Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Few Quick Tips

Somebody recently commented that I should try and put together a few tips for golfers, seeing as how I spend most of my days watching people swing golf clubs. I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert on the game, and please, take these suggestions with a grain of salt, but I have to say that I do see many of the same mistakes on the golf course, and if I can at least present these mistakes to you and get you thinking about ways to avoid them, you should certainly see some improvement in your game. I owe my playing ability these days to caddying because I can think my way around the golf course. And I know all of you can too.

I think the main theme among all of these little tips would have to be a “loss of ego.” Too many times I see golfers going for the green when they shouldn’t, listening to their partner when they shouldn’t and hitting the wrong club because 2 years ago they could hit that club far enough. So first and foremost, have a good idea how far you hit each of your clubs (up-to-date yardages, not what you could hit when you were 23 years old), and DON’T be ashamed of those yardages. Be proud of them, because they are the tools you’ll need to negotiate the golf course successfully.

Dave Pelz says that when you’re putting on the greens, speed is 4 times as important as line. For the most part, I would have to agree with him. I think most players need to be able to adapt a little faster for speed. During the first 2-3 holes of every round you play, take your time on the greens and really get a feel for the speed. Don’t be so anal about the line (at least initially). Line it up where you think you should, but focus completely on pace. As a caddie, nothing breaks my heart more than to see a player hit the ball on my line too hard, blowing it through the break and missing the putt. “It doesn’t break.”

Yes it does, you just hit the ball too hard. But most players do not understand that, and so they lose confidence in themselves and the bad feelings just seem to snowball the rest of the round.

Secondly, while I think speed is the most important aspect of putting, I would also urge you to work on your putting stroke enough so that you have no problem STARTING your ball on your intended line. Your putting stroke doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as you start out on line and your speed is good, you’re going to see a greater percentage of putts going in. Also, by being able to start your putts out on line, you’ll have a much easier time with 4-footers as well as some of the faster down-hillers.

Next, I think knowing the relative trajectories on your irons will help. If your ball is buried in the rough, what iron can you use that will still get the ball out of the rough without any worries AND advance the ball the farthest? Most players cannot assess their lie correctly even after addressing the ball. They’ll be 200 yards from the green and grab the rescue club out of their bag because they can hit their rescue club 200 yards. Well, if the lie is decent enough, go for it. But what if you have a flier? What if the ball is sitting down slightly? Knowing trajectories will pay HUGE dividends in other situations as well: Do you need to keep your ball under a branch? Yes, and I know a 5-iron will do just that. What about the lip on this fairway bunker? Well, I know I’m 180 yards out, but I have to hit a 9-iron here just to make sure I get out.

These things may sound like common sense, but I guarantee 90% of the golfers I work with don’t know when to take their medicine.

Play to your own strengths. If you’re great off of the tee but can’t hit a long iron, then don’t hit a long iron until you’ve practiced a little more. The course I work at has a couple of short par 4’s. Maybe it’s because they’re playing with caddies, but 85% of the players I’m working with will ask for a long iron or rescue club to hit off of the tee when there’s plenty of fairway out there for a driver. They’re thinking: “Hey, it’s a short hole, so I should lay up. I don’t NEED to hit driver.” Well, that may be true, but if you CAN, then HIT IT. A 90 yard approach is easier than a 130 yard approach. Sure, you could argue that perhaps a 90 yard approach out of the rough is harder than a 130 approach from the fairway, but there’s also a good chance that lay up shot could be in the rough as well, ESPECIALLY when most players can’t hit their long irons consistently. Now you’re 130 in the rough instead of 90 in the rough. So I guess my advice is, become REASONABLY proficient with your driver. As in, you hit the fairway at least 75% of the time.

Last but certainly not least: Have some fun out there. What is it they say? A bad day on the golf course is still better than a good day at the office? Mr. Chokesondick will hit 1 or 2 bad shots every 5 holes, and he’s livid each time it happens. Meanwhile, his friends are smoking cigars, telling dirty jokes and drinking beers. They’re loving life, and Mr. Chokesondick is getting more and more irritable as the day progresses. I’m not saying I forbid you from swearing or throwing clubs. Hey, it happens. Sometimes you just can’t believe the breaks you’re getting. All I’m saying is, after you throw that club or after you shout your “fuckity-fuck-fuck-fuck” to the heavens, smile and laugh about it. Because this is a great game we’re playing. And if that sounds too preachy or not cynical enough for you, think of this: physiologically, anger builds up tension. The more tension in your golf swing, the worse you play. Also, golf is a very EXPENSIVE game to play. And after spending all of that money for clubs, balls, tees, your bag, clothes, shoes, greens fees, five hours out of your day AND that silly-ass hat, WHY the fuck would you go through all THAT just to be pissed for 4 hours? Why not just play on your company softball team and swing at a slow pitch?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Streak

Yesterday I witnessed something truly amazing. Something so unbelievable that it will probably be quite a long time before I get a chance to see it again. The perfect round of golf. But this wasn’t the kind of round you’re all thinking of. The kind of round were everything is clicking, putts are dropping, and misses are still quite playable. Nay.

One of the players I caddied for yesterday almost hit a bunker on every hole.

Pretty amazing, right? At first you’re like, “What? That’s all? What’s so special about that?” But then you realize the magnitude of the situation. The idea that someone could be trying their best to play golf and STILL end up in most of the bunkers out there…well…it’s just CRUEL. It would be enough to drive me off of the golf course and become a raging alcoholic in my spare time.

“Welcome to AA Tom. What brings you here?”

“I was on the golf course one day…and…sorry…this is hard for me to say…but I was out playing…and I managed to hit my ball into a bunker on every hole. And I wasn’t even trying to do that. I wasn’t even TRYING MAN!”

“Dear Lord. My wife divorced me, my father just died and I just recently found out I have prostate cancer. But after hearing your story…well…Tom…you just make me feel like a pussy.”

“I know.”

I mean sure, bunkers on a golf course occupy SOME space. I’ve certainly played on my fair share of courses where the bunkers seemed to be a little TOO big. But then think about all of the other surfaces over a 4-mile track. Think off the rough, the trees, the cart paths, the sprinkler heads, the fairways, the greens, the fringes, the water hazards and even the TEE BOXES. There are so many other places your ball could end up. And yet, for the first 13 holes yesterday my player unwillingly went to the beach. As for 15, 16 and 17, there were a few moments to reflect and enjoy the good life. But with two strong bunker shots on 17 and 18 this player unwittingly changed my life forever.

It all started out innocently enough. Four guys come to the course under the pretenses of a company outing EXPECTING to have a great day. They shook hands, told some jokes and were introduced to their caddies. Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite my chipper self from the start because I had been waiting in the caddie room for 6 ½ hours already. I wasn’t really all there. I just felt “off.” And, because I wasn’t on top of my game, I wasn’t able to prevent an awkward inciting incident on the first tee.

All of these guys worked for one of the members at the club, and that member approached both me and this other caddie—let’s call him “Mr. Happy”—to make sure that we understood that these guys were mostly beginners and needed to be corrected on various points of etiquette. Basically, he wanted to make sure we kept them moving along. The conversation was brief and private in nature, and we were only INFORMED in order to safeguard his employees from embarrassing themselves.

So Mr. Happy (I’m calling him that because he’s studying to be a priest) shakes hands with the member, blinks, and then walks directly over to the first tee just PRAYING for an excuse to tell these guests all about the conversation he just had with their boss.

One of the players started the conversation with: “Man. What a gorgeous place. Hope we don’t embarrass ourselves out there too badly—“

Mr. Happy: “Yeah...Ha…Mr. Friendly-Boss talked to us about that already. He said we need to keep an eye on you in case you do anything stupid. Ha. Or if you’re slow. He said you’re all beginners and are probably going to need some help out there. Ha-ha.”

The players looked at each other and then back at our fearless Mr. Happy.


Way to go douche-bag. That conversation we just had with the member? Yeah. That was supposed to be PRIVATE. You were supposed to be DISCREET with that knowledge and simply help these guys have a great day. I mean come ON man. You know what DISCREET means. You're not just masterbating in public, are you?

In all honesty, I really do like this caddie. He just failed to grasp the concept of silence. Because NOW each of the guests were quiet and timid. None of them seemed comfortable in their own skin. If somebody farted too loudly there was a small chance one of them would have a heart attack and die. They acted like they had to be careful with everything they said or did because it might disrupt the sanctity of the golf course or get their boss pissed. I felt so badly for them. They couldn’t relax at all because they all felt like they didn’t belong there.

And so I forced myself to perk up, because I knew I had to help them out. I mean, I hadn’t had a Full Throttle yet, so I was at the whim of my own physiological needs, but hey, nobody’s perfect.

For the first few holes, the players were so helpful that I felt even worse for them. They grabbed 3, 4, 5 clubs out of their bags to make my job easier. They even ran ahead and fixed all of their divots and cleaned their own clubs.

“Here Tom, let me just grab 10 clubs and I’ll meet you up at the green.”

“But you’re 45 yards away from the front.”

“Oh, right. Good point. I might want to grab my driver, too.”

It was ridiculous. It wasn’t until I started forcing some service upon them that they started to relax and enjoy themselves. It was at this point a revelation was announced.

“Hey, Nick? Have you hit a bunker on every hole so far?”

“Why…yes…I guess I have.”

We were on number 6.

At the moment, Nick was just off of the green and could almost PUTT his way home. But he had a wedge in his hand. I’ve never wished this upon any golfer (except for “The Chairman” if you can remember that story), but I wanted him to hit his ball into the bunker. He hadn’t been in one on this hole yet, and I wanted to see how long he could keep this streak going.

And then he skulled it. But he didn’t skull it hard enough, and even though it rolled over the green, the ball didn’t have enough speed on it to make the back bunker. Well, I guess that’s it. Game over man. Game over.

But then he skulled it again. This time, he really connected and the ball flew back over the green and ENDED UP IN THE GREENSIDE BUNKER. Amazing. It was like watching the 2004 World Series. I’m a sucker for the underdog.

Hitting the bunkers on 7, 8 and 9 came easily enough. A flubbed mid-iron here, a slice there and the streak was still alive. I was so excited. I mean sure, my back was starting to develop a nervous twitch from all the bunkers I had to rake, but fuck all that. How much further could he go? Did you guys ever see that one episode of Sienfeld where Kramer test-drives a car and ends up using it all day to run errands? He wanted to see how far the car would go on “E” so he could use Jerry’s car and never have to pay for gas. By the end of the show the car salesman in the passenger seat was so energized by the experience that he begged Kramer not to turn back in towards the dealership when they had the chance. They held hands and zoomed off into the darkness to see how much further on “E” the car would travel. I was now THAT energized. COME ON NICK!

The 10th was our next hurdle. Nick hit a gorgeous 147-yard drive right into the second-cut and then smashed a 76-yard rescue club right up the middle of the fairway. He was now 136 yards away from the front of a well bunkered green.

“I think I’m going to lay up.”

Lay up? What? You pussy! Grab that rescue club. Fucking GO FOR IT. You didn’t come here to eat hot-dogs, right? I mean sure, you stopped at the halfway house and had SOME food, but NOT HOT DOGS. Man…fine…I decided to fall back on my caddie laurels and support the smarter choice.

“Yeah. That’s a good call Nick…I…like it.”

His shot landed just short of the right greenside-bunker. Alright fine. Have it your way. Nice shot.

And just when I think it’s all over, he shanks his “A” wedge into the lip of the trap and it rolls back into that bittersweet granular substance.

I laugh a little louder than I should’ve, and he shoots me a glare.

“Sorry, I was laughing at the other caddie. He made a weird face.”

“I did?”

“Of course you did Mr. Happy! You’re HILARIOUS you crazy kid you.”

Then came 11, 12 and 13. All close calls, all very messy, but somehow Nick came through for me and my silly dream. A dream I’ve had since childhood. I mean seriously, is it so wrong to want to see someone play golf that BADLY before you die? It’s right up there with starting my own business and watching a donkey show.

But 14 is where it all came crashing down. Three perfectly bunkerable situations, and Nick somehow avoided all of them. The most amazing was his last attempt. Again, he was so close to the green he could’ve putted it, but instead he elected to hit his “A” wedge, which since then I’ve named his “Awesome” wedge. He shanked it so hard to the right that he grabbed his wrist and yelped after he made contact. The ball slammed into a rake and careened dead left back onto the green. The ball rolled down the slope and ended up about 8 feet from the flag. An amazing shot.

I was so disappointed in the result that I almost started crying. I mean wouldn’t you? The most amazing streak I had ever seen had some to an end. Lucky number 13. I have a feeling that record will stand for quite some time.

Then again, I imagine there are some pretty amazing streaks out there. Any stories? Anyone ever seen anything like that before?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Defining Loop

I’ve caddied for a wide variety of people thus far. Doctors, lawyers, radio personalities, lobbyists, business owners, amateurs, pros and even some former caddies. I’ve met with my fair share of resistance (many of you have been there with me). I’ve been on the “pressure” loops where I knew that my performance would impact people other than myself, and those “other people” were counting on me. But even if you combined all of those “pressure” loops together, it still wouldn’t add up to the significance of what I had to accomplish this past weekend.

Sort of a dramatic beginning, I know. But that’s how I truly felt after I found out what my assignment was. You see, in the caddie industry, if the caddie program isn’t run in-house by the club professional or the outside staff, it is run by a caddie management company. If you’re the owner of a club, and you would like to have caddies available to your members but you don’t want to worry about managing the program, you outsource to a company like the one I work for and we take care of recruiting, training, organizing and selling the caddie program to your members.

Well I’m sure at this point there are several caddie companies throughout the United States, but 10-15 years ago there was really only one company with any clout. Even today this company maintains a long list of accounts—anything from Augusta to Sawgrass—and it is by far my companies’ biggest competitor. It was all founded by one man, and HE was my assigned loop for a two-day member guest. For those two days, I would be assisting this demigod of a man (known simply as “Jeff”) and his partner in five 9-hole matches at one of my companies’ other accounts in Maryland.

After telling me who this member was, my boss simply stated, “He’s service-oriented.” In the caddie industry (as well as many other industries I’m sure) this meant that I needed to take care of him. Hustle. Be in all the right places at the right times. So I started stretching and warming up for the big show. And then I started thinking: hey, if this guy felt so inclined, he could easily infer quite a bit about my boss and my company merely by observing my performance. The training I had received, my attitude on the course, even my appearance would be judged and graded by this man.

Needless to say, I was a little nervous.

But THEN I was like: FUCK all that. In the office, he’s the man. But out here, he’s on MY turf. I mean sure, I could caddie for this guy worried, shy and on the defensive, but I’ve just had a Full Throttle and I’m definitely feeling like I have some MASSIVE gonads. Today, I’m aggressive whether he likes it or not. In a way, this loop felt like a defining moment in my career as a caddie. This guy has GOT to be a good critic. He’s trained hundreds upon hundreds of caddies and knows my job inside and out. Now the question was: Could I show him something special? Could I separate myself from all those other caddies he’s trained and managed?


Almost sounds stupid, doesn’t it? I mean come on, it’s caddying. It’s not rocket science. You clean the clubs. You get yardages. You rake bunkers, fix divots, and repair the greens. Maybe you read their putts once in a while. It’s not a life or death situation.

Well, you may be right. But I felt like my company’s pride was on the line here. I NEEDED to step up.


The first day was so incredibly long I wanted to shoot myself in the face. Three 9-hole matches with breaks in-between. Why breaks? Well, the members needed to rest up and cram even MORE food in their mouths. And at the end of each break, the members insisted on comparing notes with the caddies with respect to the meals they just had.

“So…Caddie? What did you have for lunch?”

“Three slices of pizza and a diet coke.”

“Oh yeah? Well we had crab cakes, lobster, shrimp, cornbread and sweet potatoes for lunch. I’m stuffed. I couldn’t eat another bite if I tried.”

And you’d think the caddies would be pissed. But caddies are lazy. The fact that the members just stuffed their faces full of puppy chow just means that they won’t want to WALK for their subsequent matches. THAT meant the caddies won’t have to worry about carrying bags, and so THAT’s why when I overheard a few conversations about all of this food the members were having I saw nothing but smiles on all the caddies’ faces.

“Well sir, in that case…maybe you should take it easy. Ride in the cart for the next match.”

“That’s a damn good idea caddie. I’m glad I thought of it.”

Before I go off on another one of my irrelevant tangents, I suppose I should tell you a little about MY loop, since that is the whole point of this post.

First, there was the guest. Bob. Bob was from Queens. Bob had a “Caddyshack” hat on that said “Bob.” Bob was rather portly. And by portly, I mean that Bob had maximized the elasticity of his skin. Bob claimed to be an 8 handicap, but Bob couldn’t seem to make a par for 54 holes. So Bob drank a lot of screwdrivers.

Bob also liked to criticize my approach to caddying. I think it was because I hustled. In his mind, I was probably moving faster than he thought the human body was capable of, and so he consistently felt the need to share his feelings on that particular topic with the rest of the group. Like being faster than a golf cart? That was just crazy talk. Nobody needs to move that quickly.

And then there was Jeff. Jeff was the one I was worried about. When the member assignments were being called out in the caddie yard, I was almost embarrassed for my name to be called out because I was already well aware of the fact that Jeff was a great loop out there. He was a good golfer, very friendly, and tipped extraordinarily well. One of the untold rules around the caddie yard is that if your loop was lucrative, you don’t tell anyone about it because everyone else will try to take it away from you. But, since I was new to this particular yard, the rule for me was slightly different. I didn’t want any of the local caddies knowing who I was going with because they all KNEW that he tipped well, and this is THEIR golf course. Why aren’t THEY going with this guy? I NEVER caddie at this course. Why should I get the big tip?

Yes, I work until I’m about to fall over and I spent the last year of my life desperately trying to get caddies out on loops. But as far as these caddies were concerned, I’m an asshole for treading on their turf and I should just stay at home and pray for a slow, painful death. While getting sodomized by a Leprechaun.

And of course, without fail, EVERY caddie asked me who I was going with. And, without fail, EVERY time I told them (quite RELUCTANTLY I might add) they would pause, look at the ground, look to the heavens, a tear would roll down their beer-splattered cheek and they would mumble: “Well, he’s great. You’ll…have fun with him…all day.” And then they stopped acknowledging me altogether.

I couldn’t wait to get on the golf course. Away from all of the other caddies and away from any distractions. I wanted some special time with my players to show them what I was capable of.

Honestly, the first round was a blur. I was running as fast as I could (Forrest Gump would’ve shit his pants), dirt was flying everywhere and I was starting to go cross-eyed after looking at so many different reads on the greens. Surprisingly, my reads on the greens for the first 27 holes were all right on the mark. It always feels good when a member walks up to you after a putt and says, “Sorry I didn’t believe you. You were right on that read.”

Before I knew it, the first day was over with and I was on my way home with a healthy tip. But I still had no idea what Jeff thought of my caddying abilities. I don’t blame him though. The format of this particular member-guest was intense. Five 9-hole matches over two days. 27-holes the first day, 18 the next. 11 Flights (even MONKEY’S would consolidate) with 4 teams per flight. On the first day, my boys lost every match. We never had the lead, and we were completely on the defensive. I hate to use the word, but it did feel like the other teams were filled with “sandbaggers.” Our team gave every other team strokes, and they outplayed us GROSS, every time. And it’s not like my players were playing that poorly (well, Bob was, but Jeff made up for it and then some).

We were dead last (in the entire tournament…that’s 11 FLIGHTS of Orangutan fecal matter) by the end of the first day. So pulling into work for the second round was a little depressing. After the first day (all 14 joyous hours of it if you count the commute), knowing my players had no chance of winning made me feel like my job was pretty pointless. In some ways caddies can act like motivators, but after the first day, I had just about run out of encouraging words to say. Anything I said today would sound superfluous. That’s the one thing I’ve learned thus far as a caddie—you can bullshit the average Joe on the golf course, somebody who isn’t used to “yes-men” cluttering up their work day—you CAN’T bluff a successful businessman. He knows all the tricks of the trade. The sales pitches. The high-pressure deadlines and meetings and live-or-die decisions he’s had to make on a regular basis. Bullshit just doesn’t interest him anymore. He doesn’t have time for it.

To complicate my job a little more, by the end of the first 9-hole match Bob was starting to get very sarcastic with me.

“Hey Bob? You happy with that club or do you want me to run over real quick and get you something else?”

“Well I wouldn’t expect you to fucking WALK.”

Or the 10th tee after everyone had hit their tee shots.

“Ready Tom? Ready…set…SPRINT!”

Bob was relentless. He was making me feel like a jackass for running. And it really pissed me off. This would probably be comparable to an Actor rehearsing for his very first lead role every night for 3 months, waking up every other night at 4 am mumbling lines of dialogue to himself, having all his friends and family present during opening night and when the moment of truth finally arrives, just as the curtain comes up, some guy in the front row rips a loud fart and starts laughing. Bob was completely throwing me off my game. And again, I KNOW it’s just caddying, but I was trying to prove something out there. And not just for me. But for my boss, his company, and the caddie master who sent me out there.

So I broke the fourth wall.

“You know what Bob? I think you just cured me. I’m going to walk as slowly as I possibly can for the rest of the round.”

Then Jeff chimed in.

“That’s the spirit. Every caddie at this course is lazy. We’re used to that. Just relax out there.”

What a letdown. After all of my hard work the last 36 holes, it became apparent to me that all of this extra effort really didn’t count for much.

And then it happened. As their cart pulled up next to me on the final hole so they could hit their approach shots, Jeff finally spoke to me. The clouds parted, birds started singing, and somewhere in West LA R. Kelly was peeing on another victim.

“Do you run outside of work?”


“Cause you’re fast. You’ve done a fantastic job. I’m sorry we couldn’t have played better for you.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t worry—“

“You should really work here full time. I hope I see you here again soon.”

And just like that, he stuck it to 2 feet and the round was over with. The tournament was over with. I cleaned their clubs, shook their hands, and I was gone.

Mission accomplished. There are so many different caddying styles out there. Some caddies make fun of their players when they hit bad shots, and the players eat it up. Other caddies don’t seem to do much of anything while their players rake their own bunkers, fix their own divots, and clean their own clubs. The players only ask that the caddie read their putts—because their reads are flawless. I’m just thankful that Jeff happened to like MY caddying style. Let Bob drink his screwdrivers.

And now I thank all of you for making it through another one of my posts. Take care.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Lawyer Loop

I think hatred of lawyers is an almost universal emotion. I feel—along with various reflex tests doctors are required to perform on newborns—that the individual who spanks you when you arrive in this world is not a fellow doctor or nurse, but a lawyer.

That’s the only way I can make sense of my feelings towards lawyers. Maybe it’s the stereotypical pompous know-it-all attitude or maybe I’ve just seen too many movies where lawyers are depicted incorrectly and my views towards them are skewed in one way or another. Whatever the reason, I’m not a fan of the J.D. distinction.

But today was different. Today’s loop gave me a whole new perspective on lawyers.

“You know what the sad part is, Tom? I have to turn to a client after they’ve just received a life-sentence… and try and convince them it was a victory.”

I was floored when I heard that. Representing a client with high stakes like those has got to be just about the most stressful job you could possibly have. Besides maybe an air-traffic controller or a zookeeper responsible for massaging constipated elephants’ rectums.

No wonder this guy drank so much. Today was a one-day member-guest and this lawyer and his partner must’ve had 12-16 beers apiece WHILE PLAYING. And the guest was 4-under on his own ball through 16 holes. I couldn’t believe that. If I have more than 2 beers on the golf course my handicap goes through the roof.

But then I had to wonder. If these guys are so good at golf even when they’re completely TOASTED, how much time are they really spending in the courtrooms? Maybe that’s an unfair thing to say. But I tell you, if I was on trial for RECKLESS DRIVING, my lawyer had better be fucking HORRIBLE at golf. I want him so dedicated to his career that he has willingly chosen to forgo any and all lessons offered to him on the golf course. I can’t imagine how anal a client might be if they were on trial for murder.

Just a random interlude, but I thought of this great “Progressive” commercial spin-off today.

Instead of the commercial starting out with: “Every day Progressive does something that’s…well…Progressive.”

(Cue cool guitarish-techno music)

Instead I want the commercial to start out with: “Every day Progressive does something that’s…well…Counter-intuitive.”

(Cue cool guitarish-techno music)

Sorry. But I thought that was freakin’ hilarious when that hit me. I’ve just seen that commercial so many times that I feel it has completely lost its appeal. They need to update it.

And the other caddie in my group HATED these lawyers. Maybe it was because they critiqued a piece of his outfit on each green.

“Joe, what’s with the sunglasses? Can you even see the ball out there?”

“I can see just fine sir.”

“Why is your collar popped up? Are you hoping some modeling agent will discover you or something?”

“You’re not a caddie till you pop the collar.”

“Well Tom isn’t popping his collar.”


“I don’t know how to answer that sir.”

And when they weren’t drinking, hitting amazing shots or pissing every 5 minutes, they liked to be crude. It was like a test to see how much of a MAN I was. I mean, the fact that I drink “Full Throttle” should’ve been proof enough of my massive gonads. But I guess sometimes people need to see it to believe it. To be honest, that’s half the fun of being in the service industry around important people. You get to see their dirty side.

“Hey Tom, is there any pussy down at JMU?”

No hesitation. That’s the only way to handle a question such as this. “Yes.”

“Good pussy?”


“You know, Tom… my daughter is going there now. Watch what you say.”

Oh yeah. Great mouth on that daughter of yours, sir.

“Well lucky me.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’ve already graduated. I’m in the clear.”

“Touche. You DO have massive gonads.”

By the 12th hole, they almost appeared to be peeing continuously. The guest at one point unzipped his fly and started walking off the fairway towards the woods WHILE PEEING. By the time he got to the woods to pee, he had already finished. The weird thing was, I’ve seen this sort of thing happen here several times before. I guess the private clubs are where it is AT my friend. Just whip it out…ANYWHERE…and pee till your little heart’s content.

One of the halfway-house girls came over to us on 13 because apparently one of my players ordered some cigars for delivery. The guest then proceeded to spend 5-10 minutes hitting on this girl while everyone was waiting for him to play his next shot. It was almost embarrassing. At least in a crowded bar nobody can hear what you’re saying to a potential target. But we’re on the golf course. A slight gust of wind, a bird chirping—complete silence.

“You’re fuckin’ cute! How old are you cause I think you’re cute! Did you bring these cigars just for me? What do I have to give you in return? I have to take a piss and I would go right now but I don’t want you to see me peeing my pants!”

I just couldn’t stop laughing. Fifteen minutes ago he ripped a fart so loud that I jumped out of my shoes and almost dropped his bag. And now he’s mackin’ on this little cutie without a care in the world. I guess life is just easier for some people.

But regardless of how bad or rude that loop sounds, they were both very funny and GREAT golfers. I feel like I can caddie for just about anybody, but it’s nice to have some great golfers thrown in the mix every now and again just to give yourself a little break.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The "Wedding Crashers" and Plumbing

Not sure why I have suppressed these memories for so long, but something triggered them recently and a massive wave of feelings and reactions to some of my days and nights in Florida came pouring out and I just had to share.

By the middle of the season (late February to mid-March) I had no time to do anything. The only food I could get my hands on came from the golf club or from 7-Eleven, where I had limited my selections to fruit bowls and croissants.

Okay, fine. The occasional doughnut. But I don’t think I was even able to get to the grocery store for a month or so. It was ridiculous.

I’d wake up at 6 am on my oh so comfortable air mattress, run into the wall sideways and hit the floor right next to the alarm. Perfect, because now I was able to shut it off. I’d throw on some clothes (hopefully wrinkle free) and stumble out the door in the hope that I wouldn’t hit a massive tree and die on my way to work.

After arriving at 7-Eleven (the logical halfway point between my rent-a-house and the golf course), I would pick up a fruit bowl and a croissant, say hi to the woman behind the counter for the umpteenth time (I wish I could remember her freakin’ name) and then doze off uncontrollably all the way to the golf course, energy drink in hand, praying I could keep the car going straight on some of the FLATTEST ROADS I HAD EVER SEEN. Once there, I would discover that I had arrived somewhat early (roughly 15 minutes late), which gave me some time to go inside and stare at the tee sheet where I would wonder where on God’s green earth I was going to find enough caddies to fill out the requests listed.

When I finally had my sales-face on, I would open up a drawer which contained a stack of applications. Time to make some phone calls and wake up some of the happiest people EVER. At this point, I had heard every excuse in the book. Caddies saying they’d rather sleep in (granted that’s not really an excuse but a statement of fact), had an emergency dental procedure scheduled at 7:30 in the morning, or would really like to play golf with their long-lost father whom they only get to see once every 10 years.

Then there were the members. It was hard to figure them out. They would say they absolutely loved the job I was doing, and then turn around and bitch to the head pro behind my back about the lack of caddies. In addition, the members also had this crazy habit of waking up early, refusing to call in and appear with 20-83 of their friends and family members (all “incredibly important” individuals) with no other purpose in life than to clog up the first tee and make my life a living hell for 9 hours.

I’ve heard many private clubs are run in this fashion (no tee times and members can show up whenever they wish), but this was a little out of control. During the busy season, 60-80 people would show up (without calling) from 8-10 in the morning expecting to go off before everyone else. The diplomacy involved was Presidential in nature. Well, either that or it was like a plumber unclogging a bucket of shit from a tiny steel pipe. I probably acted more like a plumber than a diplomat most of the time.

“Well Mrs. Johnson, The 1st and 10th tees are completely backed up, but there’s nobody on number 3 yet so I could send you off of the 4th tee right now if you don’t give me any shit.”

Or: “Mrs. Spooner, I know the 1st tee is clear right now, but after the backlog from this morning, there’s going to be an overflow of 3-5 groups coming off of the 18th green looking to finish their rounds. So just go drink some more iced tea and stop being a bitch.”

I probably would’ve donned some ass-cleavage if it wasn’t so windy all the time.

Surprisingly, the caddies’ who showed up the most consistently were the ones that were out drinking every night. I suppose when you blow all your money on booze you’ve got a fairly solid motivator to get up early and work to assure yourself a couple of meals.

But there were two caddies in particular that were by far the worst influences on me during my stay in Florida. I called them the “Wedding Crashers.” They would sleep with young women. They would sleep with older women. With married women. With swingers. Prostitutes. It didn’t matter. If it was a living, breathing organism, they were fucking it.

“Dude, sometimes you need to check the oil on that dipstick. See if she’s into it.”

“Man, just prop that ass up on a pillow and pound away. It feels great. She’ll love it.”

“Dude, I feel like I’m taking candy away from babies. And then fucking them.”

“I’m moving out to Vegas. Forever.”

These and many more quotes embodied the very essence of these two distinguished gentlemen. They came in every day with random photos of tits and asses to try and coerce me to participate in another one of their drink-fests at a few of the local pubs.

And yes, I acquiesced.

I had no choice. They made it sound like every night was just so incredibly wickedly awesome.

“Man, sex and alcohol are the only two things girls in this town think about man. It’s awesome. I mean, sure, we’re bad men. But the ladies LOVE THAT.”

I remember one morning in particular where I threw up three times in the bushes next to the starter’s podium because I just felt so damn wonderful and couldn’t wait to work that morning. I’m not saying I’m proud of it, but I remember laughing my ass off because I couldn’t seem to figure out why I kept throwing up. Was it something I ate?

But after work was when the fun stuff really began. After work, I had exactly 30 minutes to get home, take a shower and get to rehearsal, where I was cast in “Annie Get your Gun” as a half Irish, half Native American knife thrower who said all of two words the whole show yet loved to sing about love and happiness.

I know, I know. Typecasting is a bitch.

I would be in rehearsal from about 5 to 10, head home, take off the make-up and be getting ready for bed when I would get a phone call. The “Wedding Crashers” needed a third. They were calling me, because DUH, it was a Tuesday night and they wanted to get fucked up. And, due to my complete and utter lack of resistance to peer pressure, I would simply chug another Red Bull and continue my day into the wee hours of the morning drinking, dancing and sweating.

Somehow, I was able to get up the next morning around 6 and do it all over again. Oddly enough, I think I gained some respect from the caddies and the other outside staff members because they knew exactly what I was up to most nights and yet I still showed up every day, ready for more punishment. I never want to go through that again. Because it was at that point that I had an epiphany: growing up is realizing that you can never really catch up on any of the sleep you’re missing. Boy was I depressed when I figured THAT out.

I also realized that being a Caddie Master can either be enviable or crappy. It just depends on the day, really. The fact that you get to shoot the shit with your friends every day, find them all work and make all of the players and professionals happy can make you feel pretty damn special. It’s just all those damn days in between where nothing goes right and everybody (you think) hates you. Those can suck some major asshole.