Friday, May 15, 2009

Life as a Tour Caddy

Life as a Tour Caddy - Imagined:
  • Arrive at the golf course a half hour before tee time.
  • Park in the VIP parking ten yards from the first tee.
  • Pick up some free food and drinks reserved for the players (and their caddies).
  • Step inside the ropes.
  • Bask in the glory of your player as the players are announced. You can almost hear the announcement: On the first tee, from Sarasota, Florida, Lindsey Bergeon, Member of the winning 2007 NCAA Division II Women's Golf Championship team WITH her caddy, from Ellendale, North Dakota, winner of the 1962 Ellendale City Championship, currently residing at Lake Lotawana, Missouri, CHUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK COMSTOCK. Let's give them a big round of applause!
  • Watch as your player puts her first approach shot 15 feet from the cup.
  • Check the break from both sides and advise player of right to left break of one and one-half inches.
  • Watch as your player drops putt for a birdie on the first hole and thanks you for great read.
  • Repeat as needed for the next 53 holes.
  • Watch as your player drops final putt for a one-stroke victory.
  • Receive hug and 10% of the winnings for your great advice and help.
Life as a Tour Caddy - The Reality:
  • Arrive at the golf course a half hour before tee time.
  • Park in any parking you can find within a mile of the course.
  • Gaze longingly at the free food and drinks reserved for the players (and their caddies), but you're too busy making sure your player has everything she needs but NOT too much (14 clubs, max), and gets checked in on time and picks up her scorecard and her towel is wet, but not too wet, and plenty of tees and balls, and, on a day like today, an umbrella.
  • Step inside the ropes.
  • Double check everything as the players are announced, hardly hearing your player's name since this time you've counted 15 clubs and you're breaking out into a cold sweat since that is big, BIG penalty, and make sure you're to the right side of the golfers and about eight feet away and slightly to the rear and hope you can see where her drive lands.
  • Receive her club back and clean with the wet (but not too wet) towel, cover and place in bag. Oh, crap. Player has taken off like a shot and is 30 yards away and you have to practically run to catch up before she arrives at her tee shot and is ready for you to hand her the yardage book but not the scorecard book and be ready if she asks what direction the wind is coming from and how strong and how many clubs different.
  • Watch as your player puts her approach shot 15 feet from the cup. TRUE STORY.
  • Check the break from both sides and advise player of right to left break of one and one-half inches. TRUE STORY.
  • But then take a look from the other side of the cup and realize, oh, crap, IT BREAKS THE OTHER WAY. But this is the very first hole of your tour caddying career and you don't want to yell, STOP, STOP, I WAS WRONG, IT BREAKS LEFT TO RIGHT!
  • Watch as your player drop putt for a birdie and thanks you for great read. TRUE STORY.
How that ever happened, I'll never know. But it did. One under for the first three holes until a small hickup (okay, okay, I overruled my player's read and I was wrong for real) put her one over. She (we) got through the rest of the front nine with only one more bogey for a 38. Lindsey was only one over on the back nine before weather forced play to stop. We'll be back at it at 7:00am tomorrow to finish the last four holes, then go straight into the second round.

There were times today when I felt like the proverbial one-armed paper hanger. I'd forget to get the scorecard book out of my pocket after Lindsey putted out and then I'd have to be digging around for that while taking her putter and digging in the other pocket for the cover while trying not to distract the players still putting and since I was the only caddy trying to hold the flag stick and keep the flag from flapping and the wet (but not too wet) towel from flopping and getting Lindsey's driver out and uncovered and by now the scorecard book is ready to put away and it's time to get the yardage book out. Oh, crap. There she goes again. She's thirty yards away and it's time to catch up again. Whew.

Put all that together with the fact that I haven't walked 18 holes of golf since last summer, and even then I used a pull cart but today I'm carrying "the bag". Tougher than I expected? Yes. A great experience? You betcha. Priceless. For all the rest, there's MasterCard...


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Vitamin A - as in Advil . . .

Jess Hansen said...

Dear Tour Caddy,

You have begun your career and now are hoping that your bag cashes a check to claim the beloved 10% of the check. I took a job just like yours in May of 2002. Minimum, $100 or 10%. My bag (player) shot 68 in the Monday Qualifier and then after the announcement, please welcome, Charlie Griswald from Ohi, CA. We started on #10 so we were not much of a threat. I still remember it well. We were paired 2 days with Bob Murphy and a jerk from the UK. Murphy's caddie announced to me on about the 2nd hole that I was out of position. I told her (also 7 months pregnant) that I didn't think so and the PGA card in my wallet was good enough for most anyone. Needless to say, she was pretty pissed at me. Murphy on the other hand informed me on the second day that the greens at Tiffany Springs were the worst he played on ever and went into a cursing session about the greens. After he was done, I asked him, "Bob, don't you wish you could say that on TV?" He just walked away.

The walking after tour players is a real treat. I was beat after this and having to carry and drive a golf cart. I had to keep the equipment dry because we were in a drizzle most of the 2 days. Very confusing. Oh, you haven't lived until one of the tour officials told our group that we were out of position and put on the clock and if we didn't catch up we were going to get a penalty. That guy was a real mad man. My guy finally put together a back nine on Saturday and was at least under par for that day. Sunday was rained out. I like being inside the ropes but like the playing part instead of caddying.

Good luck and how's your bag doing?

Chuckles said...

See current post: