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The greatest day of golf

I’m just going to start with saying that last Sunday was the best round of golf I have ever caddied. It was awesome. I remember getting to work that day and, knowing that it was a tournament with a shotgun start, I was anxious to see which hole I was going to start on.

There are several things that a caddie at the Coeur d’ Alene looks for when they get to caddie a tournament. First is the format:whether its standard, scramble, shamble, or several others. Scramble is the preferred choice because it makes caddying easier and it makes the round faster.

The hole we start on is a good thing to know because with the layout of the course, some holes finish faster than others. From my experience holes 6, 7 and 8 seem to be the best to start on. I started on hole 5, and because it was next to 6 I thought it was good enough.

The tournament was a scramble as well, so I knew that it was going to be an easy day. Most of the round was pretty normal; a few jokes here and there and a beer occasionally for the golfers. They were playing pretty decent with seven consecutive birdies for the group as they arrived on the famous floating green.

Hole 14 is a hole that tourists and first timers at the course talk about their entire round, anxious, nervous, and even scared of it although it is the reason they came to the course. The group I was caddying for, however, were locals, so 14 wasn’t anything too special. We left the green of hole 13 with another content birdie from the group. As we passed the aquatic driving range and came into view of number 14 we glanced to our left and noticed a brand new 2009 Toyota Tundra perched left of the tee boxes. Not really thinking anything of it, we made our way to the tee box that sat a short 163 yards from the flag which was placed on the front left side of the green.

The first three golfers disappointingly discharged three pale, white golf balls into the water.

Approaching the tee box, clad in a burnt orange, Hawaiian flowered button-up tucked into a pair of dark tan khaki shorts was Rich. From his display distributed throughout the previous 9 holes, I noticed that Rich wasn’t the best golfer of the group. I came to learn that he wasn’t even supposed to be a part of the group until a last second change of plans. Realizing these misfortunes, I thought to myself that the group is going to have to take a drop on the green and it will hurt their score for the tournament tremendously.

Rich placed the ball on the tee, taking a few practice swings as usual. He pulled back his left-handed 7 iron and thrust it into the ball. Disappointed, he watched the ball hurl towards the dock on the right side of the green. He turned towards his cart with frustration as his ball started to list lazily towards the left. It did it again, a hard cutting slice to the left. The group that was waiting on the green watched as the ball landed safely on grass. I turned to Rich to tell him not all is lost when I heard the group on the green give a loud shout. I turned back to the green to watch the worst shot in the world turn into the best shot. Ten feet from the pin, 163 yards from the tee box his tiny Titlelist 2 ball rolled parallel from where we were standing. I yelled, “Rich. Rich! It’s in the hole, it’s in the hole!”

Three feet, two feet, one foot, gone. The ball disappeared, the flagstick rattled and 30 or so people screamed! The flowers on his shirt were in full bloom and his face was redder than Tiger’s shirts on Sunday. He laughed, shook his head, jumped, hugged his friends and looked on in amazement as the caddie for the group on the green showed us the ball as he picked it up from the cup.

I walked to Rich to shake his hand and told him, “I don’t want to ruin your celebration, but you just won that truck!” Laughs, smiles and what-the-f’s flew from his friends’ lips in sequence for the rest of the round, which wasn’t over yet. Beer flowed and Crown Royal trickled as the beverage cart was seen more often than usual for my group.

We finished hole 15 with another eagle, the first being the hole in one that Rich was able to take credit for, plus a 20-foot putt that he somehow managed to knock down just following the shot of his life.

This group turned from a normal foursome in a tournament, to the most fun, most laughs, most drunk foursome I’ve ever caddied for. And somehow they got the most eagles. They had two more, one on hole 1, and the other on our finishing hole 4. I think it is easy to say that the foursome I caddied for on Sunday June, 28 was the most fun I’ve ever had and I have no idea how I can even call that a job. It was a blast.

I can’t think of a tip to finish of this story with except that while all golfing is fun, the most fun you can have on a golf course is when a bad shot turns good and you win a truck.

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Dustin Gannon Dustin Gannon says he's a writer because his mama owns a newspaper. At all other times, he's a sportsman, writing both the Sno Biz column, when he's working at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in the wintertime, and Fore! Play, when he's working at the Coeur d'Alene Resort golf course during the summer.

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