Imagine Golf Blogs

On the Road Again

Professional Caddy, Mark Huber, is travelling cross country as they aim for the top 30

Posted Oct 12, 2011 by Mark's Kaddy Korner

There have been longer road trips but never as many beds; there were five different beds in my life from Cary, NC to Houston. We left a wonderful bed in Cary Sunday morning, stopped through Morgantown, WVA that night, the bed was adequate and convenient plus the right price but after that it was a bit shaky. Monday night I could have slept in a familiar bed at Mom’s but I kept going, chose to drive south of St. Louis and checked into a shady Motel 6.

When your motel has a bulletproof check-in window, the clerk’s eyes are a bit glazed and the folks behind you have numerous tattoos and body piercings you should probably look elsewhere, but I was tired and settled in. The young ladies in the parking lot asked me how I was doing; they weren’t the welcoming committee so I went straight to my room and got a quick seven hours sleep. Peanuts, beer, some fruit, a few leftovers and a PBS special on Prohibition knocked me out.

Like I said, driving in the fall is my favorite and as I headed south the cotton fields traded places with the northern corn and beans. Farmers were in the fields, wildlife roamed the interstate ditches, hawks floated overhead and I had four playoff games on XM, bright sunshine and a lot of highway between St. Louis and Houston. There was no way I could make it to Houston before the Brewer game started Tuesday evening so I stopped in Lufkin, TX about two hours north of Houston.

Modern technology sure has helped my travels, I lean on Garmin a bunch and she found me a mom and pop motel plus a local Bar-B-Que place in Lufkin. Lufkin Bar-B-Que closed at nine; I was there at 8:58 for my carryout, picked up a quart at a gas station and checked into the Super 6 motel. The young Mexican clerk put me in room 136, trouble was a large man shrouded in a sweet smelling cloud of smoke answered the door after about the fourth time I tried the key. “Sorry sir, clerk made a mistake,” I got the hell out of there and scurried to the office. The next room was unoccupied but I had to pay off a panhandler as I unloaded my van.

The ribs, potato salad and baked beans were excellent, the Brewers got their butts kicked and I woke up at five not knowing where the hell I was. I hustled through a shower, hit the road and met Bob on the range about 8:15 for the pro-am. You should always check your shampoo caps carefully when reloading your shaving kit early in the morning; it makes your toothbrush taste funny that night.

The road trip was half my week but there was serious work to do. Todd’s brother Paul put me up. It was a 45 minute drive each way to the Woodlands but worth it. A nice comfortable bed, a couple home cooked meals, dogs sleeping on your lap and local drinking establishments made things very relaxing, I needed that during a stressful  week. The Bareback Bar provided cold $2 longnecks on my way home, just wish I could have stayed there longer a few nights.

It was a frustrating week on the golf course; I guess that’s why I’m avoiding the subject. Bob played well in the pro-ams, holed a shot from the 11th fairway and probably shot 66 or 67 each day. Friday, we shot 75 with a double on the par 3 third hole without hitting a bad shot. When our six iron was airborne over the water Behrnard Langer shouted “Go in the hole!” It splashed and Langer didn’t say another word all day, especially when he finished double-double (caddies call it an In-and-Out Burger finish) after getting it to seven under. Strange things happen in this game if you play it long enough.

They take pretty good care of us in Houston. Towels are rough and thin, parking is decent, there are catered meals every day and a Rudy’s smoker is parked behind the clubhouse for player and caddy pleasure. Brisket, sausage, turkey, pulled pork and all the fixins’ whenever we’re ready. The only problem the potato salad was tainted and there were a lot of players, caddies and volunteers searching out port-o-johns at all hours of the day. It was painful watching a few caddies stroll the fairways.

We tried, maybe a bit too hard, struggled Friday and Saturday before a torrential downpour put us out of our misery.  Saturday, I committed the ultimate caddy error, I started thinking ahead. The less you think in this game the better off you are but after we birdied nine, got it up and down on ten and then birdied 11 with a couple of par fives coming up I thought we were in good shape. We were even par and looking good. Bogey on 12, double on the par 5 13th, bogey on 14, and bogey on the par five 15th after reaching the green in two, that’s what I get for thinking ahead.

Texas has been in a serious drought the last year with only 6 inches of rain and 4 million acres destroyed by wildfires, I’m glad the Champions Tour brought rain to this desolate area. Tom Kite, our Sunday playing partner, wasn’t happy; he was 6 under through 12 holes and headed for his best round of the year. Brad Faxon and his caddy “Ziggy”, who was doing a rain dance all morning, celebrated with their first Champions Tour win, it couldn’t happen to two nicer guys.

We never discussed the top 30 or the Schwab Cup Tour Championship but it was on our minds. I only hope our golf game is as good as Wisconsin baseball and football these days, we could make a lot of money the last two tournaments. Next week it’s a new course in San Antonio, I wish we were still at Oak Hill, a course that sets up for Bob’s game but we’ll be okay. Like Crenshaw said at the 1999 Ryder Cup, “I’ve got a feeling.”

- Mark Huber

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