My Usual GameDecember 6, 2015

Our awesome new waterproof scorecards are here!

In February 2007, Ray, Tony, and I played golf in the rain for five days at Bandon Dunes. We had the same caddies for all ten rounds, and during an especially troublesome downpour they switched us to waterproof scorecards, which another Bandon caddie, Todd Petrey, had invented. Here are Ray, Tony, two of our caddies, and some other guy during a relatively dry moment on that trip:

Petrey graduated from the University of Florida 1992 with a degree in sports therapy, and tried to play golf professionally for a while. He began caddying when he was short of cash, and one of the places he worked was East Lake, in Atlanta, where the weather is so disgustingly hot and humid that scorecards sometimes dissolve in perspiration. To deal with that problem, and also with rain, he invented Drycards. (“Like a normal scorecard, only better because you can use it as a coaster.”) Petrey's company didn't stay in business for long -- apparently, the average golfer doesn't play in bad weather as often as the Sunday Morning Group does -- but he told me how to make the cards, and my friends and I now make our own. You can make them, too. Here's how they work (my wife lent me a baking pan for this demonstration):

You can write on them with a regular pencil, even underwater, and you can erase what you've written with a regular eraser. The secret is synthetic paper, which Petrey first noticed in New Zealand, while caddying at Cape Kidnappers. New Zealand prints its banknotes on polypropylene, which has many advantages over paper made from cotton fibers: it lasts longer, stays cleaner, and is easier to make secure. It's also waterproof and tear-proof. For our first batch, we used polypropylene card stock manufactured by a company called Yupo.

Those cards worked great, but they were expensive, so when we ran out we switched to thinner stock, manufactured by Xerox, and had the scorecard part printed on both sides, so that each card can be used twice. The relative thinness of the new stock isn't a problem, because the stuff is indestructible:

As always, we had the printing done at PrintWorks, the official provider of graphic services to the Sunday Morning Group. The paper was still expensive -- a buck a sheet -- but because we got four usable sides out of each sheet our total unit cost was a little less than 30 cents.

Doug, who runs PrintWorks with his mother, is an old hand at this stuff now. He'll print waterproof scorecards for you, too, if you ask him nicely. Here he is consulting with Hacker (real name):

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