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Mark's Kaddy Korner : Desert Trip

Professional Caddy, Mark Huber has an interesting trip caddying in the desert

Posted Mar 23, 2011 by Mark's Kaddy Korner

The desert trip wasn’t firmed up until Saturday evening in Newport Beach and I never talked with my new boss until I set foot on the JW Marriot Desert Ridge Resort putting green Monday morning. Texting is all the Asian contingent relies on; talking on the phone is almost extinct. While I was earning my weekly percentage at the Palm Springs blackjack tables Sunday night Jimin was texting me my Monday morning schedule. She wasn’t playing but wanted me to work for her friend J. Y. something or other. We went nine holes and I still haven’t seen the cash yet for my efforts.

For that matter none of the caddies saw a lot of cash last week and the players donated all their winnings to their favorite charity. The inaugural RR Donnelly Founders Cup brought together the surviving LPGA mothers, a number of Hall of Famers, and donated the entire purse to charity. With the NFL millionaires striking for more millions it was nice to see the LPGA, probably the lowest paid professional athletes, unselfishly donating their week, their purse and their time for a worthy cause.

I was hesitant about working only for my weekly salary but it was a very rewarding experience. The crowds were extremely supportive, it was exciting bumping shoulders with Patty Sheehan, Betsy King, Nancy Lopez and the JW Marriott provided the caddies a nice pad for three or four days. We had to scramble for a room the first two nights but hanging out by the numerous resort pools, Jacuzzis, Tiki Bars, watching the celebrities roam the hallways and putting up with the coyotes yelping every morning about 4:30 outside our patio door wasn’t the normal caddy week. Brother Dan was back from his two month Asian swing; we shared a room and caught up on things.

The LPGA, RR Donnelly, JW Marriott and the tournament volunteers took very good care of us, I’m not sure we’ve ever received this nice of treatment anywhere. Transportation was at our call, player dining was at our service, the Marriott staff treated us like normal humans and the golf course was pristine, very walkable, and the conditions were ideal for a bunch of birdies which we didn’t find. Jimin struggled with a sore rib and a balky short game all week. Her facial expressions aren’t indicative of her humorous nature and we had a good time despite the poor scoring.

A new boss takes some adjusting time, especially when she’s a young Korean and there’s not much in common with an old fart like me. There wasn’t much conversation but we managed quite a few laughs and seemed to work well together. The hip held up nicely without the carts as a crutch and a lot of players and caddies said they didn’t recognize me without my limp. It’s so nice to be healthy again. I went 18 holes every day except Wednesday and even managed some dancing on St. Patty’s and Saturday night.

My old Senior Tour buddy, Johnny Mac, was working this week for Dana Bordner and we managed a little St. Patty’s Day trip through our old stomping grounds north of Phoenix in Cave Creek. We played the Senior Tour Tradition tournament at Desert Mountain for fifteen years and managed many a good time in the little community.

With all the development throughout the Arizona foothills it was nice to see Greasewood Flats and Harold’s Saloon hadn’t changed. The parking lots were cleaned up a bit, we didn’t have to squeeze among the ironwood trees and saguaro cactus but the atmosphere and clientele was still the same. My Packer hat, the only green I owned, received a few frowns at Harold’s. I forgot they were diehard Steeler fans but the owner, Danny, gracefully handled things and even bought us dinner after some slow service.

We missed the cut, three birdies in two days don’t do a lot of damage but she never gave up, tried on every shot, and we actually had our chances with nine holes to play. I think we missed five or six putts inside ten feet Saturday. We only needed a couple to fall for the cut but it was a bit of blessing in disguise. Jimin was able to rest her rib and I snuck up to Payson for an evening of song and dance with Wendy’s relatives.

Eight of us shared a small cabin, watched her cousin’s husband Wayne’s band hammer out some great R & R, C & W, with a smattering of blues at a local honky-tonk. The band member’s family and friends were the majority of the audience; fun was had by all, reminding everyone of a Big Chill weekend. Getting there was a bit difficult but the tournament transportation volunteers helped out tremendously, I really can’t pack them on the back enough for all their help.

We crashed at Todd’s again Sunday evening in Palm Springs on our way to LA. The laundry got done but the casino trip was less than profitable. The damn dealers teased me all night and kept me there till about 4:00 before they took all my rations. A quick nap then off to the City of Industry just east of LA. A new course so there will be a lot of young Asian girls ready to tee it up early Monday morning and I’ll be beside one of them.

- Mark Huber

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