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Thursday, October 08, 2015

CHEAP GAS AND CADDYING: A LOOK BACK

30 CENT GAS? YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING!

Unless you are a certain age, you probably don’t remember when buying a tank of gasoline for your car was quite a different experience from what one would get today.  It’s easy to describe today’s experience as it consists of you getting out of your car, turning on the pump, and filling the tank yourself with gas that costs well over $2 a gallon most of the time. You may even clean your windshield if you wish provided cleaning materials are provided for you to do it yourself.

For many younger drivers, that has been the only experience they have known for their entire driving days.  For those of us who have been driving for a long time we remember when gasoline was sold at “service stations.”  The word “service” describes exactly what they were:  Places where your car was not only filled with gas by an attendant  but the engine oil level was checked, the windshield washed, tire air pressure checked, battery water checked, along with the brake fluid. If the attendant was really thorough, you may have even had your floor brushed out. In those days “service” meant what it said.

These days we celebrate when gas prices drop into the low $2 range.  When I was stationed in Missouri with the Air Force in the early 1960’s, I can’t remember ever paying more than about thirty cents a gallon.  I used to fill up my 1961 Chevy for about $4; a sweet deal by today’s standards. Did I mention that a lot of stations used to also give trading stamps like S & H Green Stamps?  Yeah, that too.

CADDYING AT THE LOCAL COUNTRY CLUB

With the introduction of electric and gasoline golf carts years ago, I doubt if any public golf courses or private country clubs today offer the services of caddies anymore but when I got out of high school in the late 1950’s, caddying was still going strong and although it was pretty hard work, it paid more than jobs like sacking groceries or making deliveries for the local grocery store.

1967 Masters Champion Gay Brewer 
played in my foursome at Cincy 
Country Club in 1958.
I caddied at the Cincinnati Country Club in Cincinnati, Ohio.  It was fairly close to my home but more importantly, it‘s membership consisted of the cream of Cincinnati society which hopefully meant some decent tips.  I would arrive early in the morning at the caddy shack so I would be one of the first called out, hopefully to carry “doubles” or two bags for eighteen holes.  If my players were fast enough, I usually had time left before dark to get another group for the afternoon.  At $3 per bag plus a hopeful tip, I usually could make about $15 on Saturday or Sunday; not bad dough for a teenager in those days even though it meant carrying two heavy bags through eighteen holes of golf twice in one day.

Besides most of the players walking the courses, another difference in those days was at the practice range. Players would warm up the same as now except there weren’t vehicles that drove across the range to pick up the balls. It 
was the caddy’s job to take a sack out on the range to shag 
his player’s golf balls and take them back to the pro shop. 
Needless to say, we gave our members plenty of room to hit the balls although I did see a fellow caddy get conked once!

In retrospect, caddying was a worthwhile experience.  It taught me the value of a dollar and the importance of going to college to better myself in life after serving Uncle Sam in the USAF.  It also taught me to enjoy golf, a game which I still play regularly today.

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