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Mark's Kaddy Korner in Montreal

Life on the Road for a Caddie in Canada

Posted Jun 27, 2012 by Mark's Kaddy Korner

canadian flag

I’m finishing up KK Tuesday morning overlooking Fox Chapel GC, last week I wrote KK outside a truck stop west of Montreal at 2 in da’ mornin’, eating soy nuts, cold pizza and drinking chocolate milk. Yes, really, chocolate milk, beer sales were cut off at midnight. I took off Sunday afternoon, stopped in Christmas for pizza, beers and the U.S. Open then called it a night at a Mom & Pop in Munising, MI. The plan was to be in Montreal around midnight Monday but it was a long, beautiful trek across highway 17. More long than beautiful, the Mounties won’t let you drive over 65 and four lanes were few and far between.

The States have some decent priced Mom & Pops, Quebec doesn’t. Wisconsin has reasonably priced cold beer; Quebec has expensive lager with quite the kick. I couldn’t find either one so I curled up in my Nissan Sentra across the highway from Richilieau CC and grabbed about 3 hours of pass out time early Tuesday morning. My alarm went off at 8:30, I was planning to meet Bob at ten, and his text came at 8:40, “Let’s meet at noon”. Best news I’d heard in a long time and it gave me time to do a little scouting.

When we’re in a new town there’s a bit of competition to find the best “digs” for the least amount of dough. I think I won, landing a clean, reasonable room #5 overlooking the Richilieau River about 15 minutes from the course. It was quiet and comfortable until Saturday night when the Jean Bapiste Day celebration ran over into room #6. I pounded the wall a few times, yelled out the window but couldn’t call the front desk; there was no phone in the room. Oh well, 4 out 6 nights good sleep is all I need.

We played the other 18 at Richilieau in 1999, Jim Ahern beat Hale Irwin, what an upset and it came the week after Hale was beat by Tom McGinnis in a playoff in Boston. Hale could have had 47 Champions Tour wins instead he’s stuck on 45, poor guy. Both tracks are old school design, with spacious greens, narrow dogleg fairways, and gnarly rough with tricky crosswinds. We were confounded all week and our score showed it.

Even “Doughboy” and his crew at the scoreboard couldn’t help me; they did provide cold beers and entertainment on the way to the car every night and kept an eye on my socks and phone when I left them behind Saturday evening. There was another panic attack when I got to the gas station, reached in my pocket, no wallet, and no phone. I’m going to tie it around my neck from now on; my blood pressure can’t take the trauma, luckily my valuables were among an honest but slightly off-kilter crew.

David Skitt and his tournament crew took such good care of us, we got a bit spoiled. Loren Roberts got a Happy Birthday song in French Sunday morning on the practice tee, there was a nice breakfast buffet every morning inside the clubhouse every day and the caddy lounge was so comfortable you didn’t want to leave. If they can level out our parking lot by next year there will be absolutely no complaints.

The only mishap was Saturday morning when Mark “Stalker” Schoenwald stepped into three wedges on the range. Mark Brooks was warming up and caught “Stalker” with a handful of wedges in the mouth. Blood was everywhere, police escort took him to the nearest doctor and they stitched him up in time for him to reach the 4th green. There are only a few things that can keep a good caddy down; wedges to the mouth ain’t one of them.

I can caddy a tournament round without sleep but a practice round is way too hard, even with a cart. I managed on Tuesday but barely and I thought I had Wednesday off but Mike Hurlburt needed a fill-in “cadero” for the pro-am. What the hell, an extra “hundie” and another look with four new friends would be a plus. I made the mistake of telling our lone male partner we made need some local knowledge since he was a member; he was in our ear the whole round stating the obvious and bugging the crap out of us. The three ladies were a treat and after a few Hurlburt lessons they were swatting the ball quite nicely just a few too many times. They even handled my jokes well. “We’re French-Canadians, we can take it”, they clamored.

We struggled all week, playing well for awhile then “bam” a double-cross mid-iron would sneak up and bite our butt. We’d be cruising; a couple under on the day then a double bogey or back to back three putts would send us reeling. His head would drop, shoulder’s sagged and we’d stagger to the clubhouse. His attitude wavered all week and we had a little discussion on the range Saturday afternoon.

It didn’t help, Sunday on the first tee he looked at the pin on nine and started complaining about the treacherous placement and how impossible it would be to get close. We hit our approach shot into the bleachers with a double-cross, no triple-cross, 7-iron on our last hole. He got it up and down finishing +1, tied for 44th for the competition. The “Golfing Gods” got even with us for the week. Attitude is everything in this game, well maybe a few putts dropping also.

I almost gave my first bad number for the year on the par 3 sixth hole Sunday. The blocks were confusing and I was tired but “Shampoo” saved me. While I was spouting off the wrong yardage he cozied up and whispered, “You alright with that number?” I took a look, pulled Bob off the shot and gave him the readjusted number. It was about 8-10 yards longer; he switched from a 6 to a 5 iron and knocked it on the back fringe. I should have stuck with the wrong number and what’s worse, “Shampoo” may be one of the worst caddies out here and he caught me with the bad yardage. My ego is quite shattered, I’m not sure if I’ll survive.

I did learn a very important lesson this week. Three pair of underwear isn’t enough for a tournament week. At the cabin I can survive on less, commando works in the woods but not on the course and you can’t dry bathroom sink washed skivvies in microwave. Just food for thought, heading for Pittsburgh via Verona Beach, NY, gotta visit my old buddy BogieManT on Lake Oneida.

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