It is Monday at the prestigious world-renowned country club and every Monday is caddies’ day where the club is closed to members just like it is at almost every private golf course in the entire county. This day is reserved for special maintenance issues on the golf course that have been planned out by the head greens keeper and caddies are allowed to golf as long as they do not interfere with the work being done. The head greens keeper is named Ted Bender and he really knows his stuff, as many of the other head greens keepers from all around the State will call him for advice.
Henry ran a school for first year caddies every Monday. This was going to be their fifth lesson so far this year and they would all be getting their yellow uniforms today, well it is more like a bib than a uniform. The uniforms looks something like what you might see someone wearing while they are grilling steaks. They were light weight mesh durable nylon with the name of the country club printed on it along with the words ‘First Year Caddy’. It is made to fit neatly over any polo shirt or tee and it is suitable for any season. First year caddies were required to fork over five bucks for the privilege of getting one of these uniforms and they would earn a rate of $35 a bag for each 18 hole loop. If they stuck around to become a junior caddy (longer than one year) then they would get a blue uniform labeled with the words ‘Junior Caddy’ and they would be paid $40 a bag for each 18 hole loop. The senior caddies got green uniforms with just the country club printed on it and they got paid $50 a bag for each 18 hole loop. Of course all of these rates do not include tips, which first year caddies usually got stiffed on because they still had much to learn.
Six boys were in the caddy school this year, they were all in Middle School and they all showed up on time and with their money. They were all excited about getting their uniforms today, as this made them official. In the first lesson Henry covered behavior letting them know that this was not going to be like Brentwood CC in the Caddy Shack movies and that they should refrain from fidgeting or talking loudly. The next three lessons Henry covered raking sand traps which he called bunkers, the proper method of handing out clubs (putters, drivers whatever) and tending the flagstick. Today’s lesson was on yardage and next week they would all learn how to read putts.
Henry was old school and he loved telling stories about the old days and about how good kids had it now. You know those stories about having to walk 12 miles to school every day (somehow it was always a blizzard or at least raining and foggy) and amazingly that long walk was always uphill both ways. Henry told them when he first became a caddy, he only got paid $6 per bag and those bags were much heavier back in the day. Henry told them how the advent of electric and propane golf carts just about killed it for all the caddies but with the rise in high blood pressure and increased heart attacks was a revival for the caddies, as the members were told to get more exercise by their doctors. He made sure that they understood how good they had it being at a country club that still required caddies. Here even when some of the members wanted to ride in golf carts, they were still required to hire a caddie to carry their putters, rake the bunkers and perform other caddie duties.
Henry told the boys that being able to measure yardage accurately on all the golf holes is important so the player can choose the proper club for each shot. However besides knowing the yardage they must be able to account for the wind conditions and they must also understand ground couture because the ball will roll farther when a player is going downhill and conversely for uphill shots. Henry handed each of the boys a scorecard and he pointed out to them that it showed the different distances from the five special tees. He told them that these teeing off areas were actually called tee boxes or tee markers to keep them from being confused with a golf tee, that apparatus that players use to raise their golf ball off the ground when playing the first stroke of each hole. He said that the tee colors indicate where a certain golfer should play based on their skill level. Under each color the distance from tee to green was shown and under that the Par for that hole was indicated and below that was the handicap.
Henry told the boys that Par is the number of strokes a reasonably competent player should take to play a particular hole. Every hole on the golf course was either a par-3, par-4, or par-5. Henry went on to tell them that the Black tees which are also known as the championship tees are only used by the best golfers, professionals or people playing in tournaments, as these tees always feature the longest yardage for each hole. These tees are the most challenging, because they are the farthest ones from the holes, but also they were often obscured by landscaping, trees or other natural terrain elements.
Blue tee markers also known as the competition tees usually are shorter than the Black tees, but they are still plenty hard and they should only be used by skilled male players who have a low handicap. White tee markers also known as men’s tees are used for everyday, casual play and they are used by most men, typically those who have a middle or high handicaps. Gold tees also known as senior tees are used for men that are 55 and over. Most of the elderly gentlemen enjoy playing from this position more because naturally people lose strength as they age and they don’t want to move forward and play from the ladies tees. Red tee markers also known as ladies’ tees are traditionally used by women, they are the most forward tees being closest to the green, although some women will play from different tees if they are more skillful. The best lady players hit a golf ball approximately 85% as far as men. The average lady player hits a golf ball only 75% as far as men.
Henry told them that if a golfer chooses the wrong tee off area that this will usually result in them getting a higher score and as a consequence their play will be slower and this combination of playing slower and getting a higher score will take all the fun out of the game. He told the boys that they were ready to walk the course and he gave each one of them a golf bag to carry. Henry pointed out all of the distance landmarks to them such as traps trees sprinkler heads and the 150 yard markers.
I may write more on this if anyone likes this kind of stuff.