Sunday, September 18, 2005

Peak Vision and Lasik Recovery

For some reason my Peak Vision sunglasses have been buried in my golf bag for about three weeks and I keep forgetting to bring them in with me to work. Well, call it inspiration, or call it intense wind and dirt flying in my face, but I decided to give them another try.

And by "another try" I mean "once again." "Another try" makes it sound like I didn't like them, which is just about as far from the truth as you can get. Honestly, the reason I stopped wearing them for a while was because I hated having to take them off every time the sunlight disappeared and the overcast sky was the only thing you could see above the horizon. For some strange reason I believed that the sunglasses ceased to work when this happened. I thought they needed sun to work correctly. Yes, I am that stupid.

Random thought, but does pollen come out this time of year? I thought it was always JUST in the spring. I don’t know. Who knows? Pollen is the only thing I can come up with, because my eyes have been so irritated lately. This is of course sucks gonads, because that means the recovery from my Lasik surgery CONTINUES to crawl along at an unbearable pace. I heard from somebody recently that it took 8 MONTHS for his eyes to fully recover. I hope I'm not an "exception to the rule" and am still dealing with all of this a year from now.

So I come home every night and literally drown my eyeballs in preservative-free drops (supposedly less irritating), trying to convince my eyes NOT to turn red and itch. But they never listen. And to top it all off, I use this suspicious-looking grease that I'm supposed to apply to my lower-lids before I fall asleep to help with the whole "lubrication process." I'm not really sure it works, because the next morning I look like hell and can't seem to go out in public without these 30-lbs bags underneath my eyes. Other caddies are starting to notice and will ask me things like, “What the hell happened to you last night? Did you go out and get shit-faced? What was her name? Are you sick? Are you stoned?”


“Well then what the hell is wrong with you?”

“Caddying during the day irritates my eyes and due to the healing process from the surgery, I can’t help but look fucked up the next day.”

“Oh. Well in that case, REALLY get shit-faced and REALLY come to work stoned. You can always just tell them you’re eyes are just irritated from the surgery.”

Yeah. I’ll get right on that.

But anyway, I was on the 9th green and was about to take off my Peak Vision sunglasses when I decided to experiment with them a bit. Several large clouds were sweeping through the course and the bright sun of the first 8 holes was all but extinct. It just looked grey outside. The other caddie was tending the flag and helping one of the other players with a read, so I decided now would be as good a time as any. I put on the sunglasses and started glancing around the putting surface. Spike marks and other imperfections stuck out like sore thumbs and the green looked somewhat texture-ized. The light and dark shades of green stood out like squares on a checkerboard.

Then I took them off. I was astounded at what I saw. Everything looked flat and flawless. No imperfections. No grains stood out. I noticed the various “noses” (areas of obvious break) around the green, but nothing else caught my attention. It was like I lost all sense of depth perception.

So I quickly put the sunglasses back on and kept them on for the rest of the day. And the amazing thing, at least from a caddies’ perspective, was that I was still able to see the breaks on the greens. Clearly. The guys I was caddying for? Yeah, they couldn’t. So that definitely helped my tip and gave me a little more confidence out there. Kinda felt like a God at a few points.

While some of you may have already known that you could wear sunglasses like these under dimly-lit circumstances and come out on top, I sure as hell didn’t, and I tell you, discovering this wonderful trait on my own was such a great experience. It inspired me to actually FOCUS on the greens again. I had all but given up on trying to figure them out. I think with the sun gone I caught the course with its pants down. Without sunlight, there are no shadows or disruptive glares on the putting surface to confuse your read. It was wonderful.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Tee Time? What's That?

This morning came too early. True, I’m used to waking up around 6 or 6:30 these days, but 4:45? Today I would continue my training as a Caddie Master. I think. I think that was the initial goal. There’s only one problem: there’s only one caddie left at this course. And I had to pick him up.

Basically, I felt more like a big brother than a Caddie Master today.

Which I guess is alright. But when you walk into the pro shop and pick up a copy of the tee-sheet and the thing is freakin’ packed, you’re feeling more like a Starter than a Caddie Master. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, it’s a fairly laid-back position and I certainly needed the break after all the work I’ve been doing lately.

And now that I think about it, being a Starter today was just about the only thing I would’ve accepted anyway, because if you’ve only got one caddie to pimp, you’re not doing much as a Caddie Master. And that would’ve pushed me over the edge by about 8:42 am. Then again, being a Starter does get a little old after a while. You start losing faith in the human race.

Case and point: The driving range is right next to the first tee. I mean it’s right there. You can’t miss it. You know what else you can’t miss? Clocks. Clocks are everywhere too. So, logically, you would think that people coming to PLAY THE COURSE would at least glance over at the clocks once in a while to see if their SCHEDULED TEE TIME is coming up. But no. It seems that somewhere between the clubhouse and the 1st tee players enter another dimension. Space and time have no meaning. Their swings have no meaning. As a Starter, my words have no meaning.

The tough thing is, every player in the foursome should have already teed off by the time their “scheduled tee time” arrives. That is the essence of “Starter-dom.” That way, you’re either always on pace with the tee-sheet or you’re ahead of schedule and could potentially squeeze in another “secret” tee time if someone so desires.

But nobody on the driving range seemed to give a shit. Well, it’s either that or they just expect that I’ll come down and get them. Which I think was the case today. And I have to say, for such an easy job, it was a lot of work. Especially for someone who doesn’t really KNOW anybody there.

So now it’s a game. I peruse the bags that line the driving range, wait for a player to hold their finish so I can quickly check out the name on the bag and look at the tee sheet to see if the name I saw resembles anything at all. Occasionally I’d get caught and the player would stare me down as if to ask, “What do you want from me and why are you touching my bag?”

“I’m sorry sir. When are you teeing off today?”


“Well, it’s 11:17. Don’t mean to rush you (*cough* BULLSHIT *cough*), but you should be heading up to the tee now.”

“Do I have time to putt?”


“Why not?”

“Because hundreds of squirrels will taunt you if you do.”

“Oh. Well I can handle that. I’ll be up in about 10 minutes.”

And so it went. First I’d be behind schedule. So I was a human cattle driver, corralling people up to the first tee to knock some sense into them. Then there would be a short break in between tee times which would put me AHEAD of schedule, which was great, but now when I went to the range to get people up to the first tee, they would all be upset because they were going BEFORE their time.

“No! It’s not my time yet! Don’t make me go! I didn’t even get to hit my driver!”

Who am I? Death or something? But whatever. I ate a massive lunch and had trouble moving after that. Then the job was easy again.

“You see kids? You tried your best, and you failed miserably. The lesson here is: never try.”

Ahh Homer Simpson. You were ahead of your time.

Now back to my stint as a Caddie Master. There were three possible loops today. The caddie took the one he wanted, and that was it. My job was done. It was pretty pathetic, actually. I understand there are certain challenges that present themselves while you’re performing the role of “Caddie Master,” but almost all of them are averted when caddies are absent. Then you just look bad. What kind of a Caddie “Master” are you? Why couldn’t you “master” those little bastards? But I’m still training. I hope. I’d like to think I could handle myself if I actually had caddies to work with. Guess we’ll just have to see.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Back In The Saddle

Alright. So I’m back in the saddle. Back to the full-time schedule. The Grind.

And man does it hurt.

It’s amazing how hard it is to carry two bags for 36 holes after a week-and-a-half off. I would’ve thought that after all of the hard work I’ve done, day in and day out, that I would be in good enough shape to handle just about anything that was thrown at me. Guess not.

And my eyes are doing well. I guess my only concern nowadays is that my eyes aren’t healing up the way they should. Apparently I should be DONE with all the drops and be pretty much back to normal by now. My doctor says not to worry, as long as I “take it easy” and use lots of drops. But I mean come on. It’s windy out there. There’s all kinds of crap flying into my eyes. One of the caddies I work with suggested wearing those wrap-around basketball goggles while I caddie to block out pretty much EVERYTHING. While not such a bad idea, I wonder how that would look. I have these swim-goggle looking things sitting on my dresser that were supposed to be used after my surgery for sleeping. And I did use them. I mean, I always managed to rip them off midway through the night and throw them across the room, but I used them. Maybe I’ll bring them in tomorrow, just to see how they go over with the rest of the caddies. Maybe I could get away with caddying in them. I’m sure it would be hilarious. Well, that and my eyes would finally be protected. I’ll have to think about it.

So let’s see. The last two days. Well, today was just your average day. Well, wait. I guess there were two things worth noting. First off, I was a dumbass again and decided not to lighten up the bags I was carrying. And secondly, I was guilty of “trying to be jolly” when I was really in no mood to try and entertain. Well, the guys were all humorless-voids anyway, but I was still stupid for trying to act like today was a normal day.

One more thing I noticed: when I’m really tired and sore from the day before, I get very “upset” when I’m carrying for “beginners” the following day. Because I’m struggling enough as it is to keep up, and then these guys are all over the place and I appear as if I’m a bad caddie because I can’t get over to my players’ in time with their clubs.

When in reality, one of the players’ is on one side of the hole, the other is on the other side, and they’re consistently hitting their balls in offsetting patterns. One will hit it a long way, and the other will whiff it four times so I have to hang by the whiffer and see if he needs another club before I can get over to the other player. And then when I get over to Mr. Longballs, he whiffs it into the hazard and argues with me about where to drop while the other player is standing next to his ball wondering why the hell I can’t be there giving him a yardage.

And at one point today, I just wanted to throw the bags down, drop to my knees and beg for mercy. It was emotional. When you’re a dumbass like me and you forget to change out two really heavy bags, by the 14th hole you can feel your shoulders start to separate from your neck and it takes every ounce of your strength to keep the bags on your shoulders. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to be able to do 36 tomorrow. And I really don’t have any way around it. There aren’t enough caddies as it is, so even IF every caddie pulls a double, there are still two or three groups that are waiting to go out (the Superintendents have been making some major changes to the course so no carts are allowed). That means the only way a player can go out on the course is if they take a caddie. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a GREAT rule, and I know it definitely made me some money this summer. But right now, I wish some of those members would carry their own bags. It’s about time they realized what somebody might actually have to carry out there. Just as my boss pointed out before, it’s possible for some of these members to go through life without ever having carried their own bag. Hence, they have no idea how far they’ve stuck their dick up your ass already. I can only hope these bags tomorrow have wings attached to them. Either that or the players had better be scratch golfers. I’m not so sure I can last if they aren’t.

Wow I am WHINING right now. I had forgotten what it was like to write when I’m tired. Moving along.

As I mentioned before, yesterday I pulled a double. Now, the second round was fairly uneventful. I was caddying for the doctor who performed my Lasik surgery, and so really all I had to do was pretend to laugh at his jokes and tell his son that the Ferrari shirt that he had on was “cool.” I mean, don’t get me wrong. I like the cars, but I’ve never seen somebody wear a shirt that had the Ferrari logo on it before. Seems a little Nascar-ish.

The round that made the most impact on me was my first loop in the morning. I was carrying one bag, and it was one of the most challenging rounds I’ve had to date. Why was it so challenging? The guy was extremely fast, he was a good stick so I actually had to be dead on with my yardages and he demanded the best service I had to offer.

“Fix that mark.”

“Yes sir.”

“How far is it to that bunker?”

“Well, to the opening it’s about—“

“No, I didn’t ask how far it was to the opening. How far is it to the bunker?”


“You need to learn to speak up. Say that again?”

“186. Sir.”

“Where do you see this putt going?”

“Aim two balls left.”

“You think this is going right? I don’t believe you. Really LOOK at the nose on the left. It doesn’t come into play as much as you’d think.”

And then he’d make the putt. This went on for 7 holes. After the 7th, as we were walking over to the tee, he stops me.

“Now I want you to go up to the halfway house and get me a water. While you’re up there, I want you to get yourself a water and anything else you’d like. Sandwich, candy bar, whatever. Just put it on my tab and they’ll take care of you.”

Wow. Thanks.

And while we’re walking down the 8th fairway, he started to warm up. Not very much, but just enough to show me that he really meant well. He just didn’t know how to show it. Or something like that.

“You’ll have to forgive me for not being friendlier with you. I just like to play fast and I have a meeting to get to later today. I want to make sure we make good time. And one more thing: if you’re ever feeling tired, thirsty, whatever. Don’t feel embarrassed to tell me. The way I see it, the caddie is the most important thing out here. I want to make sure you’re taken care of.”

You see, that’s the kind of thing I can’t get enough of out here. Tough-as-nails businessmen who know exactly what they want AND care about the caddies’ welfare. I mean sure, tough businessmen are a dime-a-dozen around here. So are members who really care about the caddies. But it’s extremely rare to run into a member who puts it all together.

I responded honestly: “I really appreciate that. But to be honest, I also really appreciate you pushing me a little today. Call me a Sadist, but I just really enjoy working hard and being challenged out here. It’s easy to fall into a rhythm and slack off. Many of the other caddies enjoy that. But I don’t. So trust me, I’m fine right now. This is great.”

And now that I look over what I had said to him, two things hit me. Firstly, I’m wondering if I used “Sadist” in the right context. Not really sure if I did. And I only care because I was talking to a successful businessman and I’ve heard they all have HUGE vocabularies. Secondly, I shouldn’t make any generalizations about my brothers in arms. Who knows, they may like a hard days’ work as much as I do.

But he seemed to enjoy my statement and it showed the rest of the round. He was asking for reads, my opinion on shot selection and even asked where I went to school. Maybe not a big thing to some people, but coming from this guy, I felt privileged.

I’m also wondering how much I really “enjoy a hard days’ work” when I’m sitting here bitching and moaning about how awful I feel right now. Hmmm.

On 11, he made another request.

“I feel my blood pressure going down. I need to raise it a bit. So do you. So here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to take a couple clubs from you, and you’re going back to the halfway house to get two bags’ of chips, one for me and one for you. You’re also going to get me a lemon-lime Gatorade and get yourself one as well. I’ll meet you on the 12th fairway.”

Again, an incredibly nice gesture, but my round just got a little more complex. I already have three waters in my bib, and now he wants two bags’ of chips and two Gatorades? Where does he think I’m going to put all that stuff?

But it all got done, and I was blown away by the tip. Incredible for one bag. I really hope I get that guy again soon. The money is nice, but I’m starting to feel that unless I can be challenged once in a while as a caddie, I will lose interest in it entirely. I can remember how excited I was learning how to caddie and finally graduate to carrying two bags. But once you get used to caddying, much of it becomes second nature to you. So nothing really surprises you anymore. I needed that last loop to get me focused and excited about caddying again. Take care everyone.