Come Fly Again…Come Fly Again With Me 

Tom Velarde
Golf Professional
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ

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Ah how I love that old song. Just recently, I had the opportunity to come into Phoenix and visit a well-known fitting center in your fine city. Everything went perfect as my student from Italy, Michele, was being fit for new clubs. 

When we waited for our luggage in Albuquerque, talking about how good the golf was in Phoenix, and got our luggage and waited for the golf bags. After everyone had left we approached the attendant and asked if all golf bags were out. You don’t have yours, he asked? No, we do not. Where are they coming from? Phoenix (we added a ‘sir’ just to be sure). Looking at us, his eyebrows went up and he said, “That’s normally not a good sign!” 

“Let’s file a claim,” he said. So we followed him into the cubicle of frustration and waited for him to ascend to the throne area behind the station. He asked the normal questions and we produced the claim vouchers and as he entered the information he uttered words I have now learned to dread, “These are LC check bags!!” I looked at Michele and he being Italian was taking it all in. Sir, these bags were LC check. “Okay,” I said “what does that mean?” Late check sir, that’s very bad. He reached under the desk and pushed a button which brought out his co-worker as backup. In walked a 6’5” 245 pound mass of muscle with a tattoo of skulls being crushed. The name tag read Mable. She looked at me, just to size up the troublemaker. Now our attendant, who was named Phil, smiled at me. First time I noticed he had a gold tip on his tooth with a heart logo in the gold. These guys have a LC check in on golf bags and want us to find them. She looked sadly at us and said, “Sir, LC check ins are not the responsibility of the airlines!” Now Michele, who is a world class rugby player, started to puff up some. I notice some veins on his neck were pumping a lot of blood into his muscles as he started to tremble some. A stream of language came out which I assumed was Italian, but worried me as Mable cracked her knuckles and shook out her hands.  

“We cannot help you, they are LC check in, Sir,” the both uttered at the same time. We walked out across the lobby and just sat. Michele jumped up and walked back to the cubicle. He came back smiling. “We did not ask the correct question,” he said. We should have asked what would happen if they had not been LC. Phil thought we wanted the airline to pay for the transport. Phil explained how to get the bags transported to us and how we could pay for them. 

Michele and I just laughed at the situation and as I glanced across the lobby I could see Phil and Mable bent over laughing at the same thing. At least that is what I hoped they were laughing at, or it could have been, “Did you see that little guy run away!!”  

See you next time at the terminal. I will be the guy getting there 2 hours early! I will never again be LC.       

Tom Velarde is the Manager at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email