Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Olympic Club- Lary the sleepy caddie

This years U.S.Open brought back memories of my 2006 West coast golf trip. My golf buddy, Kevin, and I arrived in San Francisco in the afternoon and ready for some golf went directly to Harding Park and got 15 holes in before dark. The next day we had arranged a tee time at the famous Lake Course at The Olympic Club. We then would head south to Monterrey and play the Big 3 there, followed by Pasatiempo, and finishing up at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort for several rounds. Our version of a golf trip of a lifetime. Which fortunately, there have been a few more over the past several years.

It was a cool, foggy morning when we arrived at The Olympic Club, even though they were having record high temperatures just a few miles inland. We went in the pro shop, paid our fee, and were given a nice leather pouch containing some Pro V logo golf balls, ball marker, divot tool, and bag tag. I asked if they had any caddies available, and the assistant said he would arrange for one to carry both our bags for an additional fee plus gratuity. We agreed and drove to the range to hit a few balls. After getting loosened up we headed back to the first tee and are met by our designated caddie, who I will call Lary. He didn't look like your usual caddie, as he was dressed in blue jeans and a light casual jacket. He picked up our bags and immediately said these were way to heavy for him to carry, even though we had both packed very light for the trip. He wanted us to take things out even though there was nothing extra to omit. I said how about you just drive a power cart with the bags on them and we do the walking. That worked for Lary. The first hole Lary seemed like he was into it and was close on the yardage of my approach shot on the par 5. He had a moist towel and cleaned off my ball on the green. By the fourth hole, Lary had yet to give us any helpful tips on how to play the holes and his yardages where not really that close. By now his towel was dry and he was spitting on our golf balls and clubs to clean them. He also hadn't been of any help in following any wayward shots into the thick rough. On the 8th hole we had both missed the green and needed some wedges and our putters brought to us. Lary still had not caught on to whose clubs belonged to who and again gave us the other's clubs. After the tenth hole there is a nice halfway house to get some nourishment. At Olympic they put hamburgers in the mold of a hot dog and serve them up in a hot dog bun. Once Lary returned from an extended stay in the bathroom, I asked him if he wanted something. He went for the burgerdog and a drink. Since we had already eaten we told him at the tee he could finish up and catch us down the fairway with our clubs. We had both pushed our drives to the right and spent some time locating them on our own. Still no Lary, he was motionless sitting back in the cart at the tee. I yell and he finally comes to life and heads down the cart path. He pulls up and I look in my bag to find some of Kevin's clubs mixed with mine. How hard can it be to keep different branded clubs separated? We make it to the par 3, 15th,  which has a lateral deep ditch and OB on the left. I had a new set of Mizuno forged irons and Lary asked if he could hit one off the tee to see how they feel. What can one say but, sure. Of course Lary who couldn't find a ball if it were in the middle of the fairway, didn't have any extra balls on him so he helped himself to one of my nice Olympic logo Pro V's. He proceeded to hook it so far left over the ditch and chain link fence that Tarzan couldn't have gotten to it, let alone golf cart bound Lary. On the long par 5, 16th, Lary thought he should drive down the cart path and fore caddie. We both hit good drives down the middle and Lary is again motionless sitting in the cart. I walk up to the cart and Lary is sound ASLEEP!! My patience with Lary was now gone, I smack my driver on the side of the cart right under where he is sitting and Lary jumps too life. We make it to the green and Lary again disappears for an extended period of time to the bathroom. In the mean time we have raked the bunkers, holed out, and are ready to tee off. Lary reappears and seems energized now, is this his home stretch run for a big tip, or could he possibly have taken something to put a little pep in his step? We finish up our round and low and behold we are missing three head covers between us. Kevin and I go inside and look around the pro shop for some mementos after our round. We return to see if Lary has located them on the course he says he has them all back on and disappears. Upon inspection only one was ours, so we leave Olympic with odd head covers. We gave Lary a new name- Rip Van Lary the sleepy caddie. Kevin, emailed me today and was wondering if Lary may have gotten on a bag for this weeks U.S. Open. I told him he may be holding a bag this week but I doubt if it has any golf clubs in it. We will watch the telecasts and see, maybe Lary just had a bad day in 2006. I am guessing that Lary probably had a lot of days like that in his life.

That 2006 trip I borrowed a friends digital camera and those were some of the first golf course photo's I ever took. Enclosed are those first crude few, about 30,000 pictures and three camera's ago.

I do have some fond memories of that day. I played the short par 4, 18th, by hitting a 3 wood and an 8 iron to about 25 feet above a Sunday pin position. For those that have never played Olympic, being above the hole is the last place you want to leave yourself. I barely touched the putt and by the time it had gotten within a few feet of the hole is was really moving. Luckily for me, it hit the hole square and dropped in for a birdie or I would have been chipping back on and probably looking at a bogey or worse. The first few holes at Olympic cover the most difficult terrain on the property and anyone getting through these under par should shoot a pretty good score. Staying on some of these fairways is next to impossible due to the side hill slope causing the ball to run off. It is always fun to watch an event on a course you have played and see how the pro's fare.
Open Update:Watching this years Open the down hiller's on the 18th didn't seem as scary fast as when I had played it. Doing some research I found out that the green has been smoothed from a 6.5 degree slope to a 3.5-4.0 slope. No more 14.5 stimp readings. Still one tough finishing hole.

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