For at least the next month, the Atlanta Athletic Club needs to give Richard Grice a reserved parking place right by the front door. He is the member of the month, the one who has gone the farthest in service to this U.S. Amateur.
Like club president Patrick Ford, Grice, 55, a board member at the club, volunteered to caddie for any player in need. Ford’s duties were done Tuesday. Grice soldiers on. He was introduced to San Diego State rising junior Gunn Yang before a practice round last Saturday, and has been on the bag ever since.
Oh, his aching feet. Yang just kept winning, meaning that Grice just kept totin’. After Yang won his match in 18 holes Thursday, he and Grice earned another match that afternoon against Georgia Tech’s Ollie Schniederjans. That’s a lot of miles in one day.
“It’s Day No. 6 now,” he said between rounds Thursday. “I’m not used to this much walking, but I’m hanging in there. It’s as much a mental challenge, especially these last few holes where you have a lot of strategy. I’m trying to help him out. It’s mentally fatiguing as well as physically fatiguing.”
What hurts most? His toes.
Second most? Maybe his pride. When asked about his caddie’s abilities Yang said, “Very good. Just let me pull the trigger. Sometimes this (making the motion of Grice talking) is not helping.”
Grice doesn’t need this job. He’s an attorney at Alston and Bird, where Bobby Jones himself was once a partner. He had cleared a few days on his calendar, but hadn’t really planned beyond that. “I’ve had to call a couple clients and say: Hey, here’s what’s going on. It’s just the odds; you don’t think you’re going to last this long,” he said.
Grice does have one plan for whenever his long walk ends. “My 10 year old son will want to get right back to the golf course, but, yeah, I might take a couple days off,” he said.