I think this is the last of my tales from the misguided bag room employee collection. I once worked at a course that was governed by a hoarder. Apparently back in the day when this guy was running things the equipment companies didn’t buy back any inventory or he didn’t feel comfortable with the words, “clearance sale”, but regardless of the reasons whatever didn’t get sold ended up getting stored. And, a lot didn’t get sold over the years. The bag room we worked in was a decrepit structure devoid of any modern extravagances like a security camera. The excess equipment and goodies ended up in one of two locations: In the back of the bag room behind a hastily constructed partition that was “locked,” but didn’t extend all the way up to the ceiling, or inside an “office,” that actually had a real door.
When I started working there, I simply blended into the existing culture. These characters knew the ins and outs of the place like clockwork. I was no mastermind. I was still trying to get my driver’s license. So, was I surprised the first time I saw one of my fellow employees scaling a bag rack so he could get onto the other side of the partition? Not necessarily, but I was intrigued. They didn’t even let me back there, at first. Perhaps, they thought I was a plant working for the man, but eventually I earned the right to get a look back there. The funny thing was, there wasn’t much back there you would want. It was old bullseye putters, Arnold Palmer style shirts, MacGregor golf balls (huh?), things of that nature. Honestly, the feeling of being where you weren’t supposed to be was better than any items we actually took from the room.
After the novelty of going over the partition wore off and the few good items were looted my associates started to get a taste for what might be behind the locked “office,” door. The office was no longer an office and was probably a grand total of forty square feet, but when the door occasionally would open–you could see it was bursting at the seams with excess equipment. I’m talking dozens of golf balls, clubs–a very enticing bounty. Of course, the door was locked at all times and this was a much clearer line than a shoddily constructed partition.
There came a turning point, though, and this was when a new shipment of Maxfli balls arrived. I want to say sometime around 1996 Maxfli came out with the Revolution. I imagine at this time that Titleist was still the heavy hitter on Tour with golf balls, but Maxfli (with their XS line) had quite a stable. Greg Norman played it. Jack Nicklaus. Fred Couples played Maxfli for a while. It was a very trendy ball and all of a sudden they had this new model that was going to blow the XS out of the water. The Revolution flew farther, had more spin and to top it off had blue lettering. Can you say badass? It was a revolution, god dang it!
So, one of the guys that had formerly been involved in the bag room activities had been promoted to a full-fledged assistant golf professional. He went to work in the shop while we toiled away in the dungeon. We were constantly asking him about the Maxfli Revolutions, because everyone just wanted to try one–hell, I would have settled for just getting a glimpse. For golf losers, it was kind of the like the hype surrounding the release of a video game system. Well, one day, we get the bad news. The hoarder had taken the shipment of Revolutions (a paltry few dozen) and put them right into the locked office down in the bag room.
I didn’t know at that point that equipment companies sent country clubs free stuff for their pros to use, but this is what happens. It’s limited, but if a pro has an arrangement with Titleist, they give him free balls/gloves/equipment to play under the assumption that he will use them, and promote them to a certain extent. Well, all the free equipment, especially the stuff destined for the assistants at this club ended up locked in the office. When the Revolutions went away, it flipped a switch in these guys. They were at their limit. Enter one of my fellow bag room denizens who offered up that he was fairly confident he could get into the locked room. What?
Of course I had seen people open doors with credit cards in movies and at that point I might have even lied and said I had done it a time or two myself, but deep down I didn’t believe it to be possible. But, there he was, finessing the door with a credit card and after a few minutes the door to the treasure room was wide open. What followed, I’d best describe as an angry Christmas morning. The assistant pros looked at all the stuff they should have had access to, and just snapped. People started grabbing everything. A couple dozen balatas, a sand wedge, it was wild. Of course, the Maxflis couldn’t be touched. We all knew there was no inventory of the room, but they would surely be missed.
After everyone got their fill and it was determined that a noticeable portion of the equipment wasn’t missing the door was shut. The only problem was, no one turned off the light inside the office. So, there it was, plain as day, a little sliver of light shining under the door to the room that none of us had access to. It set off a wild panic, because in the absence of video tape it was about as close as you could get to being caught red-handed. The solution is simple enough. Just open the door again, but when the stakes changed from, “it would be cool if it opened,” to “we have to get it open,” the lock didn’t give so easily.
We had a kid with a marijuana habit that picked the driving range, not one of Ocean’s 11. He didn’t respond how you’d like under pressure. He actually cracked one of his cards or IDs in the door, which nearly led to another set of problems, but as darkness fell we were facing a difficult decision. I guess I should say that I wasn’t really facing anything. I was by far the youngest kid there, I could have passed the buck, snitched my face off and probably have been fine, but vicariously I was feeling the heat. Several questions were going through our heads.
How noticeable is the light under the door? Would he automatically assume that he hadn’t been the one to leave it on? What would we say if a member or someone stumbled upon us all in the bag room a good 2o or 30 minutes after dark? Right about the time things were looking really hopeless our fearless bong hitter got the door open again. There was some jubilation, and then I think a few guys were like, “We better take some more stuff, because there is no way we’re doing that again.”
Did I take anything? Technically, no. I would argue that I was “given” things out of the room. Kind of like, “Hey, Grossy, take these, seriously.” It was a few dozen golf balls. No big deal. Who is going to miss some 384 Tours? Anyway, this time we turned that light off and got out of there. What’s the moral of all this, aside from don’t trust a stoner under pressure? Well, we didn’t get the Revolutions, but we certainly got revenge. And, there it is.