The Tip­ping Point

HK Golfer - - Contents - By The Kilted Cad­die

Tips are not just a big part of cad­dies’ in­come but also a sacro­sanct sub­ject.

Iam not a huge fan of the au­to­matic levy­ing of ser­vice charges on restau­rant bills. It doesn’t sit well that I’m ex­pected and obliged to pay for ser­vice. Surely that’s up to me. But I sup­pose I’m a bit touchy about this be­cause the sub­ject of cad­die tips is sacro­sanct, even if some­times a tad in­cen­di­ary and at least of a bit slip­pery one.

Now come to think about it, tips are a big part of my in­come. Nev­er­the­less, they are dis­cre­tionary, even if reach­ing hand­some heights at times. But in de­fence, it’s not cheap to hang out here in the home of golf and in some ways a cad­die can add a lot to the en­joy­ment to a round. But not al­ways.

A chap from Dal­las in our group last week car­ried his own bag af­ter his ‘bad ex­pe­ri­ence on the Old’. His cad­die was seem­ingly aw­ful, ar­ro­gant and sim­ply ru­ined his big day. He’d been forced to have words at the 10th, in­ti­mated that he was sure a nice guy but that he should lay off a bit. He ap­peased the man by say­ing he would still get a tip at the end. Af­ter the 18th and un­sure of what to pay he asked the starter who in­ferred that ninety dol­lars would do all round. How­ever, he thought he’d up it to a hun­dred to ease what had be­come a frosty re­la­tion­ship. But this it didn’t. In fact, he was dumb­founded when the cad­die ut­tered the line “that’s not enough”. I mean what can you say to that! A hun­dred dol­lars equates to seventy quid which is well above the cad­die fee of fifty. De facto the cad­die can’t ob­ject. But he did. If I get on a bus and don’t give the driver the full fare he can say that. For sure. But when we are talk­ing about a dis­cre­tionary tip, no, sorry no. We work on be­half of a char­ity, The Links Trust, which doesn’t im­pose manda­tory levies for gra­tu­ities. It’s not an up­mar­ket In­dian restau­rant chain.

Shocked and re­quest­ing en­light­en­ment at what was enough he was told ’at least an­other twenty’. Our man was so taken aback he delved into his pocket and found an­other twenty which he gave in dis­gust to the brazen chap.

And that’s a shame for this way­ward cad­die to sully our fair trade. For cad­dy­ing in St An­drews is not a tax­ing job if you ex­cuse my very awk­ward and un­for­tu­nate pun. It beats pick­ing rasp­ber­ries, cockle gath­er­ing, even hag­gis hunt­ing. In fact, if I’m hon­est I’d say it beats work­ing al­to­gether. It saves me a gym fee and pro­vides much in­ter­est­ing ma­te­rial for my writ­ing. On a hu­man level, I would say it can be at least in­sight­ful and some­times fas­ci­nat­ing. We get the op­por­tu­nity to meet all sorts of peo­ple, and on any given day we just don’t know who will pitch up.

Young Dun­can got John Daly last sum­mer, and Mr Barack Obama was in town in June to play the Old. Un­for­tu­nately, I didn’t get his bag as I was deeply en­sconced in a bar be­hind the 18th green and savour­ing the chilled de­lights of Mr Kohler’s ex­cel­lent Sauvi­gnon Blanc and some rare Scot­tish sun­shine.

To be hon­est, I wouldn’t have been the cho­sen cad­die any­way as they went for an ex­pe­ri­enced older char­ac­ter who I dare say was a safe and rea­son­able choice.

How­ever, they should have cho­sen a man called Tom Stevenson. Cologne Tom as I call him is the most charis­matic, af­fa­ble, in­di­vid­ual, amus­ing, knowl­edge­able, in­ter­est­ing, eru­dite, dis­tin­guished look­ing and ec­cen­tric chap ever to have pulled on a cad­die bib. To boot, he was a +3-hand­i­cap golfer. In fact, there is a ru­mour go­ing around that Tom some­times de­clines to ac­cept pay for his work!

Any­way, I am sure he would have hugely im­pressed the ex-pres­i­dent and help brighten the im­age of the St An­drews cad­die across the pond.

He cer­tainly would have been my tip, along­side bin 555, for that beau­ti­ful sunny June day.

Davis Love IV and his fa­ther Davis Love III who cad­dies for him dur­ing a prac­tice round prior to the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills

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