"I thought they would be better off than inside my closet, where people can appreciate them," Andrew Lombardo tells PEOPLE

By Diane Herbst
July 06, 2017 03:19 PM
Credit: Courtesy of RR Auction

Donald Trump‘s affinity for playing golf while in office has been well-documented (and oft-criticized). Now, with all the attention on Trump’s golfing habit, his former caddie is auctioning off a set of Trump’s used clubs.

“I thought they would be better off than inside my closet, where people can appreciate them,” Andrew Lombardo, who caddied for the businessman-turned-politician at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, tells PEOPLE.

Trump was gifted the clubs, a set of TaylorMade rac TP Irons, by the company’s CEO in 2004 or 2005. Each club is engraved with “D. Trump.”

Trump used them for a season. The following year, after TaylorMade gave Trump a new set of clubs, Lombardo asked his boss for the older set. He says he’s used the clubs only once or twice since, but they remain the most special gift — and the only memorable one — from Trump.

“There was a Deutsche Bank tournament and he got this bag of stuff he gave me and a few things here and there, but nothing like the golf clubs. They were special to me because I really liked the clubs and Mr. Trump was famous.”

Credit: Courtesy of RR Auction
Credit: Courtesy of RR Auction

Lombardo, 45, caddied for Trump over 100 times between 2004 and when he resigned in 2008, and now does woodworking.

Before putting the clubs up for auction, Lombardo tried to contact Trump to give him a heads-up but didn’t get a response.

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When asked what Trump might think of the sale, Lombardo says: “That could be tricky, but it all depends on how he would see it — I don’t want him to feel I am profiting off it.”

The clubs are being auctioned by Boston-based RR Auction house. Four people have submitted bids so far — the current bid is $9,980.

Asked if his old boss ever cheated at the game, Lombardo replied that, if it happened, it was only in jest. “A guy would say, ‘did you step on my ball? ‘ and Mr Trump would say, ‘I drove my cart over it, play it where it lies.’ I don’t think we even drove our cart over it. We were just having fun.”

But winning, Lombardo adds, was serious business for Trump. “He wants to win. It might only be for $1, and you realized it wasn’t for the money, it was all about saying they kicked that guy’s butt.”

In late June, Trump angered some golf fans when video showed him driving a golf cart on a green at the Bedminster course — a widely perceived no-no in the game.

The incident didn’t surprise Lombardo, however, who saw Trump driving on the greens “often” in Bedminster: “That is 100 percent normal and going on since 2004.”

“You have to put it in perspective,” says Lombardo. “He owns the grass.”