Was out with two fun aerospace engineers and Zach and Bob from Palm Springs yesterday.
Bob runs the Bob Hope Classic Event for The PGA and had invited Zach last year to the high profile VIP tent and Players Dinner. Zach found himself hobnobbing with the likes of Bill Clinton and Arnold Palmer and staying in a 2.5k bucks a night suite. And as he was desperately trying to impress his new girlfriend this didn’t go down badly. Bob said he has to pull the strings in a big way to get Zach laid, and he beemed across the fairway to much hilarity from the group.
We do meet a lot of interesting guys out caddying. For instance the previous day we had a group from New York that consisted of a top notch dentist, accountant, plastic surgeon and neurosurgeon. I just thought to myself that I could do with the help of all these guys but I would I think start off with the neurosurgeon.
Our two aerospace guys had wry senses of humour and were recounting how they were watching the US Open a few years back on TV and some guy put a vital four foot putt past the hole by a good two feet. The Scottish commentator had seemingly quipped ‘well that’s enough to make you slap your grannie’. It took them a good few rewinds of the incident to clarify what the commentator had actually said, and were delightedly assured that this was verbatim. They found it very amusing.
I am not sure who the commentator was but wish the Beeb or Sky would employ someone with a bit of originality and sparkle, lest we die of boredom with the likes of Ken Brown and Sir Nick Faldo trying to be inspired and interesting. I mean they are about as much fun as a trip through the Channel Tunnel or a day out in Harpenden.
Things got a bit serious on the twelfth when Bob and Zach realised they didn’t have a bottle opener for their beers. Zach said that maybe the aerospace engineers could address the situation. And of course young Steve nodded in the affirmative and said he had a bottle opener belt buckle, but miraculously opened the beer as an accomplished and challenged engineer would do ie with his pitch marker!
Just as well they hadn’t asked me with my economics background. Assumptions are a good and important thing. But not when beer is at stake.
We had four very big fun guys out on The Castle Course yesterday. Lance, Mark, Dan and Mike from Oregon were here for some serious golf but some serious amusement too. They were all very able golfers into the bargain and were able to impress probably two of our top golfer caddies, Cologne Tom and Neil Beattie in the extreme. (Tom used to play off plus three and Neil is presently off plus one by the way. This puts my lowest handicap of three in a major perspective).
The repartie of the guys was immense and aided by a hip flask the size of a tank, filled with a Balvenie 12 year old which showed their class. This was their ‘birdie flask’ but was soon denoted a ‘net birdie flask’ on the second, as Mike’s putt for a three shaved the hole from fifteen feet. Not bad, 10 am in the morning, taking in the stunning view of St Andrews from the third tee and beginning to enjoy the crack, especially Tom’s individual and lavish persona, savouring a soft malt and getting into the swing of things, let’s say.
Lance said they played The European Club in Dublin last year but were disappointed by the fact that they had no caddies there, and he made an interesting point that this was to them a lot of the ‘experience’ of coming over here. And I suppose he may have a point. A lot of guys will never have been to Scotland or Ireland before and will want to hear some of the local take on humour and accents and stories and chat. And I suppose like the local scenery and traditions, that can be as interesting and insightful as anything.
However, I am not sure what our guys from Oregon were quite thinking after their round yesterday. They were slightly dazed I would say, but not with The Balvenie, as good old Cologne Tom was on his majestic inimitable form.
One thing for sure is that they will certainly remember their glorious round at The Castle Course.
I was back to caddying yesterday after a wee break and what a day I had. I was off at 440pm on The Old with fellow caddie Geordie Rob and we had three lovely Canadians and local pro Alastair from Scotland for Golf.
We had a great fun round with much humour and light heartedness and our only concern was that we wouldn’t get down the last with any light whatsoever. However we were wrong. A crimson glow started to appear in the West and by the time we were standing on the 18th tee a staggering, deep furnace of sanguinarium red filled the sky behind the Old Course Hotel, and lit up the windows of the R&A and Hamilton Grand with homely, orange, incandescent light. People were chattering and laughing on the balcony of The St Andrews Club, some lucky tourists looked on in awe, and the town nestled in to a darkening twilight of extraordinary beauty.
I had a late call yesterday to go down to the Jubilee for a 1216 tee off time and met lovely Frenchman Gerard who was playing with tartan breeked, Canadian Jim Kinnaird who had invited him and his wife up for the weekend. Gerard said he was gobsmacked when he arrived, for his first visit to St Andrews, as Jim owns that pretty marvellous house which overlooks the 18th green of The Old. Gerard said he remembered it from The Open last year as he caught glimpses on the TV of Rory McIlroy out on Jim’s balcony. Not a bad wee pad to have.
It brought back memories of my near miss of the purchase of a tiny flat on Grannie Clark’s Wynd a while back. This thing was small but had a great view on to the R&A. I remember distinctly sitting in the bar of The Old Course Hotel and speaking on the phone to my lawyer with a glass of red wine in my hand, and him indicating that my offer would be there or thereabouts. In the end I missed it by 4k and will never forgive myself for going so easy on the old victuals that day. It really was so unlike me.
Still, I have never been the most astute mover in the property market as I once sold my flat in one of the trendiest parts of London, ie Borough, to buy into the less prosperous and attractive area of Kelty, in West Fife. Please don’t ask why. I mean that’s the equivalent of swapping Mayfair for jail in a game of monopoly.
Anyway, I had a very interesting round with Gerard and Jim, as the wind speed was about 30mph which made the golf all nigh impossible and caddying for two difficult. However, the guys were very mellow and easy going and we had an enjoyable time with a few ‘ooh la la’s’ and a lot of ‘fore’s’.
A bit like my property moves!
We were out with two couples yesterday on The Castle Course, and I had the bag of Brad who was this big and slightly grave looking American. He hit two great shots into the first but three putted from twenty feet. On the second, we were in to a stiff breeze and we decided to lay up in front of the bunkers instead of taking on a two twenty shot into a strong cross wind. However, his ball ended up in the bunker and I think he was not entirely happy with my clubbing. I apologized and said that I didn’t appreciate the wind direction. Anyway, he said a few words to his partner which I am sure were not wholly complimentary. However, these things unfortunately do happen and a caddie can but only apologize.
So, he is in the bunker and fluffs his first and then just manages to get it out on to the top of a rather long and steep faced slope, on the grass just above. I proceed to rake the said bunker but then see him slide unceremoniously down the face on his back and end up at my feet. There was that kind of frozen moment when no words were said and no words I suppose were apt, and certainly not a time for eye contact. I suppose the best result would have been to then laugh this off. However, the poor chap was attempting to retain some dignity and had not quite forgotten my bad clubbing, and the reason for him being on his back, in the sand at my feet. And to be sure we were both acknowledging the fact that this was a highly critical juncture in our relationship.
But full credit to Brad as he got up, brushed off the sand and said ‘a slippy slope that’. And in my estimation that could have gone much worse.