Here is a photo from a little reunion on Cape Cod two years ago.
Here is notice of an impeding reunion in New Hampshire 13-15 September 2015.
The wonderful reminiscence below is by Nicholas 'Nicky' DiMasi, whom I remember from my early days as a caddy in NH. Nicky was a few years older than I, and I hope to see him in NH this September. I did not know 'The Sandbagger' but I knew some golfers like him, like 'The Inventor'.
Some of you may know the meaning of the title of this piece, but if you have never played the sport of golf, you will not know the meaning. I want to share with you a story of how I came to learn the meaning of this word.
From one of my past essays, you may recall that when I was thirteen years old, I left my home in the city to spend my summer at a caddy camp in New Hampshire. This caddy camp was affiliated with a rather large hotel called “The Maplewood” hotel, and it was located right in the middle of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, not far from the famous Mount Washington. This story takes place in the 1950s. It was the time when wealthy people from the New York City area used to take their whole family up to the mountains for summer vacation. The hotels were great resorts. They provided all your meals, all sorts of activities and sports to play, and had entertainment every night in the hotel theater.
Every day, I would arrive at the golf links, and be assigned to caddy for one of the guests, or for one of the senior managers at the hotel. Now, in the first few weeks caddying, I wound up caddying a lot for the fellow who was the singer in the nightly show at the hotel. I did not like caddying for him, mainly because he was cheap. He never gave me a good tip, and often treated me in a rather condescending way. However, there was one thing that I admired about him, and that was that he was a really skilled golfer. He was great at driving the ball, and even better around the green. He rarely made a mistake in his game.
Now comes the part of the story when I learned the meaning of “sandbagging”. You see, after weeks of caddying, I realized that the game of golf, even among amateurs, was not always played for the fun of it. It was often played for money. Many times, while I was being paid for caddying, I witnessed large piles of money being exchanged between the losers of the round and the winners of the round. The amount of money exchanging hands was eye-opening to a young boy like me.
Often times, I would be one of the caddies in a foursome that included the singer that I mentioned earlier. He was playing in a round of golf with some of the wealthiest guests at the hotel. I knew this from the fact that they often gave me a big tip. Well, I was somewhat shocked to see this singer guy hit some awful shots in the early stages of the round. He would laugh it off, as he said he was having a bad day, but after the betting on the round got more expensive, since players were doubling- down on each hole, suddenly his game would improve tremendously. I quickly figured out what he was doing. He was purposely losing the beginning holes in order to make the guests think that he was just an average golfer, or even a hacker. Then he would take all their money in the back nine holes, while he laughed it off by saying he was lucky. He wasn’t lucky. He was setting them up for the kill, luring them in so to speak. What a scam he had. He was, as it is referred to in golf, a “sandbagger”.
So, in conclusion, I want to let you know that I learned more than how to play golf as a caddy. I also learned, at this really young age, to be very careful in my dealings as I grew to adulthood. There are people in this world that will lure you into real danger, and to use a Yiddish word that my good friend Mike might enjoy, I learned not to be a “schlemiel”, as some of those guests were.