I miss caddying sometimes. I did it only for parts of two summers, but those loops comprised a valuable education. One lesson was that certain types of sustained physical toil can actually feel good. The first time I carried two bags for 18 holes, I came home with my feet aching and my shoulders howling. But I also came home with $120 in my pocket. Because I had acquired that pain on the golf course – a place I will always love to be, whether playing or not – it felt genuinely rewarding. I slept marvelously.
I was reminded of that pain today when I carried my bag for all 36 holes. Today’s rounds – at the Donald Ross-designed LuLu Country Club and Jeffersonville Golf Club outside Philadelphia – were on comparable terrain but in warmer weather. Per my phone, which was keeping track from my pocket all day, I put in more than 13 miles on foot, with an aggregate vertical climb equivalent to 20 building floors. Not bad for an out-of-shape golf scribe whose current state of residence, Florida, is about as unfriendly as it gets to would-be walkers.
Speeding around a course in a cart is okay, but nothing matches the pleasure of padding over a couple hundred acres, chasing the ball around. I think it’s because the increased blood flow gets more endorphins going than any cart-ball session could. Next week I’ll be back in Florida to play the state Mid-Amateur, where the other 83 participants and I will be forced (!) to take carts. I’ll never get used to playing competitive golf from a cart, and even if I make match play, no 36-hole day at Quail Valley Golf Club, no matter the temperature, will come at the physical cost I gladly paid today.