The unsung heroes, the backbone, of every golf course in America are the cart guys.

The cart guy. He cleans your cart, scrubs your clubs, fills your sand bucket, and dampens your towels. But you don’t even notice him.

He’s the dude who’s waiting on you to finish your round at 9 P.M, when even a freaking owl can’t see. He hears you out on number 16, halfway across the moonlit golf course, partying it up with your three drunk buddies.

And he has to clean up the 22 Miller Lite cans and 10 cigarette butts out of your cart, the cart that now smells of stale flatulence and urine–and looks as if you went mudding in the Okeefonokee.

He’s there at 7 A.M. every morning, preparing the cart for your milestone round of 90. And who’s the first person you see when your milestone round of 90 is finished? Yep, that’s him, the trusted cart guy.

So do him a favor. Tip him a few bucks.

If you stay on the golf course past 9 P.M, tip him five bucks. And if you’re the last cart on the course, tip him ten bucks. You see, maybe he has an English exam to study for, or perhaps he has some friends waiting on him to go out on the town.

To you, he may just be a nameless, faceless purveyor of golf course transportation. But he has a life; he really does. So just tip him, the cart guy.

For a few years in college, I worked as a cart guy at my local country club. Very few people, we’re talking 4 or 5, regularly tipped. Some of those older guys could blow their noses with Benjamins and wouldn’t notice, but the fogeys didn’t even tip a buck or two after we pulled their clubs out of storage, scrubbed them down, and prepared their carts.

Since then, I’ve vowed to always tip well–whether it’s the cart guy, a waiter, a taxi driver, or the pizza delivery man. The service industry is totally underappreciated. I remember too many nights, waiting in the dark for that one lone cart to pull up and two drunk morons to emerge. Man, that pissed me off.

Tonight, I played a quick nine after work. On the 7th hole, I caught up with this threesome composed of the three slowest and worst golfers in the history of the sport. I would’ve finished the nine holes in 45 minutes, but thanks to these golfing misfits, it took closer to an hour and a half.

After pulling the cart in around 7:30–very dark here in Nashville this time of the year–I stuck $5 under the scorecard holder of the steering wheel, told the cart guy to have a good night, and walked up the hill toward my car.

A few seconds later, he yelled back at me, “Hey! Sir! Is this your $5?” “Yeah,” I said. “It’s a tip.”

“Oh, um, thanks!” It was like the guy had never got a tip before. Unbelievable.

So tip the cart guy. Just tip the cart guy.

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