|Thirsty San Diego golfers know Nicole Kallis will never nag them for drinking too much, or rip their golf game (much). (Courtesy)|
What's it like being a beverage-cart girl?
Being an outgoing, social kind of gal, this job is perfect for me. I'd never consider it a "career," like a caddie or head pro might think of his or her job. But as an in-the-meantime job that helps me make ends meet, it's great. Where else can you be a bartender with 100-plus customers wanting a breakfast of Bloody Marys, beer, or gin and tonics? No bar I know of.
True, I work for minimum wage. But golfers are some of the most generous people I've ever encountered. I typically get tipped about a buck per transaction - sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on how many diamonds in the rough that day. Occasionally I get tips from golfers who didn't buy anything; they tell me my smile made their day. (I usually give hugs for that.) One guy gave me $50 just for showing up more than twice during his round.
Some days you go home with $350 in your pocket, others you work your butt off and only take home $30. Perhaps my butt just wasn't doing the right thing that day. To date my biggest tip day was a resounding $876.72. OK, I worked 14 hours that day - but I've heard of gals in Arizona who've made even more!
I always try to remember that I am in customer service. That means maintaining a good disposition, and a lot of smiling and waving. Sometimes I smile so much my face literally hurts at the end of the day. But I don't smile because I have to; I smile because I really like what I'm doing. I don't think miserable people can be beverage-cart attendants. You don't want the golfers being afraid that every time the cart girl rolls up she's going to burst into tears or tell you off. "Look out, here come the angry cart girl!" Yikes.
Being a cart girl is also a huge ego boost. Probably half the golfers drop what they are doing and come over to see me, sometimes in mid-swing. Usually they buy something, but I suspect sometimes they just want to check me out. It gets flirty on the course at times, and why not? I admit it - I love the attention and I never get sick of the flattery. You know, the "Wow, you've got pretty eyes," or the "How nice to see a smiling face."
I don't even mind the cheesy pick-up lines. ("Can I get a receipt with a seven-digit figure on it?" That would be a phone number, for those who don't quite get it.) I mean, it's meant to be a complaint (I hope). I think it's sweet, as long as they don't seriously think we're falling for it.
I get to be creative too. It's not easy to think up clever, innuendo-laden comebacks on the spot. Needless to say, a sense of humor can really boost my daily tip count. And the golfers love it! Jim Moore from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer once told me, "The cart girl is every man's fiancee before he takes a wife."
It's sort of true, when you think about it. I never tell him he plays golf too often or nag him that he drinks too much. I never laugh (at least not in front of him) when he dresses like an ass, or takes 15 practice swings then misses the ball completely. It's really fun to be the golfer's ultimate fan.
Of course, occasionally I get an uncouth guy who couldn't take a hint if it was dropped like an anvil on his head, but I just ignore him. Just the other day I had a guy ask me on No. 4 to go to Mexico with him. I politely refused. Four holes later he asked if I had any sisters he could take out. I have four, but I said, "Sorry, no." On my last pass, at the 12th, he slapped a whopping five bucks down on my cart and said, "Show me your tits, honey." "Oh, yeah," I replied, "Mexico looks really tempting now." Moron. He even left his business card in the snack bar for me
But guys like this don't really pose any danger to the cart girl. And really, they are very rare. The majority of golfers are men I would totally hit on if my personal circumstances were different.
The reality is that golf is more like Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show than a meat market. The biggest danger is the odd errant golf ball. One time I was driving the course backward and this guy with a 100 mph swing hit his ball straight at me. He was gripping his driver to try to hit it only 121 yards the ball came flying into my windshield. If not for the thick sheet of plastic in front of me that drive would have ended this poor cart girl's life.
I did get clocked in the ribs once by some ding-a-ling hitting up into the foursome I was serving while they were waiting for the group in front of them to finish putting. After a brutal razzing from my customers, the perpetrator offered to buy the margarita I spilled on impact. I also received an awful lot of pseudo-medical attention from the by-then eight golfers, all offering to ice my ribs.
So, how does it feel to be a cart girl? What an amazing gig I have! But it's the golfers who make it so great. I read a column that came out in a magazine last year. Some people thought it was an excerpt from my book, but I can assure you, I didn't write it and don't agree with it. They made it sound like every golfer is a sleazeball ogling the cart girl's legs. Good God. If they're ogling, give them a tip and be happy you have legs to ogle! And if you've ever golfed at my course, you'll know I'm the one who "shamelessly flirts" with the golfers.
March 6, 2006
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.
Forget all the lessons you took from golf pros. Forget the straight left arm, proper posture, head still, full shoulder turn, pronate, supinate, belt buckle to target, complete follow through, right elbow in pocket and the zillion other things some guy charged you $40 a half hour to remember. There are only two lessons you'll need in order to be a good golfer.
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