Confessions of a weary Pro Shop Assistant

John Craven

(Photo by John Keeble/Getty Images)

The new season is nearly upon us and the hour’s about to go forward. It’s a time of year that most golfers savour. A time to rejoice and behold the grand ol’ stretch in the evening.

As a Pro Shop Assistant, not so much.

The year ahead is looking manic. The tee sheet already heaving from April through September. More free real estate in the Dublin rental market than on our BRS system.


It’s a good complaint to have, so I’m told. Sure it’s great to be busy. What else would you want to be at?

How about very little… I miss my steady winter 9-5. Snuggled up against the electric heater in the office – they’re not my bills! Crossword puzzle in hand. A full Irish breakfast on the sizzle. The course frozen solid and not a golfer in sight.

We’re in recruitment mode now. All hands on deck. Looking for bright-eyed new staff to dial up their Aer Lingus smiles for an army of Americans about to invade our overpriced turf.

They tip well the yanks, in fairness to them. Already paying top dollar and only too glad to give more. They wouldn’t be much for walking but there’s money to be made caddying for the stogie sucking oul divils all the same; them spouting on about being one eighth Irish while I diddley-eye back pretending I’m not illiterate when it comes to reading putts.

We have a new buggy fleet this year that’ll be music to their ears. Twenty of them. Not 21. Not 22. Twenty. And you can be sure they’ll be booked out every weekend, which means I’ll be bombarded with fools flirting for a buggy that doesn’t exist. Smiling and winking at me like I’m stashing one in an underground carpark and it will appear like the Virgin Mary to the highest bidder.

They’ve made a balls of the buggies though – don’t tell them I told you. I was almost excited about the new fleet until I found out they were fitted with GPS screens.

“Sat-Nav is it?” Some lúdramán will chuckle. “And will it hit the ball for me too?”

For the 800th time today, no it won’t.

I’m standing there laughing but I’m dying inside. Should be handed an Oscar for the performance. My only consolation is that I don’t have to follow him to the first tee for the encore where he’ll announce to the world that ‘I’m playing a Titleist 2, at least for the first one’.

Give me strength.

Sorry, I know I’m ranting now. And I hate to do it but we’ve had these GPS screens before and they’re nothing but trouble. End up dealing with phone calls from customers on the course like I do from Mam most evenings when the telly malfunctions at home.

“There’s no sound and the picture’s gone. Jesus, Mary and Holy St Joseph, I don’t know what to do.”

Did you try plugging it in?

You can guarantee the same fella who paid for the buggy without realising it had GPS technology will be the one looking for the refund when the screen freezes on 17.

Oh, and speaking of things being plugged in and out – Frank’s re-joined this year. He must be nearly ninety! I heard he was touch and go over winter, now he’s booking lessons to beat the band.

“This ball rollback has me excited,” he was telling me the other day. “Should really level the playing field and benefit my persimmon woods.”

You should’ve seen him. Like he’d just necked a bottle of Fanta. A real game-changer he reckons…

I didn’t have the heart to tell him it doesn’t impact recreational golfers… never mind that if approved, it won’t come into effect until 2026 and the chances of him being alive are about as high as his 18mph clubhead speed being competitive in the monthly medal.

Still, it was good to see Frank. The joy the game brings him makes the entitled customers that bit easier to stomach.

He’ll be playing on four wheels this year too he was telling me. There’s a buggy with his name on it. He handed me a medical cert from his doctor, as if his walking skeleton defying all odds wasn’t proof enough he needed one.

“Your ID’s no good to you here, Frank, but tell me, how’d you get your psychiatrist to swing that cert for you?”

“He couldn’t swing a pitching wedge on a pendulum,” Frank laughed. “And besides, why would I need a psychiatrist? Don’t I have all year to talk through my bad shots with you!”

Stay ahead of the game. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest Irish Golfer news straight to your inbox!

More News

One response to “Confessions of a weary Pro Shop Assistant”

  1. Bill Lawlor avatar
    Bill Lawlor

    Hi John,
    If you Google Cecil Ewing, you may find he was a top Golfer back in the day! I caddied for him one day at Oak Park Carlow,and he gave me half a crown, Big money then! Joe Carr and Harry Bradshaw were big names. A lifetime of golf memories! Golf has so many dimensions, and that is one of mine!

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy & Terms of Service apply.