Friday, January 26, 2007

Salvaged Post

What is up with the weather these days? It has been 50-plus degrees and sunny every freaking day. And it’s January. Is this winter simply going to be a bitch? Is that why the weather has been so mild? I can see it now: blue skies, birds chirping and faint gusts of wind every day in January. Then on February 1st a big glacier lands on my house and the Abominable snowman snorts a few lines of coke as he keys my car. Oh, trust me. It’ll happen.

But aside from my incredible fear of upcoming weather conditions, there’s no better time to caddie than the present.

Two or three weeks ago, it was 23.42 degrees outside and I was working with two other caddies in a five-some. After the 2nd hole, one of the players called in for a cordless drill. Maybe it was because of the 23.42 degree weather, but I just couldn’t figure out what a golfer could be smoking to feel the need for a DRILL on the golf course. I figured it was a joke. But when one of the cart-guys arrived on the 4th tee saying, “Well Dr. Beeper, I hope this is the correct bit,” I realized nobody was kidding around. It was too cold outside and so the players needed a drill just so a tee could penetrate the ground.

On the 12th hole, I handed the drill to one of my players as they approached the tee box. I did this because that was all the other caddie had been doing: he handed the drill over to his players so that THEY would be the one’s drilling the holes. I’ve never had to think about the etiquette of caddying with a DRILL on the golf course, and so I just copied the other caddie because that APPEARED to be working just fine. But my players weren’t buying that.

“No. YOU are the one who needs to drill the holes for me.”

You know, I think the fact that you have to be DRILLING HOLES in the ground in the first place should tell you something. MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T BE PLAYING GOLF RIGHT NOW.

“Oh. Sorry. I’ve never caddied with power tools before.”

So I’ll say it again. I’m glad that it’s warmer and I get to caddie for some NORMAL people instead of all the ex-polar bear swimmers of chapter 418 (Northern Virginia’s Chapter).

Today, however, I’d be caddying in Mr. Cockroach’s group. I would’ve named him something like “Doobie,” “Alligator Clip,” or “Mr. Munchies” but he was a little on the arrogant side and “Cockroach” just seemed to make sense. The trash talk he dealt out to his playing partners was kosher because they all just laughed or tuned it out. It was some of the “other” remarks he was making to the incredibly handsome and innocent caddies in the group that made me feel just a little slighted.

But then I remembered that I have this website. Fire up that crack-pipe baby.

The group was made up of 5 players. Mr. Cockroach, his son (Wee-Roach), Mr. Tester, Mr. Gnome and Mr. Avid-Gambler. Wee-Roach is just starting his college golf career this year. He’s decked out in collegiate apparel, he’s playing with expensive golf clubs and he’s got 6 flashy bag tags from private courses hanging in my face. Normally, I would probably be making some assumptions about this kid. But he ended up being very down to earth and he carried his own bag. I have to give him some props for that. What I will say is that I felt bad for him. You could tell his father and the rest of the group was expecting a big show and it just wasn’t this kids’ day. I think a 15-20 handicapper could’ve given him a run for his money. Then again, I think there was a period a little while back where that was true of David Duval, so I can’t give this kid too much crap. But he did end up in some pretty ridiculous situations, so I will have to say something about that.

Mr. Tester was a nice older man with eyes that didn’t seem to open. Ever. He started his conversation with me thusly: “Hi, I’m Mr. Tester. Can you read greens Tom?”

I’m over here sir. No, over here. By the squirrel that’s wigging out. “Yeah, I think I can help you out.”


Great. And then there was Mr. Gnome. I called him this because he was wearing a pointy red winter hat that rose up 1.5-2 feet above his head. Combined with the warm weather, whenever he would take off his reversible windbreaker and tie it around his waist, he would look like a garden gnome.

Mr. Avid-Gambler would make small, stupid bets every two or three shots with Mr. Cockroach to add a little spice to the round. I thought they were “stupid” bets because every single wager involved a golfer in an impossible, hero-type shot situation and all of the bets ended up being for $1. Weeeee.

“I’ll give you 4-1 you can’t make birdie from there.”

“Make it 7-1.”

“Only for $1.”

“Okay. For $1.”

Meanwhile, the ball is in heavy rough, he’s hitting off of a downhill lie, there’s a water hazard in his way and the pin is tucked against the fringe. I would give TIGER WOODS 10-1, let alone the Ambiguously Gay Duo.

On the first hole I overheard Mr. Cockroach tell the other caddie that he always wanted his putter cover left ON the putter when he wasn’t using it. Now that’s not an unreasonable request, but for some reason at that moment I really wished that I was caddying for him and he had said that to ME. I would have taken a deep breath, turned back to Mr. Cockroach and said: “No problem. Unlike your buddies, I don’t care how effeminate you are.”

Boy that would’ve been fun. I would not have been able to buy a COKE with my tip, but it would’ve been worth it. Well, someday I might try that. Granted, it would have to be with the right person, but I think a little razzing now and again helps us all gain a little perspective.

So meanwhile, Mr. Tester has signaled to me for a read on the first green.

“Alright Tom, am I ON the putting surface?”


“Okay. Now stand where you want me to hit it and shout real loud.”

Now, believe it or not, the first hole is always the hardest. Hands down. You’ve got players taking mulligan after mulligan off of the tee, fluctuating partner assignments and players who have probably never taken a caddie before learning how to trust someone else’s judgment for the first time. It can be a very awkward 10-15 minutes. So reading a putt on the first hole can be tough. Not because the green is that difficult, but because a) you’ve never seen your player stroke a putt and b) if you don’t read the putt the way they would like it read, then they will not listen to you for the next 3-5 holes or ignore you altogether for the rest of the round.

So with all of that in mind, I found a spot I was comfortable with and shouted, “I SMOKE ROCKS!”

Without hesitation he took his practice stroke and put it right on the line I had given him. It caught the side-door and fell in for birdie. He smiled, took his driver from me and walked calmly over to the second tee. So far so good.

Everyone except for Wee-Roach found the fairway on the second hole. Wee-wee had snapped his ball left and was trying to disprove the theory that trees are “90% air.” After two swings, he was well on his way to earning a Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Let’s take a little break for “Intermission.”

And we’re back.

By the time we reached the 7th hole Mr. Cockroach was nice and limber when it came to running his mouth. Every person he turned to received SOMETHING.

“You sure you have enough club over there? Don’t get any CHUNKY ideas or anything. Hey partner! How’s that ugly wife of yours?”

And then he turned to his caddie and my friend, Tony.

“How far we got Tony?”

“134 front and 141 to the pin.”

“How far to carry that bunker?”

“A 140 club should be safe.”

“A 140 club, huh? So if I hit my 140 club and I end up short that’s a big FUCK YOU to YOU isn’t it?”

“Umm…I guess—“

“Because it’s your job to tell me the right club, right?”

“Well…in that case, I like the 145 better.”

“Alright Tony. Give me the club.”

“Which one?”

“The 8-iron dumbass.”


“FUCK YOU Tony! Ha!”

Mr. Gnome approached Tony to see if the Cock-meister had affected him. “Tony, don’t mind him, he’s just a broken record sometimes.”

“No worries. If you don’t have thick skin with this job, you might as well not be here, right?”

Good man Tony. Good man.

Mr. Cockroach: “I can’t believe I’m short of that bunker. That ball went nowhere.”

Mr. Tester: “Well maybe if you weren’t wasting all of your energy trash talking you might get it there.”

Mr. Cockroach: “Well that’s all part of the game now, isn’t it?”

Mr. Gnome (in the spirit of Robin Goodfellow): “Yeah, but somebody should take out those batteries of yours and shut you up.”

Me (ever so delicately): “I don’t think it would work. He’s solar-powered.”

Mr. Cockroach: “HA! I like that.”

Unfortunately, this is where my life took a turn. This is where I tried my hardest to get back and finish the post, but never had time. But I figure if I got this far, it would be a shame to just bury it. So I hope you enjoyed the parts of it I could salvage. And I hope everyone’s winter is going along swimmingly. I’ll try to be back ASAP.