Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Houdini Shot

I love it when things are literal. Comedian Mitch Hedberg used to say, "I'd love to see a forklift lift a crate of forks...It would be so damn LITERAL." Well I didn't see a forklift, but something close to it. A cocky Urologist.

On the fourth hole he was even getting a little emotional he was being so FREAKING MODEST. "I can I say this? I would give up most of my distance to be able to add a little more control with my irons."

"You're 127 from the flag. Here's your 7-iron sir."

"Thank you."

Occasionally, he could rip a drive. I'll give him that. But 97.458% of the time he would toe the SHIT out of his shots and you weren't really sure where they were going or how much distance he lost. Every shot of his sounded like crap. And yet he was still bragging about how far he could hit the ball on every hole.

"How far was that drive?"

"About 260."

"That's far. I it just me? That's really far. Have you ever seen a drive go that far?"

No. Absolutely not.

And on 9 he created a new term in the "caddie lingo" dictionary. The Houdini shot. The 9th at my course is a downhill par 3. Today it was playing about 165. I graciously handed him his 4-iron and took at step back to see where his "flushed" 4-iron would go. He took a mighty swing, a quarry-esque divot and finished with a nice Mark McGwire follow-thru. His divot broke apart into 6 separate pieces and flew in all directions, three of them landing on the lower tee box, two flying into the side rough and one of them impaling a squirrel. After it was all over with and we all checked in to make sure everyone was okay (except for the squirrel...I suspect it will probably be pissing blood for the next week), the member turned to me.

"Did you see where that went?"


I started laughing. I don't think I've ever experienced that before. A Houdini shot. My own personal definition: A shot involving so much spectacle that the audience (playing partner(s)) has no idea where the ball went. I'm sure while I was watching the dirt slowly impale that squirrel the cocky Urologist could've snatched my wallet and none would be the wiser. Maybe that's how he REALLY makes his money. Although, given the contents of my wallet, he'd have better luck robbing some little girls' lemonade stand at 8:30 in the morning if it was PROFIT he was thinking about.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Member Guest

So there it was. Vindication. I had an opportunity this past weekend to get a little confidence back on the greens. That’s right ladies and gents: a three-day member-guest. I don’t know what God-like human being came up with this Tournament, but he’s a genius (or hell, I GUESS it could be a she). Three days, 10 flights, 5 teams per flight, match play. Five nine-hole matches over 3 days and the team in each flight with the highest earned point total goes into a shoot-out for the win. It’s fantastic. They even have FOOD for the caddies. Sheer BRILLIANCE.

But before I talk about the tournament, I’d like to introduce you to my players. The member is Canadian, a little older, and looks and putts just like Jack Nicklaus. Not a bad person to resemble when you’re playing under tournament conditions. So we got THAT going for us. Which is nice.

The guest sounds just like that mafia boss on “The Simpsons” and suffers from A.D.D. I only know this because his loving partner told me. Well no. That’s not true. I knew after the second hole when we ran into 3 foursomes and the guest had a minor SEIZURE he was so upset about the pace of play. He’d swing his club, talk to me for a minute, walk over to a tree and stare at a squirrel, come back to throw grass in the air and maybe take a minute or two to readjust the sunglasses on the top of his head. He never actually WORE those sunglasses over his eyes, but I think they were used quite effectively for balance.

“Yeah, he has full-fledged A.D.D. He’s much better than he used to be though. Back home I used to play in a Tournament with him and all of my friends would place bets during lunch as to how long he’d sit in his chair before he got up to do something else.”

So that was my team. A Nicklaus look-alike and a man with no patience. Both 8 handicaps, both named Bob. The caddie who worked with them prior to my triumphant arrival said that this was all I would hear for 3 days:

“Oh MAN that was a bad shot. Sorry Bob.”

“Sorry Bob.”

“Why can’t I putt? Sorry Bob.”

So I was a little jaded at the start of the Tournament because I’m a fairly competitive person and I really wanted to win, but I wasn’t so sure that was a possibility given the two horses I was betting on.

And I don’t know why I just thought of this, but the member liked to put stuff in his bag. Lots of stuff. I know DONKEYS who have a lighter load to carry while crossing over the GRAND CANYON. In fact, he had so much stuff in his bag that the metal spine holding the bag in its bag-like form kept coming loose and hanging out either the top or sticking out through the bottom. A METAL SPINE.

“Tom, I haven’t had this bag very long. I can’t seem to figure out why that damn spine keeps protruding.”


“No problem sir. I’ll fiddle with it to see if I can fix it.”

Their previous caddie also commented on the sheer magnitude of the bag I was about to carry.

“He never takes anything out of it and he ALWAYS walks. It’s awful. It wasn’t until the STRAP broke that I figured I should finally break the news to him.”

Broke the news to him? Well I sure am glad he listened. But enough about that. They were both sweet older guys who had decent swings and wanted to win. That’s all I needed to know.

The first day was a little painful to watch. We just BARELY lost our first two matches—the first 5-4 and the second 5 ½ - 3 ½. I think it was Nick Faldo who once said that in match play, ALWAYS expect the other player or players to make EVERYTHING. I think in many ways that was our main problem with the first day. We played too conservatively and the other teams just let everything hang out.

The second day is what I wanted to focus on because it was by far the most exciting. The first match was halved, which I think pissed off both teams equally because everyone played so well. One highlight that really sticks out in my mind came on the 8th hole where I lost track of one of our opponents. His name was Bill and he had been pretty quiet the entire time, so as far as I was concerned, he was a ghost. On the 8th hole he hit his drive to the right, and from then on I forgot he was even with our group because he played up through the woods the entire hole.

And suddenly, before I knew it, here comes trailblazin’ Bill putting for par. He was 15 feet away, and he drained it. This transformed my confident players into nervous train-wrecks over their par-putts, which they missed quite handily. That brought the match back to even, and that is where it stayed after a tied 9th.

Great. The first chance my players had at a win and we blew it. BLEW IT MAN. But then again, this was the first match in which we didn’t LOSE any points either. And that really pumped up my players. This newfound confidence would prove to be quite helpful in the next match, where we were facing off against two very tough opponents.

Our two opponents—in addition to one of them being a member at this course—were both members at the golf course I had been working at all winter. Fanfuckingtastic. When I bumped into these players the day before, they stopped their cart and said hello.

“Well! Tom! Good to see you again.”

“Hey guys.”

“Tom, you remember Mr. Florida-Member, don’t you?”

“Why yes, of course. Good to see you again sir.”

“Hello Tom. So what are you up to these days?”

“Well, you know. Just…workin’.”

Insert awkward pause here.

“Workin’, huh? Well…good for you.”

And then they drove off. Could’ve done without that. After working my ass off down in Florida all winter, I was hoping that after leaving that place all of the members would’ve just assumed that I was moving onto something bigger and better. Now that one of their own has now just simply assumed that I’m going to proceed to do absolutely nothing with the rest of my life, I imagine word will spread down in Florida and my name will be worth that much less. A very cynical, pessimistic way of thinking I suppose, but I always have trouble answering that question whenever somebody on the course decides to make small talk. At least out THERE my answer will be forgotten. Well, whatever. What do I care what this guy or his stupid club thinks of me anyway?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that not only were these opponents good players, but there was also a back-story to this match that MY players didn’t know about. I wanted to win this match so badly that it hurt.

To add a little MORE pressure into the mix, the caddie who was working with our opponents? Yeah. Legendary. He’s been working at the club for 8 years and he is absolutely brilliant on the greens. He’s weird, quirky, full of conspiracy theories (one of them is about 9/11 and if you get him on the topic, he’ll go on for hours) and looks like Darth Vader when he takes off his hat and sunglasses. He intimidates the hell out of me. I mean come on. You guys know me. My green-reading skills have never been especially “top-notch.” And now I’m going up against probably one of the best green-readers the world has ever seen. Not only that, but his two players are VERY good putters. So as long as they’re conscious, they’ll probably be one-putting everything.

In the words of Harry Connick, Jr. from the movie Independence Day: “Holy God.”

Our match started off on the short par-4 10th. Member-Bob put his tee shot in the shit on the left, and guest-Bob went right down the middle. Phew. At least one of my players recovered from those damn cheeseburgers we had for lunch.

So member-Bob takes a drop and hacks his third shot left again into a greenside bunker, and THEN skulls his fourth over the green into another hazard. So he was out of the hole. Fortunately, guest-Bob was on the green putting for par and a halve. The players were “deadly-silent” as I paced back and forth trying to give my player the best possible read. The problem was, all of the food I had just consumed after our last match was still making its way towards my rectal area, and all of my bodies’ energies were focused THERE and NOT on this upcoming putt. In the process of trying to focus, I heard guest-Bob say something to me, but I couldn’t make it out because I was too busy thinking about how much toilet paper I was going to need. GOD DAMN I need to get my head in the game.

I pointed to a spot a little right of the hole. Darth Vader reacted.

“So…that would roughly be a CUP…woudn’t it Tom?”


“Your player just asked you if it was a cup out.”

I just stared at him.

“I…didn’t hear him.”

Darth Vader just smirked. At first I thought Vader was smirking because I had gone temporarily deaf, but after my player missed his putt about a cup on the low side, I understood why Vader was smiling. I had given my player a bad read, and he knew it. One-down after the first hole.

The 11th hole was just as painful, except this time I didn’t even get a CHANCE to read my players’ putts. Vader pointed to a spot on the green, the guest opponent hit it there and made birdie. Vader smiled at me again. Two-down after two.

The 12th hole was where the tides started to turn in my favor. Both of our opponents struggled to get on the green in regulation and were both putting for pars. Member-Bob had the honor with a tricky uphill double-breaker the likes of which neither me nor Vader had ever seen. The pin was in a brand new location, and so I knew I had a chance. Vader could no longer simply rely on past experiences to read these greens. I unsheathed my green light-saber and turned it on flicking the little red button marked “ON.” I pointed to a spot about a foot right of the hole and held my left hand in the air and concentrated. I was trying desperately to recall Master Yoda’s teachings: “Size matters not.”

The ball moved slowly up the hill, wiggled as it neared the hole and fell in on the high side. I smiled at Vader. “Your powers are weak old man.” And just like that, we were only one-down.

The battle down the 13th fairway was intense. Vader and I flew through the air, furiously fencing using controlled cylanders of light, force-throwing dirt and branches at each other and tossing grass in the air to see what the wind was doing. Before we knew it, we were back on the putting surface. Guest-Bob was putting for a net birdie and a chance to bring this match back to even. The only problem was, he was 45 feet away putting up from the lower tier. I stood behind the hole, found a spot I liked and raised my left hand again to try and pass on my knowledge of green-reading before my player pulled back his putter. I stopped once I realized he was having another seizure. So instead I just pointed to a spot. “Just trust it.”

Right in the back of the JAR. I pumped my fist, slapped hands with my player and turned to head towards the 14th tee. Vader was waiting for me with another smirk on his face.

“That was just luck.”

“SQUARE this match is. Fail…your players must.”

“If you cannot be turned…you will be DESTROYED!”

(Cue crazy Star Wars choir: LA…LAAAAAAA!!!!)

So after a few more crazy flips and epic taunting, we arrived on the 14th green where our opponents had a birdie putt to take the lead once again. Vader carved out a line in the green using his evil-looking red light-saber and gave me another one of those F-ING smirks. And before I knew it, his player drained it. They did the same thing to us with a clutch putt to halve the hole on 15, and my team was STILL one down with three to play.

Both opponents chunked their tee shots into the par-3 16th. Guest-Bob took advantage and made a key lag putt to assure a par and brought the match back to even. The 17th hole was halved, and I decided to give Vader a little smirk of my own as we were running to our forecaddie position on 18.

Vader reacted. “All I have to say is, if my member puts his tee shot in a fairway bunker, you guys will take this one.”

What? A sign of weakness from Mr. Intimidation?

“My member is incapable of hitting out of fairway bunkers. He always kicks his feet around afterwards, trying to blame it on the lie. But we all know better. He just sucks out of those things.”

And wouldn’t you know it, his member put his tee shot in one of the left fairway bunkers.


Fortunately for our opponents, the guest put his tee shot in the fairway with a good angle at the flag. Both of my players put their shots in the fairway. I smiled at Vader again.

“I’m surprised my players haven’t choked yet.”

Sure enough, our opponent in the fairway bunker smashed his ball into the lip, kicked the sand around, blasted his third shot back into the fairway and then hooked his fourth into the water. He was out of the hole. His opponent, however, put his second shot 10 feet from the pin while my players could only manage 25 and 30 footers. Oh man. It’s going to come down to this, isn’t it? Crap.

I can’t remember why, but our guest opponent went first. He drained it. Another superb read from Vader and another superb putt from the player. That left the fate of the match on one of the next two putts. One of my players had to sink it to keep the match all square after 9. Fortunately, their putts were almost in line with each other, so as long as the first putt was decent, the perfect read would be revealed and we had a shot. But member Bob yipped a little on his putt and left it way short. Now it was all up to me and impatient Bob. One thing I will say about him: he never read any of his putts. He simply trusted my judgment, addressed the putt, and stroked it beautifully. So in a way, this last putt was up to me. He would have the line I gave him and perfect pace. I just had to have the spot. So I paced back and forth trying to get a good visual of the perfect line. I finally chose a spot I liked, and prayed. Without any hesitation, guest Bob stroked a perfect putt. Up over the hill, back hard left and then back slightly to the right. It was tracking. At the last moment, the ball stopped turning into the hole and straightened out. The ball lipped out.

I felt so bad. But the reaction was wonderful. Both teams seemed ecstatic.

“Great match.”

“What a GREAT match.”

“GREAT putting out there.”

And, the most meaningful moment was Vader coming up to me after the match was over.

“Great job out there Tom. Some great reads.”

Honestly, that’s all I really wanted to come out of this tournament. A little more confidence on the greens. Thank God, because I didn’t know how much longer I could SUCK out there.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jokes, Jokes, Jokes

So I was sitting in the bar one night having a few beers with the Caddie Master when he brought something to my attention: a practical joke so incredibly useful and funny that I simply HAD to spend the next two weeks waiting for the perfect moment to try it out.

I had been waiting for three things to align themselves correctly before I could put my plan into action. I needed to be in the right frame of mind (aka FLYING on caffeine), my PLAYERS needed to have a sense of humor, and the pin placement on 14 needed to be low-left. Right next to the water.

For the last two weeks, either the pin wasn't in the right place, or my players' were assholes, or I forgot 4 quarters so I could satiate my need for freakin' caffeine. But today everything clicked into place.

Right off the bat, I knew I was caddying for the right kind of people. I was caddying for a father-son team where the son couldn't stop bitching to me about missing the Redskins game and the father couldn't stop telling me dumb jokes.

"What does tight-rope walking over the Grand Canyon and getting a blowjob from a 97 year-old woman have in common?"


"Whatever you do, don't look down."

Okay, so maybe SOME of them were funny. But the point was, I finally had two unsuspecting but willing victims to unleash my practical joke on.

The father and son were both guests of Dr. Dick, an Asian dick doctor that obviously saw enough dicks to blow $150,000 on a membership fee to this golf club. Dr. Dick is a decent golfer, but is known throughout the caddie-yard as a bad loop because he hardly ever talks to you and tips like he's been homeless for years. Today, he was playing with his wife, Mrs. Dick. Mrs. Dick was a cute older Asian woman with a skin-tight outfit and nipples that couldn't seem to figure out which way they wanted to point. But they were always excited about something. They never seemed to go away. So I guess if a doped-up Chameleon happened to wander onto the golf course that day, Mrs. Dick would've made love with it in one of the bunkers. Speaking of bunkers, Mrs. Dick just LOVED them. I felt so sorry for the other caddie. Although, Mrs. Dick ALSO made orgasm noises after anyone took a swing. So that was interesting. It was like watching women's tennis. So I guess to summarize, Mrs. Dick was a fashion-sensible Chameleon on ecstasy who loved the sand.

Moving on.

So the round progressed.

"What does a Polish groom give his bride that's long and hard on their wedding day?"

Drum roll.

"His last name."


"Honey why do you hit the ball in all the bunkers? If there's bunker on hole, you go there. And why do I like dicks more than you? You're my wife."

Wiff. "Ohhhhhh!!"

"I can't believe I'm missing the football game for THIS."

Well I'll tell you little boy. It's because we're on hole 14, and it's time for me to open up a can of whup-ass.

Shank. "OHHHH YEAHH!!"

That's right. I know you're excited too, Mrs. Cock.


Whatever. So there we were, on hole 14. We were on the green, and the father threw me his ball to clean. I was so excited I could barely contain myself. After cleaning his ball, I switched it with one of the spare balls I had in my bib. Then the moment of truth arrived. He motioned to me for his ball as he was walking past the low side of the green next to the water. I carefully threw the ball just out of his reach and a little harder than usual to try and make sure the ball slipped just past his fingers. It worked perfectly. He reached out, clumsily tried to catch the ball, the ball hit the green, took a couple hops and bounced into the water hazard.

For a moment, the foursome was silent. Orgasms ceased, dreams of football were squashed and the old man jokes stopped. Dr. Dick took a long drag off of his cigar and stared at me. The father turned to me, horrified.

"I...I How did that happen?"

"Well dad, I guess you just need to learn to catch."

"Damn ball. Crap."

Then they all turned to me. I saw my moment finally arrive. I pulled his ball out of my bib and handed it to him.

"Just kidding. Here you go."

Instantaneous laughter. The other caddie chimed in.

"I was gonna say...what kind of dumb-fuck caddie are you?"

About as dumb as they come. I can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

One Hundred

Wow. So this is it. I'm in the triple digits now. One-hundred posts and counting. No need to make a big deal out of it, because I was away for a good portion of this year and I still have a lot of writing to do. But again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for visiting my site. Coming home after a long day and seeing your feedback always makes me smile. And to think, way back when I first started this thing, the first person to comment on my site yelled at me for talking about "wet farts" too much. Can't say I've matured much since then, but I'm glad all of you got past my initial bouts of creativity (aka "crack addiction").

So thank you.

For some reason I couldn't stop drinking Diet Coke this morning. I started out with a coffee, and before I knew it, I had finished two Diet Coke's as well as inadvertently finished off somebody ELSES Diet Coke. It was like I had Alzheimer’s for 20 minutes. I threw away my second soda, sat down, saw a Diet Coke on the desk inside and thought "hey, I guess I have some left."

My caffeine high made my mouth move uncontrollably. I couldn't stop talking. And I'm glad that happened, because somehow everyone got on the topic of "caddie lingo" and I thought I would share a few of the definitions with you.

1. Roseanne shot: short and chunky.
2. Condom shot: doesn't feel that great, but it's safe.
3. Son-in-law shot: not what you were expecting, but you'll take it.
4. Rock Hudson putt: looks straight, but isn't.
5. OJ shot: got away with it.
6. Torn pajamas: "one-ball out" while putting.

I'm sure there are many more. But those are some of my favorites.

I caddied for Mr. Spit-wad today. I named him that because the pronunciation of his last name could be used by actors and actresses during warm-ups. The mere utterance of his name made children weep and birds shit uncontrollably. But it REALLY clears your throat.

In addition, Mr. Spit-wad was incapable of smiling. Regardless of a great shot, a funny comment by one of his playing partners or the gorgeous weather, he simply refused to believe there was any happiness left in the world. That, and all he could talk about was work. What sale caused the most headaches for him, how much capital his competitors were raising, yada yada. Hey, that's all fine and dandy, but I always like to get an INKLING as to how much he's enjoying his round, because then I know how to modify my caddying style to fit his personality.

Personality? What's that? I'd rather just sit here and NOT SMILE.

And on 13, something amazing happened. Something I'm sure I'll never see again. We were 70 yards from the front of the green and he saw a snake (roughly 3 feet long). Upon seeing the snake, a big smile crossed his face (I cried and drooled on myself REPEATEDLY in celebration) as he ran at a full SPRINT up towards the green to play with it. To PLAY with it. At first he went to pick it up with his hands. But after seeing his expressionless face, the snake grew angry and started snapping at him.

"Damn idiot! SMILE already."

The rest of us just stood in the fairway hoping he wouldn't DIE or something. I that a water moccasin? And who RUNS towards dangerous animals? Does this guy have a death wish? Get back here you crazy bastard!

When Mr. Spit-wad realized he couldn't just PICK the snake up, he grabbed a rake from one of the greenside bunkers and pinned the snake down so that he COULD succeed in cradling the snake in his arms.

One of his guests screamed. "Ahhh! For Christ sake! Get that thing away from me!"

He was 50 yards away.

Mr. Spit-wad walked over towards me and his other guest to show us how happy he was with his new friend.

"See that? See the light blue on the bottom? He's a youngin'. But he sure is pissed off."

Really? No shit. Why don't you jam your thumb up the snake's ass just to make sure.

And with that, Mr. Spit-wad brought the snake over to the other side of the green and threw it in the tall grass. Moments later, his massive smile and cheerfulness disappeared as he composed himself. His face and butt-hole tensed up once again, and he made SURE that he would be unhappy once again.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chivas Regal

I'm in the process of writing a post about the art of tipping your caddies, and unfortunately it has taken me a while to boil it all down to a digestible post. I should have that up real soon. But in the meantime, I figured I should tell you a little about my day.

At this point, I feel like I'm capable of reading people pretty well. Right off the bat, I can tell if I'm going to mesh well with a member. Well, today I was dead wrong. In a good way.

I was a little hungover this morning because I'm playing in a kickball league and I decided I needed to defend my honor last night by playing flip cup. Aside from feeling like crap, I usually get pretty hysterical when I'm hungover. I laugh easily. So I decided to try something before my round today that I have never done before.

I tried to predict a players' ability simply by looking at his clubs.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about looking at a bunch of generic knock-off clubheads and generalizing. I play with generic knock-off irons and I play just fine. No. I'm looking for idiot-marks on the driver, dirt on the driver, are the irons oversized, mid-sized. Is there a stupid putter cover in the shape of a pepper? Are there women's-flex shafts in the irons? I started laughing just thinking about my little experiment.

Well, let's see. No dirt on the driver. No idiot-marks either. The guy has a pro-trajectory 3-wood from Titleist. So he can't be too bad. But wait. Oversized irons?

"Yeah, and my 4 and 6-irons are missing. They're off having a party somewhere together."

The member was walking over to me. It was like he just read my mind and caught me trying to sneak a cookie or something.

" them?"

I was nervous to talk to him. It would be like if you farted real loud in church and everyone was staring at you. "STOP LOOKING AT ME! LET'S JUST FUCKING PRAY YOU BUNCH OF STUPIDS!"

"Yeah. It's quite a mixed bag in there."

And to skip ahead for a moment, I do have to say that this guy could play. After looking at his clubs, I would've guessed like a 10 or 11 handicap. And sure enough, that's what he played too. DAMN I was good.

My mistake in judgement came when I met his guests.

"So who's playing with you today?"

"Ahh...I'm hosting a few of guys from work. One of them is a scratch golfer, but I don't know about the other two. They probably suck."

There was such a lackadaisical way in which he said that that I just had to laugh. One of the guests I'd be carrying, Mike, seemed great from the start. Before I even looked at his bag he offered to help me change it out. The other guest I was carrying, Rich, came off as snobby with a "my shit smells sweeter than thou's shit" attitude. I thought he was going to be the problem all day. But as it turns out, he was really cool.

"I bet you're really upset that you had to carry our bags today."

"Why is that?"

"Well...I mean...we suck."

Well, nobody's saying that about you. As far as you know.

So that was it. That little hint of snobby-ness on the first hole was simply insecurity. He's at a private club and he's just a little nervous. Not really feeling like he deserves to be there. As soon as I realized that, I tried to be as supportive as I could be with my amazing hangover.

"Where should I aim this?"

"Just a little left of the flag at that tree behind the green."


"Well...I hit my line."

On the 14th he whipped out a mini-bar sized bottle of Chivas Regal. Jokingly, the other caddie in the group said, "Hey, where's mine?"

"I got another one for you if you want. Here."

And wouldn't you know it, he whipped out two more. One bottle per caddie. I hesitated at first, knowing full well that I was already a little hungover and the boss doesn't look too highly on drinking on the job. But I was just too amazed by the novelty of that gesture. NO member has EVER even OFFERED to give me something like that so I had the CHANCE to turn it down.

I couldn't help but take a sip or two to celebrate. Plus, now I had a really good excuse for misreading putts now.

"Oh, sorry sir. I don't know where that read came from. Must've been the Chivas talking."

They'd laugh, and then they'd come to a realization. "But you've only had sip."

"Well anyway, look! We're on 18!"

And that was it. And you know, I don't know when I'll drink the rest of that. I think that stuff tastes like vomit. But hey, I'll take what I can get.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Dave Pelz's Whipping Boy

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am giving up energy drinks. I’ve been clean for about two weeks now, and regardless of whether I wake up each morning in a cold sweat or I get the shakes trying to tend FLAGS I want to see how I deal without my beloved Full Throttle. I’ve been hearing a lot of scary things about energy drinks recently—such as massive amounts of these dangerous ingredients called “sugar” and “taurine”—and I wanted to see if I could kick the habit before I got diabetes. A worthwhile goal, right?

Or, I could always just keep drinking them and see if in fact the taurine DOES promote mutations in your DNA so that your children run a higher risk of coming out with 7 middle fingers. I’m not saying that would be a TERRIBLE thing to have happen, but I think one or two is plenty.

I’m not sure if it has been the lack of caffeine or the amount of crack I’ve been smoking, but my inadequacies in green-reading surfaced again today and I need to get out some of my frustration.

My day started at noon. I sat in the caddie room eating my 2 pounds of meatloaf, potatoes, steamed vegetables and mac and cheese from the local grocery store. Just as my lower intestine started singing “Amazing Grace,” one of the other caddies started bitching.

“Man, this sucks. I’m going to get RAPED for the next two days.”

There was a pause, and then he realized I was too busy pounding down meatloaf to respond. So he took the initiative and decided to continue.

“The loops we’re all going out on. It’s going to be the same people for two days. Today they’re all playing 18, and tomorrow they’re playing 36. Three shitty tips. I just better get a good fucking tip on Wednesday, that’s all I can say.”

That’s when my lower intestine started its own bass guitar solo. Crap. I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m all for taking a few bad loops for the team, but after the last few days I was just too tired to work hard again for nothing. Oh well. It’ll all average out in the end I guess.

So after I finished eating, I got my towel and started stretching my hamstrings in preparation for the raping I was about to receive when the Caddie Master called me out a little earlier than I expected.

“You’re up now Tom. You’re going out with Mr. Stooge-Bag. You really owe me one.”


“You really owe me one. You’re going to need an…armored TRUCK to take your tip out of here.”

Well. Never heard that one before. An armored truck you say? HELLO Mr. Stooge-Bag. And I had the added bonus of an easy loop, too. A twosome on a cart. Doesn’t get any easier than that.

I ran over the hill, took off my hat and extended a hand to introduce myself.

“Hey Mr. Stooge-Bag. Good to meet you. I’m Tom.”

“So do you know what you’re doing today?”

That took me by surprise. I quickly ran through every introduction I’ve ever had on the golf course and came to the conclusion that he must be expecting a sarcastic response. But in looking at his expression, I was at a loss for words because he looked very serious and sad. Like a little kid who just witnessed his Dad take the final slice of pie from the kitchen. But of course to Mr. Stooge-Bag, I probably looked like I was mentally challenged because I was just staring at him, allowing for a little drool to escape my lips. He couldn’t hear the inner turmoil in my brain (or the inner turmoil in my pants) as I tried to figure out what the hell to say. So he spoke first.

“You know how to fix divots, rake bunkers, read greens?”


“Oh yeah. Of course.”

Wow. That comment hurt my brain. Not only did this guy look like a combination between a linebacker and Moe from the “Three Stooges,” but his baggy eyes kept calling to me, saying, “For the love of God…somebody just GLUE the toupee on my skull because I’m tired of readjusting it.” I hate bad first impressions.

But regardless of the introduction, this member was supposed to be important, so that meant only one thing: I had to be flawless on the greens. And you guys know me. When a challenge like that arises, I usually choke with Norwood-esque flair.

The first few greens were alright. They didn’t make their putts, but if they had hit them just a little harder, they would have. So far, so good. And I even raked their bunkers correctly! Yay!

But on the fourth hole I made my first mistake. The guest told me he saw the putt a ball out on the left side. For the first three greens, we had seen eye-to-eye on every putt. So, instead of taking a look from BOTH sides of the hole, I simply glanced at the line he suggested and agreed with him. At a quick glance, the line he had looked good. He struck the putt, and it was then that I heard one of the worst phrases a caddie can hear: “Wow. It broke the other way.”

The putt actually broke LEFT. I quickly moved behind his original line and immediately saw my mistake. A subtle ridge held the ball up and eventually kicked it left. That’s alright Tom. Confidence my boy! Fortunately, I hadn’t screwed up a read for the member yet. Yet. But then again, chinks in the armor were now visible.

The 5th hole proved to be simple enough, all I really had to do was use a club to hold on Mr. Stooge-Bag’s toupee as he hit his approach shot and he was smiling like a little baby. But then came the 6th. The pin was front right, tucked behind a greenside bunker. Based on past experiences, the putt the member had broke SEVERELY to the left. But again, instead of really looking at all of the subtle contours of the green, I just pointed at a spot about 5 feet right of the hole, assuming that the member was just going to lag the putt close to the hole anyway.

“Really? You see the putt swinging THAT much?”

“Yeah. The last 5 feet pushes the ball dead left.”

He didn’t really hit his putt hard enough, but then again, by hitting the putt like a wuss-bag, the maximal amount of break in any given putt will be exposed. He left his putt about 4 feet short, and the ball still hadn’t broken an INCH.

He just stared at me. He walked over to his ball and proceeded to miss his next putt. He quickly grabbed his ball, walked back to ground zero and threw it back down on the putting surface to try out my line again, this time with better speed. He played the ball out about 3 feet right of the hole instead of 5. The putt didn’t break at all until the last 4 feet or so, where it went dead left. He lipped out. An awkward silence hung over the green as he reached down again, threw his ball to me and just smiled.

“ were right…I…I knew the putt broke hard left, but it didn’t break quite as much as I said it would.”

What? Clear your throat and stop sounding like a pussy Tom.

I usually like to concede my misgivings on the golf course because then the players can get it all out in the open and move on. Most of the other caddies would’ve told him that he pushed his putt and didn’t hit it hard enough, and THAT was why he missed it. But I don’t believe in doing it that way. For some reason I like apologizing. I think it’s because I believe that if I can convince the member the missed putt was MY fault, they won’t lose any confidence in their putting stroke and I can continue to rely on a consistent pace for my reads. If the player feels like it was their fault, they’ll usually start messing with their putting stroke mid-round and then it’s almost impossible for me to read greens correctly for them, because I have no idea how hard they may hit their next putt. But I think the fact that I stuttered and didn’t really look the member in the eye made Mr. Stooge-Bag question my seniority. My suspicions were confirmed on the next hole.

“So how long have you been working out here, Tom?”

“I’m finishing up my second season.”



“Yeah…I started here last March, went down to Florida last winter, and came back in August to finish out the season.”

“That’s weird because I don’t ever remember seeing you out here.”

In retrospect, I probably should’ve just played it off like I was brand new. That would’ve eased the tension I had created on the last hole with that horrific read and he would’ve been fine with letting me try my luck on the greens. That always helped me out when I first started caddying. But by saying I was quite experienced I think I made him a little uncomfortable. You mean…you’ve worked out here this long and you STILL don’t know how to read these greens? What are you, retarded?


The rest of the round was just painful. The more I hustled, the less he talked to me. It was as if he was trying to tell me, “Just give up. You’re no good at this and seeing you try this hard just makes me sad. I mean look at my droopy eyes. I looked like Brad Pitt before this round started and NOW look at me.”

On the 18th green after your round is over it is customary to take off your hat, shake hands and thank each other for a fun round of golf. It’s my favorite part of the round. Usually. Today, Mr. Stooge-Bag did not shake my hand or even look at me when we finished 18. He simply went into his wallet, gave me a great tip and said: “When you learn how to read greens, I’ll double that.”

His partner replied, “What? You gave him that money because you feel sorry for him?”

“He’ll make a hell of a caddie someday when he gets those greens down.”

And I think that bug will finally unearth itself from your rectum when you finally invest in a glue-stick to hold that little fuzz-ball to the top of your head.

All in all, I’m not really sure how I should react to today’s round. On the one hand, I want to HIT something for the member making me feel like an idiot. On the other hand, I respect him for pointing out that yes, I suck at reading greens sometimes and yes, you were right for not giving me an amazingly generous tip. But I still feel like an idiot either way.