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The Caddie's Tool This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I arrive at the swanky country club on a steaming mid-July morning. The parking lot looks like a luxury car dealership – row after row of Audis, Porsches, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Lexus, Benz, BMWs, and Corvettes. It's like a never-ending country club Fibonacci sequence of cars. I cautiously navigate my non-luxury car through the exclusive territory of members and their automobiles, making my way to the small lot secluded behind a few bushy pines. It's only two rows and fifty feet away, but it's a whole different world. Not one car was made after 2006, and they all have dings, scratches, and grime galore. That's why we keep out of sight. I park, put on my bib, grab my caddie's tool, and make my way to the caddie shack.
I enter the small building and see twenty of my brethren. We are like a caddy army dressed in our uniform: khaki shorts, white polo tucked in with a black belt, tennis shoes, tan cap, green bib, and of course, a spotless white towel in hand. This towel is something we are required to carry. If we do not have one when we get to work, we are sent home. And for good reason – there is no use for a caddie without a towel, right? The towel is what makes us.
Those of us who wield this white sword are of a different breed. We are practically superhuman: we have keen eyesight, wit, endurance, personality, high awareness, good posture, multi-tasking ability, and, most of all, loyalty. The most important part of carrying this towel is loyalty to your member. For eighteen holes you pledge allegiance to this man and his game. You clean his clubs, you wash his ball, you carry his bag, you read the green with him, pull the pins, give advice, give pep talks, get him out of binds, and keep him in the groove.
I sling a bag over my shoulder, walk down “the gray carpet,” or cart-path, and take my first step out on to the luscious green squishy grass as the sun peeks over the trees to the east. I smell the scents of summer and hear the hum of the bees in the flowers behind the tee box and the faint sound of a lawn mower. Each step I take on the dewy grass moistens the toes of my shoes. I glimpse a tall, thin silhouette walking up the hill after me. Who could it be? A corporate executive, an entrepreneur, a lawyer, a surgeon, a dentist, an investor, a bookie, a restaurateur? Whoever it is, I will learn his preferences and style and adapt to serve him the way he needs to be successful on the course.
Being a caddie is hard work. Not because you have to carry a heavy bag, but because you have to be the most adaptable and aware creature on the earth. Always thinking about the member before yourself. Carrying the towel is what made me who I am. Being a follower on the course has turned me into a leader off the course. The towel is not only a tool, it's a key. It leads to connections with successful people, skills and experience you cannot get anywhere else, and most of all, it shapes you into a productive, hardworking member of society.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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