could say just about anything to him and he’d pee his pants.

“You just toed the hell out of your 8-iron.”

“Tee-hee! I know! Well what do you expect with a swing speed of 42 miles-per-hour? Ha!”

Surge said that to him on 16 and that was his exact response. The guy just could not stop laughing. It reminded me of me.

Even Mr. Giggles’ bag made me laugh. And that’s weird, because I’m sure there are neutron STARS out there that are lighter and less awkward to carry around than this thing. But the thing about this bag that really killed me was the ball-holder on the side. And come on, I’ve seen a lot of bags by now, and I know what a ball-holder looks like. I’ve seen the variations, and I know the purpose. I guess. But the ball-holder on this bag literally looked like two vagina’s on top of each other. It looked like the bag designer had taken his favorite blow-up doll and bent it around a cylinder of fabric.

You know, I’m so tempted to take this further, but I think you guys get the point.

Pause.

Wow. I’m so proud of myself for stopping that rant before it got really bad. Moving on.

Despite the weight of Mr. Giggles’ “bag” I was really starting to enjoy myself. Surge was talking about the NFL draft and asking about how well caddies are treated at the club. Mr. Giggles would hit his ball in the bunker and laugh hysterically. It was all gravy.

But one thing that kept popping up was how badly Surge was putting. He used to be a big baseball player, and has now taken up the game of golf simply because he “has to.” Apparently the business world has gotten to the point where you HAVE to play golf if you want to get anywhere. So Surge was just trying his best. But because he used to be a baseball player, he had a little extra “pop” to deliver into the ball. He was a little wristy. Anything outside of 120 yards was fine. But once he got within 100 yards of the flag, he started hitting some road blocks (I know, I know. Welcome to the game of golf, Surge).

His putting is what REALLY hurt him, because our greens have been “stimping” around an 11 and if you don’t have a smooth putting stroke, it can be hard to get a handle on the speed. And he was popping the ball right across the green. Every time. He started getting really upset. And he seemed like a cool enough guy, so I decided to take a risk.

“Hey, Surge? I don’t normally do this, but I can tell you’re getting really frustrated on the greens and I don’t want that to taint your whole experience here…so if you’ll let me, can I give you a pointer?”

He just stared at me.

“Is it really that bad?”

“No, no.”

Well: yes, yes. But he just needed to stop being so powerful and he’d be fine.

“You see, these greens are pretty fast, and the trick with fast greens is to make sure that you’re taking the club back more with—“

“My shoulders?”

“Exactly. That’s all I wanted to tell you. You’re an athlete. It’s going to feel really weird at first, but it’ll pay off.”

I was really nervous to tell him that. That’s a big caddying no-no. Not because it might screw up your golfer (which of course could be a valid concern—because there really aren’t any caddies out there with instructor certifications), but because it could slow down play. Because if you happen to throw out a really GOOD tip, then the player will badger you for the rest of the round and try to get more and more tips from you. Now I’m not speaking from experience, but I do know caddies that have gone down that road before and are now having a hard time breaking the member of that habit. But I mean come on. If you were playing with somebody and they were rocketing the ball over the green on every putt and getting very frustrated about it, unless you’re playing against them for money you’re GOING to offer them help.

Surge stood on the side of the green and took a few practice putting strokes. Within 20 seconds it looked like he had figured it out.

“Looks really good. Now you just have to try and get a feel for the speed out here and you’re all set.”

And it took another 5-7 holes before he figured it out, but by the time we reached 15 he drained a tricky putt for par and then drained another great putt for par on 16 to win the hole. And that felt really good. I was happy for him.

As for this weekend, I’m going to try my best to post, because I’m sure there will be a lot going on, but there’s a good possibility I’ll be working 4 doubles in a row. So you guys may not hear from me until Monday. But I’ll try my best. I’ll take plenty of Tylenol and smoke as much crack as I possibly can. We’ll see what happens. Take care all.

2 comments:

English Dave said...

Evening

The Caddie Master making fun of you sounds a little un-necessary. It sounds to me like you're on duty all day every day adn I would have thought you're bound, by the law of averages, to get a jerk-wad now and then. As long as you don't blow up in front of the members/players, I would have thought it would be fine to vent in with the other caddies. I don't know how hard the other caddies work but I wouldn't have thought he would want to alienate you, being, presumably, one of his better workers. Maybe he wanted to let you know you were being a pussy and how unlike you it was. But hey, what do I know?

Maybe you should kick the Caddie Master in the nuts - I've found it solves most problems in life. But, still, you would have thought that with all the extra work you have been putting in for him over the winter, he might have had a little more time and consideration for you.

Surge and Mr Giggles sound awesome to play with. I love to play with people who are out there to enjoy themselves and have a chat. Some of my best memories on the golf course have been playing with people who aren't particularly great players but who are so much fun to be around. Speaking as a 6 handicapper, I much prefer that to any other player/s moping and muttering, whinging and blaming anything that moves for any bad shots they hit, no matter what their handicap is. If I ever get over to your side of the pond and to play your course (oh yeah, that'll happen soon!) I want to play with those two.

It's great that you gave Surge an effective putting tip and that it worked. People sometimes ask me for hints and tips, as I have a fairly decent short game, but I'm very much an instinctive and feel player and I never know what to tell them. Some shots just appear to me and I can't articulate what to do or how to play them well. To be able to explain how to play the game properly is a rare skill ... maybe you should become a celebrity golf coach, like Butch Harmon. You like him.

It sounds like you have a busy weekend ahead of you. Good luck with that. Is it a public holiday stateside too?

I played a course designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie last week - Teignmouth in Devon. It's not long, at 6200 yards, but it has beautiful views and is maginificently put together. The greens pretty much all bore MacKenzie's hallmark - two-tiered with mounding around them and were all interesting shapes, some of them like figure of 8's with bunkers nipping in at the middle. It plays and flows so well, it's a real pleasure to play, and all for £20. Can't argue with that. Next stop Cypress Point and Augusta.

Stay cool at the weekend - no whinging like a pussy. Take care and KYN.

David

Jen Mario said...

Hey Jam Boy. Great post, as usual. I do question, however, your seemingly perfect and intimate knowledge of blow-up dolls.

Keep 'em coming.

Jen