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Tales from the Caddy Den — Part 1
By Chase Penelli
The stereo sounds that make their way through the thin pan glass of what people these days like to describe, “mid-century modern.” The cracks and pops from my feet as they meet the ground for the first time since the nights slumber. The eerie sounds of night, mornings typical pleasantries create an orchestral sound of those bumps in the night, hungry sparrows and sprinkler heads. I am ready, its time to get going.
Walking out the door I hulked down the traditional morning faire, a Nature Valley bar. I stepped off the front porch and nearly slipped on the fresh dew that coated the stone pathway, on top of that, was blinded by its reflective nature against the grass. Inhaling the crisp heavy air, I took one step forward down the street in my grass stained athletic shoes.
Turning the corner on Country Club Lane, catching a glimpse of the clubhouse, a smile came across my face. It is the day that I finally get that loop that everyone talks about for years to come. That guest of a member, full of great stories, phenomenal ball striker, just an all-around pleasure. A feeling that is so good you even forget about the tip, a round that feels like minutes.
Walking up toward the clubhouse was a chore, the pitch on the road grew exponentially to the point you could swear you were climbing the north face of Everest. I made it. Slightly breathless, I walked into the den. No one dare touch MY customary spot on one of the benches in back.
These benches had so many layers of a high lacquer forest green it made it hard to sit or lay without sliding off. This did make for quite an entertaining morning. Sitting where I did afforded me the ability to watch some of the older caddies stumble in from a restless night. A powerful thud sounded as they landed on the bench, generally the one as close as possible and within minutes… asleep. Not long after, they always seemed to find themselves woken by the carpeted concrete floor. Once they hit the floor they generally would forgo the bench, keeping them “grounded.”
I made sure to position myself where I couldn’t ever see the clock. They put a huge one in the den — it must have been some sick joke from the members. This clock was enormous, disproportional to the space. Anyone standing next to it always looked insignificant and on top of that it made a “tick” and “tock” sound. Since it was so big in such a small space sounded like a stereo that only made two sounds. There was no way around not hearing it. I have heard stories of people losing it; keep calm and “tick” “tock.”
I learned to think of it as a metronome; I mean, if I have to hear it all morning why not make it benefit my game? Closing my eyes, I would envision my putting stroke, back, forth, back, forth, back, and forth. It was the only way to survive!
They must have had some sympathy; I mean we did have a television to torment us with fuzzy pictures of places that we dreamed about… Pebble, Stadium Course, Andrews, Augusta, Augusta, AUGUSTA. Our eyes widened, hearts pumped, and emotions ran. No one dare sit in front of the TV. Most would keep it cool and watch from their respective territory. Since this was a civil establishment, they didn’t allow volume. It broke us down but our “in door” voices were like the perfect breeze on a course, not enough where it could be heard but certainly felt.
The rays from the sun are starting to creep through the windows, which told a veteran like me that it was close to 7:15 a.m. It should not be that much longer… My time was fast approaching. A rush of ides started to formulate in my head, which raised my blood pressure and energy level. I peaked out the window. My eyes dilated adjusting to the full onslaught of the sun. The early rounds well underway I saw groups of men getting ready to tackle the challenges of grass, water, and sand. This excited me — today was my day. On this day, a new chapter will be added to the impressive list of caddy lore. Praise, jealousy, and many other emotions will run throughout the inner-circle that is our caddy den.