Bag Toter by Peter Amore - HTML preview
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by Peter Amore
Carrying a bag is something that I started to do when I was 12 years old. I started on a golf course in New Jersey. A public golf course, one in which you had to get there about six o’clock in the morning and wait until the older guys and caddies that had regular golfers went out, I would usually get a bag about 1 PM and would carry for some women for nine or eighteen holes. For a full days work, I would earn from $.50 to a max of a dollar. But this later turned out to be a hell of an experience for me. I was taught patience, got to learn the rules, and learned to cheat for the golfer that I was lugging the bag. I remember some famous foot mashie shots I had to pull off so that my golfer would win his dollar Nassau; and I would end up with a quarter tip. One time, when I was hitting my super toe shot, I knocked the ball in a divot. Christ, all hell broke loose when my guy came up to me and wanted to know if I was blind. Shit, the only thing that could tell him was that I only make one boot on a drive.
While I was a caddie I was able to learn to play golf. On Monday mornings, which were the caddie’s day to play, I would get to the course with the sunrise. I would get to use my regular’s clubs, providing that I spit shined them when I was through. I would play as soon as I would get there and play until dark. I would try to get in 54 holes. This was the day that you saved some of your money for. We would go out and play $.50 a nine and no one would give shots. You played “even” or you didn’t get to play with the boys. I donated a lot of Saturday and Sunday money in those early days but it just made me practice and play harder. I don’t mind telling you that I had it in the back of my mind to be a touring pro. Well, I worked my ass off and finally in a few years I was able to beat the best players at our course. I said to myself, well I think it’s time to start playing some of the caddies at other clubs.
Well I talked my friend Pat into challenging two caddies that we knew at a private club. We went there on a Monday morning loaded to the gills. We both had eight bucks in our pockets an all we could think of was doubling our money. Later, when we were walking back the six miles from the other club we kept telling ourselves we had bad luck. Hell, we were hustled and didn’t want to admit it. Back to the practice tee, hit more shots and work on the game.
When I was 17 years old, I was still carrying a golf bag but now things were a little different. I was one of the big boys; I had some of the best bags on the golf course.
The club had turned private and I was able to play golf with some of the members on weekday evenings and sometimes on Sunday afternoons. In fact, I had one regular on Sunday mornings, that I would caddie for, who did me a hell of a lot of favors. He used to give me three bucks to carry his bag. I would get done about one in the afternoon and he would take me into the clubhouse and buy me lunch. This got to be a hell of an experience for me. I learned how to dress, how to act in the company of people who had money, and when to talk. This member was named Mr. Morgan. He was about 52 years old and had a lot of money.
One Sunday while we were eating lunch, just the two of us, we were joined by his wife who I had never met. I knew right away that this was not his first wife. She was about 27 years old, redheaded and stacked like a movie actress. I could hardly finish my lunch with her sitting there and felt a little awkward. Here I was a country boy, still learning manners and how to speak to people, when I get this surprise. Well they were both great. I didn’t feel out of place too long and she let me feel comfortable. “What’s your name?” she asked. “Jim” I slowly said, “Jim Arnold, Mrs. Morgan.” Well she said “Jim don’t feel so nervous. I hear a lot of good things about you and I understand you play golf well.” The only thing that I could say which later sounded stupid was “yes, Ma’m.” With that she laughed with a smile that I will never forget. Mr. Morgan spoke” Jim, how about taking Grace here out to the range and give her some pointers. She has been playing for about a year and hits the ball pretty good. I can’t stand teaching her. So work with her on the tee while I play some gin.” I didn’t know what to say but she answered for me. “Fine, she said, I will get my clubs and shoes and meet you on the practice tee in fifteen minutes. I waited on the tee for 20 minutes. I started hitting some shots when I heard her voice “Am I going to hit the ball like that when you get done with me?” I smiled and said I wish I were a good enough instructor to help her game.
We worked together on the range for two hours. I was impressed with her swing, I knew she had many lessons because she didn’t make the stupid mistakes. Finally she said “I’m tired, let’s quit.” I agreed and got the clubs together and asked her where she wanted them. She asked if I would put them in her car. This I did. After putting the clubs in the car I said “Mrs. Morgan, it was my pleasure and I hoped
Her game would improve with the help I tried to give. “Where are you going?” I was going home I said. “No, no”, she said. “I must pay you and how about a Coke.” I quickly said no to the money but I would take a Coke. She took me into the clubhouse and we sat and had a drink. I had a Coke and she had a scotch on the rocks. We talked for a good half hour when I said “Mrs. Morgan I have to go home, will you excuse me?” She asked how are you getting home? I told her that I was hitchhiking. Well she said “you go into the locker room and tell Mr. Morgan that I am going home and I will drop you off at your home.” While we driving to my home we made small talk about golf. I kept calling her Mrs. Morgan and she said, “Please call me Grace, I don’t like to keep hearing my full name.” I said OK and really didn’t call her any name for a while. She wanted to know when I got a chance to play. I told her usually every weekday about 5:30 PM. “Could I play with you some evening?” she said. “I don’t mind, I try to get there about 5PM and hit a few balls for a while, then play nine or ten holes.” “Good, she said, I will be there at 5PM on Tuesday.” By this time we had reached my home. I opened the door of the car, thanked he for the enjoyable afternoon, and said goodbye. “See you Tuesday” she said as she pulled away from the curb.
I had been working at the golf course since school was over. I cut fairways, raked traps and did anything the greens keeper asked of me. I was enjoying myself. I had the opportunity to find a lot of shag balls; some good ones I sold to the pro, who was also helping me with my game and was more or less given a free hand as to when I could play. My game started to get real sound and I kept thinking it wouldn’t be long before I could take my shot at turning pro. I didn’t know to much about women. It’s true, I had the high school flirtations with the girls, but I guess my first love was golf. Tuesday came and I hadn’t thought too much about Mrs. Morgan; I figured she wouldn’t show. After work, which ended at 4:30PM, I went into the locker room, took a shower, changed into a pair of golf slacks, put on my spikes and went out to the practice tee. And there she was. “Hello Mrs. Morgan, I said. “I thought we were going to be Grace and Jim when we played golf”, she said. “OK Grace”, I said with a grin. She was wearing a white golf skirt with a blue blouse and white shoes. This was a doll. I offered to carry both our bags but “Oh no, she said, we will take hand carts and walk. It will do me good.”
We went to the first tee. The course was deserted, the pro was hitting some shots on the range and no one was around. I said, for the first time, “Grace, I’ll hit from the blue markers and you hit from the reds.” Blues being farther back I hit first. I crunched one down the middle with a slight draw and the ball ended out about 230 yards. She walked up to the red, hit her ball, the swing was good and she was out about 175 yards. I said “nice shot”, she came back with “what a hell of a drive you had.” Well, I made birdie on the first hole. It was a par five; I hit short in two, made a chip that almost went in the hole and had a gimme putt. She made six, which wasn’t bad at all. We talked very little. I gave her a few pointers and I guess she was impressed with my game. I was one under going to the 5th hole and had just missed a 10 footer for a birdie on the last hole. The fifth hole was a par three, surrounded by traps. On the outer side of the traps, there were all woods. It was a short hole, only 158 yards from the blue, but you could get into all kind of trouble if you pushed or pulled your shot off the tee. I hit a seven iron and knocked it on the right front of the green about 18 feet from the flag. She got up and hit. The ball squirted right with what was her worst swing. I said hit another ball; no, she said, I have to learn to play the game the right way. I didn’t say anything.
We walked down the path to where the ball entered the woods. We hunted and kept looking, it was about 7 o’clock but in the woods it was like midnight. I said according to the rules you have to claim a lost ball. “OK, she said, but before we go on can I sit and have a smoke first.” We both lit up. I sat with my back against a tree; she did likewise about five yards across from me. We talked a little golf, then she asked me about my plans for the future. I told her my dreams and she laughed and thought I would make it. She sat there, inhaled on her cigarette, blew out the smoke and then I received a little shock. “Tell me, she said, when do you get time for girls?” I blushed under my very dark tan and replied, “ Well I guess I don’t get too much of a chance because of my hours of practice and me trying to save money to go out on the Tour.” Then she started to laugh, “Tell me are you a virgin?” How could I say yes? “No, I said as I blushed, but I haven’t had any experience to talk about.”
With that she got up, came over to me, blew smoke in my face and laughed, “ You are a virgin, she said. I didn’t know what the hell to say or do. She took my hand rubbed it with hers and with that smile still on her face kissed me on the side of my mouth. To a seventeen year old this causes an immediate erection. She smiled again threw her butt away and kissed me full on my lips. I almost shit. What the hell do I do? She answered all my questions. She kissed me again and I felt her tongue in my mouth. Even a dumb bunny like me knew she was hot in the pants. Her hand went to my pants she found the erection. I still don’t know how my pants got opened, there it was as large as I ever had. Without a moments hesitation it was in her mouth. I couldn’t believe the feeling or sensation, later in life I found out how good she was. It seemed like an eternity but I am sure that it was only minutes. I groaned and came like I pissed in my pants. She took it all and kept right on sucking. My hot young blood and her hot pants kept me erect. Back she came to me kissing and using her tongue. It took minutes to have her pants off and she helped me put it in, the sensations were fantastic. She screwed me into the ground.
After we dressed we took our clubs and started to walk in. My legs were shaking, I didn’t know what to say, I was still blushing. We got to her car I put the clubs in her trunk and she said “Jump in, I’ll take you home.” When we arrived at my house I opened the door, I still didn’t know what to say, she said, “See you Thursday, Jim” and drove off. That was the beginning of one hell of a summer. I again learned. I had sex two times a week in every imaginable way. I grew up fast and enjoyable.
I was now twenty-four years of age, the past seven years seemed to fly. After high school at the age of eighteen I had my first opportunity, with the help of the pro at the club I worked at. I was able to get the 3rd assistants job at a big club in central New Jersey. A third assistant does everything; kisses all the asses for the Head Pro, lines up the broads for the other assistants, opens the shop at 6AM and waits until the last bag is in at night. In between all this he tries to give a few lessons to
Make a few bucks and still tries to find time to practice. This went on for two years. Then I received another break. A good friend of mine, Tony Boyle, who was an assistant at a small golf club got the Head Pro job at his club. He played it smart, he wasn’t going to hire some hotshot known assistant. Not when he could get me a hell of a lot cheaper and know I didn’t have the power to steal his job. Well things worked fine. My game came back because I was able to play a lot. Tony was great to me and let me play in as many tournaments as he could. I got lucky and won a few and scored well in the others. I was on my way. Three years later I took stock of myself. I felt I was polished and I would like to give the tour a whirl. I had saved five thousand dollars. This was a hell of a lot of money; it took nine years of watching every cent. I had my pro card, I had the money and I felt that I had the game. I went to see Tony, I told him how I felt and asked him for any advice he could give me.
“Jim, he said to me, the first bit of advice I will give you is this. When you go out on the tour the very first thing that will ruin your game is broads and the second thing is booze. You have to stay away from these two if you are ever going to be a winner. Another thing is a traveling companion. You have to have someone to help share the cost.” Tony said one of the nicest things to me, “I think you can make it. You have the right attitude and you want to be a winner.” The last thing he told me was “ I am going to make every effort to help you get started.”
Well Tony he was one of the best friends you could have. He got me all set up with the PGA. He called all his friends and asked them to help me stay on the right road. He talked to all the members at the club and they gave me a little party. I received all the clothes I would be able to use for one year and the members donated a little cash, which amounted to twelve hundred bucks. They made me cry. I was treated so good by so many people that right then and there I made up my mind not to ever let them down.
Tony Boyle did one more thing for me. He got me a traveling companion, a fellow by the name of George Brett. George’s father was an old friend of Tony. George was a little different than myself. His father was a pro, he had more money to start out with and he had a hell of a good golf game. I had met George a few years earlier while we were both playing in one of the assistant’s tournaments. He was about six foot tall, weighs 195 pounds, red headed and good looking. George and me got together one day to talk a little to see if we were compatible enough to start living together. I talked first and made some points. I told him that I was going out on tour to make the big time. I didn’t have too much money and I expected to live as economical as I could. George smiled. He was about one year older than myself but was probably a lot older in worldly experience. “I know just what you mean Jim, I’ll tell you what I like. I have a new car, lets share the gas and all expenses and I will let you be the brains. Just make sure that I make my tee off times and don’t get into trouble.
We started out a few days later. George was driving and hitting it up pretty good. I got to know him well on our trip down south. He talked a lot and seemed like a fun person. I knew he was wild at times and I was going to have my hands full. We talked mostly golf but then we always got to the subject of broads. The way he talked to every waitress we had on our trip I figured this guy would put his prick in any hole he could find. We finally made Charlotte NC, our first stop on the mini tour. We arrived there on a Thursday night. Qualifying day was Monday, so we had Friday, Saturday and Sunday to loosen up and get the feel of the golf course. The first thing I did was to check us into a $6.00 a night motel and it wasn’t all that bad. We were tired so we went right to sleep that first night. Friday morning I awoke early with my usual nervous stomach, woke up George who I found sleeps like he was dead. We had our standard breakfast of coffee, two doughnuts and a smoke. We gassed up the Ford and as usual I put in my diary all the costs and headed down to the Country Club of Charlotte. Many people read or watch TV and see the Golf Pro go to the first tee with his caddie. Well let me tell you how it is on the mini tour. You go into the pro shop, introduce yourself to the Head Pro, beg for his mercy and hope he is a nice guy. This Pro was Mr. Nice Guy. He teased us a little bout being another two Yankees who were going to chop up his golf course, but said it in a manner that wasn’t offensive. All he said to us was, Friday we could play in the morning, Saturday and Sunday late in the afternoon, keep the carts on the cart paths and don’t get in the way of any of the members. We played and practiced for three straight days. By Sunday evening I was tired an nervous. We went to supper Sunday for our usual evening meal, a hero sandwich and two beers.
Monday morning, bright and early, I woke George up at 6:30am and went directly to the club. George had an 8:30am starting time and mine was 9:10am. Well, this is what I worked for all these years, a chance to tee it up against the field. Lets see, there would be about 80 players that meant I would have to shoot 75 or better to make the cut and get a chance to play another round.
I was teamed up with three other guys, all of which had been out for a while. As nervous as I was I hit it big on the vey first hole and the game was on. Everything was going fine. I was one over par until the eighth hole when I pushed my drive into the damned woods. I double boogied the hole and now I was three over. This is what makes losers. Well I scraped it around for the rest of the round and managed to shoot a 76. Dammit, my first shot and I wouldn’t make the cut. I saw George having a beer and I walked up to him and said how’d it go? He held up four fingers which quickly told me he shot 74. I congratulated him and figure =d that I would end up being a spectator for the next day. George pointed to me and I knew what he meant. I raise dup the six fingers and he laughed and said, “don’t feel bad, that’s going to make the cut.” Well damn if it didn’t, hell, I was only six shots behind the leader. I know that I couldn’t pick up that many shots on the field but I made the cut. That night we went out to eat and we celebrated. We had southern fried chicken with French fries and three beers. I remembered that we hadn’t eaten all day this was a feast.
We were flying high but the very next day the bubble burst for me. I shot a fat 78; George throws another 74 and I figure he is in good shape. We waited and prayed a little until everyone was finished. I got my first payday, a big fat zero. George was a lot luckier; he finished about tenth which gave him a payday of fifty dollars for a weeks work. I quickly took inventory. Let’s see, my share of the room was $18.00, $20.00 for food, $25.00 for entry fee, $10.00 for gas for the car. I was minus $83.00 the first week on tour. Well you can’t win them all. The next week I was a little lucky. I was only minus $42.00 for the week; things were getting better already. George was doing a lot better. Neither one of us was playing good enough to win but we kept up the faith.
All that year we kept it going from one town to the next. George and I were getting along fine as long as I woke him up in the morning and sometime sober him up before he went out to play. George wasn’t the type of guy that would look for a fight but he always seemed to attract trouble. One of the biggest problems, I guess was his prick. He was putting it into so many members’ wives, I just knew he was going to get into trouble sooner or later. We were at this country club in the eastern part of Texas when I thought he was going to get lynched. He just had to screw this young 20-year-old broad whose father was one of the Board of Directors of the club. He had to take her home to get into her pants. He couldn’t come back to the motel where wee were staying and like a good boy I would have taken a walk as usual. Not George, he was drinking wine got into her crib and when they finished they both fell asleep. No need to say any more. If her father had his way he would have hung him. But George just grinned his boyish grin talked his way out of the house and we ran to the next event. I could tell that George would make the big time even with his bad habits. He was too good a player. I had to work like hell to shoot he scores that he did, but I also knew that one day we would get into trouble.
It was about one year after George and I met that I felt I had it going real good. I finished second 4 times and was coming into the money pretty regular. Things finally went my way in southern California. I felt real good one day and put it all together for a 66 and led the field by 5 shots. I was good enough to shoot 70 the next day and breeze to my first win. God did I feel good; I kept saying to myself, “Big time here I come.” George also finished in the money in the same event. Things looked so good we decided to go out on the town and really have a ball. We loaded up the car and decided on the best steak house in town. After all it isn’t every day you win a golf tournament and besides we owed it to ourselves to live a little. We were in the steak house eating and drinking when we both decided, lets take a shot at the big time. We knew that we would have to become “rabbits.” That meant teeing it up every Monday trying to get a shot to play on Thursday. We also knew there were some new young blood on tour that were tough to beat, especially that guy that was playing fresh out of Wake Forrest University.
We sat there planning and drinking. I did tell George that there was a possibility of us having to break up if one of us hit it good and the other missed. I was in pretty good shape as far as money. I had started out with a little over six thousand and I had just about seven in my checking account. I felt good about the whole thing. I worked a whole year and saved about eight hundred bucks. On the other hand, George never did have any money problems. When he was short all he had to do was send a telegram and he would get it the next day. Had he lived like I did he would have had a lot of money of his own. George finally said “Let’s get moving so we can get set up in Colorado and get ready for our first test as a “rabbit.” I agreed. We started to travel about midnight and I told George that if he got tired to wake me and I would take over the driving.
I remember dozing on and off . Then it was two o’clock on the dashboard clock and I said to George, “Let me drive.” He said that he was okay and that he would continue on for a while. I finally fell into a deep sleep. Fortunately it wasn’t my last.
I felt like I was dreaming. I heard noises, sirens; bright lights were shining in my eyes then nothing. When I finally woke up everything was so quiet. Then it dawned on me, I was in a hospital. What the hell happened? My shoulder hurt, my right hand and arm were in a cast, there was a bandage on my head. A nurse walked in to the room and said, “Hi, how do you feel?” “Lousy”, I said, “Where the hell am I?” She said, “Be calm, you are in a hospital in Fairfield, California, you were in an accident.”
No shit, I know it wasn’t a whorehouse and I how damn well I didn’t fall out of bed and feel like this. “Where’s George”, I asked. “”What kind of accident? Tell me something.” “Just be calm”, she again repeated, “The doctor will be here soon and will tell you everything you want to know. You have been out for three days and I must try to get some kind of food into you.” Christ, I felt pain all over, I started to get scared as hell. I had so many questions to ask. The nurse brought me a glass of juice and a little yellow pill. “Take this, she said, and you will feel s little better.” I did, and in a short while I could feel myself floating. Hell, I said to myself, now I know how those addicts feel. I guess I was out for a while but it seemed like days. Then I saw this guy in front of me and realized he must be the doctor. “How are you doing son? You had a close call but you are going to be OK.” “Doc, please tell me what happened.” “Son, he said, my name is Dr. Jefferson. You were brought here in pieces three days ago and I will tell what the police think happened.”
“You were on the passenger side of the car and evidently the driver fell asleep while doing 60mph or better. Well he hit a three-foot tree without ever touching the brakes. The driver got thrown clear of the car and landed down an embankment. He has only some bad bruises and should be able to leave the hospital tomorrow. You have a few problems.” “Doc, I said, I am a pro golfer. Will I be able to play again, and when?” “Son, he said, you have a dislocated shoulder, a broken arm, and a hand that looks like it went through a meat grinder. You also received a good shot on the head and do have a concussion. As far as your golf, it’s your hand that is going to be the problem. We don’t know how much use you will have with it for at least a month.” A month! What the hell am I going to do for a month? At about this time I was wishing I had killed. I guess I started to get very excited so they gave me another yellow pill, then everything went black again. The very next thing I remember was morning. Here comes that cute little nurse again with a tray that looked like it had food on it. I was right and I was starved. I ate everything but the tray and there was still room in me for more, but at least I felt a little better.
As I finished my coffee and lit up a cigarette I spotted George in the hall. I guess he was a little scared to come in the room. Finally he came in. There was no sheepish grin and no smile. “Jim, how the hell are you?” “I don’t know George, how do I look?” He got red in the face and old George told it like it is. “Christ, you look lousy. If I look like I feel I must look like a turd.” Finally the grin, “Jim, I’m sorry, it was my fault, I don’t know what the hell to say.” “George”, I said, “ I understand it’s a hell of a long par four for me.” He quickly blurted out, “Jim I am insured. Your hospital and doctor bills will be paid, and he added, sue me Jim, I have lots of coverage.” He looked at me and could tell right away there was no amount of money worth while if I didn’t recover enough to play golf again. He started to get a little green and I could tell he wanted to run and hide. “Jim, I am getting released today. They tell me I will be able to playing a few weeks. You know I can’t hang around until you get in shape, I will be moving on.” He then made a move I never thought he had in him; he hugged me and I could see tears in his eyes. Needless to say my eyes were like a dripping sink.
Exactly five weeks went by and I was still in the hospital. The cat on my arm was to be taken off today. My head felt a lot better and the bruises on my body were healing fast. It was still my hand that I was worried about. Doctors kept playing with my fingers, which looked like the fingers of an 80 year old man. I was down in weight to 155 lbs. I was scared stiff. I walked the halls as much as I could to try and keep my legs in shape but I always felt tired. In all this time I never heard from anyone; I was depressed and at times wished I was dead. Dr. Jefferson came into the room, “Son, he said, today I am going to take off the cast and in a few days we are going to release you.” Where the hell would I go? What would I do? I had no one to go to. All the doc told me was to keep exercising the hand and to pray.
Three days later I left the hospital; no clothes, no transportation. I did have the seven thousand dollars in my checking account. My bills were all paid for by the insurance company, so I said to myself, it’s not all tat bad. I walked the streets for a while and then decided to go and get something to eat , have a few drinks and start making my plans. The next morning I went to a used car lot and bought myself a $1,800.00 car. I then went to a department store and bought some clothes. Now what do I do? I thought a while and then said to myself, hell, all I know is golf, what the hell is there to think about. I bought a newspaper and looked in the sports section. The next stop on the tour was Chicago. Well where the only friends I know are so off I went.
I arrived at the Crestmont Country Club on Monday morning. I figured I would meet the “rabbits” there that I would know. The first thing I did was to look up the starting times and I couldn’t find Georges name, he must have made the cut last week. I was real happy for the first time in weeks. Thursday morning came and at 8:45am I was on the first tee. Here he comes strolling in like a winner. “George” I yelled. He looked up turned a little white, ran up to me, grabbed my hand pumped it like he was after water, and asked the usual how the hell are you. Well I calmed him down, we talked a few minutes and I told him to get ready to hit and I would follow him around. Follow him I did, the full 18 holes. George shot 73 and hit the ball like he should have shot 65. He made a lot of mental errors that I felt I wouldn’t have made. That night over a few beers we talked and I told him about his mistakes. I hoped it wasn’t my presence that made him a little nervous. “No, George said, I have been doing this now for the last 3 or 4 weeks. I don’t know what’s wrong.” I said, “Let’s get to your room and get some sleep, tomorrow is a big day.” I felt he would have to shoot 71 to make the cut.
I slept with George that night. He was now traveling alone and had a room for himself. The next morning we traveled to the club together and I told him I would follow him around again. George was matched up with a skinny little Panamanian who had a swing like a baseball player but could he hit the hell out of the ball. I followed them and watched. George played better than the other guy but again he didn’t score as well. George shoots 72 and makes the cut. That night we were in the room and talking about tomorrow. “George, I said, I will get up early and go out to the club and see how things look. I will meet you there on the first tee at 9:30am, which was his starting time. I had something on my mind and I wanted to prove it to myself. I also did this Saturday and Sunday. I took mental notes and wrote down in a pad my ideas. George finished way down toward the bottom but he did manage to make expenses.
After his Sunday round we sat in the clubhouse and talked. At first I know George wasn’t listening. I could see he had his eye on this big titted broad and I figured his only interest was in getting laid tonight, which turned out to be right. Before I left the room I said, “George listen to me, I have an idea which may help both you and me.” I got him to listen and I gave him a shock. I told him I was going to caddie for him at the next event. After all he had to have a caddie and this was one job I felt I could handle with no problems. It would put my legs in shape and I would be around golf and pretty soon I could try swinging a club. George was amazed. “Jim, I never thought of it, why we could travel together and room together like old times.” “Well, I said, we will start off by traveling apart and see how it goes.” I said I would meet him at the next tour event for the practice round on Wednesday.
I arrived at the next tour event on Tuesday afternoon, went to see the caddie master and told him that I was going to be George Brett’s caddie. Well he didn’t like it because he had a full bullpen of caddies. But I told him that I was his regular and he finally said okay. He told me the rules laid out by the P.G.A. and the rules laid out for caddies by the club. Wow! I had forgot about me not being able to go into the clubhouse; and what time I had to get up in the morning to do any checking of pin placements; what side of the fairways were soft; which way the ball would bounce and all the other little things a caddie has to do that most people know nothing about.
Wednesday morning I got to the club at 5:30am. I took my note book and went out to the course, made all my notes and was back to the bullpen by 7:30am. There I was able to get a couple of grease filled doughnuts and a cup of hot coffee that tasted like it was last nights leftover for the main dining room. I found out fast things were a hell of a lot different as a caddie. .
George showed up for his practice round at ten o’clock and immediately I was glad I had my own car and knew right away I would have to make my own arrangements for a place to sleep. He had that big titted broad in his arms and I could tell that he was drinking the night before. Shit, I thought, I hope the hell I didn’t have to start taking care of both of them. Well I got his bag set up and he made arrangements to play with another two fellows and we started off. The broad naturally followed like a hot-blooded beagle after the rabbit. George fooled me; he hit the ball pretty good. I had the course marked and we talked over a lot of shots. With no pressure he shot a very easy 71 and I felt I helped him play a little better than he would have had I not been there. Tomorrow was the big test. The pins would be in tougher spots and the greens would be cut down to tournament size.
Thursday I did the same but all I had to do was to check the pin placements and we could be off. It surprised me George was there in plenty of time. I shagged some balls for him and he looked like he was swinging real good. George hit it great for 18 holes. He shot a 70 and that put him only two shots behind the leader. I congratulated him and told him I would see him first thing in the morning. “No”, he said. “We have to go out and catch some supper tonight and talk over old times.” “George, I told him, get to bed early, Christ, when the hell are you going to start getting serious about this game.” He looked at me with the grin and said “See you tomorrow.” Sure you lovable bastard I said to myself. I have to clean the clubs yet get up at 4:30am in the morning, and sleep with the wine-drinking slobs that Ii am sharing a room with. Well Friday comes and I go out as usual to check the pins and greens. They put the pins in places where I couldn’t believe and they didn’t water down the greens last night, hard and fast. I thought, well this is the big time and they weren’t going to make it easy for some lucky guy; you had to have all the shots.
By getting up early in the morning and doing all this walking I could tell, that even for the first few days, my legs were starting to feel good. I never went anywhere without that little rubber ball in my right hand. I was going to give that hand every opportunity to get better before I tried to swing a club. George shows up a little late but not late enough to hit some practice shots. I could tell he was screwing all the night before because he wasn’t swinging as good as yesterday.
George tees it up on the very first hole. I tell him just relax and try to be smooth and the rest will come. He pushes it off the first tee, knocks his second in the trap and ends up with a bogie on number one. He finishes the front nine two over for a 38. “Well, I tell him on the tenth tee, let’s loosen up, you have to be even par on the back or you won’t make the cut.” “Yes, he says, I know.” Okay, he birdies ten and that puts him only one over so far, Atta boy George let’s go get ‘em. He stays like that until the sixteenth hole.
The last three holes are a bitch. Sixteen is a par three, 220 yards with a horrible deep sand trap on the right side. Guess where they have the pin? This morning I checked; it was only fifteen feet from the bunker with a horrible left hand bounce if you try to play it over the trap. The green was monstrous and lightning fast; water on the left and the green elevated. George comes over to the bag, he is hitting second. I saw the other guy’s choice of clubs. He was going with a two iron but he wasn’t as long as George. He nails the two iron but drives it into the bunker. Hell if he makes a four from there I’ll kiss his ass. George says to me, “I think I’ll hit a two iron and try to fade it into the opening.” I almost puked. “George, I said, that’s Death Valley if you don’t pull it off. Stop thinking like a damn amateur. Fade shit, I told him, grab a three iron and hit for the middle of the green. Get down in two and maybe you make the cut.” He looked at me and then the grin came; so did the three iron. He knocked it onto the center of the green and almost made two. The other asshole made five and blew himself out of the tournament. George goes par on the next two holes for a good 73. Wow, I never thought this would be so much work.
Well we finish the event making $750.00. George gives me $150.00 and tells me to meet him at the next event. Let’s see, I start to figure my gas, my flophouse, my food and my time. Christ, I put in seven days for $150.00. Well I figure, here is what my bankroll is for so I guess I’ll give it another few tries.
The next few weeks were a little worse. Big tits was screwing George into the ground and I hear that he is drinking like hell and spending more than he could earn. I had my own troubles. It was three and a half months since the accident and my hand still felt like a piece of lead. I tried to play Monday and shot a fat 85 on a course I know the boys were going to burn up. My legs and body were in good shape. My bankroll was getting smaller. George had the shorts and owed me money. I had to make my move. Sunday after the event in which George made a grand total of $150.00 I said, George, I have to talk to you.” We talked and I told him he had to change things or I couldn’t continue. I told him about the money and I told him about the broad. Then he lays it on me. His family will not send him anymore money and big tits is knocked up. Besides he says she is also broke and wants to know what the hell can he do for her? I told him to go get circumcised and maybe he wouldn’t think of cunt for a month.
I get pissed off and I go back to my flophouse. I’m not here 15 minutes when they tell me I have a phone call in the lobby. What the hell does he want know? I said hello, real nasty, and I hear this broad crying. “Who the hell is this”, I ask? “It’s me Annie.” Now I know big tits’ name and it happens to be Annie. “I must see you, she said, it’s very important.” Christ, will I ever learn. “Okay, I said, where the hell are you?” She gives me the name of a restaurant and an address and I go there. I don’t have enough troubles of my own, I have to start listening to someone else’s. She tells me the whole story. She’s knocked up, broke, afraid to go home and my buddy George has another cunt. I should have told her to go and start selling her ass but I didn’t. “What the hell is it going to cost?” Well abortions being illegal in this state about $750.00, let’s see food and transportation to her home, a total of one grand. I write out a check, pay the tab and say good-bye. Why, I didn’t know?
I travel to the next event and go right to the caddie master. I talk to him like a Dutch uncle and beg for a bag. Well, he says, I know about you and I heard a few “rabbits” talk and say some nice things. I also know you have your card and I feel sorry about your hand. He tells me he will get me a bag. I say thanks and remind him not to give me George Brett. Monday and Tuesday I try to play again. I hit it a little better but I’m sure they won’t give me a twelve handicap on tour. I am getting a little worried.
M money is slowly but surely running out. If I don’t get a guy that makes the cut the most I will get is two days pay, thirty bucks for a weeks work. I now have troubles. I get my first bag out of the bullpen and who does it happen to be but the little Panamanian I met months ago. Rico was his first name and he turned out to be a hell of a guy. He was easy to work for. He had been around and knew that the first thing you had to do was make the cut, which he did. I worked my ass off for him and he appreciated it and gave me $200.00 for the week. I almost kissed him. We both parted happy and I shoved off for the next event. There I managed to get another bag. This guy makes the cut but tries to pay me off in clothes and golf gloves. I wasn’t buying any of this so he gave me the minimum, which was $15.00 per day. Another week I take a beating. Some people do not know what a tour caddie goes through; fix this guy up with a broad, carry another guy home after he gets bombed, burp him the next morning and hope that he doesn’t run out on you if he fails to make the cut.
For the next four months I go through all of this right to the end of November when the tour events get smaller and there aren’t many good bags left. If you didn’t have a regular all that’s left are the players that are trying to make a few bucks for the holidays, a few “rabbits that don’t have any money left and a lot of guys that don’t belong on the tour. I took stock in myself. I am damn near broke, my shoulder hurts a little and I really can’t use two fingers on my right hand. The cards were dealt and I made up my mind. I was going to sell the car for what I could get, buy a plane ticket to New Jersey and go see my old friend Tony Boyle and my married sister.
The 707 was to land at Newark airport at 10:00am. I could see the turnpike as we were approaching the runway. It had been just about a year when George and I started down that road to try to make our way in life. A lot of things crossed my mind. How was my family? Would Tony Boyle feel the same about me? What was I going to do this winter? The plane taxied to a stop and the doors opened. I knew we were in Newark the moment they opened the door. The smell of the garbage dump and the oil refinery was there to remind me. I took my two small bags walked to the cab stand and told the driver to take me to the bus terminal. The bus ride would be about an hour to my sisters place. I wonder what she would say when she saw me? After all I only sent a few cards home in the past year. A one hour bus ride, another short cab ride and I was in front of a little brick house that gave me many fond memories.
I walked up to the front door, rang the bell and waited for a few minutes. The door opened and I could see the shock in her eyes. “Jim, she yelled, what a hell of a surprise.” There stood my chubby sister, no visual changes. We kissed and hugged and I guess I had tears in my eyes. “Kathy how are the kids? How is John, your husband?” “Well everyone, she said, was in good health. We haven’t heard from you in such a long time. I hear you were in a terrible accident. Are you OK?” I sat down and told her about myself. I said that I was feeling fine but was still having trouble with my hand. She grabbed my bag and ran it into the boys’ room. “You are staying with us and don’t make any excuses,” she shouted. The next thing I know I am sitting down having lunch. It was the type that everything came out of the refrigerator and was put on the table. After I ate, smoked and talked for a good two hours I asked if I could borrow her car. I wanted to see Tony Boyle before another day had gone by. I drove for about thirty-five minutes. I knew I was in for another questions and answers program so I set my mind in that direction.
I walked into the pro shop and I swear it was like I never left. Tony was there with his wife Marge taking inventory for the end of the year. One look at me and he let out a yell as though he was telling everyone at the club I was there. After the hugs and kisses he questions came and I was surprised that they were following me pretty close up to my accident. Tony said he thought I had it going before the accident but what the heck did I do after it? I went through the whole George bit and Tony’s eyes lit up. He thought it was a hell of a good idea. When I told him that I was going to live a t my sister’s for a while he volunteered his apartment because he would be leaving for the south after Thanksgiving Day. “Do you need any Money?” “No, I answered, I can get along.” “Jim, I’ll tell you what I’ll do. After the holiday when we leave for the south, you take the apartment and hang around the shop. You may get a few lessons and whatever sales you make I will give you the mark up on each item.”
Thanksgiving day came along with my 25th birthday; I was now in the Pro’s apartment. I thought, well, I had a place to sleep and I could always hustle some lessons for food money. I was real lucky it was one of those Indian Summers and it didn’t look like it was ever going to get real cold. Between the golf lessons and the Christmas sales I was able to make out Ok. The members treated me real good. I was also able to play a few holes every day and my hand started to feel a little better. One day when I was in the shop exercising my hand one of the members walked in. He had joined the club a few months before I had left but I knew his name. “Hello, Mr. Stitchman, I said.” Hello, young fellow, do you remember me, he asked?” “Yes, I do sir, came my reply.” “I have to buy a few Christmas presents for some friends so I came down to see if you could help me.” Help him I did; four sweaters, two dozen balls and four shirts. I pit everything into gift boxes and thanked him dearly for the sales. He asked, “What happened to your hand?” We sat and talked for quite a while. I told him about the accident and what the doctor at the hospital had said to me. “Jim, he said, I am a doctor. Will you come to my office and let me look the hand over?” “Sure”, I answered very quickly. We made an appointment. I went to his office and he started taking x-rays. He sat and looked at the pictures of my hand and told me what he saw. Naturally I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about but I listened to every word he said. When he finished I just said “Doc, tell me what has to be done in order to get that hand back into the right working condition.” He laid it right on the line “JIM, I’d like to operate but I can’t promise you a thing. It looks real bad but would like to give it a shot.” What’s it going to cost?” I answered. He laughed, “Look you pay the hospital bill. If we can reopen your case and get some money for me then I get paid. If not, when you make the big time I’ll send you a bill.” This was my kind of guy. “Doc, I said, start cutting”
This time I was totally aware of what was going on in the hospital. Dr. Stitchman did his cutting and I did the watching. I never knew that they sweat so much when they operate. He looked like he had a four-foot, side hill putt on the 18th green for all the money. I was back in my room late in the afternoon of the operation. The Doc walks in and gives me the regular “How you feeling?” “Good, I said, is my hand going to be Ok?” “Boy you are impatient. We can’t tell anything yet for a few weeks. It has to start healing and we have to take more pictures.” Christmas comes and goes and I am very high; the bandages will come off next week. I know my hand will be in a sling for a while but it’s all down hill.
The winter I thought would come, come like hell. Cold, snow up the ass, sleet, the weather was making my hand hurt like hell. Finally x-ray day they took more pictures of my hand than they do of a bare assed broad at a smoker. Hours later after much study, I said, “Doc, talk to me. Give me some good news.” “Well, he said, the hand is mending nice. We did help you a hell of a lot.” Then came the biggest “But” I would ever hear. “Jim, he said, you will be able to play but I doubt if you can play as many days and weeks in a row that you will have to on tour.“ I got excited and asked, “Maybe I can play a few events a month and it will hold up.” Dr. Stitchman answered very calmly “ Work the hand as gently as you can and give it a try. You will determine how good it will ever be.” I went back to my apartment smoked a few butts and thought; I can’t do anything here so I may as well go south. I went to my sisters’ that night and talked it over with her and her husband. I am now twenty-five years old. Golf is all I know. They both knew there was no sense in trying to talk me out of it. I was a thickheaded bitch and I was proving it. I went to the Pro shop took a new set of sticks, shoes, packed my bags, left a note for Tony and started to head south by bus. I had about $3,200 bucks in my kick so I had to play it cool. When I got to Miami it was into the first week of February. Boy the weather was good. I checked my bags at the bus depot and headed for Tony Boyle’s house.
Hitching wasn’t my bag but I did it very well. I go tot Tony’s house and there was Marge sitting on the front porch. “Don’t you ever warn anyone, she asked?” “I like surprises, I answered after I kissed her. I didn’t have to be told where Tony was. She said he would be home at 5:00pm and we could have supper together. Tony was home at 5:00pm sharp. I told him the whole story about the Doc, and me taking the clubs and shoes. “Good, he answered, you can start tomorrow. I will work with you and see if we can get you together.” They gave me a room, which I gladly accepted. Tony was to me what I never had, a father. This man would go straight to heaven, I said to myself. He is always helping one of the young guys.
For two weeks we hit the practice range every day for three to four hours and my hand started to get real strong. I was real happy. Finally Tony said to me “Tomorrow we start putting that hand to the real test. You are going to play eighteen holes a day for five straight days and let’s see what happens.” At the end of five days I was dog-tired. My hand had some pain in it but it wasn’t enough to stop me from shooting five scores under 80. This may not sound too good for a pro but it was the best I shot in seven months.
March was here and the weather was getting a heck of a lot better. My feet were getting itchy and Tony knew that I wanted to take a shot. We looked at the mini tour and found out that the next event was going to be in Tampa. I said my goodbyes to the Boyles. I promised them that I would keep in touch. I boarded a bus on Saturday afternoon; I had to get there and be ready for Monday. The Tampa Bay Club was beautiful. I got there Sunday morning and went to the pro shop to see the Pro. He told me that Tony had already called and said I should be taken care of; in fact he said one of his assistants would play a practice round with me that afternoon. We teed it up about 3:00pm. After we played five holes I noticed something. I had lost a lot of distance off the tee and I was using more iron to get to the green than this kid. I started to pace my shots off. It was so. He was longer than me, I had lost the distance. It was shock number one. Well, I thought maybe I will get it back after a while.
Monday came and I was very nervous. I found some of the guys from last year; in fact one of the guys I played with was one of the “rabbits” I caddied for at the end of last year. Off we went and like I figured I was always hitting first. I scraped it around for a 75 but it was a tough 75. If I didn’t putt well I would have been over 80. I made the cut after another 75. Two more rounds like that and I might even make a payday. The third day was murder. I tried to hit the ball harder so I pushed it all day. I was knocking in ten footers for pars and bogies. 81 blows and I was so far down the list the next morning my starting time was the same as the greens keepers. I was tired and beat but I would not quit. Again I hit it all over the lot. I scraped it to a 78 but the worse thing was my hand; it started to swell. That night in my flea bitten room I used an ice pack on my hand but the pain was terrible. Then I did the next worse thing and bought a bottle of Scotch and started to drown my sorrows and try to kill the pain. I bused it again to the next stop, which was about five hours away. The swelling went down but so did the Scotch. I teed it up again and gave my very best but I was doing more damage to the hand. I couldn’t have made the cut if I had to shoot two 80’s.
I started feeling sorry for myself and got tangled up with the bottle. For two weeks I did nothing but get sorry for myself and get soused. The Doral was in two weeks. I sat and thought; I was down to less than a thousand bucks between me and starvation. Well hard head, I said to myself, let’s give a good try this time. I threw the bottle away and went to Doral, practiced from morning to night. The hand was sore but after a half hour of practice it always felt the same. I rested on Saturday and Sunday; I wanted to be ready for Monday morning. I had to get a spot for Wednesday or I was dead. Monday morning I was as ready as I would eve be. There were 24 spots going to be open and about 75 “rabbits”. Well I had to be better than two thirds of the field. I did it! I shot a nice 75 and that gave me a shot at Thursday. I run back to the flophouse where I was staying and soaked my hand in ice; it felt pretty good. Tuesday and Wednesday I practice but not too much.
Thursday I get an 8:45am starting time and my playing partners are two regular touring pros. One is that guy fresh out of Wake Forrest who is tearing up the tour and the other is this blonde headed kid from California by the name of Ben Little. I was amazed at this guy Little. He was about 5’11” tall and weighed about 190 lbs. He hit the ball so far I needed a cab to catch him. The Wake Forrest kid did everything right. He proved that by shooting a 69, Little had 70 and I shot a juicy 73. I felt real good about my score but I think the playing of the other two guys helped me out.
After we put our scores in Little asks me to have a drink with him. We go to the dining room and he orders a burger and iced tea. I take the same order. We start talking and I find out that he has a hell of a lot of knowledge of the game. I find out he played golf first class ever since he was sixteen years old; went to college and played golf there. It was easy to see he had the right attitude. We ate and made small talk. He told me he could tell I had some problem with my right side. I explained about my hand and told him I thought this would be my last shot. He wished me luck and said if he could ever help in any way to look him up; a real class guy.
Friday morning I get up and to my surprise it’s cold outside, about 50 degrees. I put on a heavy sweater and head for the club. What I didn’t know was that the temperature wouldn’t get up to 65 degrees for the rest of the day. After 4 holes in the wind and cold I knew I was in trouble. I was trying to hit it so hard my hand started to swell. I thought, “to hell with it there are no more tomorrows.” I managed to shoot 75 and make the cut. That was the worse thing that happened. For the next two days the weather was the same and by Sunday night my hand looked like I had been punching a brick wall. I didn’t make enough of a paycheck to cover my expenses. I was down, hurt, and tired.
Weeks later I decided to go see Tony Boyle; talk to him and see if he had any ideas. Tony, as usual, was good. He was leaving Florida to go north in a few days but said he would get me to a doctor friend of his to give the hand another look. I talked to this doctor while they were waiting for the x-rays to develop. I guess I told him my whole life’s story. After looking at the pictures he said he was going to level with me. “Jim, why don’t you try to get a job as a salesman or something else related to golf. Your hand will never take the punishment of playing or practicing seven days a week..” Tony sat there and never said a word until we were in his car on our way back to his house. “Jimmy, he spoke, why not come home and work with me for the rest of the year.” I didn’t answer, I had to go someplace and think. I had spent ten years of my life working like hell to get a shot at the big time. I was here and through a damn freak accident I wasn’t going to make it. I kept thinking, I can’t quit; try again; what’s the other alternatives? I left Tony with a quick goodbye. I didn’t know where I was going but I was going.
A few weeks later I end up in Greensboro NC. I had made up my mind. I needed money and I wanted to stay close to what was my first love. I went to the caddie master and talked to him. I let him know that I carried bags last year on tour and I could work his club until the pros got there for the Greensboro Open. He told me I would have to hit the bullpen and see what happens. I was back where I started over ten years ago; lugging a bag for anyone I could working from morning to night.