Monday, October 24, 2011

You Spinning?

*The following occurred on Sunday, October 23rd

There’s no doubt about it—this course has officially made me its bitch.  I don’t ever remember being this sore.  I think my ankles now have biceps. 

The funny thing was, when I came in around 7:30, I really wanted to work.  I did—I thought, “After yesterday’s round with the Carters, every subsequent round should be butter.  The weather is supposed to be perfect, and there really isn’t any wind out here right now.  Golfers should be having fun and then I’ll have three days off for school so I can rest up.”

But TP and Big Bear were nowhere to be found.  The wedding the night before must’ve done some damage.  I think both of them were there for at least 14 hours yesterday.  So an outside staff member named Blue was up top running the show.  At first I thought that would be fine, because everyone in any capacity at this club seems to pitch in their fair share and the whole operation seems to run seamlessly.  But Blue made me nervous.

First he told me I would be working at 8:52.  Then he came back down 10 minutes later and said it was now 9:30.  Then he came down again and said: “You know what, you’re getting out today, but I’m not giving you a time anymore.”

The stop-and-go feeling was a little nauseating if I’m being honest here.  Not only because I really wanted to work and with all of his switching I started feeling like I may not work, but also because he reminded me a little of me when I started assisting with Caddie Master duties back in the day.  I can remember on a few occasions going back and forth with caddies because members were cancelling, changing requests, taking longer to eat breakfast, or whatever else.  It was frustrating because I knew that it was my job to get the caddies work, and if it just wasn’t happening the way I wanted it to happen—well, there’s that nauseating feeling again.

Big Bear finally showed up around 9.

“Man, I can still taste the Cuervo…that’s not good.  And I swear, the next time I go to grab a cart key from the bucket and there ARE NO cart keys, I’m going to grab an outside staff member by the neck and just start bludgeoning him with non-stop right hand punches.”

The caddie / staff parking lot is a HIKE up the hill to get to the clubhouse, so having a cart to ride up in is crucial.  Apparently Big Bear had thrown the bucket against the ground in anger, shattering it into “ten distinct pieces.”

Then the phone rang.  I’m starting to love the sound.  It was my turn to head up top. 

When I arrived at the podium, Blue walked over and pointed at my bags. “It’s a husband-wife, and you’re going to have a great time out there.  They’re high maintenance, and don’t give them too much information.  And they like to see some hustle.”

The bags were trunks, and I noticed as I walked up the steps to the podium that I was still sore and tired.  I really wanted to work, but I just didn’t think I had the energy I needed.  This is sacrilegious for me to say, but I wanted to try to take it easy out there today.  And did I mention the bags were heavy?

I was about to assess what I could remove from the bags when the husband-wife came out: Mr. and Mrs. Soccer.  As soon as he saw me eyeing the bags, Mr. Soccer stated the following: “The last caddie thought these bags were heavy, but I don’t really think so and I would feel more comfortable just leaving everything in there.  What do you think?”

You like all 15 clubs including a 1-iron, sir?

“I think the bags are fine.  You guys ready to go?”

The icing on the cake came when Big Bear sauntered up to the podium and greeted the Soccer’s. 

BB: “And how are we doing today?”

Mr. Soccer: “Fine.  Listen, we really want to whip around.  How busy is it out there?”

BB: “It’s not busy right now.  You’ve only got a twosome in front of you.  And you’ll whip around—Tommy is one of my best hustlers out there.  He’ll be in front of you all day.”

Me: “Thanks Big Bear, you’re the BEST.”

Sonofabitchoreocookiesareawesomebutnottodaybecauseimightdiebythetenthholeyoubitchassbitches.  Now the pressure was really on, and I was hoping some sort of caddie deity was watching over me.

After they teed off—and after I was well ahead, thanks Big Bear—I laughed for a second thinking about my initial training as a caddie all those years ago.  The owner of the caddie company had taken three of us on the course to complete the last 4-6 hours of our instruction, and he made a comment about caddying for husbands and wives.

“While I want you to work hard for both the husband and the wife, make sure for the first nine holes that you avert your eyes from the wife as much as possible.  Believe me, it’s the only way you’ll get both people to trust you by the back nine.  Then you can stare at the wife’s ass all you want.”

I had always found the overall concept particularly useful.  These people don’t know who they’re dealing with—a Jedi among Padawan-learners.

These people LOVED head-covers by the way. They couldn’t seem to get enough of them.  At times I felt like I was juggling with two bags on my shoulders.

One really surprising thing about the front nine was that all of my reads…were…perfect.  I would have never expected that in a million years, and OF COURSE I’m going to let it go to my head.  I need to soak it up while it’s there. 

Unfortunately, there was never any reaction from the Soccer’s.  So far, there seemed to be a wall between us, one that segregated members from caddies.

Then, on number 10, for whatever reason, Mr. Soccer pulled a 180-degree turn.  He started asking me about where I went to school, if I played soccer growing up (he and his wife rarely play after Labor Day because they’re too busy watching their daughter play soccer), and mentioned that “I was fast.”  So at least I had conveyed some hustle at that point.  Then again, that also made me work a little harder on the back nine (for whatever reason), because I guess just needed to make sure they got the point—I work hard for that cheddar.

When I said my goodbyes after a successful loop and brought their bags back to the podium, TP power-walked across the porch to get over to me.

“Yo, dude! You spinning?”

That’s caddie lingo for “double.”  JUST KILL ME NOW.

“Yeah, as long as I can get something light.”

“No worries, I got you.  Go downstairs and grab some lunch, and come back up when you’re done.”

I didn’t mean to sound like a baby, but I was seriously hurting after carrying those trunks.  The Aleve in my system had all but worn off after only 5 hours (supposed to work for 12, bitches), so I was forced to pop another just to see if the medication could TOUCH the pain in my shoulders.  No joke—I could barely lift my arms.  As I walked to the lunch-room—still can’t believe that they have food for caddies here—I contemplated telling TP that I just couldn’t do it.  It was the first time in my caddying CAREER that a course had gotten the best of me.

I shoved some sort of beef thing covered in crispy dough into my mouth, along with pasta and lemonade.  I ate so quickly that my jaw was unable to keep up with my brain after about 5 minutes.  I was eating in slow motion at that point, and had no ability to change gears.

I decided that I would commit to the second loop.  Just suck it up and deal with the consequences.  I figured my chances of dying were slim, so I should just quit my complaining.  When I got back up to the podium, TP gave me a weird look.

“Did you eat?”




“Okay…well just go downstairs and relax.  I’ll call you.”

I guess I broke the sound barrier eating that beef.  So I had a little time to let the Aleve kick in, which was just fine with me.  When I sat down in the TV room amongst the other caddies, however, word around the campfire was: I might not be going out.  Nobody in the room—and there were 8 of us—had been assigned a loop yet.  So maybe I’ll be alright.

Then the phone rang.

A caddie picked it up, hung it up, and yelled out: “Tommy! Tommy! You’re up!”

Glad I had enough time to go up and down the stairs one more time.  That really did wonders for my legs.

Turns out TP took care of me.  I had a single bag.  Not only that, but for the first four holes, my player was showing his kids around the course and I really had nothing to do but walk along.  The bag was light, and one of his kids—at the age of 8—sounded like a future PGA Tour Hall of Famer.

Not only did this kid drill a 3-wood 130 off a side-hill lie right onto the green, but on a previous shot, he held his finish and said: “I hit that on the toe.”

Dude, when I was 8, I’m pretty sure the only thing I knew was that I really enjoyed tater-tots.  That’s amazing. 

When the player finally dropped off his kids, he wanted to jump around the course and see if he could find another member to give him a ride home.  Although the caddying part of it was still easy, keeping up became exponentially more difficult.  By our 9th hole I was trying to think of a way I could fake hustle while I was actually walking in pain.  Turns out you can’t really “fake” hustle.  When the member asked me how long I had been caddying, I gave my new answer a try: “A little over a month.”

“Wow.  I knew you were new, but not that new.”

Okay then.  I guess the next time I’m asked, I’ll say 2 months.  But these members are so tight-nit with the caddies, that even then they may say, “Well that’s funny, I haven’t ever seen you around here before.  And didn’t you just say that number 7 was a par 5 when in fact it’s a par 4? Are you lying to me you little punk?”
When I was finally done for the day, I headed straight to Wendy’s.  It’s my new routine.  That 99-cent menu is a Godsend.  It beats the McDonald’s dollar menu any day.  Why? Try buying ONE f-ing thing on that “dollar menu” and see if it ends up being less than $1.40.  I dare you.  And hello: Monterey Jack cheese and ranch on a chicken sandwich with lettuce? I’ll take four.  And fries.  And a burger.

Another great day.  Time for more Aleve.


Kiwi said...

You still alive? Or has the body left you curled up on the floor dribbling with muscle spasms

Tom Collins said...

Yeah, still here. Living in NJ with that massage power-outage...I didn't get power back till yesterday afternoon. So I couldn't post anything from this past weekend. But I'm headed in let's light up that crack pipe again.