Friday, October 21, 2011


It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this much pain.  I did 36 today—a single in the morning and a twosome in the afternoon.  I think I only survived the last half-hour of my second loop because of an intense desire not to pass out and die.  In short, I’m going to try to make this post short, because right now I’m having trouble lifting my arms above my shoulders.

So what can I say about the first loop that hasn’t already been said?

Well, the guy was not happy at the start of the round.  Remember that whole order of operations I talked about before? Well for some reason, even though the staff knew he was in the clubhouse and rushing to get on the tee, they still sent a threesome and a foursome in front of him.  He had signed up for a tee time ahead of all these blokes.  So what gives?

Well that was his line of questioning from the time I shook his hand until the middle of the first fairway.  He didn’t want to bad-mouth anyone, but he also really wanted to bad-mouth someone.  The foursome ahead of us on the 1st green simply stared back at us, smiled, and continued to take mulligan after mulligan and continue their topographical analysis of the putting surface.  My player, Mr. K, was about to explode.

So I said: “Why don’t we just skip around them and head over to 3? I saw a twosome heading to that tee but we’ll probably fly right through.”

Wait a second.  I said I wanted this post to be short, because it hurts to shrug right now.  So let me fast forward the first round.

On the 3rd hole, we marveled at a horrible pin location and played through a twosome.

Mr. K finally calmed down by the 6th hole, and when we got to the green, we marveled at another horrible pin location.  Mr. K: “What the hell? What the hell? Does the Superintendent even play golf?”

Somehow, my crack smoking didn’t interfere with my green reading.  I was ON FIRE with this guy. 

Sometimes you just click with a player and you can trust his putting stroke.  We made some great putts on the front, and I cursed a few times in excitement, to which he replied: “I like that!”

When he found out I was studying to be a CPA, he told me that I’d have a better chance finding a good employer if I shoved my head up a cow’s ass.  He told me “good luck.”  Then he said his wife is a CPA, so I wondered if she had shoved her head up a cow’s ass.  Turns out she now works for him, so I guess it’s a regular freaking cow-fest.

My first “bad” read came on 11.  “Bad” as in 1-inch offline.  Mr. K blamed the wind, and I liked that.

Mr. K made 3 incredible pars in a row, and we both marveled at the horrible pin locations.  I mean with the strong winds and fast greens, some of these pins are just bad-ass—like “Superintendent Revenge Day” bad-ass.

We skipped back to number 1 after the 18th—2.5 hours had passed in 16 holes.  I was sweating just about as much as the day I tried to learn vector calculus.  After the second hole, he said he had a great time.  I hope I get a request from him in the future.  A fast-talker and a fast player—I like it.

Big Bear advised me that my next loop would be at 1:30, so I had 30 minutes to have a “serious burn.”  Dude, keep it down.  I don’t want EVERYONE knowing about my crack addiction.

So I sat down in the poker room downstairs, had a little lunch, drank a little coffee, and shed a layer.  I had been sweating so much that one of my layers—not the initial layer—was completely soaked.  As soon as I took it off, I felt much cooler, but then it was almost like I had a fever.  I was now freezing. 

My 1:30 canceled, but I hung around just in case some stragglers showed up.  TP then assigned me a single, but when I went up to the podium to introduce myself, a twosome showed up out of nowhere and TP assigned me to the newcomers instead.  When I looked at the bag-tag on the first bag, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

This player is a member at my old stomping grounds—that great track in Northern Virginia where it all started for me: my gambling problem, my drinking problem, my crack problem, my bad green reading problem, and my caffeine addiction.  It was a magical 3 years.

The highly un-magical thing about Mr. Pastime’s bag, however, was that he had 17 clubs, which included two identical 4-irons.  One of my eyes twitched slightly.  I decided, for the sake of whipping myself into shape, that I would carry this overweight bag and not say a word.  It seemed like a smart idea at the time.

The other players’ name was so unfamiliar to me that it would take me 18 holes just to come CLOSE to remembering parts of it.  I feel as though I’m good with names—but this one was the grand-daddy of all names.  Consonants, syllables, and vowels were thrown together in an entropic array that would give Keith Richards a high.  Even when this player SAID his name to me when we shook hands, it came out sounding like all the grown-ups on Charlie Brown.  It flew by too fast, and I felt very alone and scared.

Alright, time to fast forward the second round so I can take some more pain medication.

So the bags were heavy, I was already tired, and the temperature had dropped about 15 degrees.  The sun was already starting to set, and with the overcast sky, I wondered if it would be alright if I screwed up absolutely everything in this round.  Well, didn’t WANT to screw up, it just sort of happened that way.

First off, it’s an entirely different golf course for 5-6 handicappers who can hit the ball over 270 from the tee.  I hadn’t thought about how a golfer would play this course if he or she could drive the ball over 220, because that’s all I had encountered so far.  Handing a driver to the player seemed appropriate in most situations, and I was always hoping that the ball would carry over certain waste areas, even though I knew exactly where the ball was going.  But not with these guys: my yardages would have to be adjusted back to something I would actually hit.  That may seem easier, but when you throw in those horrible pin placements and a strong cold wind, you feel totally unprepared for any and all questions they throw at you.  And putting? Piece of cake.

“Tom, does this putt break left?”


Gorgeous putt.

“It broke right, Tom.”

“Wow.  So it did.  That’s amazing.”

MAN that felt good.

After—oh I don’t know—the 2nd hole, the players stopped asking me for reads on the greens.  That freaking Superintendent moved SOME of the flags since this morning, and so many times I was looking at putts I had never seen before.  Other than my previous example, I usually got the direction of the putt just fine, it was the “amount” of break that alluded me.  It did wonders for my confidence.

Did I mention Mr. Pastime had 17 clubs in his bag with 2 identical 4-irons? By the back 9, I was piecing together my last will and testament in my head I was so excited about it.

These guys liked to play incredibly fast.  Normally, this is a great thing for a caddie.  But I was having trouble keeping up by the time we reached the back 9.  Not only that, but they were splitting me on every hole.  One of them was always in the fairway, but the other was always NOT.  I think I added another mile to my foot-action today—I also think the arch of my right foot just wheezed—and made me feel as though I was holding them up, regardless of how fast I tried to move.

By the end, they both gave me a wink and a good handshake—even though I think I screwed up just about everything I could screw up.  I was so happy I had finished I wanted to cry.  It was pitch black by the time we walked off the final green.  I did think it was important to discover that I could work using sonar. 

The fun wasn’t over, however.  Now I had to put their clubs in their cars.  Turns out I needed to figure out where the list was to identify their cars, where their keys were, and where someone with a key was to open the bag room because my STUFF was locked inside, which included my car keys. 

But it all worked out.  Now I’m just trying not to move too much and hope that when I get tired, I can move from the keyboard to my bed and fall asleep instantly.  I know tomorrow morning is going to be even worse.  I imagine I’ll tighten up something awful by then.  It’s really just my shoulders.  Then again, as a caddie, that’s about the worst place you can be hurting.

I know I’ll be fine.  Tomorrow should be interesting.

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