The Importance of Being Farang

“Is she stupid or what – passing me driver to hit on a par-3? Bloody Nora!

I suppose they have to start somewhere, these caddies, but to saddle me with her first outing is typical of my luck lately. Sure, the caddie-master asked me first, but what else was I to say?

Image

If the cap fits….

I wouldn’t have minded greatly, but her attitude was bad, right from the off. Told her as much, too. I mean it should be obvious, even to a newbie, that I need to know certain distances. So, when on the first I ask, ‘How far to bunker,’ and she replies with just a shake of the shoulders, I let rip. ‘You should know. If you don’t, then bloody-well find out,’ I tell her.

It’s a bugger, all this rain. No carts on fairways today, which presented another problem; she wouldn’t have a clue what clubs to bring once she’d parked the cart. Like on the third; I reckon my ball’s about 100 yards from the flag, and she brings sand-wedge. ‘Forty-five degree,’ I told her, and she brings the sand-wedge – I ask you.

On a tough par-4 she says ‘OB’. Just the words I so wanted to hear. After playing a provisional we then wasted time searching for the original, only to eventually find the bloody thing in the middle of the fairway. C’mon.

I can’t understand why caddie-masters don’t send new caddies out with experienced ones. That’s when most effective learning takes place, surely. Why should it be left to the likes of me, the paying customer, to provide guidance? And I’m expected to give a tip at the end of the round – bloody laugh that. Sure it’s only the price of a few beers back home, but it’s the principle of the thing. Besides, I’ve got far more important issues to worry about, like making a podium finish.

The last straw came at the very next hole – a par-3 – where she handed me driver. That was the time to tell her she wasn’t wanted for the back nine. Had the caddie-master organise a new one at the turn.

I started scoring better, but by then it was too late. The damage had been done. Bloody caddies, they wouldn’t have a clue.”

***

“Farang…why rude mak mak? My first day, me shy for sure. I not like. Lose face. I not go back, not after caddie-boss say I no caddie back nine. When I get home, I only have 100 baht to give mama to take care baby. She say, ‘many hours you at golf course – neung-loy baht not enough.’ Not good.

Caddies who know English are lucky. When we meet, I not understand him talk. Have cart not good. Not close to other caddies, so can’t ask what about? Him never smile. Maybe him angry already. Before first tee him talk about clubs, which one him like, but I not understand.

When him hit golf ball, it not go far. Him like mai-neung from tee, but it still not go far. His friends hit ball more.

Him point to bunker and say something, but I not understand. Caddie-boss say ‘if you not know answer to question, then say nothing.’ But Farang not like. Him angry. Other caddies look me. Not good.

I mark ball on green, him point to hole and look me. I look at caddie friend and she say he ask about line to hole. I ask how hard him hit ball? She say she not know. I tell him I not know. Him shake head, angry more.

Carts must to stay on path. Golfer not know which club. Why they not take club more, like lek-hock, lek-jet and lek-bad when walking to ball? Once, I think I hear him say ‘something ha degee’. I turn to caddie friend, ask ‘what club ha degee?’ She say ‘maybe ha-sip-ha – sand’, so I take. Him angry more.

Once him hit mai-neung but I not see because I talk to caddie about what I do wrong. He point to OB line and ask what about? I say OB. We go jungle and look, but not find. Then him find on fairway. Why friend him not see? Again he talk bad me. I not understand.

On par-3 I give him mai-neung, because he hit about 190 yards, same same to flag. He not like. Friends him laugh. Him angry mak mak. Other caddies look away. What I do wrong? Him then drive cart to caddie-boss and yak yak me. Caddie-boss say I not work anymore.

Mama, she ask why lose job? I say because Farang no good. She say same same Thai – some good, some bad. Why today me have bad?”

Why indeed.

Golfnutter.

About golfnutter

Born in Wellington, New Zealand over 60 years ago. Introduced to golf - Thailand style - in 2004 and never recovered. I believe Thailand, Pattaya particularly, offers a unique and wonderful golfing experience for all golfers, whatever their handicap. If I can help embellish that experience, I will.
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3 Responses to The Importance of Being Farang

  1. Adrian says:

    The most spot on view of a caddie or for that matter any thai person who is in a service role dealing with farang’s that I have ever read. You could re-write this for hotel staff, service girls, dancers etc etc It amazes me how many ignorant people there are in the world. I played on one holiday with a guy in his 60’s who was adamant he didnt want a caddy and wouldnt listen to what they said, after 1 round i convinced him to relax a little and try 1 round and amazingly (not to me) he had a good score and a fun time, his caddy worked out his ball flight and hitting distances within a couple of holes and as he was a consistent ball striker they made an effective team and he enjoyed the rest of the trip immensely.

    Being nice doesnt cost anything

  2. Simon Hirst says:

    Caddies – aren’t they wonderful?

    My first trip to Pattaya was in 2008. Never had a golf cart before, never had a caddy before and boy never played in such heat before. My first round was with 3 Aussies at Laem Chabang. On the side of the cart was a bottle. So here I am trying to figure out what this bottle is for and 4 young Ladies informed me with much mirth it was for ‘pee-pee’. Something they didn’t let me forget for the next 4 hours! :O)

    You often talk of caddies loss of face – in that moment I was transformed from golfer to clown. And I didn’t mind it a bit.

    At Khao Kheow the following day I had a caddy who had less words of english than teeth in her head. I think she had the sum total of 3 teeth…. Even though I couldn’t see her face behind the ever present towel I knew that she was old enough to be my Mum and we had a huge laugh together trying to make ourselves understood. After opening with 4 straight pars on the A course my caddie was getting a bit bossy with me and getting angry and I couldn’t understand why. What had I done wrong? I found out later that what I had done wrong was miss 4 birdies and she was betting on me with the other caddies!

    I have had caddies that were new and didn’t know what to do. I’ve had brilliant caddies, I have had caddies that play golf really well and have helped me to a level par round. And once I had a little 45kg bully who would insist that the club she picked was the right one for the job and that I should hit the 6 iron she had given me rather than the 5 iron I wanted. I hope I get her again, lovely person, probably got a wardrobe full of whips.

    One of the most interesting caddies I had was at Bangpra. We jumped out of the minibus and I spotted a caddie about my age and handed my bag to her which raised a smile. I was working on the theory that an older caddie would have the knowledge to help me to a better score and we would have some things in common being the same age. By the 13th we were getting on very well indeed when I got a proposal. She offered to murder my wife and would take her place. I’m sure she was joking but I’m still trying to work out how to get a visa for her to come over here………

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