Like many people, my dad taught me the game of golf. I remember he took me with him to the country club once as a very small kid. Then I had no exposure until high school. As a sophomore our athletic director implored the girls in my school to sign up, as apparently for small private schools it's entirely possible to go all the way to State with just a team of warm bodies. He was right.
So I signed up as a joke one Thursday in February. And then forgot all about it. Suddenly in March, the athletic director came over and handed me a grotesque, royal blue boys polo shirt (they didn't bother buying girls styles since only two girls signed up) with instructions to meet at the course Monday morning by 7 a.m. This was also probably a Thursday, and so I don't know why I put it off until Sunday to ask my dad over breakfast, "hey, can you teach me to golf today? I'm playing in a tournament tomorrow."
He was excited in his adorable characteristically reserved way, and that afternoon we went out to the driving range with my mom's dusty 1980's clubs to go over the basics. My dad had always been involved with my sport experiences, primarily basketball, and so he was used to showing me things. Still, it's quite a big task to give a crash course in an entire sport on one afternoon.
But he managed to do it, and to everyone's surprise (including my own), I won the tournament the next day.
Ha, just kidding. I took a double-par on every hole (the tournament's scoring cap) for a whopping 144. But, I was hooked.
From then on, my dad and I had a very unique way to bond and spend some quality time together, and I have always loved getting to play with him. When I was a beginner, he would always keep an extra ball in his pocket and if I hit a bad shot, a new ball would mysteriously appear at my feet for an endless supply of mulligans. When we kept score, he always put my name on the top line with his very neat, clear, all-caps handwriting with the little pencil. Before tournaments he would send a positive text of encouragement, and was never judgmental when I recapped less-than-stellar rounds.
But my favorite thing is how it added a new element of fun during family vacations. We are the only ones who play in our family, even though both sisters have taken a stab at it at some point. We've played in Florida and Hawaii on family trips, and we played (with my husband and sister) one Christmas Eve when my parents and sister spent the holiday at our new house in Texas. I wish I had started sooner so we could have played even more fun places. But I'm very excited that next week we will play in Colorado!
The one thing I regret from playing in those destinations is that I never took photos together on the course to remember the rounds, and I have some very fond memories that I wish had photo evidence.
So that's my mission next week, to not only play with dad (and hopefully any others who want to play), but to capture it on camera for longevity.
happy Father's Day to all!