Caddy Tip #106
Recently, I played in a qualifier for the NC Mid-Amateur golf tournament. It’s one of the Carolinas Golf Association Majors, and there are several qualifiers throughout the state to complete the field of 100+ players.
This year’s host course is Sedgefield CC , which hosts the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship. I am eligible after being reinstated as an amateur golfer and having celebrated thirty years since I took my first breath. I guess they call it “Mid-Am” for mid-life, because we are too old to compete against the teens and twenty somethings (protect ego), and too young to tee it up from the Gold Tees(50+ crowd). I’m just getting warmed up! Thirty is the new twenty! At least that’s what I tell myself —— even though my body seems to argue most mornings.
Back to the tournament
I played the one-day shoot-out against 88 other guys for twenty spots in this year’s championship. The qualifying round was contested at Chapel Hill CC. The course was stretched to approximately 6,850 yards, and the par 72 Gene Hamm layout was in perfect condition. The Bermuda rough was up (about 1.5″-2″) and the greens were rolling true and quick (that speed where putts can get away from you easily). The weather was soggy, humid, and rainy.
There were three of us playing in our group. Also joining us was Justin, my caddie. He is a great friend, and said he would be my looper (he once caddied for the the Lama I am told, but that is another story).
I am a pretty low maintenance golfer as far as caddying goes. My main expectations are:
- keep the ball and clubs clean
- keep the grips dry
- help with yardage from time to time
- provide an extra pair of hands in wet conditions (holding the umbrella, etc)
- be a sounding board and security blanket for decision making
That is pretty much it… Oh! one more thing, pull the pin when I putt.
Justin learned this, caddy tip #106, on the ninth hole. I was faced with a putt of about 60 feet. Justin was tending the flag. I made my stroke and the line was perfect. The ball broke right too left down the hill and headed towards the cup. “This could go in”, I thought. “Okay, any time now, pull the pin. Pull the pin.”
“PULL THE PIN!” the four of us yelled in chorus.
Justin, startled, snapped back like a mouse hypnotized from a cobra’s dance just in time to liberate the flagstick from the cup. Fortunately, my ball rolled over the left edge of the hole and all was well. Whew! That was close.
Had it struck the pin while putting on the green I would have incurred a two-stroke penalty (note updated, in 2019, under USGA Rule 13.2a(a) it is no longer a penalty if a ball played on the green hits the flagstick) .
Other than that incident, the round went well. Justin did a great job, even though he was annoyed I did not let him do his job sometimes when I pulled clubs from the bag myself. I played well, carding two birdies, one eagle, and a bogey to finish with a three under par, 69, to take medalist honors. I believe 74 made it through the cut.
Now we’re off to Sedgefield in mid-September for my first NC Mid-Am Championship.