Monday, July 16, 2007

Adventures in Management

The last few days have been frustrating, depressing, and then somehow very positive. So at the moment, I don’t really know how I feel. What happened? Well, I guess I can put it quite simply: the owner does not want me to be a Caddie Master.

This really came as a shock to me. I mean…why not? Haven’t I been working hard? Didn’t I help you get the Ritz account? At first, I was definitely confused. How could I not be put in that position? Will I ever be in a management position with some long-term job security? What the hell?

But after talking it over with the boss and getting a little feedback from some of the other managers, I’ve realized that there are bigger plans for me. I don’t fully understand the full scope of it yet—because we are such a small company and the idea of growth is a foreign concept—but I’m slated to be a territory manager someday.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered to even be considered for such a position. But right now, that position is nonexistent. Right now, our company isn’t big enough to support it. So it’s a little frustrating. But after giving it some thought, I realized that the harder I work and the more I can standardize the operations of this company to prepare it for growth, the faster I’ll assume this new title. It is a little scary when I think about it—if I don’t succeed with my recruiting efforts, management training and financial duties, this company will not grow, and I will not have a job. But I think it will be worth it in the end.

And there is so much going on right now. Half of my week is spent filling in for the other Caddie Masters’ so they can get that much needed extra day off. The other half is spent driving around to the different golf courses evaluating caddies, reading over 401k documents, writing about management techniques to help with the new management training program and then trying to find time to caddie. If I have the energy.

To add to the stress, my management skills aren’t what they used to be. Well, let’s be honest. It is entirely possible my management style NEVER really existed to begin with. But I was informed recently that I tend to think more like a caddie than a manager. Now, while that is a fair piece of criticism, I’ve had a hard time figuring out just exactly what that means. Is this even something I can fix?

(Plus, if I’m currently collaborating with the other managers to piece together a Management Training Program for future employees, I can’t be having issues with my OWN management style, right?)

Up until this point, utilizing a caddie mentality has really helped me through a variety of jams. People tend to give me some slack when they see that I’m working hard. The only problem is, when you’re wearing a nice golf shirt and kakis and are responsible for trying to work 30 caddies, hustling and trying your hardest to be everywhere at once simply appears amateurish and unprofessional. I’ve been told I look “inexperienced” and “out of control.”

Well that’s nothing. You should’ve seen me when my crack addiction PEAKED.

Now, in all seriousness, I do have a very good idea of what needs to be accomplished day-to-day, but I’m sure to the average observer I look lost. And probably a little hyper, too.

And that’s a hard thing for me to say. I feel like with the history of this site people know me as this bitter, tough, “been-around-the-block” type of individual. But unfortunately, when it comes to management, my people-pleasing tendencies rise to the surface and I come off as weak. I’m sure of it. And as a manager, that’s a horrible trait to have.

I think part of my problem comes from not being able to trust that other people can help me do my job. I guess I’ve always come from that school of “if you want something done right…” and so I just try to do everything on my own because that’s the only way I KNOW it’s going to get done. One Caddie Master told me recently that I need to “just take a deep breath and survey the situation” before I dive in and try to figure things out.

Well again, that sounds great in theory and all, but what exactly does that mean? When you’re working at a club with NO tee times and 40 people show up out of nowhere, it’s hard to take your time and look calm when all you want to do is dive right into the fray, grab some bags and start taking names. But I suppose now I have to try something else.

Another facet of my management style involves a “first-come-first-serve” approach with the caddies. Being a caddie myself, I know how much it sucks to wait around all day for a loop. I just figured I’d reward the guys who got up at the ass-crack to help me out.

Unfortunately, the result of my kind efforts is a higher probability of unsatisfied players. The fact that I’ve only pissed off one player here or there so far is just dumb luck. Here’s the problem: if I’m assigning caddies on loops simply based on the order they arrive, I’m assuming two things. First, I’m assuming that all caddies are created equal. Well we know that’s horse-shit. Some are great, some suck, some can’t be put with women, some are hung-over, some can’t read greens (ahem) and some just come to play cards with the other caddies. Second, I’m assuming that the PLAYERS are arriving in an order which will perfectly tolerate each and every caddie.

What I mean is, if the first caddie to show up is hung-over and the first player to show up is a party-animal who just LOVES war stories, the two will get along. But if the first player to arrive is a devout-Catholic-man-hating FEMALE and you use that same hung-over caddie, you could have a problem on your hands.

I hate to sound like an Econ-dork, but as an aside, that’s sort of how money evolved out of the barter system. People realized that in order for the barter system to work, a “double-coincidence of wants” needed to arise. Meaning, if somebody wanted to trade a goat for a few wooden wagon-wheels and the local Carpenter wanted to trade a few wooden wagon-wheels for a goat, a trade could be made. Otherwise, you were up Shit Creek without a paddle. Money was created as a medium of exchange avoid this problem.

Well, even though cash is certainly King, I think the medium of exchange in my situation is the attitudes of the members. The attitudes should determine the caddies’ selected. I can’t let the order of arrival set my sheet for the entire day. Now that I think about it, this is a pretty simple observation. But when you’re slammed and you just KNOW one of your caddies has been waiting for over 3 hours, it’s hard to tell him no. But I suppose I can’t feel too badly for him. If a caddie has an attitude problem and there are only a few members I can work him with, he has no right to complain if I have to make him wait around for an appropriate loop.

Man, listen to me ramble. I guess what I’m realizing now is why there are whole sections in bookstores devoted to Management Techniques. Hell, I think there are even Undergraduate MAJORS dedicated to that field. It’s a little harder than I thought. I miss those laid-back crack-smoking days of old. I wonder how my dealer is doing now without me. Probably can’t buy his kids as many presents during Christmas-time.

But tough muffins for that guy. I’ve got bigger fish to fry now.

Well, take care all. Let’s see how my schedule plays out for the rest of the week.


English Dave said...


Hey, Tom, don't be too impatient to be a Caddie Master. You're still pretty young, aren't you? Mid to late twenties? There's still plenty of time to graduate into a management position and it does sound as if they have one picked out for you. Territory manager sounds like it might be more sales based, which might suit your talents better than day-to-day micro-management, and you might be going round and managing the Caddie Masters themselves, so don't be too quick to settle for less. Besides, it sounds like your doing Caddie Mastering half the time anyway (and I know stepping in for others is not the same as managing your own course account) and you're already evolving way above and beyond pure looping. So don't be too down. It sounds like your company has grand plans for evolution, growth and expansion and they value your future highly in that. And I don't believe that if your company doesn't grow, you will lose your job - you'll always have a post with them, as long as you want it and keep working hard. In other words, cheer up you miserable fucker!

I must say, I've never thought of you as the bitter, tough, been around the block type. I've always thought of you as a bit of a dork ... a bit like Ross in Friends. But I think I would probably suffer from the same problems as you do if I was to manage people (which I don't, thank God) in trying to please everyone all the time. It can't be done, and some people will never be pleased. A swift kick in the nuts normally straightens them out, though, I've found. And bollocks to your crack dealer ... he's a cnut. Talking of which, I see you have the Beckhams over there now (albeit on the other side of the country, I believe, from you) You're fucking welcome to them, particularly her. They got old and one-dimensional a long time ago over here. She's a fame-hungry whore and he is well past his best on the field. Did I mention she's a fame-hungry whore? I did? Well, she is. A fucking annoying one at that.

So, to summarise. Cheer up you twat. You're a dork. Beckhams are gay. I think I've covered all bases there.

Thank you again for writing. Good as ever, although perhaps a little insular and sorry for one's-self, compared to certain stories in the past. But it will come good again in the future and I believe your star will shine rather brightly in days to come.

Take care of yourself and KYN. All the best, old pal


P.S. In answer to your question in the last post's comments, I took 6 on the 18th at Carnoustie. It was only playing about 420 yards when we played it, although the course managers and, I believe, some R&A officials were inspecting the new tee they have built right next to the 17th green which adds about 100 yards on to the hole. We went up to have a look on the way past and asked them whether that was from where the big boys would be playing. The fairway looks virtually non-existant from back there. Out of bounds all the way down the left and a carry of about 250-260 to carry the first bend of the Barry Burn. Anyway, I smashed my drive down the right into the "rough" (which was very light 3 months ago) and only had a 9 iron into the green. I cut that right and left it on the edge of right-hand most bunker, on a downslope. I scuffed that one right across the green, off a bare lie, admittedly, hit a shoddy chip back and missed the putt. So I bettered Jean Van de Velde by one, but it was considerably easier when I played it and I didn't have any bloody great grandstands sitting on the edge of the green for my approach shot to bounce back off. So he's still more of a man than I am.

Artful Golfer said...

Very honest and thorough self-evaluation! However, in my experience, anyone who is sensitive enough to evaluate themselves that honestly, consider the daily issues and personalities in the depth you describe, and not be a pleaser or kiss ass would make an excellent manager. I'd hire you! Hang in there.

English Dave said...


So, in coming and checking for more pasts or updates to the situation, I re-read my comment above and concluded that it could, if read in the wrong frame of mind, have sounded nothing more than mindlessly abusive in certain parts. That was certainly not what I intended ... mindless, of course, but not abusive. No more than I would be to all my friends, anyway. But it's different, sometimes, when you're talking to someone face-to-face and they can discern easily when you're taking the piss.

SO, if you took offence, old pal, I apologise. When I called you a dork, you know ... it was meant in the best possible way. And poof and twat are merely terms of endearment for me.

How's tricks? Still busy? Did you see the Open? I am as good as Harrington on the scorecard, but I was nowhere near as entertaining in putting two balls into the Burn. I really wanted Sergio to win. But if someone had told me at the beginning of the week that Padraig would take the title, I would have been delighted. He's always been better than that choking, under-achieving wiener(weiner? I don't know how to spell it - we don't use it over here) -boy Luke Donald. I don't care much for him or other people's sycophantic praise of him. He am gay. So good for Paddy. And now, officially, Sergio is my new favourite golfer, now that Seve has retired and John Daly is officially mental.

All the best, old pal. Kepp yourself nice.


The Author said...

No posts of late? Is golf done for the year where you're at or...? Hope things are cool with you - great blog.

Duke said...

Great blog...I look forward in reading more. said...
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Shades said...

Jam-Boy, where are you?

Mr Business Golf said...

Hey, Jam-Boy...are you there man? Guess not!...he must of gotten a Huge promotion. OH well, another good golf blogger may have bit the dust. said...

I suppose it would be hard to become a caddie master , here in the algarve it is to hot for that.faro airport transfers and algarve golf bookings

Jim said...

I was a caddie for years when I was younger. Back then the old boys paid us in peanuts and beer. Ahhh the good ol' days!

I couldn't tell you the amount of 2nd hand smoke I must have inhaled from those old guys blowing cigar smoke in my face!

Half of them carried brand new drivers that they might have actually used once a year and when they played, they were awful. They beat up their clubs, threw them around and generally abused the privilege of having a good caddie like myself. The other half played at least twice a week and were very respectful to us caddies. I bet they bought their clubs real cheap from places like Buy Cheap Drivers or something. They took great care of their clubs and they took great care of us caddies. They paid us well and we appreciated their consideration.