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|Do I really want to spend $3-$5 to clean these golf clubs after a round? (Brandon Tucker/GolfPublisher.com)|
There was a popular themed social event during my college days, referred to as a "Traffic Light Party." Here was the deal: come to the party wearing red if you were deep into a relationship, yellow if you were thinking of leaving the poor sap, and green if you were single and desperate for attention.
The appeal of this was obvious. The last thing you want is spend the majority of a social event canoodling with a cute co-ed, only to discover her boyfriend is the school's starting middle linebacker, and what began as innocent flirting sends you home lonely with a shattered rib cage.
Talk about a genius idea formulated by our country's bright young minds. An adaptation of this widely successful system should be applied to how bag boys service your golf clubs after a round at upscale golf courses.
Sometimes I appreciate the attention. Other times, I'd rather take a rain check.
Like last week for example. I had six straight days of 36-hole rounds and most were at clubs that staffed bag attendants. After failing to steer clear of these persistent little buggers at most bag drops, I think I'm out about $60 in tipping.
A $2 here, a $5 there, that cash adds up for a twenty-something like myself. It could have paid for more tangible products: a tank of gas…my cable bill…lots of ring tones!
Instead, I'm repeatedly getting nickel-and-dimed for a service I half-heartedly want. Everything in my bag is about a decade old (the rotten banana in one of my pockets included). I have enough scratches and dents on them, a simple towel wipe down has the same effect as taking a Swiffer to a dumpster.
And frankly, I get a bit insulted when these kids think I'm too crippled to lift a dinky little golf bag into my trunk. I'm usually just a couple years older than these guys and half the time I can't make it out of the parking lot without some old codger whistling me over to the trunk of his Cadillac.
The next time a bag boy tries to put my bag in the trunk, I'll only let him if he beats me in an arm wrestling match.
But the last thing you want to do is stiff the poor kids. They rely on saps like us for their weekend beer money. I don't want to put them out of business. In fact, I was in their shoes at a country club during high school for two summers. It was a great gig. Small talk a little with some members and give their clubs a once over and you go home every night with cold hard cash.
So I understand it's their job and it's all part of the upscale golf culture, but I don't like being guilted into tipping either. Our society has gone overboard with gratuity. People tip when they buy their morning coffee now. How did this happen?
And the golfer/bag boy exchange gets downright uncomfortable when you don't have small change. When this happens, I try and think up little alibis on the spot to keep my $20, but you can only pretend to become violently ill and run hunched over into the clubhouse until the kid gives up on you so many times.
So here's what our "traffic light" signals for the bag boys could be:
1.) Leave the head covers off your metals if you want service.
2) If you're a bit impartial about the whole ordeal, stop your cart by the bag drop and fuddle with your keys for a few minutes.
3.) Lastly, if you burn rubber past the bag drop into the parking lot screaming ‘no mas!' over your shoulder as you whiz past, it means they'll have to get their $3 tip somewhere else. Should they come chasing after you into the parking lot despite your obvious signal you're a cheapo, the club must give you a free round for being unsettled and the kid is fired on the spot.
Of course, this may upset them a little and they'll probably start up a union over it. I foresee the future of the bag boy-golfer relationship as an increasingly oppugnant one.
June 12, 2007
Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours.
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
The sun came out over Wales Monday, and Senior Writer Brandon Tucker ditched the final round of Ryder Cup play for 18 holes at nearby Pyle and Kenfig Golf Club. As the Americans rallied and ultimately fell short, Tucker offers his unique perspective on the European victory and the celebration that ensued.
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