Confessions of a Caddie

Taylor SmithCorrespondent IJune 21, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 17:  Tiger Woods chats with his caddie Steve Williams on the first green during the first round of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 17, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

I HATE my job.

And why shouldn't I? The hours are bad, the pay can be low, and the work, well, that's backbreaking.

You see, I'm a caddy at  local country club here in New York, and it is hands down the worst job I have ever held down. Here I am, a teenager wasting away my summer weekends getting up at 5:30 every morning, getting dressed in an all-white jumpsuit, and making my way out to the club, just to stand around.

The time between arriving at the club and getting a bag can be awful, nearly three hours on a regular day. You have to keep yourself busy with menial tasks such as making sure your towel's wet, getting tees for the golfer, and making sure you have a score card in your pocket somewhere.

Then you finally get your bag, caddying for a 60-something-year-old man who retired at age 35 after making millions in his line of work—usually banking or attorney work.

When you see him, you notice the obvious lack of experience this man has on the golf course. You can tell this by the way he dresses, usually like Jesper Parnevik, thinking that is what all the cool people wear on the golf course. He tells you three things: pick up (divots, clubs, etc.), keep up, and shut up. You nod, even though you already want to punch this wanna-be Trump in the stomach.

Your round takes nearly four hours with your player hitting more shots with his foot-wedge than his eight iron. He curses, screams, and throws clubs from No. 1 all the way to No. 18. After the torment is over, and your player finally gives himself the eight foot "gimme" putt on 18, you wait at the cart barn to receive your daily wage.

The man walks up, shakes your hand, and slips you some money. You scramble to count your cash while walking to the snack bar. $15? You must have missed a $10 in there somewhere, right?

No way, Jose, you just got paid $0.83 per hole. Enjoy it.

Yeah, my job sucks, but it's also awesome.

Standing outside, you notice a man who dresses like someone caught between Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus: casual and happy, yet sophisticated and focused. You pray to the golf gods that maybe, just maybe he'll ask for a caddy. After you've added a second "amen" for good luck, your prayers are answered, as he drops his bag in front of you, gives you a smile, and says "let's go."

You happily nod and race to the first hole where he selects his driver, his "baby" as he puts it and hits a giant drive 310 yards down the right side of the fairway. Inside, you jump for joy as you race off after your own personal Ernie Els. You find out that even though he's 50, he worked his way up from the bottom of a corporation and is now the VP of some important chain. He realizes the importance of hard work and doesn't expect you to be tour quality, just to do your best.

This man knows the game of golf, knows the club he wants to hit, and you soak up valuable information like a sponge. He's friendly, nice, and an excellent player. You can't do anything wrong on the course, you are unstoppable!

At the end of the round, he shakes your hand, tells you to keep up the good work, and says he hopes he has you again some day. You smile as you accept his money, count it, and realize that it contains a $50 bill! You rush home excited ready to start again the next day.

So yeah, my job can be hard, and even unrewarding at times, but at the end of the day, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. So I'll be out there at 6:15 tomorrow morning, hoping Ben Hogan shows up instead of Parnevik.